ComingSoon spoke with Blue Beetle star Matt Lanter about voicing the titular hero, his work in Star Wars as Anakin Skywalker, and much more ahead of the release of DC Showcase – Constantine: The House of Mystery on Blu-ray on May 3, 2022. Blue Beetle is one of four shorts included in the compilation.
Alongside the all-new Constantine short, DC Showcase – Constantine: The House of Mystery also features three other shorts in the form of Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth!, The Losers, and Blue Beetle. All three have appeared in past DC Universe Movies collections as special features, so they aren’t exactly new to fans who may be big fans of the world of DC’s animated features.
RELATED: DC Showcase Interview: Director Milo Neuman Discusses Blue Beetle & The Losers
ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief spoke with Blue Beetle star Matt Lanter about voicing the titular hero, his work in Star Wars as Anakin Skywalker, and much more.
Tyler Treese: I know you’ve done some great work with DC before as Aquaman. So how did this appearance as the Blue Beetle in this short come about?
Matt Lanter: They called me up and said, “Is this, something you’d want to do?” And of course I, you know, respond to that very quickly with a huge yes. Any opportunity I get to voice especially a new superhero, or new to me, is exciting. Then when I got in there, and kind of understood the tone after I read the script, the tone of this thing is so unique from what we’ve been seeing [for] the last 30 years that it was, it was just really, really fun and exciting and unique. I just had a blast with it, honestly.
I wanted to ask you about that tone. What was it like just kind of having fun with the character and getting to lampoon these early superhero cartoons?
Well, it, it was definitely something we … I got in the booth, we chatted about kind of trying to nail down the tone. I mean, clearly, the writing was there in the wonderful script that I had. But I think I had a handle on it, kind of where they were going, but of course, you get in the booth and the whole creative team is there, Wes Gleason’s there, you know, discussing the tone. And I guess I took a lot of inspiration from the Adam West Batman where everything is said with bravado and a puffed-out chest. And you know, I guess from there, we just go for it and, you know, certain lines here and there, we adjust, and we kind of whittle away and get down to how can we be bad in a good way? And, you know, from there, it’s just having fun with it.
One of the things that really stood out for me was just the interactions between yourself and The Question. How fun was it getting to play off that character and that dynamic?
Well, I wish I had gotten to record with David Kaye in the booth. Unfortunately, I didn’t, I don’t think I’ve actually ever met him. Of course, I know people that are good friends with him, but it’s really fun. I mean, Blue Beetle, he’s really frustrated with The Question at times, he’s just too cerebral for Ted Kord. So it was fun getting to play that frustration. And yeah, it was a blast, and then seeing it, seeing it really is fun, and how it all came together. I’m super pleased with how it turned out, by the way. It’s a pleasure to watch.
You talked about Adam West being an inspiration for kind of your voice here. How familiar were you with like the Ted Kord character before this role?
Really not very familiar, to be honest with you. I didn’t know much about him. I tried to do a little research. There’s not a ton out there, not that’s readily accessible. So I didn’t know a whole lot, again, just relied on the script, the creative team, and the little that I knew about him and the Ted Kord version and just went for it.
Talk me through just in the booth. Like, I’m sure you come in with a voice in mind and this one is kind of Adam West, but how does that get refined during the recording process?
We’ll go through line by line. We’ll go through scene by scene. Sometimes I’ll push it a little too much, sometimes I’ll be a little too “puffed-out chest,” a little too “hands on the hips” kind of a deal. But that was sort of the approach as almost every line was said with a puffed-out chest and a bravado and kind of an announcement in a way. I think that’s sort of like how I approached it, and then we sort of whittled away from there. Of course, Wes Gleason really knows what he is doing, really knows how to get a performance out of an actor.
It was just from there we’d whittle away or pull back a little bit in this moment. That’s kind of how it works in the booth. You just kind of go through, you might give three takes, and then you chat about it for a quick second and give it another go, and typically you’ll get the right one. Of course, there’s gonna be a few lines that maybe at the end of the session you come back on after you’ve sort of lived with the character for an hour or so, we’ll come back and hit a line or two, but that’s kind of how it works.
I recently saw an interview where Hayden Christensen said that he binged Star Wars Rebels and The Clone Wars to prepare for Obi-Wan Kenobi. How cool is it knowing that your work with Anakin is directly influencing the live-action work here?
Yeah, it’s really exciting. As a fan, I’m really happy to hear that. As I’m sure you know, The Clone Wars is Star Wars canon and there’s certainly a lot of character development with the character of Anakin over the seven seasons that we did. So just as an actor, I think that’s a smart choice. Just because there’s so much to learn. There are a lot of relationships, case in point with Ahsoka, that I think he can learn from. I have no idea what he’s doing in Obi-Wan Kenobi. I have no idea what the story is. I assume he’s Vader, right? But I don’t know. But either way, it’s a wealth of knowledge that’s there. As me, the actor that did Anakin in The Clone Wars, that’s really neat to know that I’m definitely influencing live action. But as a fan, I’m also really pleased and excited that one of the performers takes the time to understand the character on an even deeper level.
It’s definitely awesome. I thought it was really cool that after voicing Anakin for so many years, you also had a little appearance on The Mandalorian. How did that come about?
Yeah, that was all Dave Filoni. Dave just let me know “Hey, I know this is a really small thing, but we’re really, really happy you’re doing it.” And of course, my response is like, “What are you talking about? Anytime I would get a chance to play in live-action Star Wars, I’m there. Don’t make it seem like it’s not a big deal because it’s a big deal live-action Star Wars!” So yeah, that was a blast. Getting to be on set and in live-action Star Wars is much different than voicing it, and it was just really cool, and now that lives forever and I love it. I had a blast with it and, and so proud to be a part of that.
You just had Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga come out. How fun is it doing the recording for that? Because you get to be a bit zanier with the character than normal.
Yeah, absolutely. Again, as I’m sure you know, we record way in advance of all of these animated projects, but that was a really, really fun one. I remember, we did a lot of lines, actually, that were right out of the films. Like I got to play around with the sand lines and things like that and “I hate sand.” And so that was fun. That was a blast. I think that that always makes the audience and fans chuckle because we all kind of know just how bad that sand material was, you know? So it was a blast. It’s fun.
I actually did a con this past weekend in Kansas City and the game I think has only been out for like a week, a week and a half, but people are loving it. I haven’t even had a chance to play yet, but man, people are really excited about it and just loving playing that game. So I’m gonna have to pick it up or download it or, you know, however, because I’m interested in it, but yeah, people seem to really love it.
Venturing further back into your past, you starred in Disaster Movie. Kim Kardashian since then has become a cultural phenomenon. How was it filming with her and then seeing her rise?
I had a really good experience with Kim on that movie. She was very kind, very humble. Even though the project we were doing was so stupid on purpose, she really took it seriously. And she wanted to be good in her part. I remember just really appreciating that out of her. Because I don’t know, she might have already done like a season or something of [Keeping Up With the] Kardashians. I don’t remember, but I just remember my experience was great. She was very kind.
Then my last question, I saw a piece of trivia that you love to build tree forts. Is that something you’re still doing?
That is so weird! Someone told me that the other day. That’s on my IMDB! I have no idea why that’s … it’s so weird! There’s a lot of weird trivia on my IMDB that’s not true! And it’s just weird. I mean, first of all, I loved building tree forts when I was, like 12, but I wish I had the time to build tree forts, to be honest with you. I don’t have the time to do that, but I would love to build a tree fort if someone wants to come build it with me, but unfortunately, no, I don’t build tree forts in my spare time. I don’t know where that came from.
I’m glad we could clear that up. Thank you so much for your time, Matt.
Please, please, please print that and clear that up because I don’t know what people think I’m doing in my spare time, especially with a four-year-old daughter, but it’s not building tree forts!