“Playing Poison Ivy”
I’ve added an audio version as well, for your listening pleasure!
The best part of being a “recovering actress” and female voiceover artist is that I still continue to act through the very cool animated characters I’ve been lucky enough to give life to. One of my favorites, has been the Femme Fatale Poison Ivy, who I’ve had the pleasure to play in the Arkham trilogy.
One of the fun parts of creating of iconic character as well known as she is, is to review her history, and what a diverse history it is! From her first comic book appearance in 1966 she has lived in every form of media, from animated series and movies to live action and of course video games, and had great actresses play her. While, I honor what they’ve done, I always like to bring my own spin to a character and how I can imbue myself in them.
To me, Poison Ivy is a super, sexy, spellbinding, seductress, (I love a good alteration) but like all “great villains,” she is more multifaceted than her sardonic one liners belie. She believes that what she’s doing is right and noble. “Nature always wins” is her credo. And Poison Ivy believes she is the catalyst for natures’s power to be “executed”.. so to speak.. As she says in her Arkham Asylum files…
She took what almost killed her human self Pamela Isley, and turned it into a positive,as if becoming Poison Ivy was her destiny. Being “reborn” both physically and psychologically,she seeks revenge for herself and her “offspring” and wants to rid the world of despicable “Meat sacks”
Being a mother of three children, I would do anything to protect them, if I thought they were in danger, and even though her extreme view is comic book appropriate, and her actions far beyond my imagination, inherently I do understand her motivations, and that helps me play her with truth as a character…not a character To me she is a skewed mother (Nature) in it’s human form, and as we know hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Her sensuality is conveyed through her languid walk as well as seductive voice quality that I used to convey her “overly confident swagger.” But when she speaks of her children, there’s a vulnerability that comes through and I wanted to convey that as well.
In Arkham City, again even though she means to do harm, it’s always in defense of her plants!
In Arkham Knight, it was gratifying for me to play a more nuanced side of Poison Ivy as she evolved from being an anti hero to “Shero,” showing more of her humanity… for Gotham’s humans as well as plants.” (The video’s end is a spoiler alert so watch just want you to see.)
The greatest compliment I can receive from a fan is when they say, not only did they love the character, but loved my performance. That makes it all worth doing.
So, what’s next for Poison Ivy? Just like her many iterations, I am hoping she lives a long heroic life in animation, and that I get the opportunity to “play” her once more.
And when my son finally gets his long awaited Xbox, I’ll look forward to playing her as well.
Love to have your comments or thoughts!