Whether you know her from her breakout role as Laliari in the cult classic Galaxy QuestFran from Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story or any number of performances, actress Missi Pyle has established herself as a true force of comedic talent. No stranger to animation, Pyle dives into the DC Universe with the Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse crossover animated film as the voice of the film’s big bad, the Kryptonian goddess Cythonna.
An admittedly admitted obscure character who has only appeared in a handful of comics, Pyle is the first actress to bring Cythonna to life not only in animation but any media outside of comics. We had the pleasure of chatting with Pyle about channeling her inner villain in Mayhem in the Multiverse. Plus, we couldn’t resist chatting about the Josie and the Pussycats film from the early aughts.
Taimur Dar: Most people probably know you more for your live-action comedy work, but you’re no stranger to animation voiceover. There’s something really fulfilling about working in children’s media especially for actors who have kids. You have a daughter and this is definitely something you can watch with her so was that something that appealed to you for this project?
Miss Pyle: My daughter has only seen me do one thing and that was Home Alone 4 over the holidays. [Laughs]. I haven’t had things that she would really like. But I’m so excited to show her this especially since she’s a big fan of villains like the sea witch in The Little Mermaid and Queen Barb in the Trolls 2 movie.
Dar: I’m sure you’re aware now if you weren’t already before working on this project that your friend Nicole Sullivan is the voice of Supergirl. Even though you couldn’t record together in the same room and play off each other, did it help knowing that Sullivan was playing Supergirl?
Pyle: Oh yeah. I love knowing it’s her because we have such a long history. We have been friends for a long time. I was also a huge fan of hers when she was on Mad TV. I like that I get to play the villain and she’s the superhero. It was a lot of fun. She’s so talented.
Dar: Did you ever message Sullivan or let her know that you were voicing Cythonna?
Pyle: You know it’s funny. We all talked on a thread because we knew we were doing it together. We haven’t actually talked about it. I haven’t seen it yet so I’m excited to watch it with my daughter and live text her.
Dar: Had your daughter seen any of the DC Super Hero Girls cartoon before this project?
Pyle: She’s seen a little of it. She’s six so she’s definitely on the younger end. Again, she loves villains so I’m thinking this is going to be one that she’s excited about. She’ll probably tell me ways I could have made it better.
Dar: Cythonna is an incredibly obscure villain. I can literally count on one hand how many times she’s appeared in comics. This is her debut in media outside of comics villains, like say Poison Ivy, who’ve been portrayed countless times so you can get a sense of character. However, there is some freedom since nobody really knows the character so was that something you appreciated?
Pyle: Yes! It was so much fun to play this character. I got to kind of create [Cythonna] with the director [and] make her whatever we want. When I first saw the black and white sketch of her, I was so excited about what a bombshell she was. I didn’t think she was going to be so glamorous. She’s gorgeous and ready to take on the world. It was so much fun to come up with her and not have to worry about anyone’s preconceived notions about who she is. That’s what’s so fun about going into the booth in general.
Dar: I definitely got a Disney evil queen or stepmother vibe from the way you played Cythonna. What did you want to convey with her in your performance?
Pyle: What I love about villains in general is they would be heroes if they could but they can’t. They’re so complex. There is a lot of pain whether it’s something that happened to them or they couldn’t contain and they had decided to live a life as a villain. We all have villas inside of us but we suppress it or make another choice. It’s so fun to just let it all hang out and be there. We had a lot of freedom.
Dar: Voiceover has been done remotely for the last two years. Early on, actors had to record at home and set up a home studio system if they weren’t already prepared. Over time, some actors were allowed to go into studios to record with proper safety precautions. How was the recording process for you?
Pyle: For me, I didn’t have a huge setup. This was [recorded] in October 2020. I did three different animated projects during the pandemic. I remember being excited to go into the studio and obviously it was extremely safe. I did some work remotely like two episodes of The Great North. That was really hard for me because I don’t think I recorded everything properly. I would much rather have somebody else do it.
Dar: I’d be remiss if I didn’t inquire about the Josie and the Pussycats film. Last year was its 20th anniversary. It’s been really interesting to see how the film has garnered a cult following and how it really predicted a lot of what’s been happening with the culture in regards to entertainment and commercialism. How do you look back on the film?
Pyle: I’m so tickled because when it came out it was slammed! All of the advertising like Target was supposed to be tongue in cheek but I think people took it at face value like, “Oh my God! This movie sold out to all these advertisers!” That’s the whole point of this movie when they were being subliminal advertised to. I’m so glad that people have begun to see what a great movie this is and how much fun it really is. I just worked with Rachael Leigh Cook again on a movie called A Tourist’s Guide to Love that we filmed in Vietnam. It was really fun to see her and talk about what a cult class it’s been. It really is a fun movie.
Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse is available now on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital and will be available to stream HBO Max on June 28.