Ricky Church chats with Green Lantern: Beware My Power star Jamie Gray Hyder…
DC Animation’s latest feature film Green Lantern: Beware My Power is notable for several reasons. First off, it showcases DC fan-favourite John Stewart as the lead in his first feature film in an origin story detailing how he became chosen as a Green Lantern and second, it launches DC’s new continuity into the cosmos as John and Green Arrow take a trip into space and meet intergalactic allies and enemies as they try to stop a war between two alien civilizations.
We got the chance to speak with actress Jamie Gray Hyder who provides the voice of Hawkgirl in Beware My Power. Hawkgirl is another fan-favourite character and this marks the first time she makes her way into DC’s line of original animated movies. Not only that, but this is also the first time in nearly 20 years John Stewart and Hawkgirl share the screen since the end of the Justice League Unlimited series, where the two shared a romance. We spoke with Hyder about Hawkgirl’s popularity, her warrior instincts and the connection between her and John. Check out our interview below…
Ricky Church: You play Hawkgirl in Green Lantern: Beware My Power. Hawkgirl has been a fan-favourite DC character for a long time now. What was this experience like for you? What do you think the appeal of Hawkgirl is to her fans?
Jamie Gray Hyder: One of the biggest things that’s appealing about Hawkgirl, I think, is that she has spanned so many decades and is just adaptable to so many different time periods and different types of conflicts and can really be placed in many places throughout the DC universe. One of the things that stood out to me when I first started doing my research was that she actually is one of the first female heroes in the DC comic universe and was originally created back in the 1940s, which I think is extremely progressive and definitely super inspiring for anyone who got to see her at that point.
Yeah, definitely. Regarding being one of the oldest heroes in comics, what does holding up to that legacy mean to you?
It means a lot. You simultaneously have to honor the past in the past versions of her while also bringing something new and exciting to the character. So it’s about balancing the two, you know? You want to put your own spin on it, but you want to give the fans what they know and love about the character to begin with. And so I hope that that’s the chord that I struck with Shayera and this film.
Taking her 80 year legacy and combining that with her following, were you nervous at all to portray Hawkgirl? Was it intimidating and how did you overcome any kind of nervousness?
Well, it’s definitely intimidating when a character has such a loved and storied past, but the great part about that simultaneously is that there’s so much information and so much research out there about her, just so much fan fiction and different takes on her past. To have so much to sift through really gives you a lot of material to build your character.
Unlike some of the other Justice League heroes like Green Arrow in this movie, Hawkgirl is much more of a warrior than superhero. How did you tap into that fighting spirit of her character? What other kind of differences did you see with Hawkgirl between Green Arrow, John Stewart or Adam Strange?
Hawkgirl just has a focused mind on one thing. You know, she is a warrior, that’s what drives her everyday life and that is her path. That’s all she focuses on. With the other characters you get almost a little bit more personality here and there. They’re a little bit more human when it comes to throwing in humor and warmth and they sort of soften what Hawkgirl brings. But I think that’s what makes her interesting is just kind of her one track mind and watching her trying to deal with a team and people who are unlike her.
Yeah, for sure. Now you say unlike her, but it’s interesting because she’s more similar to John Stewart than any of the others in the way that he’s also a warrior. He’s a former Marine with a long list of accommodations and he doesn’t think he fits into this world of superheroes and aliens. How do you think Hawkgirl and John Stewart connect with each other on that level?
I would say their discipline is something that you would see with someone from the military and someone in Hawkgirl’s position is typically very mission oriented so if you give them a goal, if you give them a project, they’re going to lock onto that and they’re really gonna see it through. I think that’s something that the two of them can really come together on.
Another thing that’s interesting about them is John and Hawkgirl have got interesting history where they were romantic partners in the Justice League animated series 20 years ago. I think this is the first time since then they’ve been together in animation and it’s nice that in Beware My Power there’s a few teases to their chemistry. How did you view Hawkgirl and John’s growing partnership and chemistry throughout the movie?
You know, I think much like any romantic relationship, especially one of your past, you know, it causes you to both want to support that person and simultaneously also sort of play devil’s advocate against them! (Laughs) I think that you become passionate on both sides of the coin and I think you sort of see that back and forth in the film. Even with her relationship with Adam Strange and Green Arrow, you kind of see them trying to sort of crack her hard exterior and bringing their sort of human nature to things. But I do think that the romantic history between Green Lantern John Stewart and Hawkgirl adds some fun spice in there!
For sure. Now Beware My Power I think is best described as a galactic space faring adventure driven by a mystery. What did you think of the different genres that kind of flow into this as it’s a superhero origin, but also sci-fi adventure with a detective aspect to it?
You know, I think that’s what makes the DC comic universe so interesting is that you can sort of touch on all these different genres. You have the element of mystery in sort of solving crimes. You have the action, you have the relationships that you want in order to care about the characters and this film combines all of those things. I think it combines them very well.
Reading the script, was there any particular influence from your research, comic story or any genre you wanted to bring into your performance for Shayera?
Well, you know, again, it’s about trying to balance what’s already existed for her and sort of what you want to bring to the table. So really honing in on the fact that she is a warrior, there’s nothing that scares her and there’s nothing that motivates her more than saving her people and her planet. With that, that really motivates you because there are people like that in real life that you can draw from and that is what really helps to kind of inspire it.
Now Green Lantern himself, whether it’s John Stewart or Hal Jordan or any of the others, they’ve also been around for decades and they’re quite popular as well with DC fans. What do you think the appeal is of the Green Lantern property for DC fans or even just sci-fi fans?
I think one really great unique part about Green Lantern in particular, which actually Green Lantern has in common with Hawkgirl, is that the nature of the character allows for so many different portrayals. It’s not always the exact same portrayal, you know, there’s several Green Lanterns represented. There have been several iterations of Hawkgirl and the title has been given to people in many different positions and relationships. I think that that is what is so unique about these stories in particular, is it allows you to keep it fresh while also drawing on the history that’s kind of been laid before.
Thank you very much to Jamie Gray Hyder for speaking with us!
Green Lantern: Beware My Power is now available on Blu-ray and 4K home media. Read our review here.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.