Matt Mercer's voice acting career has been long and diverse, with credits including the likes of Attack on Titan, Thundercats, Marvel's Spider-Man and Resident Evil Damnation. He's also the voice of McCree in Overwatch amongst many other video game roles. Mercer is also one of the world's most well-known Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Masters as he is the host of cult smash, Critical Role. In Justice Society: World War Two, Matt is the voice of Rex Tyler, aka HourMan. We caught up with him to find out more.
Starburst: How would you describe Justice Society: World War II?
Matt Mercer: This story is kind of an alternate take on the Golden Age superhero era during the World War Two time period. So without going to much in to the story it deals with modern day Barry Allen discovering the speed force and going back in time to Golden Age DC and encountering the Justice Society of America. One of the heroes he meets is the character I play, HourMan, a bad-ass scientist who developed a particular kind of pharmaceutical system, something called Miraclo, that for an hour makes him superstrong and basically on parr with all, the great superheroes around him but just for that hour, otherwise he's a regular dude, is trying to survive.
Starburst: How would you pitch the cartoon to your grandmother?
Matt Mercer: Hey, back in World War Two how would it have been if we had a bunch of awesome, colorful superheroes that were just beating the crap out of Nazis and I got to be one. It would be the quickest way I could describe it to her. *laughs*
Starburst: How familiar were you with Rex Tyler, HourMan before you did this movie?
Matt Mercer: I was familiar with some of the more modern day versions. I knew about him but didn't have an extensive knowledge of his presence in the Golden Age of comics. So it was really fun to kind of dive in and do the research and discover this aspect of the old school comic era that I wasn't quite as familiar with and kind of build a character and performance off of that. So it was a really fun exercise and it is always fun to go into a job and have an element of discovery. And even for me, at least, deepening your nerd cred.
Starburst: How do you create a voice for a character like Rex Tyler?
Matt Mercer: For me, it involves kind of imagining what the other characters around him sound like in my head, and then finding a unique imprint for him and trying to think what would make him stand out and make me feel like he belongs uniquely amongst this menagerie of larger than life characters and in finding a place of an honest point of connection between myself and him. So it largely starts with my natural voice and then I begin to kind of push and tweak and add aspects that I feel kind of best represent the character where he is emotionally, where and how he is driven and kind of let those things like texture and volume intensity come together. It all creates a unique imprint that is kind of an offshoot of my natural voice, which still feels natural to me and still feels casual. Keeping it kind of natural and more human in order to ground it. I talk to myself a lot when I'm doing this so it was just an externsion of that process. I'm a weirdo. *laughs*
Starburst: If you got to choose one of the less well known heroes from the DC Comics, who would it be?
Matt Mercer: Oh, man, that's a good question. I would. I'm going old school, where do I go? I mean, it's a little more recent, but there's the Gog and Magog story line from about a decade or so ago and I don't know, I 'd like to voice both Gog and Magog and just kind of make it cool, with a weird duality. I'd also like to voice Mister Mxyzptlk, he's a fun kooky character that pulls away from the classic hero, it would be fun to do odd little sprite like character of chaos and weirdness. He's not so much little known but he'd be a lot of fun.
Starburst: You're also famous for long running D&D stream, Critical Role. If you got to be the Dungeon Master for a bunch of DC characters, who would you want around that table?
Matt Mercer: I mean really, any of them. But Green Lantern would be awesome. A person with the power to turn their imagination into reality would be a real asset to the table. I think Wonder Woman would be an awesome person to have to be that kind of front- line protector for the rest of them and they'd be a bad-ass and a driving force. I wouldn't put Superman in their, he'd be a little too powerful. And Batman would be a pain in the butt at the table because he'd be telling everyone else what to do. They would focus too much on the rules and would fight me on the rules, so no to Batman. Barry Allen would just be fun, he's a fun guy to hang out with so I'd definetly want him, does it have to be all heroes?
Starburst: Not at all, would you have some villains as well?
Matt Mercer: Oh then I'd pull from Gotham at that point. I think Joker would be a little to intense at the table and probably break the game and make everyone uncomfortable. The Riddler would be fun because then he could go ahead and actually find his way through all the puzzles that really confuse all the other players, so I'd go with the Riddler.
Starburst: What are your favorite DC comics, which are the ones that would inspire you to do gigs like this?
Matt Mercer: Oh, man, I really like a lot of the DC Universe, but I would say in my my core heart should squarely in Gotham since growing up. But even though I just said I wouldn't play with Batman, I think it has to be the atmosphere of Gotham and the rogues gallery. I really like the unique kind of all shades of grey that a lot of the characters have, the heroes, antihero and villains. So that universe really has a huge part of my love. Rex Tyler is amongst all the bigger heroes, one of the more human and complicated figures. Based on his history and what his power set is as well. Definetly Gotham would be my biggest inspiration.
Starburst: How can we expect to hear your dulcet tones in a Warner Brothers production sometime soon?
Matt Mercer: I certainly hope so. That's really up to Warner Brothers but I'd love to come back and do this sort of thing again.
Starburst: Critical Role is huge right now; how does that affect gigs like this? Is it seamless or is there a jump between your voice work and the work you do on the Critical Role show?
Matt Mercer: It's a challenge when it comes to scheduling, I'll tell you that. I'm a little more picky and choosy with the projects, which is a wonderful place to be, you know, after being a starving actor for a large part of my life and saying yes to everything it's nice to be at a point now where I can be a little more choosy with the projects that come my way. But it is challenging, just trying to schedule it all together and make sure that I'm able to facilitate the project that I'm inspires to be a part of so. But beyond that, the one of the things that I was just getting lost in the imagination and trying to tell a story that began with the collaboration of many other people. So I'm really enjoying the way the two things fit together very well.
Justice Society: World War II is available on digital from April 27th. You can also read our interviews with Stana Katic , who plays Wonder Woman, Matt Bomer who plays The Flash, and Omid Abtahi who plays Hawkman.