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Taissa Farmiga on returning to Raven for Justice League Dark: Apokolips War
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War pulls absolutely no punches. As the 15th and final film in the DC Animated Movie Universe, it sort of has to — but for fans who have been eagerly anticipating the conclusion to the six-year journey that started back in 2014 with Justice League: War, the wait is finally over. There's a lot at stake here for the members of the Justice League, the Teen Titans, and the Suicide Squad among others, as comics aficionados may already know, and the real question is: what happens after a plan to save the world actually fails?
The film also brings back many voice actors from previous DCAMU films to reprise their roles, including Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Jason O'Mara as Batman, Jerry O'Connell as Superman, and Matt Ryan as John Constantine.
Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story, The Nun) also returns to the role of Raven, a member of the Teen Titans who finds herself in an unexpected leadership position after the Justice League tries and fails to take down Darkseid once and for all. SYFY FANGRRLS had the chance to speak to Farmiga by phone about her character's journey in the film, the complex relationships in Raven's life and what she's currently FANGRRLing over.
This is the third time you're returning to Raven for a DC animated movie. Was there anything specific that you wanted to bring to the character in terms of your performance this time around that maybe you didn't have opportunity to do before?
I will say that I've always had such a connection to her. I've always had such a fun time being able to go in and play this young woman who says all the things that sometimes I can't say myself. Going into the dialogue recording sessions, it happens so far apart — from the time you get to the script, to the time you go in, to the next time you go back for ADR. So for me, I'm always so grateful to Wes Gleason, who's the voice director, because I always feel so nervous right before they schedule me and I'm about to go in. And I'm like, "Sh**, what am I doing? I don't know what I'm doing."
Then as soon as I get in that room, and as soon as I read the first few lines of dialogue, and I've got Wes there by my side kind of guiding me, it just falls into place. Because with the voice acting, you don't really get to put on the costume, you don't get to put on the armor in a way, you get to slip in and be somebody else. So it's an interesting way to have to get into it for voice acting.
Raven adopts a pretty significant leadership role, especially after we see the Justice League's initial plan does not go the way they thought it would. And we see her getting to really demonstrate the full extent of her power in a lot of different situations. What do you think it is about maybe that situation that forces her to assert herself in that role and keep fighting? Why do you think that she doesn't really want to give up the fight?
Raven is a realist. You know what I mean? She has a very black and white outlook on life, in my opinion, she sort of does what she has to do. Things are the way they are. Sure, she's an empath, and she has to deal with a lot of emotions and stuff like that. And that aspect is something I really enjoyed. But at the end of the day, it has to come down to just doing what needs to be done. And that's what separates the superheroes from people who just find themselves in a place of having these powers or developing these powers. It's having the fight to be able to push forward and be like, "I have to do what needs to be done for the sake of the greater good."
And that's hard, even in this day and age now with the pandemic we're fighting now as an entire world together. Who's the person that can step up and say, "Hey, we need to do what we need to do for what's best for everyone"? And that's really admirable.
It's hard to step up and be a leader. But especially after dealing with Trigon, her father, and being able to imprison him that second time, I think she found more of a strength in herself, and was able to assert herself. Also, she's got people to rely on. She has Clark Kent there and Constantine, once he finally gets roped in and joins them, and starts to behave
She definitely doesn't take any crap from anybody. She'll go toe to toe with Constantine or Superman, and takes charge in a lot of situations. Which I thought felt really empowering for her character.
Yeah, absolutely. In a good way, I wasn't really surprised by it. When I was reading the script originally, it just felt right. Again, it just goes back to that logical outlook. We know what the answer is. We have to fight this villain. We have to beat Darkseid. So what can we do? What does [she] have to sacrifice to achieve that?
One of the other relationships I appreciated getting to see was the one between Raven and Damian [Wayne]. And that gets explored more in this story, the complications. What are Raven's reservations about deepening that dynamic? Or do you think there are just complications on both sides?
There are complications on both sides. Raven and Damian's affections for each other... it's definitely evolved, and it's grown into something more. There's a lot [of ways] they relate to each other. They're both children of very controlling and demanding fathers. They're left on their own to survive. These two young heroes are in love, but they're too busy trying to do good by the other, so they're completely missing each other's signals. And they've been separated since Darkseid devastated the planet in the first war. So they've kind of been away from each other.
And it's hard to open up. It doesn't matter how good you are with emotions, how good you are with your powers. At the end of the day, opening yourself up personally is a very difficult task, human or superhuman.
You talked a little bit already about Raven and Trigon. That's a really complex relationship that we get more of in this movie too, especially in how it ties into her repressing part of her abilities and that side of herself that she inherited from him. How does that factor into her journey in the film?
Raven and Trigon have a very interesting relationship. Despite him being the atrocious, demonic villain that he is, he's her dad. Who he is as a part of who she is. And that's something that's hard to shake. Trigon's whispering in her brain and constant pestering is a difficult obstacle for Raven to overcome. But that's part of finding her own strength, realizing or acknowledging, "Yes, this is where I come from. Yes, this blood, this genetics, whatever, is a part of me." And moving forward from that, and becoming who she wants to be, despite the weighted grasp she has on her ankle from her past history with her father. She wants to try and embrace who she is and use it for good, despite the fact that it feels like it's something that will only ever be negative.
I loved the unexpected team-ups in this movie, where everyone is forced to work together against Darkseid. If you could be a member of any one of those teams in real life, which one would it be and why?
Oh gosh. I would just have to say Teen Titans, not only because I play Raven, but I grew up watching Teen Titans. They always felt like they had so much fun, despite everything going on. Sometimes the Justice League is so serious, and Suicide Squad... I feel like I don't have the stomach for them. So Teen Titans, I feel like it's like my perfect home.
What are you currently FANGRRLing over?
I was recently introduced to Killing Eve, and Season 3 just started airing. So I binged Season 1 and 2. And honestly, I'm just in love. I'm in love with Sandra Oh, I'm in love with Jodie Comer. Just seeing the expressions on her face, this woman who's supposed to play this messed up psychopath. I don't know, I can't stop watching. It's kind of sick and twisted, but you fall in love with it. I love when shows, in general, make you care for the ones you're not supposed to. Rationally and logically, you're supposed to say, "Hold on, hold on." But then you can't help it.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is available for digital download right now and will be releasing May 19 on Blu-ray.