This bot has a terrible tendency to blurt in interviews. Bots can be fangirls too, you see. The gem produced in this particular session was “you’re like the Charles Napier of voice actors!” All I meant was that Ms Wahlgren has been in just about every cartoon or video game you have watched in the last 20 years, yet she could still go to Trader Joe’s on a Saturday afternoon and not cause a mob scene. Kari’s whopping 236 imdb credits include Enchantress, Gwen Stacy, Emma Frost, Tigress… She’s been Jedi, Samurai, Pixar characters, Dreamworks characters, and Willow freakin’ Rosenberg. That’s so cool. Kari was gracious enough to spend a little time with me last week to celebrate the premiere of her new show on the Hub network – Kaijudo: Rise of the Dual Masters, in which she plays Allie.
Can you tell me a little about your character, and your favorite parts about playing her?
I play Allie Underhill and she’s one of the trio of our superhero trio of kids, and she’s kind of an affluent, sassy, sarcastic kid. Definitely very snarky but also very loyal to her family and friends. She gets in with the dual masters and into fighting the forces of evil in the show and we follow her journey as she finds out about the Kaijudo world, and her powers with it, and gets closer to her friends along the way.
(My favorite) is the humor element! I love the fact that she’s such a snarky charcter. It’s a lot of fun to play her. They’ve really been doing a nice job as the series goes on exposing little vulnerable sides of her, so I think they character development has been nice. They’re adding little layers. We’ve recorded a lot of episodes, and here’s hoping we’ll record a lot more!
Is recording this show a situation where the entire cast gets together to record?
In this particular case they do try to get as many members of the cast together as possible. We don’t always have everyone there at the same time but they do try to get as many people in the room as they can. It’s really nice because then we get to play off of each other a little bit more and hear what each other is doing. It’s always great when you can record as a group.
Is this becoming more the trend?
It kind of depends on the show. Now that there’s a lot more celebrity casting it’s kind of more rare to record as a group because you’re juggling with not only a lot of different peoples’ schedules but a lot of times people in different cities so you may have cast members that are in New York or shooting something in London so it’s actually less common now to record as a group. So it’s nice when you actually can record together.
But with games you record by yourself, right?
9 times out of ten with games you record by yourself. I’ve had a couple of experiences where if I was playing a lead opposite of someone else they would try to do some of our sessions together and that’s really fun. But most of the time with games you’re recording by yourself.
Do you have any technical preferences? And equipment you prefer?
I do find in certain studios that the way they mic the actors it kind of sounds a little bit better in the final product, but basically I’m pretty open to just rolling with whatever situation I’m thrown into. Some of the voice actors I know have a microphone that they actually take with them to different studios to record with but I haven’t got quite that fancy yet.
You have played so many iconic characters – who’s left? Do you have a dream role?
I’m a big Birds of Prey fan. I love the graphic novels, and I think my secret dream role would be Black Canary. So if they ever do a Birds of Prey cartoon I would… Man, I would be “Villager #2”
I always say the Hub is “bringing back Saturday mornings” – making watching cartoons in your jammies an important thing again – what were your favorites when you were a kid?
I watched a lot of them, I watched “The Smurfs,” I watched “Dungeons and Dragons”…
Do you know that all the women I talked to have all mention D&D? None of the guys!
Oh, it was great! There was that, there was “She-Ra,” “Masters of the Universe,” oh man. There were some goodies. I watched all of those at some point.
Do you have a vocal maintenance regimen or any practices to keep your voice in shape?
It depends on the character. Sometimes if I know it’s going to be a vocally stressful character I might do warm ups in the car, or like sing a little bit, or just do funny little “aaaAAAAAAAaaaaaaa” kind of noises and things just to kind of loosen my voice up. Sometimes I’ll run lines in the car on the way to the studio. Prevention is really important. If I feel the slightest cold coming on I will probably just cancel dinner plans and just stay in and rest. I think “avoiding being sick” is the thing that every voice actor tries to do.
Your list of roles is so diverse and constant – when do you rest?
I try to rest and watch football on Sundays.
Ooh, who’s your favorite team?
I grew up in Kansas so for the longest time the KC Chiefs were my team, but they have broken my heart so many times that now I just kind of follow it season by season, like whatever team or player intrigues me I’ll be cheering for them that season. So right now it’s the Denver Broncos.
Heh, I’m with you on that. I grew up a Browns fan.
OOOH WOW (hearty laughter)! Oh my gosh, I’m sending you a big hug!
“Kaijudo: Rise of the Dual Masters” airs on HubTV on Saturdays, 2 pm EST 11 am CST, and along with Ms Wahlgren also stars Phil LaMarr, Scott Wolff, Grey DeLisle and Oded Fehr!