The latest news and interviews about Hollywood's rising stars

Photo Credit: Cherie Roberts

We recently had the chance to chat with Disney XD’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Vanessa Marshall about landing the role, voicing Gamora, upcoming projects, and more!

1.     How did you land your role on Disney XD’s new show Guardians of the Galaxy?

Like most job opportunities, I received the Gamora audition from my voice over agent. Even though I am a huge Marvel fan, I wasn’t too familiar with the Guardians of the Galaxy characters, so I studied the comic books. The first movie hadn’t come out yet, so I wasn’t sure what Zoe Saldana was doing on screen either. All I knew was that Gamora is a very physical character, who is highly skilled in combat. I decided to use my martial arts experience to create a strong voice for her, and I hoped for the best. I’ll never forget the day my agent called me and said, “Is this Gamora?” And I replied, “I don’t know, is it?” And she said, “Yes!” That was a great day!

2.     What character do you play?

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Photo Credit: Marvel

I play Gamora. Orphaned as a child when the rest of her species was annihilated, Gamora was found and raised by the tyrant Thanos, who conditioned her to become an unparalleled warrior. Weary of the acts she was forced to commit in her would-be father’s name, Gamora later broke free of her chains. Teaming up with Star-Lord and his motley crew, the “most dangerous woman in the galaxy” now seeks to redeem her past crimes, putting her unparalleled skills to use as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s an honor to portray such a strong female character.

3.     What is your favorite part about voice acting?

The community. Voice over actors are kind, supportive and lots of fun. I feel like I am a part of a very special family. I’ve grown so close to my colleagues. I have tons of respect for them, and I am grateful to learn from them every day. Best of all, they are absolutely hilarious. I look forward to going to work, because I know we will make each other laugh. That’s the best part!

4.     What do you think is a common misconception people have about voice acting?

That it is just like on-camera acting. It is actually quite different. I can only use my voice to create a soundscape that stimulates the listener’s imagination, while on camera actors can use facial expressions and move their bodies to convey emotions. Voice acting requires a subtle attention to breath and sound only. I can move my body to help create a vocal sound, but no one will ever see that. Clearly, voice acting uses a totally different skill set.

5.     Do you prefer voice acting or on-screen acting?

I prefer voice acting. I grew up in the entertainment industry. My mother, Joan Van Ark, played Valene Ewing on Dallas and Knots Landing, and my father, John Marshall, was an Emmy award-winning TV news reporter on NBC here in Los Angeles. They couldn’t even go grocery shopping without people stopping to talk to them. My mom was constantly asked for her autograph. While I was happy for them, I saw that they gave up a measure of their privacy for their very public success.

By contrast, I used to see Dan Castellaneta around town, the voice over genius who plays Homer Simpson, and I noticed that people seemed to only know his character voice, not what Dan actually looks like. I watched him enjoy a unique kind of anonymity. He could choose when he wanted to be public about his occupation. No doubt people would freak out if they knew they were in the same room with Homer Simpson! Right? DOH! I think I prefer that kind of success. That is more my speed!

6.     What are some of your favorite characteristics of Gamora?

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Photo Credit: Marvel

Gamora is one of the most-skilled assassins in the Marvel Universe. She is capable of defeating opponents who possess superhuman strength and durability that far surpass her own. But what I love about her most is that she has a true heart of gold. Ultimately, she hopes to redeem herself and right the wrongs of her past. Gamora even tries to help her sister, Nebula, despite their violent history. I so enjoyed bringing these deeper aspects of her character to life.

7.     What has been your favorite episode to film so far?

The Guardians have done a lot of cool things in season three so far: battling Thanos with the help of Spider-Man, being set up by Howard the Duck, and dealing with the Kree accuser, Phyla Vell, but my favorite episode of all time is “We Are Family” from season one, when Rocket is abducted and taken back to his home planet, Half World. Pamela Adlon (from FX’s Better Things) played Rocket’s mom, and I have never laughed so hard in my life! That was by far the most entertaining recording session so far.

Check out this clip below!

8.     What can fans expect to see on upcoming episodes?

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Photo Credit: Marvel

We are currently in the middle of our third season of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, in which the Guardians of the Galaxy begin their next adventure as they encounter new friends and old foes alike. They gain fame and fortune after arresting Thanos, but are quickly back on their heels after being framed by the Collector. They’ll travel to new universes, stage a massive sting operation inside the Nova Corps, and expose a Secret Invasion years in the making. A little bad and a little good — all in a day’s work.

What’s also really cool about this season is that it’s connected to the new Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout ride at Disneyland’s California Adventure, which used to be the “Tower of Terror.” I am dying to go on this ride! It looks like so much fun! I hope to experience it this summer! All told, our cartoon is a must see, and “Mission Breakout” is a MUST RIDE!

The series will return to Disney XD in the spring of 2019. That is when the fun really begins! By jumping into the Black Vortex during the midseason finale, the Guardians now find themselves separated from each other and trapped in strange new worlds. The “Black Vortex” storyline begins after the Guardians are backed into a corner and go through a dangerous mirror into parallel dimensions. Gamora’s father knew of this mirror and warned of its dangers in the past. My favorite Gamora episode EVER happens in the last half of season three! Stay tuned for that.

You can catch up on Marvel’s streaming channel, MARVEL H.Q.

9.     Are you working on anything else at the moment fans can look forward to?

You can catch new episodes of StarWars: Forces of Destiny in which I play Hera Syndulla:

You can also see me as Black Canary on the third season of Young Justice on the new D.C. Streaming Channel in the fall.

Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels Season 4 is soon to be released on Blu-Ray.  I also just voiced various aliens in the recent film SOLO: A Star Wars Story. If you missed the royal wedding, you can hear me as the Live Announcer on HBO’s The Royal Wedding LIVE – hosted by Cord and Tish (Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon) now on demand! I recently voiced Poison Ivy in the movies LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash and Aquaman – Rage of Atlantis. Both were just released on DVD.

Finally, you can look for my episode of The Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Nickelodeon.

10. What are your social media accounts?

You can follow me on Twitter @vanmarshall and on Instagram @vanessamarshall1138.

Subscribe to see more of Vanessa on our channel!

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