Robot Chicken DC Special II: Alfred Molina on Lex Luthor and Sexx Luthor
The voice of Lex Luthor in the “Robot Chicken DC Comics Special II: Villains in Paradise” is acclaimed actor Alfred Molina. He provides the voice of Superman’s greatest nemesis in the animated special, as well as Luthor’s college hair metal band Sexx Luthor.
We met Molina in the DC Offices in Burbank, CA to talk about his role in the special and also get the scoop on his upcoming show for El Rey Network, “Matador.”
CraveOnline: You got to play one of the greatest Spider-Man villains in live-action and now the greatest Superman villain in voiceover. Did you see any connection between Doc Ock and Lex Luthor?
Alfred Molina: Not directly, but the fact that super villains in whatever context always have similar characters. It’s often a good excuse to chew some scenery, because you can be as outrageous as you want as a villain. You can create something really strange and exotic and real, whereas when you’re playing the hero, there are certain boxes you have to tick. You can’t have a beard. You have to be good looking. You need to be invariably attractive to the opposite sex, none of which applies to either Doc Ock or Lex Luthor so you can have a lot more fun in terms of what you do with the character.
Also, villains are invariably written with a kind of wink to the audience about just how outrageous this is. There’s a kind of level of yes, I know I’m being outrageous but that’s my job. I’m allowed. I think that’s what they all have in common, although these two villains are very, very different in terms of Lex Luthor in the DC comics is a much more manipulative, serious kind of character than our Lex Luthor for “Robot Chicken.” At the same time, Doc Ock was in a sense a reluctant villain. He didn’t start off that way.
The Spider-Man villains tend to be sympathetic villains. Is that a difference? Lex was never trying to use his knowledge or power for good.
Yeah, I think so. Also there’s something fascinating about the two different worlds. When I was growing up, I read Marvel comics and I read DC comics, but I always slightly leaned towards the Marvel comics only because there was something really attractive about maybe the way it was drawn. There seemed to be a lot more humor in the Marvel comics. The fact that Peter Parker himself was in a sense reluctant about becoming Spider-Man, he wasn’t sure, he had doubts. That made him so much more, to me, attractive.
Were you playing Lex with a British accent in “Robot Chicken?”
You know, I can’t remember. I don’t think so. I’ve done so many different voices, and I know I did do some American voices and some British voices over the two specials we did. I can’t remember to be honest with you.
Were you also Lex Luthor’s singing voice as Sexx Luthor?
I was. I was. That was me and I’m very happy to say that was me, although at the time I thought they were making a big mistake. When I was looking at the script, I remember asking Seth [Green], “Do you actually want me to sing this?” Because I thought maybe he was just reciting it with a musical back track. He said, “No, no, sing it. Rock it out, man.” So I went off and tried to learn the tune as best I could and said, “It doesn’t really matter. This isn’t ‘The X Factor.’” So we had a lot of fun. It was genuinely a lot of fun.
Why did you think it was a mistake?
Well, only because I thought if they want a singer, if they want this to work as a song then they’re going to need someone who can sing and I can’t sing. that was my only thought but then they said, “No, no, no, this is the whole point.”
Did you ever expect Lex Luthor to turn into such a lucrative gig for you?
I don’t know how lucrative it’s become, but it’s certainly been a lot of fun. I’m hoping we can do it again. I’d love to do it again. Working with Seth and Geoff [Johns] is wonderful. They’re such lovers of this material. Working with them on this is just absolutely joyous.
It was just announced that you signed on to do “Matador” for the El Rey Network. What character do you get to play in that?
I play a character called Andras Galan, who is the owner of the soccer team that the hero plays with. He’s kind of a villain, but he starts off as a kind of rather cynical, unfeeling, rather cruel, but then he evolves into something else. He’s part of this group of shadowy, very rich and powerful men around the world who are using their money and their influence to manipulate and influence governments all over the world for their own interest. I play an interesting character. He starts off very kind of suave, very sophisticated guy, but he’s got all the problems that most guys have.
Does he know his player has this double life?
No, no, that’s the whole point. This is all happening under his very nose but unbeknownst to him.
Have you shot the pilot yet?
I think they started this week. I actually don’t shoot my stuff for another eight days. I actually haven’t started shooting yet. April 6 or 7 I start.
Do you have a sense of what’s going to be different about a show for El Rey?
Well, I think it’s all up for grabs really. I think the beauty of this, certainly for Robert Rodriguez and his partners, is that they are not under the hammer or the thumb of a network sending a million and one notes every day. “Oh, maybe he should be this. Maybe he should be that. Shouldn’t he be wearing a red tie?” They’ve got a kind of artistic and creative freedom that they certainly wouldn’t be able to have for themselves in any other context.
I think Robert [Rodriguez] is very keen to bring to the network some of the energy and the flavor of his movies. I think this show is definitely going to have that kind of a tack and verve that his films have.