Susan Eisenberg has voiced Wonder Woman so much, she should have an honorary lasso of truth! You’ll recognize her voice from Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, Justice League: Doom, 2013’s Wonder Woman, and the video games Injustice: Gods Among Us, Injustice 2 and DC Universe Online. This is, of course, in addition to the zillion other voices she’s done! I was lucky enough to get a chance to chat with Eisenberg about her work, auditioning to play a role like this, how Wonder Woman has changed her life and what Wonder Woman means to her. You can follow her on Twitter @SusanEisenberg1!
Legion of Leia: How were you introduced to Wonder Woman?
Susan Eisenberg: Well, I was introduced to her through Lynda Carter playing her on the TV show in the 70s.
Legion of Leia: What was it like auditioning to play such an iconic character?
Susan Eisenberg: The funny thing is, I wasn’t that consumed with playing her as an icon as much as I was trying to play her as this woman that was presented to me. In other words, I was brought in by Bruce Timm who created the show and created my version of Wonder Woman, and Andrea Romano was the voice director for the series. So I was trying to capture what they were presenting to me, which was, at the very beginning of the show, a woman—a girl/woman, who was leaving Thymiscira, leaving this island to go help in a man’s world. So playing that vulnerability, playing that passage in time in your life, that’s what I was trying to play. The heroics weren’t that gigantic in the beginning.
Legion of Leia: One of the things we love about Wonder Woman is that she’s not just a badass. She’s compassionate. She’s full of love.
Susan Eisenberg: Yeah, there’s a goodness to her. I really enjoy that aspect of it. Also, one of the things, when I first started the show—there was a lot with her mother, the relationship between Hippolyta and Diana. That’s not the superhero side of her. That’s just the daughter. Once you’re in the League and you’re fighting evil, then we start with the heroics come.
Legion of Leia: What do you think has contributed to the character’s ongoing popularity? When you say “female superhero,” she is always the first name that comes up.
Susan Eisenberg: Well, I don’t think that she has much competition! It’s not like when we were growing up in the seventies, we had many heroes that we could look up to as women. Because of the goodness, because of the compassion, because of that outsider quality she has to her, I think she resonated with so many fans. And she still does. And the fact that there wasn’t that much of her and people wanted more and more—you know, it’s not like we were inundated with Wonder Woman. In fact, people have been yearning for a Wonder Woman feature movie for so long, live-action, and they’re finally getting it. Again, men responded to her. Women responded to her. Kids responded to her. There is that vacuum that she fills, especially when she first came onto the scene. And then throughout time, she has just spoken to different generations with all those qualities. The qualities still exists in here. I think they will always exist. They are universal qualities. People respond to that goodness. People respond to that compassion. People respond to that sense of fighting the good fight and fighting for what’s right. And also having your friends’ backs.
Legion of Leia: Over all the years of doing the voice of Wonder Woman, is there anything that’s changed in your portrayal?
Susan Eisenberg: This is what’s interesting, too. On the show—because the character was with me for five years for Justice League, and then Justice League Unlimited—it was interesting because, when we started, she was still in Thymiscira, and then she joins the League. She grew up over the course of the five years, in my mind. Not like we had birthday parties for her, but I just loved her aging. Someone asked me the other day how old she is and I was like, “34.” [laughs] It’s not like we want to see Diana the grandmother, but I think she’s ageless. But when I played her on that show, she grew up. She matured. Depending on what project I’m doing, like if I play her in a DC Online game or in Injustice: Gods Among Us or in the movies, it really depends on the script and what I’m being asked to do. Is she a mentor to somebody else? Is she the one learning from other people? Like in the Justice League where she had this team of people, teachers if you will, teaching her how to acclimate. In Justice League: Doom, she has Supergirl in that story, so she was the mentor to Supergirl. And so it’s a different vocal component. She wiser. She’s more mature-sounding. She’s got that wisdom that you get with age. That different. But it’s not so much my choice about how I voice her. It’s which project I’m doing and what her story is.
Legion of Leia: I was actually going to ask you about Injustice, and I know you’ve done a ton of voices for video games before. What’s it like doing things like this where you don’t have a ton of narrative.
Susan Eisenberg: Well Injustice is an action game that also has a story, and I think the thrill for the player is in fighting as these characters, whether it’s Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, or Harley Quinn. The player gets to be the bad-ass.
Legion of Leia: We were just at a convention together and I know you do a ton of these, but what is your favorite question you’ve been asked at a panel?
Susan Eisenberg: I’ve been asked so many great questions over the years. Even if it’s a question I’ve been asked over and over again, the audience hasn’t heard you answer it before, so it’s their first time! I would probably say, How has voicing her influenced my own life? Because voicing Wonder Woman has given me so much, and getting the job in 2000 was a total game changer, I enjoy talking about that aspect of it, what she’s given me not just professionally, but personally, as well. During any given day, there are times when I will say—I need to channel her. I mean, I’m not standing on the street saying, “Great Hera,” because I don’t. [laughs] I don’t. But I do do it in my living room. [laughs] No, no, I’m kidding! But I just feel like—the other day I was crossing the street, waiting for the light to change, and this person walks off the sidewalk and starts crossing. The light hadn’t changed yet, and this car just zoomed through, and just instinctively put my arm out, and said, “Be careful!” [laughs] And I was like, Susan, you do realize you don’t have a lasso… You don’t have an invisible jet! But I just feel that inner superhero coming out. And that sense of trying to be decent. It’s an exercise. You have to exercise that decency every day. Sometimes it comes easily and sometimes it doesn’t. The same with grace. Trying to live your life gracefully and with grace is also a work in progress. There are days you’re just loaded with it and days you’re beckoning it to show up in any shape or form. One thing for sure:
I believe so completely that she’s made me a better person!
Image credit: DC Comics/Susan Eisenberg/Jim Warren