Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League Interview With Voice Actress Darcy Rose Byrnes

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Rocksteady Studio’s long-awaited follow-up to their 2015 game Batman: Arkham Knight brought back several familiar characters, including one that might surprise long-time players: Poison Ivy. 

This Gotham City siren may have met her demise in Arkham Knight, but this mean green fighting machine’s story is far from over. In Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, the revived Poison Ivy is back but in a way that differs greatly from her last appearance in one pretty noticeable way, and no, we’re not talking about her newly green skin. In Kill The Justice League Poison Ivy comes back as a child. 

This opens up a whole new range of possibilities for this beloved character, so we decided to go right to the source and sat down with the multitalented Darcy Rose Byrnes, who voices the revitalized version of this longtime fan-favorite character. She filled us in on some of her favorite behind-the-scenes moments, what’s next for her, and what it was like to shed her “meat suit” and get under Poison Ivy’s skin. 

Darcy Rose Byrnes On Becoming Poison Ivy

A young Poison Ivy, a human plant hybrid, stands cheerfully in a modified tech suit.
Image Via Rocksteady Studios

Darcy Rose, I know that you had to keep this project a secret for a long time. How hard was it not to talk about being Poison Ivy?

I mean I’m used to keeping secrets. I knew how Desperate Housewives was going to end before it ended, but there was a definitely a level of excitement that came with jumping into a character that was already known to people but that I couldn’t talk about. I remember that I went to a comic book store to get some Poison Ivy comics, and there was a lady there who was like, “She’s my favorite character, I’ll show you all the comic books, I’ll give you all the recommendations,” and I was like, “I can’t say anything, I can’t tell her!” And I was working on Big Shot with Dean Lorey who had his Harley Quinn series, and he’s talking about Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and I was like “Ack! I can’t say anything!”

That must have been tough.

Yeah, but it was exciting though. 

It felt like I was a spy or something. 

Your real voice is obviously quite different than the voice you use for Poison Ivy in the game. How did you find Ivy’s voice?

I came up with that, obviously, for the audition. The moment I found it, it was pretty much locked. They wanted something kind of neither male nor female nor human; just something kind of different and odd. That kind of raspy quality just made sense to me. And obviously younger as well. And then through doing it, you find more levels in the voice. But yeah, I think it was really off of the character design. You get a lot from seeing what the artist created and going, “What does that make me think of?” 

Obviously, Poison Ivy is such an iconic character. Do you have a favorite version of Poison Ivy?

I mean, it’s very self-serving but it’s also true… my version is my favorite because I like the new spin on it. I like that we explore how everyone is expecting her to be this seductress, and literally she’s just a child. She’s under all these expectations, and that’s something that I saw in the media, when [the game] was first announced. In the video game we were [already] recording storylines about that. And it was really fun to get to deep dive through the audio logs and get that feeling of expectations being on her, you know?

Right, right. I know you already touched on this a little bit, but if you could go a little more in-depth about how it felt to tackle this totally new version of such an iconic character.

I think the fact that it was a new version made it a little bit easier because I wasn’t, you know, slipping into someone else’s “meat suit,” to use an Ivy term. You have a little more leeway because it is a new version of this character with a new point of view. There was definitely a level of excitement, of “Oh! I’m part of the club!” that came with stepping into a character that has a history so, so far back that everybody knows. I don’t tend to get daunted very often, but it was kind of funny when I had to ask them who Pamela Isley was and they were like, “That’s you” and it was like “Oh, great right, I read that I remember that now! Cool— I’m method, Ivy doesn’t know so neither do I!” I felt a little bit like, “This is a whole world here,” but that’s exciting as well.

It really is cool that you had all this history and all these expectations, but you’re also coming at this with a fresh slate and getting to kind of shape the new version of this character. I’ve always thought that one of the best things about Batman villains in particular is that they have these big personalities so I imagine that playing Poison Ivy must have been so much fun. Did you have a favorite moment from making the game?

Oh goodness—I don’t think I’ve ever played a character that was so openly psychotic. I’m not someone who breaks very often, but every once in a while, I would read the next line and just go, “HAHA—ok, whew.” Because it would just it would crack me up. I remember, any time I was messing with Penguin, I thought that was hilarious. The little guy I’m always torturing. Trying not to flirt with Tara Strong’s Harley Quinn was difficult. I particularly loved those audio logs where we get those real deep conversations—because a lot of the stuff I said was those really funny one-liners—like, “she’s a nine-year-old, what did she just say?” I don’t know where this was in the game, but I did like a beer ad for it as well in a different voice— “What’s better than the beast with two backs? The beer with two necks!” To this day, I will think of this and just die laughing. And I would scream the most unhinged things as Ivy and it just made me so, so happy.

I really loved the tiny Poison Ivy and Penguin dynamic. That was not something I saw coming, and I thought that was just great, what a weird little duo they make.

I am always up for messing with Nolan North. That’s very, very fun for me.

Was there any one big experience that jumped out at you when you were making this? What was your most memorable moment during the course of recording?

Well, there’s a lot of memorable moments. We continued recording during the pandemic, so I was recording from home in my whisper room—I got the whisper room so that I could keep recording from home—this project really took me through the last few years and everything that’s been going on. But, there was the crying scene where they put the bomb in [Ivy’s] head. We had to re-record it, and I don’t know which take they ended up going with, but the first take was “too real.” And they were like, “It’s too sad! Can we make it..?” and I was like “You want more snot?” and they were like, “Yes.” And it was just, trying to make it funnier and less devastating.

Pretty much any time I got to scream things at people and call people “meat sacks” and it’s hard to remember all the really funny one-liners now since there’s honestly so many of them and it was over the course of so many years

But, yeah, it was also such a different character for me too, so it was really fun too just to get to be unhinged.

We support women’s rights and also women’s wrongs.

I love that! My favorite story though, which I’ve told before and I’ll tell again because it’s hilarious, was I was recording one of the later scenes with Harley Quinn and they gave me my favorite note that I’ve ever gotten in my entire career which was: “Less flirty, you’re still nine.” 

And I was like, “well ok, it’s Tara Strong though—so, I mean—don’t know exactly what you want here? What do you expect of me? But alright, alright, it’s fine.”

That must have been really interesting to get to explore this totally new character dynamic between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. Because this is obviously a pretty different place for them, emotionally, than where they’ve been. 

Yeah, I was talking to a friend about it and she was like “well, it’s probably good that she’s a doctor of psychology because that…. That’s going to mess you up!”

I adore their relationship in the many, many, iterations that we’ve seen, and it’s a really fun dynamic so just to put a little wrench in that… and change, like, “backpedal, backpedal, backpedal!” [Harley Quinn’s] line is, “and now you come in fun sized?” 

I love that scene where you are introduced and all the characters kind of do that double take.

That was one of the first things we recorded too, so I always remember that

I got to see the animation too, in records. They would occasionally pull it out and be like, “Do you want to see what we’ve got?” and I was like “Yeah!”

Did seeing the animation in progress ever impact how you did like a take? Did you look at the animation and go, “Oh! Let me try it a little differently now that I’ve seen what they’re actually doing.”

No! Not for this one, not for this character. One project where It would change was Sophia The First. I very often will go off of the character design for the voice, and when I auditioned for Sophia The First, Princess Amber had purple eyes and brown hair and I was like “ok, I think this is how she sounds and she’s definitely going to be an opera singer,” which wasn’t part of the show at that point.

Then when I was cast and they were showing us some of the like intermediate animation, she had light blonde hair, like translucent skin like mine, and blue eyes! And then they settled into the yellow-blonde hair and the amber eyes—but I would be very often doing ADR on that show and I would be doing my “Amber” movements and I would look over at the screen and see that the character was doing the same thing because they would sneak the animators in to draw me while I was recording without telling me!”

One of the animators they’d sneak in was a friend of mine and I was like, “Guys! I could have said hello!” 

But I think for Ivy, she was a character that I pretty much instantly knew who this version of her was.

How much did you know going into that audition? Because I imagine that they were trying to keep this under wraps for that reveal.

Yeah, I knew that it was Ivy. But exactly for what I didn’t know. I think I knew it was a video game—but I remember standing at the mic in Warner Brothers for my first record, and they were like, “Ok, so did they tell you?” and I’m like, “I’m going to assume no.” sS they told me, “Basically the game is Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League and you have to kill all the good guys.” So, I knew the broad strokes that was supposed to be a new Ivy, but how that fit into the bigger picture and what that picture was I [didn’t know] until I was there at the podium.

I’m sure that they’ve got you signing all kinds of contracts and NDAs and whatnot—but can we expect to see your version of Poison Ivy again, or do you think that this is going be it for her for a while?

Well, as far as the larger scheme of things I don’t know what I can say and what I can’t say, but obviously we’re not done with this game, so there’s more for her in this world. We’re not done with her just yet.

Darcy Rose Byrnes, a young caucasion woman with long blonde hair, plays a guitar and sings into a microphone. A sheet ghost stands a few feet behind her.
Image Via Darcy Rose Byrnes

That’s great. I’m sure everyone’s really looking forward to seeing her come back. So, you of course are so multitalented—you act, you sing, you dance, you play a variety of cool instruments—what is next for you? What should your fans be on the lookout for?

Well, I have a couple of projects that are coming out that I can’t talk about just yet, but I’m also working on my album! I have it recorded and I’m probably going to be gutting it and replacing songs because that’s the stage that I’m in. I might be showing some of that journey on Patreon, actually, for anybody who likes the “behind the scenes” of music production and being read poetry and short stories and maybe a horror novel chapter by chapter I just did a staged reading of a play I wrote called Juliette Hereafter— a comedic gender-bent adaptation of The Scottish Play. Instead of he who shall not be named wanting to be king of Scotland, it is Shelly McBride wanting to play Juliette in her theatre company’s production of Romeo and Juliette and killing her way to the top of the cast list.

Again, we support women’s rights and women’s wrongs here.

We support women’s wrongs! But yeah, we’re looking at doing a full production sometime this year. Hopefully at Hollywood Fringe, and possibly also in Burbank as well. So, that’s what’s currently on the docket.

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