Thank you to Disney for sending me to Los Angeles to cover this Incredible event!
Sophia Bush is well known for her activism in support of women and equality for all. In light of the state of the world right now, I knew sitting down with her would be an empowering experience.
I was not wrong.
Our interview with Sophia was one of the best interviews ever. It felt like we were charging the air with energy and talking about issues that matter. Somehow those issues were all interwoven with the issues in “Incredibles 2” which made the experience just feel right. It felt like I was in the right place, at the absolute right time talking about the right things.
It made me sad to go home to my small town where I feel I cannot elicit much change.
Her voice is raspy, her energy is commanding, and she’s seemingly unafraid to talk about the hard stuff. When Sophia Bush walked into the room, she was wearing a beautiful burnt orange suit that gave me life. She was breathtaking. So often in Hollywood, when you meet someone you realize the magic of Hollywood is a real thing. They usually look like well made up regulars. But not Sophia Bush, she’s absolutely stunning, maybe even more so in person.
But beauty isn’t all this powerhouse has got. She’s got smarts, wit, and a deep passion for her fellow human. Sophia was also enamored with Brad Bird and the fact that he is a “mad genius scientist” with putting movies together. Because she didn’t know much about Voyd and didn’t have Holly Hunter in the room with her to bounce dialogue off of, Sophia fell into a realization that Voyd is a young woman who represents girls trying to figure out who they are.
She then thought about people who are not accepted or people who are othered because of their race, gender, and sexual orientation in order to nail Voyd’s persona.
I thought a lot about being a young girl in this world of the Incredibles, who has powers and thinks it’s the coolest. Then you see people like you become illegal and your parents tell you you have to hide who you are because you could be jailed, you could be killed, you could be subject to harassment. But you grew up looking up to Elastigirl.
She was on your TV. There’s no one in your town like you, but you had an idol and you knew that she got to shine. When I think about being a woman for all women looks like, when I think about what my level of relative privilege is, ’cause when we’re women we don’t have enough privilege, but as a white woman I have more privilege than a lot of other women.
I think about what the struggles are in society for people who are not accepted or people who are othered because of their race, because of their gender, because of their sexual orientation.
Sophia thought back to hearing that Debra Messing, while filming “Will & Grace” would meet young gay kids from small towns where they were not accepted. When she met these people, they would tell her about growing up in small towns and not feeling accepted until they saw her character on TV and learned that it would get better for them, that some day they would get to be who they were. She used that important memory to serve as the blank space in which she created Voyd.
Elastigirl girl is Voyd’s Debra Messing. She is that idol who made this girl who had to dim her light for so long, feel like eventually everything was gonna be okay. You see her expressing her identity. She has turquoise hair and a side shave! This is a bold expression of her inner radicalness, but she’s had to hide her biggest magic. Then she finally gets to meet the person who made her feel like one day it was gonna be okay.
It made it really, really personal for me, because it was something that’s a fight I’ve been a part of in my real life, and it helped me own the moment for this sweet girl in the recording booth.
Being that Sophia is so heavily involved in activism for equality, she thought the timing of this movie being released was a psychic event thanks to Brad Bird.
I told Brad he’s clearly psychic, because this movie was three years in the making. This was pre the Time’s Up conversation being had. This was pre a lot of these studies about gender parody and even current stages of pay disparity, our lack of paid family leave in this country.
Even when we look at some of the statistics that have come out about how many dads are actually now the stay-at-home parent, how many women earn equal to their male partners, how many women are actually the primary bread winner in their households.
He’s really so for us, and I think it’s so important to be grateful at a time like this to our excellent male allies, because it’s like we’re not looking to burn all men at the stake. We just wanna like throw the trash out.
And, you know, Harvey Weinstein is trash. Bye.
She went on to talk about how this movie was ahead of its time from when it was written and when production began. People don’t want to talk about the data, they just want to be fueled by emotion and important conversations become very uncomfortable, they make people tense.
This movie manages to talk about identity and empowerment with not an ounce of tension, with so much humor. It welcomes everybody to the table. I’ve not heard a single guy be like, ‘Oh, that’s like a woman’s movie.’ They love the movie!
And I’m like, ‘Yeah, because women’s issues are just life.
If everyone puts their own personal brand of magic on the world, the world gets better.
If Sophia could choose any super power, it would be to be able to teleport. There would be no more TSA, no more bad airport food, no more red eye flights, no more waiting in traffic for a meeting across town. Life would be about convenience and it would be a big game changer.
Sophia has to audition for her roles like most actors, so when she received an email from her agent with a letter from Brad Bird attached asking her to join the Incredibles family, she had a moment of shock and then shocked everyone around her.
I screamed so loud the whole restaurant turned and looked at me. I was morbidly embarrassed and also very excited.
Because things like that only happen that way for people like Tom Hanks and Jennifer Lawrence, Sophia was dying to ask Brad how he chose her for the role of Voyd in Incredibles 2.
He said, well, you know, years ago you came up here to learn about animation. I spent a day like asking all of the animators crazy questions about code, like a total nerd. It was the best day of my life.
He said, ‘What we started to do was look for something for you knowing how excited you are about this whole universe.’
They take samplings of your voice from other jobs. They basically cut generic enough sentences of your dialogue and then cut it together with the other actors in Pixar films and figure out who’s voice they like the sound of your voice with. They liked my voice with Holly Hunter’s voice.
All of my dreams have come true.
Sophia is extremely interested in tech. The process of animation, the coding, the myriad layers that go into animation. She wishes they would do a behind the scenes package for people to see the stages of animation because it’s so complicated. We always care about the voice actors who give these characters their, well, character. We tend to forget about the people who actually bring these characters to life.
Back in April, I went to Pixar Studios in San Fransisco where I learned about the processes that go into making animated films like Incredibles 2. We learned about how they dressed all of the characters in the film, including the background characters. We learned how the creators came up with the houses and background buildings. I agree with Sophia, I wish the world could see what the animation process looks like!
It’s like a lasagna. It’s like layers and layers and layers and layers and layers of code and specificity. And there’s a whole pass on the movie done just to animate hair. There’s a whole pass on the movie done just to put the right textures in clothing. I got to see a rough cut of the film back in February.
There were whole bits of it not animated yet. Our characters were floating around with no arms like ghosts. There were certain scenes where they were animated, but the mouths hadn’t been yet, because our dialogue had just been finalized. Then they have to do the mouth to match your speaking voice. It is so much more complex and brilliant and genius and cool than anybody knows.
She has been investing in tech companies for about ten years, and she wants you to know that you can too. You don’t have to be a billionaire to invest in tech. We so often don’t talk to women about money, we leave that to the men.
There are ways to get women in the financial game that we don’t talk about, because we don’t talk to women about money. Oddly enough we don’t talk to women about their healthcare or their bodies either. We really don’t talk to us about anything but like makeup and hair products. So, we need to change the conversation.
When women make any money at all, they’re encouraged to donate to charity, which is something that I do.
But when men make money, they are encouraged to become investors. This is a major point of disparity in our society.
When women get into the investment game, they are able to change who’s on board and advisor calls. We really do need more women in the seats at those tables. I’m completely ignorant when it comes to trading and investing, but talking to Sophia made me realize how important it is that I get involved. Due to some major life changes, I’m taking on a full time job in addition to this blog, and I am going to get into investing our extra money in ways that will not only make us money, but will allow me the option to have a voice.
I feel like Sophia and I would get along on a friend level. One of my biggest passions is race relations and supporting women of color. Sophia has spent a long time supporting badass women of color such as Reshma Saujani.
She created a company called Girls Who Code. She also ran for office. She did not win, but she will. I know she will. Times are changing. She is incredible.
My character is a woman in STEM. She literally manipulates space time. So, to talk to women about how science, technology, engineering, medicine, fields that they should be in – that is very exciting to me.
I am completely unsatisfied with this interview because I need an entire day with Sophia Bush just getting deep and talking about the things that matter to us.