Ortiz: Voicing Gotham's Finest
Ugly Betty co-star
on Batman: Gotham Knight
As one of the stars of the ABC hit series “Ugly
Betty,” Ana Ortiz has enchanted the primetime audience
playing Hilda Suarez, big sister to the title character. Today,
Ortiz offers fans a 180-degree acting pivot from her most
noteworthy role by voicing gritty detective Anna Ramirez in
the DC Universe original animated film “Batman Gotham
Knight.” The film is available today, July 8, on DVD,
Blu-Ray and OnDemand.
initially auditioned for the same part in “The Dark
Knight,” but lost out to Monique Curnen. Her disappointment
didn’t last long as casting/dialogue director Andrea
Romano took one look at the animated Ramirez and –
without prior knowledge of her live-action audition –
immediately sought to cast Ortiz in the voice role.
agent submitted Ana many years ago, before ‘Ugly Betty’
hit the air,” Romano explained. “I’ve
been looking for something to work with her on, and this
project was so unusual that it just seemed right. I was
clearly looking at the character, and how she interacts
with other characters – and when I actually saw the
physical character, she was first actress to come to mind.”
has had recurring and/or regular primetime roles in “Boston
Legal,” “Over There” and “Kristin,”
as well as making guest appearances on hit series from “NYPD
Blue” and “ER” to “The New Adventures
of Old Christine” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
However, “Batman Gotham Knight” was her first
starring role in an animated voiceover. She has since recorded
as a tiger for an animated Noah’s Ark film.
Betty” production moved to New York last week, and
with it went Ortiz – back to her hometown. Before
making her first visit to the new set in the real-life Gotham,
Ortiz took a few moments to discuss her time in the animated
Gotham – as detective Anna Ramirez in ‘Batman
Miereanu: What were your impressions of your “Batman
Gotham Knight” segments?
Ortiz: I loved them – and I wanted more!
This was one of my first real voiceovers and, to do it for
Batman, that was quite an honor. My husband and all of his
cartoony friends were really into it – they all watched
my copy of the movie and dug it. I have to admit that it’s
fun being in something that my guy friends could get into.
So now I’ve got my macho cred, too.
Miereanu: What did you think of the physical
appearance of your character?
Ortiz: I was thrilled – I’ve always
wanted curly long locks, so that was so cool. And she’s
super cute. I loved she wasn’t too stuffy –
sometimes with lady cops, they try to be too much like guys.
She was foxy, she had jeans and a cute little blazer. It
was fun to see her when we were doing the voices, but it’s
really cool to see the film in its final form.
Miereanu: What were your initial impressions
of the script and your role in the story?
Ortiz: It was cool for me because my character
is a peacemaker. Usually the roles I get are the in-your-face
instigator or fighter, but the nuance with her is as a peacemaker
-- getting her partner to calm down and understand that
Batman just might not be a vigilante.
fun to play that angle, because usually I’m playing
the one screaming and fighting. As a person, I would say
I’m sort of a peacemaker, but I think I’ve evolved
into that role. When I was younger, I was more of a fighter.
L.A. has helped me find that side of myself.
Miereanu: The core theme of your segments, especially
the more involved “Crossfire” chapter, deal
with trust. Do you trust easily?
Ortiz: I think I trust fairly easily – which
is odd for a New Yorker. But I think I do trust because
I’ve had pretty good experiences. I think I’m
also a good judge of character, so that’s a good combination
– it’s worked out well for me so far.
Miereanu: As this was your first full-blown
animation experience, was there any nervousness on your
part entering the recording booth?
Ortiz: I just wanted to do a good job, and Andrea
(Romano) had given me such a great vote of confidence. Batman
is such an icon and, for me, it was an honor to even be
doing it. You want to be great, you want to bring justice
to the characters, and bring these characters to life. It’s
a whole different style of acting and the artwork is so
impressive that I guess it was a little nerve-racking to
try and do that, but it was also fun.
definitely nervous going it alone at first, but when Gary
(Dourdan) came in and we started to do some scenes together,
that’s when it really, really came alive. It felt
like we had a cool thing going in the studio and, watching
the film now, I remember certain moments when our energy
together was really working well. He walked in and that
really turned the switch for me. The relationship those
two characters have on screen – we were able to do
that in real-time in the booth.
direction was important for me, because I’m kind of
new at voiceovers for animation. There’s so many specifics
that you do in the booth that I wasn’t hip to. For
starters, acting alone is difficult, so I was learning those
tricks. But then Gary came in and when you act with a partner,
that raises the bar. He pushed me to meet his energy. So
I really enjoyed the support of Andrea and Gary.
into those eyes...
Miereanu: What helped you more in preparing and
executing your voiceover performance – your experience
on the stage or your experience before the cameras?
Ortiz: Stage acting has helped me in every aspect
of my life, not just acting. I think it gives you a confidence
and helps to always keep you on your toes. My best friend
is a member of an improv comedy theatre, and it’s
like she always says: ‘Anything can happen at any
you have to always be prepared. There’s nobody there
to save you. You have to figure it out for yourself. It’s
a good skill for life and, definitely for any other work
that I’ve done, it’s been my saving grace.
Miereanu: Would you like to do more voiceover work
Ortiz: I want to do as much as I possibly can.
I love it, love it, love it. Voiceover is so good –
you can do crazy voices and all kinds of characters. Being
Latino, it’s hard to get cast for anything that isn’t
specific. People expect me to be that larger than life character
they’ve already seen, and it’s so specific that
it’s hard to get other parts.
they don’t judge you on your looks or your past roles
-- I can be a 90-year-old man or a tiger or whatever. It’s
very freeing. So I want to do as much voiceover as I can.
Miereanu: Are you a fan of the comic
book or super hero genre?
on, Dad, watch Ugly Betty...
Ortiz: I’ve always been a comic book fan,
but I’m a girl – so I liked Archie and Betty
and Veronica, and Mad and Cracked. I liked super heroes,
but I was more for live action, like Lynda Carter as Wonder
Woman. Of the Saturday morning cartoons, I liked Super Friends
and Animalympics. Otherwise, I wasn’t a huge cartoon
Miereanu: Are you a Batman fan?
Ortiz: I guess being in New York, you always have
a certain affinity for anyone who lives in Gotham. But I
was raised as a Superman girl, because my dad is a Superman
freak. I mean, he didn’t name his kid Kal-El or anything
like that, but he is obsessed with Superman and he loves
I got the job on Ugly Betty, and they told us were were
going to air on Thursdays at 8 p.m., I told my parents and
my own father started saying ‘What am I going to do?
What am I going to do?’ It’s because we were
going to air against Smallville. He kept asking ‘What
am I going to do? I can’t miss my Smallville?’
I told him – ‘Dad, you’re going to watch
we had to get him a TIVO. But I couldn’t even believe
it was a quandary.