Morris: No One Escapes The Manhunter
Part Two of our conversation...
part one, Phil Morris confessed
to being a comics fan and talked about his work on The New
Frontier. Here, he goes on to discuss his work for the genre
in live action, and asks us for a grass roots campaign to
keep the Manhunter going...
to complete that Lee/Kirby run...
McCaw: You’ve voiced Vandal Savage and King
Faraday, then get to play live-action as J’onn J’onnz.
What kinds of things are informing you as you create that
character, when before all you had was your voice?
Morris: J’onn J’onnz is very unique
because I think he’s a wonderful foil for Kal-El/Clark
in Smallville. Clark’s parents are no longer
around. He doesn’t have a mature presence that informs
him about the world at large. Let alone a mature presence
who’s been on the planet as an alien for a couple
of generations prior. So he’s getting a couple of
things with J’onn J’onnz that I’m working
using a bit of the Carl Lumbly Justice League Martian Manhunter,
combined with a bit of the Laurence Fishburne Morpheus.
Both very mature, strong cornerstone figures and both very
much mentors. I’m kind of using those colors to inform
me about how I deal with Clark/Kal-El in Smallville.
it’s coming off very well. I really like our scenes.
I love working with Tom. I pine for going back there.
McCaw: Are you going back there?
Morris: I’m sure. I’m sure. He’s
the kind of character that they need to address more, and
I think there’s so much that he has that he can offer
Clark in the show, beyond what the new Supergirl can offer,
beyond what Lex Luthor or anybody else can offer, in a way
that nobody else can replace or supplant. I’m very
excited to get back there.
to punch somebody in the face, too. I do a lot of talking
on that show.
McCaw: A lot of action does seem to be off-camera…
Morris: Yeah, it’s a lot of editing, a lot
of post (production). I need to jump in somebody’s
mug. Really, really be Martian Manhunter. (laughs)
McCaw: Assuming it’s more than just a photograph
– what are we going to see you doing on The Sarah
Morris: I think that that’s a unique show.
This is a show dealing with a time-frame continuum problem
in a way. Is it after Terminator 3? Is it between
2 and 3? For my money, this should have been Terminator
3. If this was Terminator 3, we’d all
because Miles died in Terminator 2, we deal with
him in flashbacks and dream sequences. So I’ve actually
had some scenes that they have not put in yet, because I
don’t know if they think it will confuse the audience
or what. I don’t know. They haven’t told me
it’s not my show. I’m not a regular; I don’t
have a contract. It’s up to their wants, and when
Josh (Friedman, the show’s creator) decides he wants
to use me in the show, I’m sure he’ll put me
I waited a long time for this. I was the first guy they
saw for Miles Dyson. The very first guy on the very first
day, early morning, I was there. And they were like “this
can’t be the guy. This isn’t how it happens.
The first guy who comes in is never the guy who gets the
went out and auditioned a bunch of people, always coming
back to my tape and saying, “this IS the guy.”
So they’ve decided I’m the guy, but now how
do they use me? I think that’s what we’re waiting
McCaw: Early in your career, your highest profile
role was Jackie Childs on Seinfeld. So you started out known
as a comic actor. Now you are like a sci fi go to guy –
how does that feel?
Morris: I love it. I love it. Like I said, I’m
a sci fi fan. I’m rank and file. I want to be more.
I want to play the Black Panther, I want to play Mr. Terrific.
not kidding you. I’ve talked with Greg Noveck about
it, and I have ideas about spinning J’onn J’onnz
into his own show. As a weekly detective kind of dark noir
funky show, and use three actors. Like me and two other
actors as his identities – three guys, or two guys
and a girl, whatever – that play J’onn in various
episodes. Through him you run various stories. I would think
it would be a wonderful way to roll out other DC characters
that aren’t so prominent.
into your homes...
McCaw: You’ve been to San Diego before, but
this is your first WonderCon.
Morris: San Diego’s big. It’s hard
to walk around. I haven’t gotten a chance to walk
around here yet. I hope I can, look at the bins, fill in
McCaw: What’s your Holy Grail here?
Morris: I’m looking to round out Fantastic
Four 1 through 100. I’ve got 5 through 100, but
I’m missing just a few. I need to get 11, 15 then
1 through 4. It’s going to take a little bit of dough
and a regular role on one of these shows…so any producers
out there, or fans out there, that have an idea for a short
film that we can spin off (laughing) …help
a brother out.
you've heard it, fans. Keep watching and let's keep our
fingers crossed that Greg Noveck tries to make a pitch to