Mary Jane Watson
Vanessa Marshall talks Spectacular Spider-Man
Marshall in the recording booth.
She kind of looks like Mary Jane...
a brief introduction two weeks ago, popular voiceover artist
Vanessa Marshall brings Mary Jane Watson to animated life
in the character's first full episode of "The Spectacular
Spider-Man" this Saturday, April 26. Entitled "Catalysts,"
the episode premieres at 10:00 a.m. ET/PT on Kids' WB! on
A veteran voiceover artist with credits
ranging from animated films
and television to video games and commercials, Marshall
the role of Mary Jane, bringing forth all of the character's
autonomous, free spirit.
always make sure my choices for Mary Jane are that of an
independent thinker, that she's not concerned with what
the people around her think, which is an uncommon trait
in teenage girls," Marshall says. "There's a distinct
confidence about her that I try to emulate."
earned a Masters Degree in Acting from NYU, however she
has spent the majority of her career in the recording booth.
While she admits her initial goal was to act on camera,
voiceover work has allowed Marshall to have success in the
entertainment business without having to endure the endless
scrutiny of maintaining the "Hollywood look."
lot of the rejection in on-camera work comes because of
how you look," explains Marshall, a radiant redhead
much like her animated character. "Voiceovers open
up a great deal of creative freedom. I've played an African-American
boy for 36 episodes of 'Grim & Evil" – so
I'm able to cross virtually all racial and gender lines,
explore all kinds of new roles, and you just can't do that
on camera. I have a passion for acting – and in voiceovers,
I get to bring it all to the microphone."
has crafted an extremely diverse resume, ranging from on-camera
and voiceover acting to stand-up comedy, the creation of
her own one-woman show, and her current focus on penning
a novel. Still, Marshall admits that the fanboy deeply embedded
in her psyche leapt for joy when landing the role of Mary
wouldn't be weak in the knees?
was in the middle of doing a Honda commercial, and my knees
went out from under me," Marshall says. "I rarely
get to play a woman or a girl – it's always boys.
So when my agent Cathey (Lizzio) called, she just said,
'Hello, is this Mary Jane?' Well, my knees fell out and
I hyperventilated. The commercial producers were very concerned.
I don't think they understood how momentous that was. It's
an absolute honor."
"Spider-Man" performances run in the family. Marshall
has stepped into the role of Mary Jane Watson, and 20-something
years ago, Marshall's mother, actress Joan Van Ark,
Spider Woman on the 1980s animated Spidey series. But it
was Spidey's original material that initially caught Marshall's
eye. An admitted comic book lover, Marshall is well-educated
on the history of the character and enjoys keeping that
knowledge in mind while giving voice to Mary Jane during
her early, formative days.
not surprised, Flash...
Jane's character is incredibly complex," Marshall says.
"Her strength plays a major part in Peter's growth
and maturation – she really keeps him on the straight
and narrow. Even though our characters are still only in
high school during this cartoon, and you're not going to
get a lot of that character development at this point of
the series, I know it's going to be there in the future
and so that has an effect on how I play her now."