With new animated family flick SCOOB! dropping Friday, July 10th at WatchScoob.co.uk and participating retailers, Warner Bros. UK have been sending out a slew of exciting interviews with the incredibly talented voice cast who have helped bring the film's characters to life.
One of those is Gina Rodriguez, who's making history in the role of Velma Dinkley. Here, she chats all about her memories of the Scooby-Doo franchise, her love for animals and more...
What are your first memories of Scooby-Doo?
I have two older sisters and an older brother who loved Scooby-Doo, so my first memories of Scooby-Doo are watching the cartoons with them in my childhood home.
Everybody knows these characters so well, but this is the origin story. Is that special for you?
I think everybody loves an origin story. Audiences would be curious about how this group of friends got together and now they get to see that. Being a part of the Scoob story is a true honor, especially because Velma gets to be a young Latina! (laughs)
The heart of the movie is a guy and his dog, which is something a lot of people around the world can relate to, whether it’s a dog or a cat or any kind of pet. Has that played a part in your life?
Well, I had dogs all through my growing up. We were a big dog family. Now I have two boys and that tradition continues. My first rescue, Casper, I got 11 years ago, so he’s almost 12, and he’s very special in my heart. He had spinal surgery last year, and has recently been having some trouble walking again. My older dog, Ted, passed away about four years ago and when he passed away it was told to me, “You’re with them their whole life. They’re not with you your whole life,” and that kind of changed everything for me, because it made me just value every year they had and every moment I had with them. Now I have a new baby boy—he’s almost two, and his name is Marty—and we’re looking to get a third. So I love dogs. I’m a big, big, dog fan.
Thank you for giving these animals a loving home.
Well, thank you. I appreciate that, but I definitely think they do more for me than I do for them.
How would you compare yourself to your character Velma's tech skills?
What I love about Velma is that she is very bright and clever and she loves to deduce and analyse any situation with care, and I’d like to think I try to do that. Her tech skills, though, are much more developed than mine, much more. But it’s really fun and meaningful to be playing a character who puts importance on her education, knowledge and intellect. It’s very cool to be playing that character.
She's an excellent role model.
Yes, she is. She’s a role model for me (laughs), to get my act together, especially when it comes to technology. I’m learning.
Regarding the strong relationship between Velma, Daphne and Fred, is that something that rings true for you in terms of your own long-term friendships?
Absolutely. I have friends that I love very much. I’m very close with one of my first-ever friends. We’ve known each other since we were like two, and now we’re 35. A 33-year friendship; it’s pretty incredible. She’s from Chicago but I also have a group of women here in California. I feel like we all have a certain strength and we can lean on each other for that strength and we all fit like a puzzle. I think that’s what Scooby and Shaggy and the Mystery Incorporated gang does too; they all have a piece that they bring that is their individual strength and then they lean a little on the others for theirs. I feel very blessed to have it, for sure.
You have a significant amount of animation to your credit. You were in Smallfoot and Ferdinand and you’re the voice of Carmen Sandiego. Is there anything about your process you’d like to talk about? Like taking off your shoes and moving around in the recording booth?
I’ve definitely done all those things. Because I move a lot there’s a barre I love to use, to hold on to. It’s like a ballet barre, so you can kind of bounce around and not hit the microphones and fall. I really utilise my balance barre, my ballerina barre (laughs). But I do find the process of making something that doesn’t exist quite fascinating, because before there’s a picture there’s your imagination. I find it one of the greatest tools, using one’s imagination and just creating the world around you. You’re not acting with anybody but your imagination. In some ways it’s like your earliest form of playing, like when you were a child, and I find that to be really fascinating.
I would think it would be very challenging, but it sounds like you enjoy that.
Oh, I do. I very much enjoy that. It is challenging, for sure.
What was it like working with SCOOB! director Tony Cervone?
Tony is remarkable. He’s an incredible artist himself, who is artist-friendly and very collaborative. He’s inclusive in the process so you do feel like you are corralling, creating and inventing this character with him. Seeing that Velma is a character that already exists, it’s about both paying homage to the Velma that has been around and that we all know, and also bringing a little newness to her. With Tony, that was an exciting process to go through. Also, I enjoy making art with people that are kind. To me he’s a very kind man, and I think that that’s the most important quality. It allows you to be the best version of yourself when you’re working with people that are kind.
Lastly, what are your go-to Scooby Snacks?
That would be hot Cheetos.