Titan Maximum Interview with Eden Espinosa

Eden Espinosa has the kind of performer cred most actors dream of, performing lead roles in wildly successful Broadway musicals, working on an album of her own (it's not Broadway stuff) and playing the plum role of trashy, bitchy robot pilot and untalented recording artist, Sasha, in Titan Maximum. We talked to her about trying to crap up her singing voice for Titan and the need for content warnings for her younger fans.

So why don't you tell us a little bit about what you're doing for Titan Maximum?

I am playing Sasha and she is a super-fun character to play. She's kind of a spoiled brat, self-centered, egotistical party girl. Also a pop singer, which is pretty awesome because she doesn't really realize how bad she is. She thinks she's amazing, of course. And just pretty much, all around a bitch.

But it all centers around a lot of insecurity that she takes out on everybody else. She's fully aware of it, but she still chooses to behave that way, which is kind of the awesome part. So I've had a lot of fun creating her for the show.

You're known for being more of a Broadway-style singer, obviously. What's it like performing pop for Sasha?

The cool part about it was - it was funny when we would be recording the song because Seth, Tom and Matt would be, "Okay, you've gotta make her sound pretty bad," and I pride myself on a certain Britney Spears impression that I do and I was like, "Okay, can I filter in a little bit of my Britney?" and they were like, "Yeah, of course." But we had to do several takes because they were like, "Yeah, Eden, it still sounds too good. It sounds like you're singing good."

So I had to kind of play around with the bad singing voice, but the cool part was that I really didn't have to worry about being warmed up or sounding good or hitting the right notes. I could just like mess around. So it gave me a lot of freedom.

Matt said we should ask you how you ended up getting cast for the show.

Yeah, I did different sketches for Robot Chicken for a couple of years now, and there was one that I did. I think it was a He-Man sketch [watch the sketch] and I did, like, kind of a - I did a main voice in it, but then I also did a background voice for like a party girl, kind of - and Matt said that they based Sasha off of that one voice that I did.

So they sent me an email asking me if I would be interested doing the show, and I said, "Of course." And they're like, "Okay, we're thinking, remember that one voice you did - we want to base her off of that." So, that's the story as far as I know.

So how do you get into character to play Sasha? Do you relate to her on some level?

(laughs) I don't know... I mean, I don't think I relate to her that much, which is actually kind of the fun part, because you know... Matt jokes around that it was type-casting. I'm pretty sure he's joking. I hope he is.

I think I can channel. I know a lot of people like Sasha, so I think I can channel into the world-revolves-around-me bitchy voice kind of easy. But it's fun to be able to say whatever you want and act however you want.

I think the writing is pretty... It's all in the writing, so it's not that difficult. I don't have to stretch that far. Because Tom, and Matt, and Seth, as you know, they're crazy. So the things I have to say sometimes are a shock to me, but I love it. It's fun.

Did you grow up watching the shows that Titan parodies or is this all kind of new to you?

I remember the shows that they were referencing and stuff, but I never watched them. I wasn't a fan watching every week. I'm not as much of a nerd as they are. (laughs) I was more like singing and dancing around the house. But yeah, I totally remember all of that, you know, child-of-the-Eighties stuff.

A lot of people, when they hear your name, they think of the character Elphaba (from the Broadway musical Wicked). So what's it like to come into work and not get painted green everyday?

It's pretty great. I love the fact that I can show up wearing whatever. It's also a relief that it doesn't matter how I look that day and I don't have to wear a crazy dress and get painted green. So that was always nice.

Yeah, it's a very different medium. You're by yourself in the booth and you're just working off of them and they're giving you the direction. There's no other actor in the room, so you have to really imagine the situation instead of actually being in it and living in it from an acting standpoint.

So it took some getting used to but I already had the practice with Robot Chicken, so it went pretty smoothly, the transition.

This is really the first series you've done voice-over work for, right?

Yeah, definitely. It's cool.

How do you prepare to say, do an animated voice instead of doing a performance in a musical? Is there a change in how you prepare?

Well, preparation is not as extensive because you don't have to memorize. It's not like I have to memorize my lines, plus remember my blocking and all that kind of stuff.

But, on the flipside, nobody is seeing your face or your mannerisms, or you know, body language for expression. So, if anything, I have to remember that all they're getting is my voice and they're going to be animating to my voice, so the more expressive my voice is, the more inflection and expression that it has, I think, the better off that it'll be.

I just try to tell myself, it can never be too big, you know, the vocal expression. So that's the difference. It has to really get the point across only by your voice.

Have you gotten to see the show yet?

I've seen clips. They've invited me to the studio to come see the episodes and stuff. I kind of want to save it for that first day. But I've definitely seen the trailers that they've been putting online and stuff like that. I'm really excited. It looks so great. I really like the look of it and the way that it's animated and stuff. I think it's going to be really cool. I'm excited.

Honestly, you have the standout character. A lot of the writers were saying you were their favorite one to write for.

Yeah, Seth would give me little updates every time I'd go in to do some work. "The animators are having so much fun doing Sasha. They're laughing their ass off at this certain line," and this and that. I'm so happy that that's the case. I mean, I hope that the people react the same way when they see the show. She's so much fun and she's so wrong in so many ways that she's a blast.

We read that you're working on an album?

Yeah.

How's that going? When is it going to come out?

It's going well. We're kind of having a slow start with it because I'm working on other live shows that I'm going to be doing in New York, and here as well, but we're really going to start production on it early next year and hopefully have a release by summer. So yeah, it's slow and steady, but it's coming.

What type of music is it going to be?

It's going to be... It's not really a certain type, because it's going to be a lot of... It's going to be covers as well as originals, but I don't really have like a specific sound. It's hard to pinpoint.

It's going to be kind of earthy, heavy drums, rock-ish, but it's also going to be really moody and dark. It's still developmental, so we're trying to... It's hard, we're trying to pinpoint a sound, but at the same time not trying to put me into one category.

Because it's hard when Broadway artists do crossovers... Not really successful most of the time, so we're trying to not think of it as a Broadway star doing an album. We're trying to be as independent from the Broadway side as possible. So it's not going to be theater songs or anything like that. We're trying to really shrink away from that.

We read that your family does a lot of Christian music... have they seen any of Titan yet?

No, they haven't seen any of Titan. They've seen all the Robot Chickens. And yeah, when I was younger, my dad did the music at the church we grew up in, but my parents are awesome. They have a great sense of humor. They're more spiritual than religious. It's not as serious as people think. (laughs)

They've seen all of the Robot Chicken and laughed their asses off. They're also teachers, so the homonym song that I did for Robot Chicken was a hoot to them as well. [watch the sketch]

You're lucky. Some of us have members of our families that have stopped talking to us.

Well, it's so funny. I've had people, like younger fans on Twitter, that have told me, oh, you know, they've told their parents who I am, and they're like, "This is Eden Espinosa, she's singing this song." And it was actually the Homonym song, and one girl told me her mom was like, "What. Is. That." and I was like, "Oh no!" (Laughs)

But I've been careful to put, when I put the link to the Titan trailer on Facebook and stuff, "not suitable for all ages." There's a lot of you know, there's a lot of stuff in there that young kids, parents might not be appreciative of.

If time and money were not a factor, in addition to everything else you're doing, what would be your dream project, or dream role?

Oh, jeez. Like in what medium?

You could pick all sorts of mediums.

I think if time and money weren't an object, I think I'd like to just nail a killer album right now. But a good movie role would be nice too.

Honestly, I think what would be really, really fun, is if Titan was live action. If Titan was with real people, it would be such a blast. That would be a lot of fun. I'd be down for that.

A movie.

Yes! Yes! And then Sasha can have her own album.

Is there anything you'd like to talk about that we didn't get to?

No. I'm just super-excited for the show and I hope people enjoy watching it.

Titan Maximum premieres Sunday, Sept. 27 at 11:30p ET/PT on [adult swim]