Taking a quick break from the comic convention circuit, the dynamic acting duo of Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt speak to Eva Griffin about their prolific acting careers and Doctor Who’s rise to hotness.
“Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.” This well-known quote is echoed by Yuri Lowenthal’s admission that he’s just the male version of his wife and co-worker, Tara Platt. While they’ve yet to don their dancing shoes and foxtrot across the screen, it wouldn’t be surprising for the pair to add yet another talent to their respective résumés. As both stage and screen actors, prolific voiceover artists and heads of their own production and publishing companies, the duo have worked tirelessly for over a decade to carve out impressive careers in the entertainment industry. With roles ranging from animated show Tiger and Bunny to voicing well-known characters from the DC universe and finally wearing the superhero capes in the web series Shelf Life, one look at their IMDB pages involves endless scrolling. Their obvious need to conquer all facets of show business stretches out in a limitless list of credits. And yet in person they remain suspiciously perky despite jet lag taking hold.
On their determined work ethic Lowenthal muses, “I think we just always keep moving and we always keep trying different things. We’re either publishing, writing books or we’re doing our own productions and then working for other people as well. I think a lot of it is about creating relationships with people and showing that you’re trustworthy and can do the job that they’re looking for and they’ll remember that.” While Platt agrees that building relationships is key, she’s keen to point out that a passion for the craft is the main thing pushing their workaholic nature into gear. “I think also it’s because at the heart of it we really just want to be storytellers. Whether we’re telling our own stories, we’re creating them or we’re telling somebody else’s stories, it’s about bringing to life an exciting adventure that we’re passionate about so I think that’s why we have that body of work is because we’re like ‘let’s do it, let’s tell this story, let’s do this one!’ It’s fun.”
At the mention of that all-important F word, Platt concedes that while both she and her husband have a constant desire to create, following someone else’s script comes with its own perks. “We literally have a whiteboard at home on our kitchen table that has things that we want to do. There’s a lot of projects that we’re in process on that we’d like to do, and then of course it’s always exciting and flattering when someone else wants to cast you in their project because then that means that you’re not having to do the work to create it, you just get to go play!” Lowenthal, however, is eager to point out the toll a constant creative output can have on an entertainer. “It can be exhausting. We have a lot of fun and we love but it can be exhausting to constantly be trying to produce your own content.”
“I think a lot of it is about creating relationships with people and showing that you’re trustworthy and can do the job that they’re looking for and they’ll remember that.”
Creeping through their respective credits, it can be hard to pin-point what aspect of acting drew them in – screen, stage, voice work? Juggling all mediums seems to come naturally to both as their careers have rolled along, and for a pair so well matched it’s not so surprising that they each found themselves on the stage first. For Platt, it was a love kindled during childhood. “I was nine and the very first play I did was called ‘Wait Until Dark’. It’s a theatre production; straight play, no music. I happened to be the little kid in a cast of adults and I was like ‘oh, this is the best thing ever’ and from there that’s how I decided that I wanted to be an actor.” Despite the many paths her career has taken her on, Platt remains a believer in the craft of theatre. “I was very committed to getting a degree and pursuing that as a career, but it all started on stage. For me it’s all about stage work.”
Lowenthal was more of a late bloomer, but still young when he started doing theatre work in his last year of high school. An avid returner to the stage now in his forties, he is quick to praise the immediacy of theatre. “You don’t get that in anything else that we do.” Platt agrees. “I love the idea of having to create the beginning, middle and end all simultaneously in a live format. I love doing film and I love having the sets and the costumes and all of that, but there’s something exciting about theatre because you are doing the entirety of that story in a set period of time, whereas when you’re doing a film, you might be shooting for two months… with theatre you have to find the whole arc of the piece and be able to carry that character through that in a set piece of time and you go on that cathartic journey.”
With the interview taking place during downtime at MCM Comic Con, the obvious question is whether Lowenthal and Platt grew up on the other side of the signing booth. “When I was growing up comic books were not cool at all; superheroes were not cool,” Lowenthal says. “I had a very small group of friends and we played D&D and didn’t hang out with a lot of other people. And now it’s the cool thing! Now I play D&D as a job with Wil Wheaton as part of his table top show called Titan’s Grave. It was sort of a high point of my career to play D&D with Wil Wheaton and get paid for it.”
As regulars in the convention circuit, both have noticed the increasing popularity of such events, with Platt stating that they can get invited to appear at a convention nearly every weekend of the year somewhere around the world. The change is almost inconceivable to Lowenthal, who grew up as a fan of a little known sci-fi show. “It was me and three other people who knew about Doctor Who. It aired late at night on public television or early Sunday mornings and now everybody watches it.” While the two are now a successful pair of nerds both in love and work, Lowenthal claims that his affinity for The Doctor wasn’t so hot during his teenage years: “Tossing my 12 foot scarf around my neck? That never got me a girlfriend.”