Ariana Greenblatt is a twelve-year-old actress who most recently was in the spotlight as young Gamora in a memorable scene alongside her onscreen father Thanos in 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War”. Now she’s jumping into the Mystery Machine as the voice of the young Velma in “Scoob!”, which releases digitally on Friday May 15.
Recently Greenblatt spoke to EO about helping give a new voice to an iconic animated character, and what her first experience with voice acting was like.
This new film chronicles the beginnings of the group of teen detectives before getting into the present day, where Scooby Doo and Shaggy face their most difficult trials as friends and alongside their pals of Mystery Inc. must undertake a mission of great proportions that involves Scooby Doo as the key piece of a puzzling mystery.
Castmates for “Scoob!” include Gina Rodriguez, who takes the reigns voicing the older Velma, alongside comedy greats Zac Efron as Fred, Amanda Seyfried as Daphne, Will Forte as Shaggy, and Frank Welker as the iconic Great Dane, Scooby Doo.
Hi Ariana, thanks for taking time to talk about your role in “Scoob!” My first question was regarding animation voice work. I was wondering what your experience was like working on voice acting compared to regular acting and whether you have a preference on either?
This was my first actual voice acting job on screen. So, it was really cool to like learning how they do that. I don’t have a preference. I love them both equal. They’re very different in their own ways, but it was such a cool experience. To see everyone working the controls, and changing my voices, It’s really cool. But I don’t have a preference. I love them both and I hope to do more voice over work in the future.
What was the preparation like for “Scoob!”? Did you have to binge watch Scooby Doo movies and TV shows?
Well, I grew up watching Scooby Doo and everything Scooby Doo, so I kind of like already knew how Velma acted and her body language and her voices. But it was cool because I kind of made up my own voice because I do play the young version of her.
So, the preparation was kind of just me watching all the Scooby Doo, see how [Velma] acted, see her facial expressions. because when you’re doing your voice acting, sometimes there’s a camera to capture the actual actor’s facial expressions, so they can actually animate that on the character, so it’s more realistic, I guess. That’s what I learned. So, the preparation was watching all the fun Scooby stuff which was kind of just fun work for me.
Thank you. And so, you mentioned that there’s cameras there that the animators with animated show commissions. So, in a way, you were still kind of physically acting as well to provide that visual for the animators?
Yeah, I’m collaborating with the director. Because me personally, even though I’m just using my voice, I like to use my facial expressions and my body language just to make it sound more realistic. But you’re kind of acting in real life because you have to do everything you do [in] normal acting to portray the sound of the voice…and you have to use your imagination.
Tell me a little bit for those that might have missed the trailer, what is “Scoob!” about? What is the story surrounding?
It’s telling the backstory of the characters and how they became so close and also how they interact with each other. So, they focus, obviously, on the mysteries but they also introduce these new characters into the movie, which is very exciting. When I watched, it was awesome to see.
But yeah, it’s the backstory and introducing the new characters and the relationship between one another even more.
Would you say this is a movie that is tailored toward one type of age group type audience like the people that grew up with Scooby Doo? Or is it for everyone?
I always think Scooby Doo is for everyone. I mean, the characters are so advanced, and the mysteries are so fun, it’s timeless. Scooby Doo is timeless for everyone. Every age group, from zero to a thousand. Everyone will enjoy Scooby Doo as much as I do.
What parts of working on this film were the most memorable or fun for you?
Well one time when I was doing a session, I came to set as Velma, just for like a little fun surprise. I was fully in costume, the glasses, the wig, the sweater, the skirt, everything. I came in and I was like, “Hi it’s Velma!” And that was one of my first sessions in there. It was so cool. And I actually met the voice of Scooby Doo, which was awesome as well.
Did dressing up like Velma that day help get you ‘into the zone’ for the acting part of it?
I guessed it helped get into character because I feel like when you’re acting once you fully transform, you automatically transform into the character and you sound like her and act like her, and although the wig was kind of uncomfortable, it definitely help me get into the zone and [be] like [Velma].
Were there any challenges in working on this film that you’d like to share that you remember?
No challenges that I remember, it was all pretty easy and just a fun experience. Working with the director and the first voice acting [job] was great.
Speaking of voice acting, were you in the studio recording with your fellow actors, or did you ever meet them or how did that work when you were running lines?
So, I eventually met all the young actors, but we never actually recorded the lines together. We all did them individually. So yeah, I eventually met all the actors they’re so sweet and so nice and it’s so fun to be a part of a movie with them in it.
Now, thanks Ariana for the time, my final question would be, why would you recommend people watch “Scoob!” which comes out this Friday?
Well, you could watch it because everyone loves the relationship between [friends], you know, everyone loves a message of friendship and we definitely see that in this movie. You see the backstory of having the same friends and how they came together to start solving these mysteries, which is a really cool aspect of the movie. Also, there’s a lot of modern references in this movie. So, I think it’s for every age group, you’ll love the message of friendship, and there’s a lot of fun little things in there.
I was wondering if there was anything else that you’d like to add?
Thank you so much, everyone. I hope you guys stay safe, please wash your hands, watch your distance, I love you guys very much!
“Scoob!” is now available to own on major digital platforms.