Do people expect you to be big and boisterous in real life because they’ve seen you played these kind of characters before?
Oh yes all the time. When people know that you are an actor they think that you are going to tell this amazing story of what happened to you on the way to dinner and it will be fascinating. Add the fact that I’m known for doing mostly comedy, and it’s like, “OK, where are the voices?” I am not going to make characters now. It is believed that acting is an extroverted thing. But it is not necessary.
Where do you find these qualities in yourself when you play such roles?
It depends on the character, but once I do it – especially from “SNL” because it’s live and millions of people are watching – you just get into a zone. And then you snap out. It’s funny because even though Barbara is nervous and insecure at first, it was harder for me to play than who she will later be.
Why was that more difficult?
Because in the beginning I wasn’t able to give her a sense of humor. I didn’t want her to be too similar to the things I’d done before, or that I couldn’t do that part without adding something that wasn’t Kristen. But Patty and I had this one conversation that completely changed my brain, where she thought, if you allow yourself to just let that humor come out, it will feel authentic, and it won’t feel as strange as you think. And it completely changed my experience. If Cheetah is angry it is, OK, now I am that person. Perhaps because there is more of me in Barbara, I actually had a more difficult time with this part of the shoot.
Was there any physical training for this role?
[Exhales audibly] Yes. Almost two months before shooting started, I got a trainer – the film wanted me to start. If you watch the movie, we have learned and performed all of these fighting sequences, in addition to our stunt people. There are definitely some CGI elements later, but for the most part it’s wire work. They are all real people. I was basically in pain for nine months. And it’s very easy to complain and say, oh my god, I can’t even go up the stairs. But to be honest, it was so helpful to be stronger in figuring out who that character was. I just felt very good.
[The next few questions contain mild spoilers for “Wonder Woman 1984.”]
There’s a scene where Barbara, just beginning to step into her powers, walks into a party and is delighted that she is the center of all attention. Was it just as pleasant for you to do it as it was for her, or do you feel the glare of the spotlight even more?