New ‘Kim Possible’ villains say original fans helped shape roles

Actress Taylor Ortega will be seen playing the villain Shego in the TV movie "Kim Possible" Friday. Photo courtesy of Disney Channel

Feb. 15 (UPI) — Diehard, young-adult “Kim Possible” fans aren’t simply nostalgic about the 2000’s girl-power Disney Channel show, actress Taylor Ortega said.

“They actively still watch it. They still remember everything about it. They still check in with it,” Ortega, who plays villain Shego in the “Kim Possible” reboot, told UPI.

The animated “Kim Possible” series ran from 2002 to 2007, and featured Christy Carlson Romano in the lead voice role. Romano plays a supporting part in the new live-action incarnation.

The TV movie airing Friday stars Sadie Stanley as the titular teenage crime-fighter; Sean Giambrone as her best friend, Ron Stoppable; Alyson Hannigan as her mother, brain surgeon Ann Possible; and Todd Stashwick as the mad scientist Dr. Drakken. The iconic naked mole rat Rufus, Kim’s sidekick, is animated and voiced by Nancy Cartwright.

Fan-made videos and highlight reels of Drakken and Shego comically plotting world domination were helpful as the actors prepared to play Kim’s best-known foes.

“They did all the supercuts for us, so when I wanted to see ‘The Best of Drakken,’ it was already there,” Stashwick said. “I would get 50 videos, some of them set to My Chemical Romance songs.”

Stashwick also had another way into the character. He is friends with John DiMaggio, the voice actor who created Drakken.

“He called me — the day it was announced I had gotten the part — to give me his blessing and also to give me just a couple of words of secret sauce,” Stashwick said.

The actor’s goal in taking over the role was homage, not imitation.

“I wanted it to feel like Drakken, so that the hardcore fans recognized the character, but, at the same time, it’s still my interpretation.”

It was important to the actors that the frequently funny sci-fi story and the characters at the heart of it were rooted in reality.

“If he’s just a joke, then there really is no threat,” Stashwick said of the “histrionic” Drakken.

“My job was to make sure that the stakes were grounded. We understood his pathos and reasons for why he is going after this girl and her family. At the same time, then, we get to balance that with the broad, silly stuff.”

Echoing the partners’ dynamic from the TV show, Shego is smarter but less emotional than Drakken.

“She’s there for the chaos of it all,” Ortega said.

Stashwick agreed.

“She can just level him with a deadpan look or a line or a moment,” he said. “He’s the one always pulling his hair out, and she can be so dry and sarcastic that it just takes all the wind out of his sails.”

Adapting an animated series composed of short episodes into a live-action film was a challenge. The actors said that required making the characters relatable and the fighting and rescue scenes believable.

Also important was telling an origin story that could both fill and justify a feature-length run time.

Ortega headed to Vancouver before the movie started filming to train with the stunt coordinators.

“I knew I wasn’t going to break my neck unless I was an idiot or wasn’t paying attention,” she said. “So, all I had to do was show up and be very respectful of what they do for a living and listen really hard.”

Stashwick had it a little easier.

“The action is solid in the film. I, fortunately, just had to stand, striking menacing poses and shake my fists a lot. And, then occasionally, they would string me up on wires which was like an atomic wedgie.”

“Kim Possible” airs at 8 p.m. Friday on Disney Channel and Disney NOW.


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