BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Sarah Douglas’s mother once asked her why she continuously gets offered parts to play villainous characters. This inquiry was sparked by a career where Douglas has played roles with a wicked slant from Ursa in the 1978 feature film “Superman” to the conniving Pamela Lynch on “Falcon Crest.”
What Douglas told her mother was that being labeled for always playing the heavy is better than not being labeled at all.
Douglas could have said that she has been offered so many evil characters – and a large amount of good ones – because she’s built such a strong reputation at being so good at what she does. No one amasses 90-plus roles in TV series and films and not be doing everything right.
Stewart St. John, one of the co-creators of numerous podcast series available through his Wonkybot company, is the latest to recognize her abilities. That’s why he so doggedly pursued Douglas to handle the role of The Empress in the podcast series “Tara Tremendous.”
The podcast series looks at what happens when Tara Callahan (voiced by Mariana Harrison) accidentally gets the powers of every superhero. She must learn how to control her newfound abilities and embrace her destiny to become the most powerful being in the universe.
What the fourth season has dealt with is Tara Tremendous being abducted by an alien empress (Douglas) who plans to use her super powers to regain control of her fallen galactic kingdom. Douglas is hoping the final episodes of the season will give listeners some new ideas about The Empress.
“Whenever I do a job, people immediately think I am going to be evil and bad,” Douglas says. She laughs and adds, “So it would be nice if I could redeem myself in one of these jobs.
“It would be nice if people would say, ‘I knew she wasn’t all bad.’”
Douglas quickly realized that St. John knew she wasn’t all bad as he was a “walking encyclopedia” of her career. That knowledge and the quality of the character was enough to get Douglas to agree to be part of the podcast series.
The first part of the two-part fourth season finale will be available July 29. The series is available to listen to now at wonkybot.com, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all major podcast platforms.
Douglas had done a wide variety of voice work before joining the “Tara Tremendous” cast.” She voiced the character of Professor Meadows in the “Doctor Who” video game “Blood of The Cybermen” and had a recurring role in the animated ‘Green Lantern” series.
Providing a voice for a podcast series – especially in a pandemic world – was not the most ideal working situation for Douglas. With the video game and animated series work, Douglas generally recorded her lines in a studio with all of her fellow actors.
She found recording the lines for the podcast to be a challenge because she was on her own. Douglas credits the direction and writing by St. John for helping her get through the very different way of working.
Douglas has been willing to put up with the less-than-ideal way of working because podcasts such as “Tara Tremendous” are attracting a lot of young listeners. It reminds Douglas of when she was a young girl growing up in England and listening to radio shows.
“The idea that young people are sitting down and listening to ‘Tara Tremendous’ and letting their imaginations run free is brilliant,” Douglas says. “What’s not to like about ‘Tara Tremendous.’ The whole idea of Tara Tremendous is pretty amazing.
“It is great for kids because of the girl empowerment.”
The podcast features only the voice of Douglas but she has done far more roles over the years where she has been on camera. Along with those groundbreaking “Superman” movies that sparked the comic book-inspired film genre, Douglas has appeared in “Conan the Destroyer,” “Babylon 5,” “The Return of Swamp Thing,” “Solarbabies” and “A Christmas Prince.”
It has been her sense of humor that helped her deal with playing so many villainous characters including her current role in “Tara Tremendous.”
“You can’t get past the fact that I am rather villainous as the Empress,” Douglas says. “Stewart and I hit it off immediately and I loved the fact that he got that I have a sense of humor.
“It is very difficult when you are endlessly playing villains which is what I do. It is just so nice to have someone who gets you as a person.”
Douglas joined an award winning production as “Tara Tremendous” earned the Parents’ Foundation Gold Award-winning. Since St. John and Todd Fisher launched Wonkybot Studios in 2015, the company has created scripted audio shows for kids and families.
The Wonkybot Channel is available through Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, a global marketplace for listeners to discover premium subscriptions offered by their favorite creators alongside millions of free shows on Apple Podcasts.
Douglas has only one small complaint when it comes to “Tara Tremendous.”
“I want them to make a bloody TV series out of it, I want there to be more,” Douglas says. “That’s the dream.”