Actress Thora Birch has played a number of standout roles as a young star, thanks to projects like hocus pocusAnd American beautyAnd ghost worldbut even after all the projects she’s been separate from, she’s venturing into relatively new territory for an all-new podcast series. Cheaper. What makes the project even more exciting is that instead of taking on just one role, Birch animates a number of characters, making them challenge different characters who are completely different but have unifying traits. The first episode of Cheaper Now available anywhere you get your podcasts.
Cheaper Centered around Special Forces Sergeant Audrey Beech (Birch), a determined professional soldier, who rises the ranks to the elite of the military. She has little in life other than her daughter Lydia, who lives with her ex-husband after a difficult divorce. But Audrey’s training can never prepare her for a top-secret mission in Afghanistan’s Herat Province, where she faces the impossible: her own husband from another world traps her and lets her die… and takes Audrey’s place in the process.
Audrey was more expensive, but in her schedule she experienced much worse pain. Her daughter Lydia dies – killed in a tragic military accident – and her quest for revenge prompts her to sacrifice her loyalty to the United States. Help a dangerous country overdrive its vengeful mission, at a price: replace Audrey’s Beach in our world and assassinate the President, no matter the personal price. With nothing to live for, the Overlls agree. To defend the nation and protect its good name, the real Audrey must flee Afghanistan and traverse the world, evading American authorities and international spies in order to thwart the Overl Cheap plan.
ComicBook.com met up with Birch to talk about the new project, the opportunities it offers, and past projects you’d like to return to.
ComicBook.com: What is the origin of your participation in this project? Was it the story, was it to participate in a podcast, what was the big appeal that really drew you to this?
Thora Birch: Well, I’ll admit, I got obsessed with the word “podcast”, but once I got into the characters and the story and the general path of where this story was going, the fact was that it was a mixture of thriller and fantasy fi, all of those elements and in a weird, weird way, even an element of crime Real, all of these elements came together with me. But also, it happened very quickly.
That was the interesting thing about it that, one day I had this in my inbox, they were like, “Are you going to do that? Blah, blah, blah.” And I said, “Yes, absolutely.” So I walk into the singing room and they say, “Okay, action.” What was cool about it was that I didn’t have to do all this pre-calculated information about my character and this and that and the other… They’re like, ‘You’re in the booth, say the words. How do they sound? Let it out of your voice.’ Also, you have to be four people. Two different.” And I was like, “Wow.”
You mentioned that just the idea of the podcast was immediately exciting to you. Once that drew you in, and then you participated in this podcast, given your endless experience in the world of live acting, what did you find to be the greatest gift of the podcast, this vocal performance, and what was also the biggest challenge that you didn’t necessarily anticipate?
I’m a bit of a history buff, and I remember, I shouldn’t, but I do, I remember a day when radio shows were so important, in the ’20s and all. And this podcast space, the fictional podcast space is a continuation of that. But we, with our technology and our ability to fix everything, we can do it a lot better now, so this is an interesting space to live in because there are so many different stories you can tell within that space, and science fiction happens to be one of the best.
The fact that I live in that space and I play, like I said, four different characters. I play Audrey and the Overl Cheap, but I also play Audrey the Narrator and Overl Cheap the Narrator. So trying to figure out how to discern that, while still making it feel continuity, was a wonderful challenge, and it was a creative challenge.
Have a popular series like orphan black Where Tatiana Maslany plays several different characters, but it depends on each character looking different. So, even if they are almost exactly the same, they look different, so it is easy to tell them apart. What is your way of finding that balance playing out these different characters who have the same physiologically the same vocal cords, if you will, but the listener will be able to discern when each distinct character on the podcast speaks?
That’s a great question, because, frankly, the thing is that you might think that if you’re standing in a silent vocal booth or whatever, you don’t have much to do, but it becomes an incredibly physical role. It’s more about making sure the audience understands the differences between the part you’re playing, but you also have to be physically present. You have to make it real. And the cool thing about the booth is that it’s almost like an actor working in front of a full green screen or something.
It’s no different. It’s just that you use one muscle and one port you have. You might go off track and act all kinds of weird, but at the end of the day, that’s just because you want your voice to sound a certain way. This is where it gets a little sensitive.
This podcast contains multidimensional controversies and jumps into alternate realities, and now it’s in theaters Doctor Strange in a multiverse of madnessand you have a movie like Everything everywhere at once recently went out. There’s been this wave of exploration and adventures of alternate dimensions, so what do you think is so engaging and wonderful about the stories that audiences seem to really connect with right now?
I feel like the age of podcasting we’re all living in right now is so perfect for these kinds of questions and to explore these ideas, like what does it feel like to live in multiple dimensions? What if there were alternate universes and all that stuff? I feel like people in their cars are going to work, just take some time and listen to these kinds of stories, and expand their imaginations. And that’s what I love about it. I mean, that’s what I’ve experienced when I listen to podcasts totally, sometimes people talk about crazy things I can’t help but enjoy and get excited about these ideas and I think that’s a beautiful thing.
I hope you’ll come with me on this trip and I don’t seem too crazy when I put this idea out there, but I think the idea of doppelgangers is incredibly cool. I’m not a famous actor, so I’m not particularly known for–
You will become famous soon enough.
I may not currently be recognized walking down the street when there are seven billion people, unlike you, you are more recognizable than me, I say. But have you ever contemplated the idea that you could have someone who might not be your lookalike, but who is just like you?
I can actually go one step further. I was at a conference and there was a beautiful, beautiful little girl who came up to me and wanted me to sign her autograph, just because she was like, “She has the same name as I do.” That’s what Thor said. And I asked the parents, “Didn’t you name her after me?” They said: No, no, no. I was like, “Okay, that’s cool. Good.” But she was very cute and very adorable. And you know what? She was very smart and very talented. So if that’s a legacy, I’d be glad to. There’s a little bull outside. She is the only one.
Thank you for mocking me and for not thinking, “Is this guy asking if doppelgangers are real?”
no no no.
There are many episodes on the way and the first one is out now, do you have a specific favorite episode, encounter or favorite scene to sign up for this series?
I think my favorite part was probably my first day. My first day was really weird and I didn’t know what to expect, and I didn’t really exercise my abilities in this area in this way. So yeah, my first day was definitely my favourite.
With scheduling, you were not able to participate in hocus pocus The sequel in a major way, is there any chance, it might not be a full starring role in this movie, but is there any chance that she might have gotten a nod, nod, or nod in the upcoming movie at all?
Everyone tried so hard. Everyone tried very hard to make it happen and it didn’t happen, but everyone tried very hard. This was everyone’s intention. But did you know? At the end of the day, just between you and me, I’d probably prefer playing Winifred in the future. Probably the best Winnie’s play.
We’ll keep that in mind for a file hocus pocus 3. too much the walking Dead Fans loved your work on this show, with the whole concept of these subsets, these anthologies, can this franchise see yourself coming back to you, even in a one-off anthology episode?
I don’t think anyone would enjoy it, but frankly, I have kind of personal dreams of a fanciful idea about the gamma origin story. I think it would be great. So, I mean, I’m not ruling anything out.
Maybe the second season of Cheaperthey will jump to a dimension where the walking Dead Exist, perhaps after where hocus pocus Exists, and we can only unify all of these dimensions of Thora.
Gamma is the granddaughter, and she is also Gamma.
We can jump on the phone as early as next week and we can start brainstorming to make that happen.
I think we should do this. We need to make this happen.
The first episode of Cheaper Now anywhere you get your podcasts.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. you can call Patrick Kavanaugh live on Twitter.