Issa Rae Embraces Her Voice as Jessica Drew in ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ | Watch

    The highly anticipated Marvel film, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is in theaters, and fans can’t wait to get into the next chapter in Miles Morales’ journey.

    The film will catapult viewers across the multiverse and introduce us to new characters and adventures. One such character is Jessica Drew, also known as Spider-Woman, brought to life by the talented and multifaceted actress Issa Rae. With her distinctive voice, a childhood love of Spider-Man, and trademark infectious energy, Rae found her voice in the role of Drew, adding depth and humor to the character. In an interview with EUR, Rae shared her insights into the voice acting process, her approach to portraying Drew, and the unique traits she brought to the superhero.

    Voicing a character in an animated film presents a different set of challenges than traditional acting. When asked about the moment she first discovered Drew’s appearance as Spider-Woman, Rae revealed that it was in the second session that she caught a glimpse of a sketch depicting the character. Over the course of several sessions, she gradually delved deeper into understanding the essence of Drew. During the second-to-last session, she finally saw a rendered version of the character. However, it wasn’t until the trailer was released that Rae saw the full scope of Jessica’s coolness, particularly her motorcycle aspects.

    Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) MARVEL

    The transition from on-screen acting to voice acting brings its own unique set of adjustments. Rae reflected on her initial struggles, admitting that she was a bit “in her head” during the first session. She had to find Jessica’s voice, figure out how she would sound, and distinguish herself from the character. However, as she learned more about Jessica and collaborated with the directors, she began to tap into the character’s playful side. Rae discovered that Drew is sarcastic and passionate about her superhero responsibilities.

    One aspect that differs between voice acting and on-camera work is the lack of physicality. Rae confesses her love for blocking and the spatial awareness it brings, which she had to let go of for this role.

    “I love knowing where I’m going and seeing the space I’m in,” she admitted. “In voice acting, you rely on the director’s words to understand the scene and the environment. It was challenging but also a lot of fun to bring the scenes to life solely through my voice.”

    Another aspect that excited Rae the most about portraying Drew was her sense of humor. Jessica brings a playful and witty dynamic to the story, especially in her relationship with Gwen Stacy, voiced by the talented Haley Steinfeld. Jessica acts as a mentor figure and an older sister to Gwen, fostering a strong bond between the two characters. The dynamic between Jessica and Gwen adds an extra layer of depth to the story, showcasing the complexities of their connection as Jessica provides some insight into their superhero responsibilities together.

    Moreover, Rae admitted to being unsure about bringing the pregnancy arc into play. However, she fully embraced the opportunity upon learning that it was an integral part of Drew’s story. The pregnancy arc adds a unique and groundbreaking element to the character, as it hasn’t been explored in such a way before. Rae found the concept exciting and realized its potential for expanding the narrative and challenging traditional superhero tropes.

    “Spider-Man: Across The Multiverse” is in theaters now.

    Jill Munroe is a Los Angeles-bred entertainment journalist, producer, and host. You can follow her on all social media @StilettoJill or check out

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