SDCC 2016: A Roundtable With Steven Universe’s Deedee Magno Hall And Michaela Dietz

Credit: Cartoon Network
Credit: Cartoon Network

When 4 Your Excitement was allowed to do roundtable interviews with the cast and crew of Steven Universe, we really got to do them right.

Our second interview after talking with Ian Jones-Quartey (Supervising Director) and Zach Callison (voice of Steven) was with two of the three voice actresses of the original team of Crystal Gems. Deedee Magno Hall (voice of Pearl) and Michaela Dietz (voice of Amethyst) were both so vibrant and bubbly in real life.

Part of what makes a good show great is when a cast really loves each other and enjoys spending time together. It’s clear that when Steven Universe‘s cast gets together, then they have a good time and a lot of love.

Hall and Dietz both agree that when they much prefer group recording sessions to solo recording sessions. It just allows for more energy and fun. By being together, they get to feed into each other. It also allows dialogue to flow much more naturally and quick. Apparently, it’s a lot of fun to do a line of effort effects (grunts, moans, etc) together. You get big reactions from Hall, Dietz, and Callison, but then Estelle is just so level and mellow.

Something that Hall also loves is how musical the show has become overtime. Steven Universe has always been a musical show, but it’s only grown since then.

“I’m so thrilled every time we get new music to learn for the show. I’m such a happy, happy camper,” said Hall. “The way that Rebecca (Sugar) writes her music. I love that she has so many dynamics about it and that it is so unpredictable.”

She also loves how different and similar voiceover work is. A theatre actor, Hall loves trying to balance using just her voice while trying to not get too physical into the recording booths. (They pick up everything.) Dietz is continually amazed at how easily Hall has taken to the work.

What Hall really loves about Pearl is how motherly she is. A mother of two boys in real life, she finds it so natural to connect to. When she screams “STEVEN” as Pearl, it could be easily interchanged with her own children’s names. What Dietz loves about Amethyst is that she has arced and change from a very internally insecure character to someone that is growing into her own skin. She would like to grow up a little like her.

A lot of what makes the show work well, in their opinion, is how close the cast is in real life. It makes it so easy and natural to carry that into the recording booth and to bring it to life on the show.

During the panel, apparently, Rebecca Sugar (the creator) talked about how the placement of the gems respond to their individual characters. With Pearl as being more cerebral (head placement) and Amethyst as more emotional (heart placement), it makes sense to the characters.

“I don’t know anything,” said Hall. “I really need to study.”

Dietz went into a long speech about how that made such sense to the characters and even what gems mean symbolically. Appropriately, Dietz was wearing a piece of amethyst today.

“Apparently amethyst is supposed to provide clarity and help with overindulgence. So maybe Amethyst needs that to balance out.” Dietz said.

Steven Universe is airing new episodes through July and August on Cartoon Network. You can read our other interviews with the cast and crew of the show here and here.

Bec Heim