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Tika Sumpter and Natasha Rothwell on being heroes in Sonic 2

In our interview with Tika Sumpter and Natasha Rothwell for Sonic the Hedgehog 2 we discuss character evolution and the future of the Sonic franchise

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 cast interview: Tika Sumpter and Natasha Rothwell discuss making the sequel and the future of their characters

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a colourful family movie that brings old and new faces into the franchise. Telling the story of SEGA’s mascot Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and his friends (both of the human and anthropomorphic animal variety) having to save the world again from the evil Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey), the highly anticipated videogame movie doesn’t disappoint. To celebrate the recent UK release of the kids movie, we sat down with stars Tika Sumpter and Natasha Rothwell to discuss what it was like jumping into this fast-paced sequel.

Directed by Jeff Fowler, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the follow-up film to the 2020 box office hit, Sonic the Hedgehog. Packed with references to the videogames and adventure movies, the film raises the stakes with its non-stop action and laughs. Tika Sumpter plays the role of Maddie, a veterinarian and the wife to Sonic’s main human pal Sheriff Tom (James Marsden). Natasha Rothwell takes on the role of Maddie’s sister Rachel who is preparing to marry her mysterious fiancé (Shemar Moore) in Hawaii. However, things don’t really go to plan once a certain Blue Hedgehog crashes her party.

In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, we see the two stars like never before, having to fight and help Sonic in his quest to defeat Dr Robotnik – all while wearing floor-length gowns and heels, I may add. In our Interview with Sumpter and Rothwell, we talked about the evolution of their characters in this sequel, potential spin-offs, and what they want to see Maddie and Rachel get up to in Sonic 3.

The Digital Fix: Hi! First of all, it was so nice that we get to see more of both of you in this movie. Especially, Natasha, you have a wedding subplot with your character Rachel. It was one of my favourite bits in the whole film.

Natasha Rothwell: Oh, thank you so much!

We see her starting a new chapter in her life, and I want to see more. Knuckles is getting a spin-off TV series. Can we expect the same treatment for Rachel and her hunky fiancé?

NR: I mean, I have no say that’s above my paygrade. But I would, in a minute, jump at the opportunity. I think it’s so fun to play her, and I think she has so much to give.

Tika Sumpter: Who wouldn’t want to see that?

NR: So yeah, you let me know if that’s happening, and I will say yes to it (laughs).

Tika, in this movie, we see your character interacting a lot with Sonic and with Tails. As an actor, what is it like having a co-star who isn’t physically there on set with you?

TS: It feels invisible. It feels like you just have to use your imagination. I mean, that’s what we do a lot. I’m just like, you know, how I would be if an actor is not necessarily emoting everything that we feel that they could

NR: (jokingly) James [Marsden]

(Both laugh)

TS: It’s imagining, you know, someone else, just imagine that they’re there. Thank God, we know what the references are, and how it looks from the first film so that we can imagine it. We have a great, great actor, his name is Scott, who was reading off-camera, you know, so that we felt something and it wasn’t just me talking to, like, a script supervisor.

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You guys were in the first movie, and you came back for the sequel. What makes you keep coming back to Sonic? What does this franchise mean to you?

NR: I mean, everything. I mean, Shemar Moore definitely was reason enough to come back and do it. (laughs) No, but for me, I feel like, especially after the sort of the 2020 lockdowns, it really taught me to want to say yes to projects that mean something. I feel like quarantine and sort of the thick of the pandemic really put in perspective what everyone was doing with their lives.

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To say yes to this was a no brainer. It’s not just the fun of getting to work with Tika and James, and you know, the entire cast, but it’s the message that’s going out into the world. I feel like it’s actually doing some good. So that was a no brainer. And you know, Shemar Moore doesn’t hurt either. (laughs)

You guys both have some really fun scenes, and Sonic 2 really is a fun movie. Tika, your moments stick out especially, such as the baseball game with Sonic that we see you play in this sequel. But as an actor, I wanted to know, what was your favourite production moment during this whole process?

TS: I think there’s so many. I think my favourite though, was Hawaii which, you know, I got to interact with more characters. And I got to interact with Sonic a bit more, and my sister, obviously. That whole bit was so fun, that we got to be heroes of our own story, right? Of our own side story – actually, no, it was part of the main thing. So, you know, I love that we were active and had agency of our own and took matters into our own hands.

NR: Yeah, it was so much fun. I mean, ditto to all of that. I think it was just so much fun to play. And when your playground is Hawaii, I mean, come on, you can’t complain.

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Without giving too much away, at the end of this movie, it kind of feels like, you know, we’re going to get another one.

(Both laugh)

What would you want to see from your characters going forward? If there was another movie?

TS: Yeah, I mean, I think for me, Maddie, she’s a veterinarian, so she helps a lot of these little critters all the time. I feel like if more and more are coming, there has to be some more interaction with what she does for her job. But I think also even exploring more with my sister, exploring more with just even her husb… Well, I can’t say (laughs). Just exploring more with more characters!

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NR: Yeah, I think that too. It’s like with this film, you see what Rachel and Maddie are capable of, and so I think seeing them in the driver’s seat of the action, even more, would be so incredible. Yeah, I just think it’d be badass and feminist to see sort of what happens when we’re calling the shots. And yeah, I again, I love this franchise so much, and everyone involved that like, it’s just a no brainer to be a part of, so hopefully, we do come back.

TS: And everybody’s so kind.

NR: Yes, yes. Which is really rare, unfortunately, in this business, but it’s a real treat to be a part of.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is out in Uk theatres now, and will be racing to the US on April 8.