The Archer and Arrested Development actress offers insight into her secret past with Doctor Strange and much more!
You probably know Jessica Walter best from her iconic roles as Lucille Bluth and Malory Archer on “Arrested Development” and “Archer” respectively. But you may not know that she’s been part of the Marvel family since 1978, starring in the TV movie “Doctor Strange” as Morgan Le Fay, the immortal mystic who tries to take over the world.
We recently spoke with Ms. Walter while she was out promoting the latest season of Archer entitled “Archer Vice.” She spoke about her time on the cult film, her first and only experience at Comic-Con and much more!
Marvel.com: To begin, I thought I knew everything about you but I found out you were in “Doctor Strange”!
Jessica Walter: Yes, yes; the “Movie of the Week.”
Marvel.com: Do you remember working on that?
Jessica Walter: Oh yeah. In those days they had “Movies of the Week.” I can tell that you’re young…
Marvel.com: No, I remember!
Jessica Walter: [Laughs] It sort of became a cult-favorite for all the occult people that love those kind of movies and I was Morgan Le Fay.
Marvel.com: It’s got kind of a cult following all around from what I hear.
Jessica Walter: Yes, I know that. I heard that, which is quite fantastic. I remember making it. There was this wonderful fellow who directed it, I think he wrote it too, Philip DeGuere. But I remember it very well, it was around 1978.
Marvel.com: Did you read any of the Doctor Strange comics?
Jessica Walter: I’d never heard of Doctor Strange until I did the movie.
Marvel.com: We interviewed you at New York Comic-Con and you said that you watched “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Jessica Walter: I did watch it; I watched a couple of them! Usually that hour is not good for me to watch TV so I really did try it and I liked it.
Marvel.com: If you had a super power, what would your super power be?
Jessica Walter: You know my super power is my conscience. I really listen to my conscience. It helps me make decisions and decide what I can and cannot do. And when it looks kind of grim, I figure if my conscience is telling me you’ve gotta do this, I do it. That’s my super power.
Marvel.com: Since “Arrested Development” and “Archer” started streaming on Netflix, do you think they’ve gotten bigger because of that platform?
Jessica Walter: Oh, I think so. I think Netflix has changed television. We only got Netflix to watch “Arrested Development” and then we discovered what a treasure trove it is!
Marvel.com: Marvel is coming out with five shows on Netflix next year.
Jessica Walter: I heard. Wow. [What characters are] in them?
Marvel.com: Daredevil and Luke Cage are two of the biggest names.
Jessica Walter: When does it come out?
Jessica Walter: We should live til then, dear. [Laughs]
Marvel.com: [Laughs] How often do you frequent comic conventions and what were some of the craziest things you’ve seen there?
Jessica Walter: The only comic-con thing I went to was the one in New York. I never went to one of the other ones. I thought that was pretty crazy because it seemed like thousands of people. I don’t know how many there were, but I’ve never seen so many die-hard fans of all these different shows in one place. And the costumes! People dress up as the characters! Regular fans come in there. There were several Malory people!
Marvel.com: That’s crazy!
Jessica Walter: Very. It was very crazy and a lot of fun.
Marvel.com: Did you actually get to walk the floor or did you just do press?
Jessica Walter: Well, we had to walk through the crowds to get through to where we were going—all the different things—and we were up high in that box where you overlook the people and that was fun. That was like TV. Some kind of weird TV thing, you’re up high and you’re looking over everything.
Marvel.com: Speaking of “Archer,” now that it’s “Archer Vice” you’re not agents anymore, you’re cocaine dealers. What is your take on the whole thing?
Jessica Walter: Well, we have to keep our lifestyles going that we’re accustomed to having, and since the building blew up and ISIS is out of business what better way to make money than selling drugs, as far as they’re concerned. Personally, I don’t know, but for that gang, I think it works.
Marvel.com: I’ve seen the cast interact and it looks like you’re extremely close-knit and friends. How does that happen when I assume you’re not around each other much?
Jessica Walter: We record by ourselves, and we only see each other at these events like the TCAs or Comic-Con or whatever. It’s funny because people really think we’re all sitting together in the room doing the script and we’re not; each person in separate does at a different time all by themselves in a booth; a sound booth. And for some reason, we just clicked personally. We really did and I think it comes through in the voices. Everybody really likes everybody else and everyone is different, has their own take on everything, personally and on the show. It worked out well.
Marvel.com: Besides “Archer,” do you have anything else coming up that you want to talk about?
Jessica Walter: I do! A pilot I just did sold!
Jessica Walter: Thank you! It’s for TV Land and it’s called “Jennifer Falls,” meaning it’s not the name of a person or a town but Jennifer, played by Jaime Presley, falls. She falls down. That was picked up and we’re going to start filming, I think mid-March.
Marvel.com: Well, thanks so much for talking with us!
Jessica Walter: My great pleasure and I’m glad that you like “Archer” and “Arrested,” and much luck to Marvel!
Catch “Archer Vice” Mondays at 10pm EST on FX. Follow them at Twitter @ArcherFX and join in the conversation with #GoVice and #ArcherFX.