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Stephanie March has left the courtroom to take on the role of a “Ripley-inspired intergalactic badass” – and she’s loving every second of it.
In December, it was announced that the former “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” star was suiting up as Lady Akira for Ava DuVernay and Jill Blankenship’s DC superhero drama “Naomi.”
The CW show, based on the comic series of the same name, follows a teenage superhero when unlikely, outer-worldly events impact her hometown. The actress stars as a “metahuman” who is still a mystery to her.
The 47-year-old spoke to Fox News Digital about making her debut as Lady Akira, whether she misses “SVU” and what’s it been like having husband Dan Benton by her side through it all.
Fox News: Congrats on making your debut as Lady Akira.
Stephanie March: Oh, thank you, it’s been a really fun world to be a part of, and I’m enjoying it so much. Lady Akira was described to me as a “Ripley-inspired intergalactic badass.” Who doesn’t want to do that? And I would be working for Ava DuVernay. I would read the phone book out loud, word for word, for Ava. So it was an easy yes.
Fox News: What’s it been like working with Ava DuVuernay?
March: It’s been a dream, honestly. She has made such an effort to employ so many women to be part of the cast and crew. And she welcomes creativity. She’s a breath of fresh air to work with. Kaci Walfall, who plays Naomi, is an absolute ray of sunshine. You take a job because you hope the role is going to be good. But it’s an extra treat when you become part of such a dynamic cast like this one.
Fox News: What’s it been like for you to be part of the comic book realm?
March: It’s been a very interesting experience. People who are fans of the comic books are very supportive and loyal. It’s no different from “Law & Order: SVU” fans. What’s different is that you’re not in the courtroom *laughs*. It’s fun to have these powers and have people flip cars or send out shock waves. It’s a hoot. It’s a fun escape.
Fox News: Is Lady Akira an alien or metahuman? And how does one prepare to become one or the other?
March: I’ve asked the same thing, and I can’t say I could give a definite answer right now. But for me, she’s a metahuman. At least that’s how I’m going to refer to her for now. I have been referred to as an alien, and I don’t take offense to it. But I do prefer metahuman. How does one prepare for that? I’m still learning *laughs*.
But in terms of challenges, it’s important to keep the suspense and not ruin it for fans with any spoilers. So even the actors don’t know what’s going to happen. It can be pretty challenging to figure out who you want to create and how you can play an interesting character when you have absolutely no idea what that character is going to do next. It’s all top secret. I didn’t even know what Akira’s power was going to be until I was on the set. People always ask me for any hints of what’s to come, but we’re just as surprised as everyone else. But that also keeps us on our toes, not knowing what the next move is going to be.
Fox News: How empowering has it been for you to play a character from the comic book realm who is beautiful, but her talents go beyond the physical?
March: You know, I’ve been so lucky that for most of my career, I wasn’t just the girlfriend. Instead, I’ve had opportunities to play very specific, complex women with professional identities who also possess really meaningful personal lives. Or, I try to create a meaningful personal life and play on that duality like a real person, like any woman. We’re more than just our jobs, we’re more than just our partners or our children. And that has been such a gift because you don’t always get the opportunity to play such a well-layered character like that.
Fox News: Who was one superhero or heroine that you grew up admiring?
March: Well, when I was growing up, the choices in terms of what was available in movies or television were limited. You didn’t have the same vast of women as leaders as you do now on the screen. But, I loved Princess Leia and Miss Piggy. Those were my girls.
Fox News: Two very different girls.
March: Were they? Think about it. They went after what they wanted unapologetically. They inspired leadership. They have devoted male partners. But they also thrived on their own. They really weren’t that different. *laughs*.
Fox News: Many fans still remember you as Alex Cabot from “Law & Order: SVU.” Do you miss her or are you glad to step out of the legal world?
March: I miss her quite a lot, actually. I spent so much time with her, and I enjoyed how she grew as a person, and how I grew as a person playing her. It’s not often that you get to play a character through so many phases in life. Honestly, the opportunity to revisit her, whenever it comes up, is an absolute treat.
Fox News: What’s your favorite memory from your time on “SVU”?
March: I don’t know if it was the first or second season, but there was an explosion. I honestly couldn’t tell you if it was inside the courtroom or outside – I think it might have been inside because I was working with Mariska [Hargitay] and I didn’t do a lot of things outside.
But anyway, there was an explosion, and she was supposed to react and be thrown to the ground. And she kept saying inadvertently when it was happening, as she was falling back, this “swoosh” sound. It just kept happening, and she couldn’t help it. Finally, the sound guy was like, “You can’t do that.” She started giggling and I started giggling. It was such a sweet, funny moment. And now that I’m in “Naomi” I started doing the same thing! I know it’s hard on production because you can’t help it, I get it. *laughs*.
Fox News: If you were granted a superpower today – any superpower – what would it be and why?
March: Oh, it would be to do my hair. I want to be able to do my own hair. It would save me the most incredible amount of time and money. That’s so easy.
Fox News: So you would give up being invisible or being able to travel galaxies as long as you could fix your hair?
March: Yeah! *laughs*. Look, I already do a lot of travel in my life and I love it. And I plan to keep my aggressive travel schedule if COVID allows it. But my hair is a constant problem. My superpower would be addressing a real problem I have!
Fox News: You mentioned that you can’t reveal too much about “Naomi” because it’s a surprise for both you and the viewers. But what do you feel audiences can expect? Or what would you like to see happen if given the choice?
March: The tagline for this season is don’t believe everything you think. I would like for that to be really embodied. Because in life, everything isn’t as always as it seems. But I do think the show does a good job of bringing that to life. And it’s been such a gem to be part of that. But see, I don’t know either! *laughs*.
Fox News: How do you find that balance of enjoying your travels with your husband, Dan Benton, while taking on such a demanding role?
March: I’m very lucky. We do carve out time for each other, but I have a really supportive partner. We uplift each other. Dan has been so supportive from the very beginning. He’s always said, “Your career is as important to you as mine is to me. And I want us to be the kind of spouses who are encouraging and helpful.” He’s been nothing but that. I am just so lucky to have somebody like that in my corner, always.