Actor Ray Porter recalls how his experience as an audiobook narrator won him the role of Apokolips ruler Darkseid in the Zack Snyder-directed Justice League. Before being handpicked by Snyder to play the villain of future DC Extended Universe movies, Porter traveled from Los Angeles to England when his then-spouse was hired to work on Justice League. When Snyder received word Porter was an experienced narrator, he was invited to read multiple drafts of screenplays submitted by Chris Terrio — and was later picked by Snyder to portray Darkseid opposite Ciarán Hinds, who played Darkseid's uncle and Apokolips army leader Steppenwolf.
"Zack heard from somebody that I narrate audiobooks, and Zack really likes to hear his scripts," Porter told The Film Exiles. "[There's] something more immediate and something more visceral when you hear the words spoken as opposed to just sitting and reading them on the page. So I helped him, essentially narrating the scripts and some of the rewrites and things like that."
"And Zack and I get along really well," Porter continued. "He's an amazing guy, he and Deborah [Snyder, the director's wife and producer on Justice League] are both the kindest people ever. And then I got word that he wanted me to play Darkseid."
Porter then traveled back from London to Los Angeles to film with Hinds and performed "lots of voice [work] stuff, face capture — the whole process took a while." It wasn't until later, after Justice League was completed by Joss Whedon, that Porter learned his scenes as Darkseid were cut from the finished film.
"The thing I was most excited about playing the role was, 'Oh God, I get to go to [San Deigo] Comic-Con and meet fans, I can't wait. I hope I get to sign something,'" Porter said. "Really, seriously, I was like, 'I hope they make a toy I can point at and go, that's me.'"
On being cut from the version of Justice League released to theaters in 2017, Porter added, "It was unfortunate, it happens. It's Hollywood. It hurt, it was sad, but I dealt with it and moved on."
After word of Porter's rumored casting leaked online — long before the actor confirmed his role on Twitter — Porter read sometimes "harsh" online comments questioning Snyder's decision to hire a little-known actor as the lead villain of an arc that would have unfolded over multiple movies.
"I've been sort of under the radar for a number of years," Porter said on the LightCast podcast. "I've popped up on various TV shows and a couple of movies and things like that, but I know that when the first rumblings of me playing this role came out, I read some stuff online. Some of it was kind, some of it really wasn't, about, 'Oh, there's no way Zack would do that. He's not going to cast some nobody.' My favorite quote was, 'Zack would want a real actor.'"
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