DOOM PATROL: Diane Guerrero Talks Managing 64 Personalities
Doom Patrol is full of wacky heroes, all with issues of their own regarding how they got their powers, or why they’re even still alive. The DC Universe series really makes that clear, with over-the-top weirdness every week the talented cast flawlessly brings to life. This week’s episode, ‘Jane Patrol’ focuses in on the weirdest character of them all, Crazy Jane, played by Diane Guerrero. I rave about Guerrero’s performance playing 64 different personalities in my weekly review of the show, but this week’s episode just shows how brilliant she truly is.
Jane suffers from real-world problems, centering off of dissociative identity disorder. She has 64 distinct personalities in her head, all coming with their own superpower, which she can use when that personality surfaces. Not all 64 have shown up yet, though we saw a lot more of them in this week’s episode. The main personalities Jane ends up using are Hammerhead, Dr. Harrison, Silver Tongue, and Sun Daddy, with respective super powers super strength, telepathic persuasion, words materializing as sharp weapons, and transforming into a giant with a sun for a head shooting fireballs. And of course Jane herself. Jane is the only one without superpowers, and is the main personality in control most of the time.
Guerrero said when she got the role on Doom Patrol she started preparation for the role immediately.
“Right from the beginning, I started working with my acting coach on breaking every personality down through movement, through why she needs them or what their main characteristics are. Once my body gets in that space, then everything else can follow, — I have a notebook, and I have basically every personality there. Whenever one pops up in the script, I can reference my notes, and I reference music. I like to think I have a lot of sides to myself that I can easily access at any given moment, like if I feel threatened or if I want something to go a certain way.”
She manages these personalities a lot better than I ever could. Guerrero flows seamlessly through these characters and really deserves an award for the work she’s put in. Each personality looks and sounds unique, and after this episode it’s even more clear. She’s developed a good method for working through each one and knowing how that one moves. Guerrero’s favorite personalities include Dr. Harrison, and the childlike Baby Doll. The first because “she’s calm and uses her words”, and the second because “There’s no mask for a child, so all those feelings are real”.
The different personalities have kept Jane alive and protected her, but in some cases like this week’s Doom Patrol episode, Jane is catatonic while she tries to figure out if hope is really there. Guerrero spoke as to the personality split, and playing a character with mental health issues as the result of abuse.
“Her personality split as a defense mechanism, as a survival tactic. Otherwise, someone who has experienced abuse at such an early age and hasn’t been treated for it and has lived their life with that abuse, it’s very hard for them to cope,” — “I find it interesting to play a character like that because I also deal with mental health issues and suffer from depression and have been there where you’re just so tired of not knowing how to deal with all these emotions at once, so you find little alternatives.”
“I think that through community and help and facing your fears and problems, then we are much closer to overcoming those demons. I think the show does that beautifully, to walk you through Jane’s emotions and her ups and downs. One minute she’s very positive and wants to help the team out, and other times she’s debilitated. Because we don’t talk so much about mental health and what that does to people, this character shines a light on that a little bit and I think that’s very special.”
Jane’s a special character indeed, one that is shining a light on mental health issues, but also how to try and overcome the demons inside. Doom Patrol is alight with chaos and presenting traditional themes in a new way, but also in bringing light to ones typically not addressed in a television environment. The show is centered in reality according to Guerrero and I agree. It shows people dealing with their past mistakes while trying to also right themselves in their future as a group.
SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly