Wishes do come true. Just ask Sophia Bush.
The Southern California native has been a fan of Pixar movies all her life, particularly "The Incredibles." She was so determined to land even a tiny role in one of the company's animated movies, Bush approached executives with the company three years ago.
"I told them if they ever needed someone with a raspy voice, I was game," Bush says in a voice that's somewhere between Kathleen Turner and a female Batman.
They finally needed her, as Bush lends her voice to Voyd in the new Pixar animated offering, "Incredibles 2," the sequel to the 2004 film that was released at the same time Bush was starring in "One Tree Hill." Voyd is one of several new superheroes in the tale of a family with superpowers who can't use their skills because it's against the law.
Director Brad Bird told Bush it was her "cool voice" that caught their ear during the casting process. They took samplings of Bush's voice from her acting jobs to play against samplings of Holly Hunter's vocals. Hunter plays Elastigirl, the hero who ends up spending the most time with Voyd. The blend was exactly what the team wanted and is something Bush looks to use as a launching pad.
"I want to do all the animation and all of the voice-over work forever. I hope this opens the door," Bush says.
Bush is proud to be part of the kind of movie that can be enjoyed by every member of the family. And, she loves being part of a film that is both entertaining and touches on serious topics from family to acceptance.
Voyd has had to deal with a lifetime of denying her true nature just because those who make the law have deemed her kind unacceptable. It's not just part of a plot for an animated movie for Bush, but an important way to make some serious points in a subtle way.
"Everyone can relate to this movie, but because it's not preachy, all of the tension is taken out of it. And you get to witness something that feels exactly like your family even though it is an animated superhero family," Bush says. "It feels like a world you can relate to. A story you can relate to.
"You get reminded that society is better when we let every single person have a seat at the table and we let every single person offer their own brand of personal magic to make the world around them a better place. That's a big theme for a cartoon."
Animated roles have been the only major acting work to elude Bush, as she has rolled up a long resume of credits including the feature films "The Hitcher," "The Narrows," "Acts of Violence" and Marshall." The brunt of her work has been in television dramas, including "One Tree Hill," "Chicago PD," "Chicago Med" and "Chicago Fire."
Bush has been guided by a simple road map in selecting roles: She has to love the project. If she is going to devote a massive amount of time to a project and be away from her family, the role has to be worth the commitment. Through most of her career, that meant dramatic roles, but in 2012, Bush got to fulfill her original acting plan when she was cast opposite David Krumholtz, Michael Urie and Brandon Routh in the CBS comedy "Partners."
Her intention when she started acting was to do comedy, but nine seasons on the dramatic "One Tree Hill" made it difficult to make the comic transition. She took any opportunity to be funny available during that time, including the feature "John Tucker Must Die" and one episode of "Phineas and Ferb."
Whether it was through serious or funny work, Bush has earned multiple Teen Choice Awards in the categories of: Choice Movie Actress: Comedy; Choice Movie Actress: Horror/Thriller; and Choice Movie: Breakout Female. She was awarded the Rising Star Award at the Vail Film Festival and the Bing Philanthropy Award at the Young Hollywood Awards.
She used the fame she's earned over the years to bettering girls' education and the environment. Bush has raised nearly $500,000 for charity, built three primary schools in Guatemala and Laos and serves as a global ambassador for Glamour's The Girl Project.
Landing the role in the Pixar movie was a massive thrill for Bush – she screamed in a cafe when she read the email offering her the part – in regards to her acting career, but the casting came with even more bonus points because Voyd is a superhero who has superintelligence.
"I'm always talking to girls about education being of paramount importance, how their brains are the most valuable parts of their bodies, and how smart is sexy," Bush says. "And I get to play a science nerd who manipulates space.
"It makes it exponentially more special when you get to check something off your bucket list and it is this fulfilling. It is a dream come true."
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