Throughout her career, Kelly Hu has amassed a diverse and extensive resume of films and television projects.


After coming to audience's attention on “Nash Bridges” and “Martial Law” Hu's big break came when she beat out a wide swath of other actresses to secure the role of Cassandra in “The Scorpion King.” Roles such as Lady Deathstrike in “X2: X-Men United,” Pearl Zhu in “Vampire Diaries” and China White in “Arrow” further secured her geek icon status.


Her career has seen her tackle projects across a spectrum of styles and genres, and in recent years, she has also lent her voice to a number of long-running animated series and best-selling video games.


“Kepler's Dream,”  sees Hu in a supporting role in director/co-writer Amy Glazer's adaptation of Juliet Bell's YA novel.


The Swerve spoke with Hu about Kepler's Dream, as well as the upcoming “Maximum Impact,” as well as her recent voice work.


The Swerve Magazine: How did you get involved with “Kepler's Dream?”


Kelly Hu: I just got a  call with an offer. I met with the director, and she was wonderful.


You don't get to work with a lot of female directors these days and I was looking forward to that. It's more and more now, of course. When I started in this industry, it was like none. One female director in television. Now it is great that there are so many more directors out there and winning awards.


There are even television projects being made now with female directors and all females producers, and that is quite a switch from it being an all-male industry.


SM: Along that line, a few years ago you starred in the romantic comedy “Almost Perfect,” directed by Bertha Bay-Sa Pan. The chemistry among the cast is remarkable in that. What was the experience like making that film?


KH: It was great. I am still in touch with Christina (Chang), who played my sister. We still call each other sister. I'm so glad she's doing well, it's fabulous. She's on “The Good Doctor,” and before that, she was doing “Nashville.” She's done really well for herself, and I'm so happy for her.


SM: While you have done a fair share of comedies and dramas, you are known for, and act in, a good number of action roles. Are those roles something you pursue?


KH: I don't go out of my way to pursue, but some of them just fall into my lap. I have a black belt in karate, so it's great that I've been able to use that, but I never took martial arts with the goal of using it to advance my career. It just so happened that people like seeing women kick butt. Lucky for me. Doing roles like “Almost Perfect” is so great. I was an actor before I ever did martial arts, so doing roles that don't require me to do martial arts is great. I am just as comfortable there. I'm not in a position where I can just demand roles, but I can peruse what is offered to me, and find projects that interest me.


SM: I also saw that you are working again with your “Cradle 2 The Grave” director on the action-comedy “Maximum Impact.”


KH: It was a very, very interesting project to work on. I have yet to see the final cut. It apparently just debuted in Russia. I only just saw the trailer for it when I was in San Francisco. I saw the Russian version of the trailer, and I wasn't in it at all, which is weird because I am in so much of the film. I was like #2 on the call sheet. I'm not sure exactly how they cut it around me, but somehow they did.


SM: What was it like working with Andrzej Bartkowiak again?


KH: It was great. He's really a great guy. There were a lot of challenges shooting in Russia. When working abroad, there's always going to be that language barrier. There are no unions in Russia. It makes you really appreciate your union, and working with unions. There were so many challenges, things that we just take for granted in the United States, that he was able to work around and handle. From what I understand, he came out with a pretty good product.


SM: In recent years, you have also taken on a lot of voice acting roles. How did you come to be involved with that area of performing?


KH: The very first voice acting gig I ever did was a direct offer for “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II.” I got to play a character who was kind of a servant type character. I enjoyed it so much. It was the first time that I got to sit down in a chair, read from a script—not have to memorize dialogue, just read from a script, and really just concentrate on what I sounded like. I didn't have to worry about what I looked like; I didn't have to worry about if I was standing on the right mark or my co-stars or anything. It was really a great exercise only having to concentrate on one thing.


After that, I just started auditioning and got “Phineas and Ferb,” and that ended up being a nine-year project for me. It was awesome.


SM: That show was really great. It seems like it would have been a lot of fun to work on.


KH: It was amazing. I got to work with Dan Povenmire and "Swampy" Marsh, who have been in the industry for a long time and getting to work on a Disney series that was a huge success. I didn't even realize how big of a success it was because I don't have children. I knew it ran on Disney, but I didn't know how much kids loved it until I took my niece to Disneyland one day and I saw all of these adults and kids wearing the Platypus hats, shirts and carrying bags.


It was really well done, and the humor in it appeals to so many adults as well. I asked them one day, “Did you guys make this for kids?” and they said, “No, we made it for ourselves.” So much of the humor has to do with history and things kids wouldn't understand, which made it fun for adults to watch with their kids.


SM: Another long-running animation project saw you playing Karai on Nickelodeon's “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” What was it like taking that character through all of her emotional and physical transformations?


KH: It was fun. I had heard of Ninja Turtles before—I mean, who hasn't—but I didn't know anything about the character of Karai, so everything was sort of new to me. When she mutates, and the battle between the two dads, it all came to me as a shock as well. It was real surprise in timing.


Being able to be in the room with Rob Paulsen, Kevin Richardson, Eric Bauza and these amazing actors like Seth Green. Working with Andrea Romano, who is a legend unto herself, it was really quite an amazing learning experience for me. I had no idea people could do that with their voices.


Guys like Kevin Richardson, who gets cast as these giant monsters. They're like, “Do the sound of eating human flesh.” He's amazing. They're like, “Make it sound juicier.” (laughs) “Put some bone-crunching in there.” It' amazing watching these guys work.


SM: I've talked with Rob Paulsen and seen him and some of the other guys on stage. They're pretty unrestrained.


KH: What's even more entertaining is all the stuff in between the recording, listening to these guys go back and forth between each other. We end up laughing so much in the booth. Whenever there's a group, you can always guarantee that there's going to be tons of chatter and fun. It's amazing that any work actually gets done. It's like a party with a thousand people because all of theses guys have thousands of voices inside of them waiting to burst out.


SM: Are there any other vocal performances that have been significant for you?


KH: I've been doing a lot of video games lately as well. Those have been really interesting. I don't play video games, either. It was only just recently when I was doing an episode of “NCIS: New Orleans” that there was a nerd night going on among the crew members. Of course, I went because I'm queen of the nerds. (laughs) I got to see one of my characters being played. D'Vorah in “Mortal Kombat.” This guy, who was like the D'Vorah Louisiana champion came out just to meet me. We had a big screen in the theater with the game, and I got to watch him play my character and listen to it for the first time. It was really fun.


I didn't get that whole gaming thing. My friend sold his company Twitch. “I don't get it; people pay to watch other people play video games?” He's like, “Uh, yeah.” “I just don't get it.” Then I watched this guy play my character on 'Mortal Kombat' for like an hour, “Oh, OK, now I get it.” That whole gaming culture is something that I didn't realize just how massive it had gotten.


SM: It seems with a lot of the roles that you play, you would get exposed to different fandoms, especially now that you have been doing some comic cons.


KH: A lot of times when I do these voice-overs, especially with video games, there is such a long lead time. The time between recording the voice over and the game actually coming out can be a year, or even two. A lot of times they'll do these games under different names because the fans are so rabid, and they're trying to keep things under wraps. I'll walk into a studio, and I won't know what project I'm actually doing.


I went and did a Batman game (“Arkham Origins”), and they called it “Ozzy,” I don't know why, somebody must have loved the rocker. I'm playing a character called Lady Shiva, and I don't know the comicbook well enough to know that there's a character called Lady Shiva in that world. So I'm doing these voices, and I may be in and out in just a few hours, and then a year-and-a-half later, some kid will walk up to me at a comic con with the game, and ask if I can sign it. I'll look at it, and say “I don't know if I'm actually in that.” And they'll say, “No, you are” and pull it up on IMDB to prove that I played this character in this video game.  A lot of the fans know more about what games I've done than I do at this point.