It may have taken nine seasons, but Aisha Tyler finally gets to portray Lana Kane as she’s always imagined herself, as royalty. In Archer: Danger Island, which premieres tonight on FXX, she returns as Princess Lanaluakalani, a local revolutionary and actual princess of a small island in the South Pacific. We recently got the chance to talk to Tyler about adapting her character to new surroundings every year, what Archer creator Adam Reed might have planned, and how long it took her to correctly pronounce Lanaluakalani.
Your character gets a fairly grand entrance when she first shows up on Danger Island.
I do get to make an entrance. It’s fun. It’s probably the most transformative of all of the seasons of Archer. I mean, Krieger’s a talking parrot. Well, I guess last season there was Pam as a detective, but she’s actually a man. But yes, my character is whom she’s always seen herself to be: royalty. And, as you’ll see, I think she’s as disgusted with Archer as she ever has been. But, there’s a lot more intrigue going on between them.
You also have the hardest to pronounce character name.
Yes, so much that I mispronounced it hundreds of times when we were recording the show.
I was going to ask how long that took to get used to.
Just forever. I mean, I don’t think I ever really learned it properly. I would be on episode six, and I’d be like, “Wait, what is it, how many consonants? How many syllables?” Yeah, it was a really complex one. And we kind of just mutilate one of those many beautiful Pacific Islander languages during the season. And I’m sure we’ll get letters, but, you know, whatever we do, at Archer we feel disgust at our own show, so…
We’re a few years into these radical changes that last for the season. Does that change feel as significant when you’re in the sound booth recording the voices?
It’s so interesting. In terms of like the show transforming every season, it absolutely does. Her vocals kind of changed a little bit, you know, [she] wants to look like a princess. And she’s Pacific Islander, she speaks French. And she’s speaking a little bit of Maori or Tahitian, or I’m a jerk.
So it’s fun to kind of play the same character with the other new kind of layers or tones that you didn’t get to play with in previous seasons. But I when you’ve been doing a character for as long as all of us have, you really start to know that character very well and know what their little quirks are, their verbal tics and everything. So it is fun to kind of dive back into the same character in a different way.
It does seem like a rare opportunity to play a character for so long then get to play little reinventions ever season.
I think it’s pretty rare, right? You’ll occasionally have a show where, again, a lot of the characters have a dream sequence or a dream episode or, what they do a live musical episode? Or somehow they go back in time. But it’s just rare that the whole storyline and every character falls into a new setting, and they really immerse themselves in that setting for an entire season. I mean, it may have been done in the past, but I can’t think of a show that’s done it for fun.