Titans’ Jinx Actress Explained How She And The Show’s Director Made Sure The Character Didn’t Emulate Doctor Strange

Lisa Ambalavanar as Jinx in Titans Season 4
(Image credit: HBO Max)

Warning: SPOILERS for the Titans episode “Jinx” are ahead!

You know the old saying “Fight fire with fire”? Well, when a supernatural threat comes along, it definitely helps to have as much magical firepower on your side to combat it. With last week’s Titans episode, “Mother Mayhem,” seeing Raven’s powers being drained, “Jinx” saw Dick Grayson recruiting Lisa Ambalavanar’s Jinx (whose involvement in Titans was revealed in January) to help them out. It didn’t take long for Jinx to show she’s quite experienced with magic, but when it came to acting out the spellcasting in real life, Ambalavanar and one of Titans’ directors took steps to make sure that her character wasn’t emulating Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

I had the privilege of chatting with Lisa Ambalavanar ahead of her first episode in Titans Season 4 premiering to HBO Max subscribers. With Jinx primarily using hand movements to conjure her magic, I was curious about what the process was like of shooting those scenes, namely if she was instructed to only make specific hand movements or if she was given room to play around with that. The actress told CinemaBlend:

It wasn’t highly choreographed at all. The first director I worked with, Boris [Mojsovski], who shot my first couple of episodes, he was really instrumental in figuring out how Jinx was going to be and how Jinx was going to work. So much of her is a credit to him and us working together on that, but he knew that he didn’t want it to be too complicated. He didn’t want it to be some Doctor Strange-conjuring spells kind of thing. He wanted it to be relatively effortless, and just be able to use her telekinesis and things in a really easy way. So I thought about Matilda and Matilda powers, just being able to move stuff with your mind using your hands, and then how I actually did that was kind of up to me. Like the literal positioning of the hands and arms was what I wanted to do, what I felt in the moment. So it was discussed, but it wasn’t specifically choreographed.

Fans of the Marvel movies are quite familiar with the hand movements Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange breaks out to channel his unique form of sorcery (including the controversial spell from Spider-Man: No Way Home). But when it came to Jinx on Titans, director Boris Mojsovski didn’t want to be nearly as elaborate with her magic. So although he and Lisa Ambalavanar didn’t spend a lot of time figuring out what the actress should do with her hands, it ultimately boiled down to wanting Jinx’s magic-conjuring to just look like it was second nature for her. So in that regard, drawing influence from Matilda (presumably the 1996 film adaptation starring Mara Wilson) makes sense.

As we learned in “Jinx,” Dick Grayson and Jinx have a history together, though when we met Lisa Ambalavanar’s character, she was stuck in prison. But because Dick needed her help not just with helping Raven, but also dealing with Frank Potente’s Mother Mayhem and her forces, that provided Jinx an opportunity to escape custody, kicking off a series of crazy events. Long story short, Dick and Jinx have now come to an arrangement for the latter’s assistance, meaning, for now at least, she’s not one of Titans Season 4’s villains as initially assumed. So fingers crossed that having Jinx around will improve the chances of the Titans emerging victorious this season.

There are three more episodes left to go in the first half of Titans Season 4, each one dropping on Thursdays. The season’s remaining six episodes will then be released on HBO Max (opens in new tab) sometime in 2023. While you’re here, read what Titans showrunner Greg Walker told CinemaBlend about how the season premiere took Lex Luthor off the board.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.