SDCC 2012: Giving Voice to ‘The Old Republic’

In this SDCC panel, Catherine Taber (Vette), Tasia Valenza (Kaliyo), Tara Strong (Risha), Neil Kaplan (Skadge), and Holly Fields (Nadia) talk about being your companions in The Old Republic.

Taber and Strong said that they didn’t even know what they were participating in: two years ago when they first auditioned for the role, it was simply called The Old Republic and they were unaware of its Star Wars ties.

It’s the largest voice over project in entertainment history, with thousands of lines of dialog. Each of the performers were surprised by the scope of the game.

I’m always kind of interested in the ways voice actors find a connection to their roles. Kaplan says he appreciated playing another large, tough character who he says are braver than himself. Fields, who regularly stands in for Cameron Diaz for any Shrek non-film content says she appreciated being able to take on a voice role that was solely hers. Taber, who has several Star Wars credits to her name, enjoyed the opportunity to finally go towards the Dark Side for once.

Given the type of VO involved in the game, none of the actors were working alongside other actors, meaning they didn’t have anyone to play off of in the booth. Fields says that at one point, she had to perform an entire love scene by phone. Kaplan says that SDCC acts as the rare reunion for the performers who rarely get to see one another.

Discussing some of the inspirations for their roles and catching their personalities, Taber says that she put a bit of Indiana Jones into her take on Vette; Valenza’s Kaliyo was based on actress Linda Fiorentino’s role in the film The Last Seduction. Fields says she actually had to purge other performances from her head before getting into the booth, just before handling one session being stuck with Drew Barrymore’s voice in her own after voicing the actress’ character in Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

When working for Lucas titles, they all agreed that they’re mostly asked to keep it grounded and realistic, avoiding cartoony with their performances.

Before ending the panel, we got a sneak at a new companion character coming to the game soon: HK-51, a droid assassin.

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