Tricia Helfer has played no shortage of emotionless robots, from Battlestar Galactica, to Mass Effect’s EDI. Add one more to the list, as Helfer is the voice of The Grid in Disney XD’s new show Tron: Uprising. We chatted with Helfer about becoming an in demand voice actress, why she wouldn’t want to play the Disc games, and why her character is the Gossip Girl of the Grid:
MTV Geek: General question for you, but beyond all your live action roles, you’ve become a pretty in demand voice actor – what’s it been like exploring that side of your career?
Tricia Helfer: I have a lot of fun with it, and aside from not having to sit through two hours of hair and make-up, and you can just show up and do your lines… It’s a whole other world, and as an actor, it’s great to have both, it just keeps things more exciting and fresh, and you get to play things you would rarely get to play with live action. So having a mix of the two is something I hope to continue.
Geek: Let’s talk about playing The Grid… Obviously being an actor is using your emotions, but playing a computer is… The opposite of that? How do you play that as an actor?
TH: That’s definitely something that you kind of leave the studio booth saying, “Really? But that was kind of all the same?” As an actor you’re expecting to show more emotion, so to me that’s the challenge to me with The Grid, and one of the things that makes it different to some of the other voice work I’ve done. It is such a pleasant, steady voice.
The first voice session I did play around with, okay, during the train crash, should The Grid be a little more animated, or excited, and we kept going back to [switches to Grid voice] this pleasant voice which continues regardless what’s going on.
That can be disconcerting in its own way. That’s what we went with, but you sometimes leave the booth thinking, wow, I don’t know how I did! [Laughs]
TH: Yeah, EDI was—When I first did The Grid, I did have some comparisons to EDI, just having done Mass Effect 3, where EDI took on a body… EDI was definitely a little more cheeky, and there was more of a personality than there is with The Grid. To me, even in Mass Effect 2, when EDI was just a sphere, there was still more of a personality, she was EDI. With The Grid, what I’ve seen so far, and voiced so far, it is just this omnipotent voice that’s just there. To me that can be eerie at times, depending on what’s going on, but The Grid has less personality at this point.
Geek: I think you’ve kind of already answered this, but are we going to see The Grid getting in on the action at all?
TH: So far – I certainly don’t know what might be planned – but to me is the voice, the narrator. In the episodes, I do the previously on in the opening of each episode. It is a mix of that voice that’s there, a little bit narrator, and the voice of The Grid, of the world.
Geek: So you’re basically like the Gossip Girl of Tron: Uprising.
TH: [Laughs] I guess you could look at it that way. Yeah, a little bit.
Geek: Okay, I’m asking everybody this, but what Grid game do you think you’d be best at?
TH: With voice over, you only record your lines, so The Grid never plays any of the games herself… [Laughs] I actually haven’t seen any, other than what I watched in Beck’s Beginning last night. The Disc games, that looks like… I saw them playing and having fun, but I also saw them fighting with each other. It looks like a game, but also a death match as well… So I don’t know if I’d necessarily want to play that! I would want to try that motorbike thing, I think I’d be good at that!
Geek: Is there someone in the show you’d want to go up against?
TH: Going up against Beck is a bad call, because he’s primed to be the next Tron isn’t he? [Laughs] I think Bodhi, he died… So maybe he wasn’t as good of a fighter. Maybe I’d go up against one of the ones who died, maybe I’d have a chance.