From Halo to World of Warcraft: An Interview With Voice Artist Laura Bailey

John Keefer | 26 Aug 2015 16:00
Interviews - RSS 2.0
laura bailey - photo credit, isaac sterling (6)

Escapist: One game that doesn't appear on your credits in Wikipedia is that you are the voice of the Demon Hunter in Diablo 3. If I recall, you were brought in to redo many of the lines done previously by someone else. In a situation like that, how do you prepare? Do you try to find out why the other person was replaced so you don't make a similar mistake?

LB: Those kind of situations can be tricky. Fans get very attached to character voices, and rightly so. I mean if you spend over a hundred hours with something, it becomes very important to you. For that game I wasn't given a lot of details about why I was coming in, just told that the previous actor wasn't returning. They asked me to match voice type as much as possible but also put my own spin on the performance.

Escapist: You've also done TV work and Films, mostly sci-fi and fantasy. Is that your preferred genre when acting? How is live action prep different from voice work prep?

LB: There's a lot more prep time that goes into live work, at least on my end. Voice work is more about imagination. With film and TV work, there are so many things that effect your performance, from makeup to wardrobe to sets, it's honestly hard to compare the two.

Escapist: One of your portfolio stills has you screaming with a controller in your hand. What games are you playing now? What would you say your favorite game of all time is?

LB: Right now I'm playing Ori and the Blind Forest. So beautiful. My favorite console game is DragonAge. But I pretty much love everything BioWare puts out. I grew up on the PC playing Sierra games. King's Quest, Quest for Glory ... Arcanum. Not too many people have played that last one but it's one of the first games I remember hearing a voice performance that I connected to.

Escapist: PS4 or Xbox One? Wii U?

LB: PS4 AND Xbox One. I play them both.

Escapist: Single-player or multiplayer and why?

LB: Single probably. I'm the type of gamer that spends hours deciding my haircut. So I switch equipment and gear a lot. I always feel bad making another player sit through that.

Escapist: As a gamer, where would you like to see the industry go in the next five years? What is the next big thing?

laura bailey - photo credit, isaac sterling (5)

LB: Oh man, after such cinematic experiences like The Last of Us, I'd love to see more games like that with characters that are truly fleshed out. Protagonists that can't be easily defined but exist on multiple levels. I feel like more of the projects I'm auditioning for and working on right now are displaying those sort of roles, which is a really beautiful thing.

Escapist: Let's shift the conversation to Critical Role where you play D&D with other voice actors. You guys look like you are having fun. How has that experience been? What is your favorite D&D character you have played?

LB: It's so much fun! I hadn't ever played D&D until just over three years ago and I can't believe I missed out on it for so much of my life. We were approached by Geek and Sundry for Critical Role about two and a half years into our already established campaign so they started filming us mid adventure. My character on the show, a half elf ranger, is the only D&D character I've ever played. It's so weird, because for years this world we all play in has existed solely within our own minds, but suddenly there are thousands of other people that see it with us. Suddenly it feels so much more real.

Escapist: Have you played other tabletop RPGs or miniatures games?

LB: Well, I played Dread on Tabletop season 3, and did a little guest spot in a friend's Star Wars campaign, but outside of that, just TitansGrave.

Escapist: Of course, this then leads us to Wil Wheaton's TitansGrave. What have you enjoyed most working on that project?

LB: I think what was so great about that show is that it took me outside of my comfort zone. In all my RPGs, video games included, I play as a stealthy character. I'm a sneaky wizard or archer who stays away from the main cluster of combat. But with TitansGrave, pretty much all the other players chose stealthy characters too, so I decided to turn Lemly into the tank. And it was so much fun! She's basically this little girl who acts long before she thinks and kicks serious butt.

Escapist: Given your more than 15 years of doing voice work, any crazy or outlandish stories that you would care to share from any of your projects?

LB: Well, my room was decorated in Star Wars posters growing up. I'm such a big fan, so recording with Mark Hamill was a pretty surreal day. I was working on Regular Show and trying to not show how big of a geek for him I was the whole time. Crazy.

Escapist: Where do you see Laura Bailey in five years?

LB: Wow, hopefully doing more of what I love. More and more roles are being written for women in games, which means the opportunities to play something powerful and compelling keep growing. I can't wait to see what comes next.

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