By HellCat (Darthmanics1@hotmail.com)
.:Who would you say have been your greatest influences in acting?
I started out as (and still am) a stage actor, so my big heroes were
people like Sir Lawrence Olivier, Sir Derek Jacoby and Dame Judy Dench.
But while I admire all of those actors, I can't say I patterned myself
on any of them. Acting is really an individual experience and
expression. Over time I guess I just got better at being me in front
of a lot of people (or a microphone).
.:If you weren't an actress, what job could you see yourself in?
In addition to acting, I also teach and I love it. It's hard to
imagine my life without either thing, but if I had to stop acting, I
would still teach.
.:What is your most favourite genre to act in (comedy, romance, drama, etc)?
Everything is fun in it's own way. Comedy is the hardest, and so it
can be the most rewarding, but it is a blast to open up and be a really
heavy villain in a drama. Romance is probably my least favorite genre.
I love to play characters with an edge (comic or dramatic). Lately
I've been cast as really dark or insane women. It's kinda fun.
.:Do you try to put any of your own personality into characters/Are there any characters you've played who remind you of yourself?
My very first acting teacher said, "acting isn't pretending to be
someone else. Acting is being yourself in a pretend situation." My
characters may be older or younger than I am (or even a different sex),
but I'm always in there, somewhere.
.:What draws you to a part?
Unless an actor is really famous, or has written the show themselves,
we don't usually get to choose the parts. We're called by casting
directors or agents and asked to read scripts we've never seen before
(well, if we're lucky, maybe we get to see some of it before the
audition). We don't ask to play characters, people ask us to audition
against dozens of other people and, if we're lucky, we get the part.
.:Do you more enjoy playing heroic or villainous characters?
It's fun to play both. Shute was a blast because he's so honest and
has such a big heart, but is also very brave. As I said earlier, I've
had a recent run of playing the hard-edged tough girls (though they
usually turn out to be heroes too). It's a relief to be able to be
mean every once and a while. I've played really nasty villains on
stage and I LOVE it.
.:Are there any actors/writers/directors whom you really enjoy working with?
Well, Rick Zieff, who directs "SD Gundam Force", is such a great guy.
I've known him for a while and we have a great rhythm (sometimes even
spooky, finish each other's sentences kind of thing). And I'm working
with Wendy Lee right now - she played Genkimaru (a new character for
"SD Gundam's" season 2). We used to pass each other in the hall
between sessions and now she's directing me as Layla in "Avenger."
She's a real pro and gets a lot of nuance into each scene.
.:Which type of role do you feel is the most difficult to play?
For me, it's really fragile, sweet women. I guess I'm just not demure.
.:Tell us a bit about The Moving Targets.
They're not moving very much right now. I produced them for a year and
a half and we had a great run, but I needed a break. You can read all
about them on the website at www.themovingtargets.com. There was also
an article about them on yesand.com.
.:You've recently started taking parts in anime shows. Are there any anime series/films that you personally enjoy?
I am the biggest Miyazaki fan. I'm trying to get my hands on
everything he ever did. Last year, I gave everyone I knew a copy of
"My Neighbor Tottoro" for Christmas!
.:As fans anxiously await the as-yet-undetermined US premier of SD Gundam Force season 2, are there any hints you can drop as to what awaits us?
It's got a lot more action/battle sequences with much nastier villains.
And Shute really has a chance to prove himself - I really loved that.
I think that fans of the first season are going to find a lot to enjoy
in the second one.
.:In SD Gundam Force you play the character of Shute (and do a great job, in my opinion ). Do you like the character? Is there anything you'd like to change about him?
I do like Shute. I know a lot of the older fans find him annoying, but
I think he's a really good kid. He reminds me of my 9 year old nephew
- smart, creative and unafraid. I was hoping he would get a chance to
shine and in the second season, I think he does.
.:Do the cast of SD Gundam Force feel any pressure since the show is departure from the standard Gundam storyline?
This is kind of related to the previous question of what draws us to
certain roles. As actors, we either don't know about, or don't think
about previous series. It just isn't helpful when creating an original
character. I need to play a particular person reacting to a particular
situation. What someone else did on another series doesn't matter.
.:Early on in SD Gundam Force's first season, one episode has Shute changing the usual narration about Neotopia to instead being talking about the city of Ypsilanti, Michigan. What's the significance behind this joke and who's idea was it to sneak it in?
It just showed up in the script one day.
.:How does it feel to have one of your characters (Shute) immortalised in action figure form? (And has Bandai sent you one?)
I bought the set with my figure and I was very, very excited. Hey,
I'm an action hero!
.:Is there any chance we could see more from SD Gundam Force beyond season 2?
The word I've heard is "no." But once we wrap, it's out of my hands.
I'd love it if they did another season though - I miss my little guy!
A Big thanks to HellCat for thinking up these questions!