The Real Princess Zelda: Patricia Summersett talks to Pause Resume
First up for Pause Resume Q3 is Craig’s interview with Princess Zelda herself Patricia Summersett.
Patricia took on the enviable task of being the first voice actress for Princess Zelda, an iconic video game character that has played an integral part of The Legend of Zelda series for over three decades.
In recent years though it’s been made clear that both the Zelda series and Nintendo had to move with the times, which meant finally introducing audio voices to a series that has been mute ever since it made its debut back in 1987.
But how did it feel to bring a mute character to life? We spoke to Patricia Summersett and asked her how she brought one the most iconic characters in video games to life …
When did you first hear about the role and how familiar were you with the Zelda series?
I actually discovered it was the role of Princess Zelda only weeks after I’d landed it, which is pretty common in video game auditions due to the intense secrecy surrounding the material. I was pretty familiar with the series having grown up with the NES in my family home and having played a few of the Zelda games (the original, Ocarina of Time, and then Twilight Princess). But I never would have suspected it was Zelda… I wouldn’t have fathomed that.
Did you feel under any pressure considering you were the first voice actress to give such an iconic video game character an English voice? Especially after 3 decades of silence for Zelda.
I did feel pressure surely. It was a fascinating year being a “silent princess” and watching the hype unfold. But I also felt well supported and it was a focused room, much work to be done and clear direction. At some point, it became more important to simply focus on the work at present.
What was Nintendo like to work with compared to other roles you’ve had?
Honestly, with most VO jobs I’ve done, I’ve always had a pretty positive experience. The Nintendo team was an absolute joy to be in the room with. Working with director Jamie Mortellaro… I highly recommend the experience for any voice over artist because his direction is easy, clear, always supportive and confident. So I’d say it was great. I’d give it a top rating, haha! But also the nature of the material was extra special, so it was a very cool room to be in.
How did you mentally prepare yourself for the role? And, how much creative freedom did you have to explore the character?
I approach every script I work on from a theatre perspective. I prepped and did research into the Zelda universe to prepare as well. Zelda is a very easy character to empathise with. But I was also given very clear direction, so ultimately it was about coming in with an idea and then marrying it with the vision of Nintendo.
Would you like to reprise the role again, and if so, what would you do differently, if anything?
I would certainly reprise the role if I had the chance. I can’t say exactly what I would do differently, but I would continue to evolve within it as I would when spending a length of time with any character. And I would certainly appreciate every moment of it!
Have you got around to playing Breath of the Wild? If so, how’s your play through going and what are your thoughts on the finished product?
I have played several hours and have a mountain of hours ahead of me. The game is incredible, I love it. I get distracted with all of the little things that have nothing to do with an ultimate mission. Hunting forever, or blowing up everything I can find on a cliff. I was waylaid for about 30 minutes the other day attempting to use magnesis to lift a pitchfork and bump a bunch of goats on their backsides (to get them to run). And you can do that in this game… with everything! But really, I just find the work of the hundreds of artists involved in the creation of the game to be truly incredible. To be involved in this way creatively… it’s a gift I do not take for granted.
You can follow Patricia on Twitter @Summersett_ where we’re sure she’ll be talking about the new Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC The Champions’ Ballad when it releases later this year.
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