Mass Effect Cast Interview, Part One

The Gaming Liberty has kicked off a series of interviews with many of the most prominent voice actors in the Mass Effect series, including Mark Meer (male Shepard), Jennifer Hale (female Shepard), Peter Jessop (Sovereign), Michael Beattie (Mordin), Steve Blum (Grunt), Keythe Farley (Thane), and several others. Part one serves as a lengthy introduction:
Retroplayer- How did you land your role in Mass Effect?

Mark Meer (Commander Shepard)- I'd worked on a number of Bioware Games before, starting with Baldur's Gate II back in 2000 (my part consisted of one line in a cutscene right at the end of the game). I'd worked on pretty much all of their games after that, in some capacity or another (Neverwinter Nights, KotOR, Jade Empire.). At the time I was asked to audition for the role of Commander Shepard, I was already working on Mass Effect, doing some preliminary development work for them on how the various alien races would sound. I did the audition, and sort of forgot about it, since I didn't think I had a chance at it, and just sort of assumed I'd get some work as aliens and what have you. Then I did a callback, and another, and then was informed that I had the part! It floored me -- especially when I found out that Jennifer Hale was playing female Shepard. Quite an honor to get to be her (other half). She's one of the best and busiest voice actors in North America.

Jennifer Hale (Commander Shepard)- I was called in by Chris Borders who was handling the casting for Bioware and read for the director Ginny McSwain and got the part that way.

Kym Hoy (Kasumi)- I have an agent who sets up auditions and I have a home studio where I record my auditions and submit them in an mp3 form, and that's how they found me for this job!

D.C Douglas (Legion)- I slept with several audio engineers until I found the right one at Technicolor in Burbank. The spike in Herpes outbreaks in sound studios across LA would be because of me my bad. Oh, okay! I auditioned for it. Some copy (script) showed up in my email from my agent, I popped into the booth and recorded it, sent it back. A few weeks later I was booked! Not an exciting story, but VO people love it -- a job! Only recently did I actually get booked for a video game without an audition. Twice for two big games coming out in 2011 that an NDA prevents me from naming. But they're cool!

Michael Beattie (Mordin)- I did something very unique. I read for it! I went into the booth with my voice over agent and read for it.

Maggie Baird (Samara)- I just auditioned from my kitchen. That is where we have our computer and recording equipment set up. We get auditions sent to us from our agents via email and then both my husband (also a VO actor) send them in. From oneof those I got the role of Samara.

Steve Blum (Grunt)- Huge bribes and a lot of nudity. Not mine though. That'd just be wrong. Actually, I auditioned from my home studio, if I remember correctly. And was lucky enough to get (the call.) I REALLY got lucky with Grunt. He was the one I was hoping to book!

Kimberly Brooks (Ashley)- I did it the old-fashioned way. I auditioned! I gave it my best shot and booked the job. Although, rumour has it, that I was not Bioware's first choice. I apparently replaced another actress, who shall remain nameless.

Robin Sachs (Zaeed)- Bioware requested an audition from my agent and I was happy to give .m one.

Keythe Farley (Thane)- My agent submitted me for it. Funny story. I was at a friend's house for a dinner party and he had a recording studio at his house. I asked if he would mind recording my audition for this warrior/ monk that my agents had sent me. He agreed on the condition that, if I booked the job, that I would take him out to lunch. I actually didn't hear that I'd been awarded the role until months later, and when I discovered that it was the audition that I'd sent from his studio, I phoned him up and we went out for a steak salad together.

Peter Jessop (Sovereign)- I auditioned. I had been following the buzz on it before they had put it together and it sounded like a project I would really like to be a part of. So, when the casting call went out I read for a number of roles. The audition for Sovereign came out much later than a lot of the roles and I had already recorded several other parts in the game. I guess they liked my take on Sovereign.