Interview: Actress Laura Bailey discusses Tales From the Borderlands and more
A lot of voice actors have made a name for themselves over the years, including folks like Troy Baker and Nolan North, featured in such games as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Destiny: The Taken King, respectively. But Laura Bailey is earning her keep as well, taking part in numerous key game projects over the years, including Persona 4 (as Rise Kujikawa), Serana in Skyrim and, next month, as Spartan Olympia Vale in Halo 5: Guardians.
For now, though, fans can enjoy her work as Fiona in the episodic Tales From the Borderlands series, as well as on the Geek & Sundry show Critical Role, along with the new series Titansgrave.
We had a chance to catch up with Laura, discussing her work on Borderlands, as well as other items that factor into her voice acting.
GameCrate: What do you think the toughest aspect is when it comes to voice acting?
Laura Bailey: My answer applies to all forms of acting... it's the unknown. Deciding to pursue this as a career means that for a long time, you might not know what job is coming next. It can take awhile, years or decades even, before your work is steady enough that you don't have to worry constantly. I'm very fortunate to be in a place now that I can choose which projects mean the most to me, but it wasn't always like that.
GameCrate: You’ve voiced several characters over the years. Are there any you consider your particular favorites, or are they all your favorite in a way?
Laura Bailey: They all are, in a way. I mean, all those personalities are in my brain, popping in and out of the forefront. That makes me sound a bit insane, haha, but most voice actors are I think. Get a group of us in a room together and it's mayhem. But there are definitely roles which I think about more often, because of what they meant to me at the time. Roles like Serah in Final Fantasy XIII, or the Boss in Saints Row 3 and 4, or Fetch from InFamous Second Son - those projects were (and still are) very important to me.
GameCrate: Tell us about the work you do on the Geek & Sundry shows, particularly Critical Role.
Laura Bailey: Critical Role is a show where a bunch of voice actor friends of mine and I get together and play Dungeons and Dragons. We'd had a game going for a couple years when G&S approached our DM, Matt Mercer, and asked if they could film it for their Twitch channel. We were a little reluctant at first just because we didn't know how it would transfer, but honestly, it feels exactly like it did when we were sitting around our dining table playing at home. Only with thousands of people watching. Haha. I still can't believe what a cool community of fans the show has bolstered, so supportive and welcoming. It's cool to be involved in a project that helps people stand up and embrace their nerd. I think D&D will just keep growing in popularity as geek culture goes more and more mainstream.
GameCrate: Now, leading back to Borderlands. What kind of research did you do for the role of Fiona?
Laura Bailey: Well I've been a con artist all my life, so I had that going for me...
GameCrate: What do you like best about her character?
Laura Bailey: I love that she's just so badass. She's take charge, and fiercely loyal to those that matter to her. But it's rare for her to let people get close enough that they do. I think that's what makes her and Rhys's dynamic so fun to experience. He's so open and she's so closed off, that as the barriers come down between them, you never know what flood of weird emotions are gonna pour out.
GameCrate: If you were to be cast in an ideal role in a popular video game series, what would it be?
Laura Bailey: Ideal role would probably be a player in one of Bioware's RPG's. I just respect what they do so much. They have amazingly fleshed out characters in their games with complicated, real relationships. The only downside would be that I would already know everything that would happen in the story when I went to play it.
GameCrate: Do you do much gaming yourself?
Laura Bailey: Oh yeah. Ever since I was a kid. I was obsessed with pretty much all of Sierra's games growing up. King's Quest and Quest for Glory...(Leisure Suit Larry when my parents weren't watching.) I'd watch my dad play games like Doom or Half-Life and tell him when he missed a door or a health pack. It's in my blood. I tend to play more RPGs than anything else, like Dragon Age and Skyrim, but I also hop in for Call of Duty games with my friends. Very much looking forward to the new Fallout...I'm anticipating losing a lot of sleep to that one.
GameCrate: Following the release of the next chapters in the Tales From the Borderlands series, what’s next for you? Or can you say just yet?
Laura Bailey: Well Halo 5: Guardians is out in October, I play Spartan Vale in it. I've been working both on the motion capture stage and in the recording booth for the last year and a half with that, so I'm stoked to see how it all turned out. There are also some other exciting games that are in production now and it's killing me to not be able to talk about them. But, of course, every Thursday night at 7PT, you can watch me make an idiot of myself in Critical Role on Geek and Sundry's Twitch.
Fans can learn more about Laura over on her official Twitter page.