06 JanRaphael Sbarge: Kimberly Brooks Q&A Part 2
Raphael Sbarge (Kaidan, Mass Effect) chats with Kimberly D. Brooks (Ashley, Mass Effect) about how they were cast for the series and the evolution of videogames, in the second part of a three-part interview. (Catch up with part one.)
Raphael: Someone wanted to know how – you know, we both were hired, or brought on. Did you read for Ashley, what did you know about the character? How did you find your way there, I guess.
Kimberly: Right, well, I – like I do every day – I’m a hustler for the job, and I auditioned, just like everybody else. Actually, it’s pretty interesting, I think: I was brought in a little bit later, and the game had already been cast. I believe I was actually replacing an actress – I don’t really know what happened.
Raphael: Oh, no kidding.
Kimberly: Yeah, I don’t know what happened with that whole situation, but I was brought in a little bit later; the game was already kind of going, so I didn’t … You know, we had the drawings, there were some drawings of her, and I thought, “Oh my gosh, she’s so hot. I gotta play her well.”
Raphael: [laugh] You’re hot.
Kimberly: [laugh] Thanks. It’s just been really fun. I love it, because she’s tough; she’s a military chick; she’s, you know, all the weapons; she’s an officer; and she just grows, and you see her whole life story. But, then there’s the other side of her: She’s vulnerable, and she’s a woman. It’s just, it’s really cool to get to play that kind of duplicity in a character.
Raphael: That’s neat. That’s really neat. That’s wonderful.
Kimberly: Yeah, it’s great.
Raphael: I auditioned for it, just like you, and just like you said, you know, we walk into these rooms. It’s funny, you know, I have a son, who, I dropped him off at his preschool – he’s now in second grade – but I remember dropping him off one day, and his teacher apparently said to my son: “You know, your dad looks familiar. What does he do?” And my son thought for a second, and he went: “Um. He auditions.”
Kimberly: [laugh] Oh my gosh, he told the truth! That’s what we do! Oh, that’s brilliant.
Raphael: So, for all intents and purposes, that’s what we do, right?
Kimberly: That’s so true. So do you remember your audition, your actual, specific audition for Mass Effect?
Raphael: I sort of … I don’t remember the specific audition. I remember when I got the call: “Oh, you’ve got this game, called Mass Effect.” And I remember thinking, “Oh, this seems kind of interesting.” And then I remember when we first went into the first sessions, and the very specific notes were: “We don’t want to create a game like any other game. There’s not a lot of screaming; we want it to be more like an episode of 24.”
Kimberly: Exactly. Oh, I remember that, definitely.
Raphael: Right, “And we want to keep it really conversational, and real. We want actors; not voices. We want your personality to come through, but we want to really create a style for the military. There was a lot of … Ginny, the director at the time, was really, really on me anyway, about trying to sort of create, kind of a style, sort of the vibe of the game, and I thought was wildly successful in kind of holding the line for me, which I appreciated.
Kimberly: Oh, definitely. I mean, gosh, games have evolved so much. You think back to some of the first videogames I worked on, where it wasn’t really actor-driven, as they are now. Now, it’s just all about the characters, and the characters’ relationships, and making it very real, like you said: Like an episode of 24. And that’s really exciting, I love that, I love that part, being involved in that.
Come back tomorrow for part 3!