Actress Claudia Black has a loyal following from sci-fi hits like Farscape and Stargate: SG:1, as well as games such as God of War, Conan and Crysis. The Australian actress made her leap into the world of performance capture working with Sony and Naughty Dog on Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. She took some time away from the set at Hollywood's House of Moves to talk about why Uncharted appeals to female gamers, and how video games have changed the landscape in Tinseltown.
We have a feeling that she gets what she wants when she wants it.Click to see more images from the game...
What's it like playing Chloe Frazer in Uncharted 2?
She's a lot of fun to play. She's incredibly relaxed and irreverent. Chloe is Indiana Jones with nice hair. She's way hotter than I am. I love it, but I keep asking the boys to make my boobs big, because I figure if they're going to create me from scratch, apparently you can improve on perfection. Just kidding. They say that the more they see us on screen, the more the animators make the characters look like us and I keep telling them not to because I really love what they have done with my character. And Drake is so hot. It's such a shame that he doesn't really exist, because I think I've got a bit of a crush on him.
So what's your relationship like with the man who voices Drake, Nolan North?
I'm the little sister that Nolan never wanted. He and I were twins separated at birth. The only difference is, he's just slightly more annoying than I am. Because of Nolan I have a fantastic chemistry and that has partly determined who Chloe is. She's a bit of a smooth operator. She's a swashbuckling adventurer and she is a survivor. But I think she has a genuine soft spot for Drake. In this game, Drake has more of a close relationship and a lot of history with Chloe than he had in the previous game with Elaine.
What impact do you think this video game love triangle will have on female gamers?
I think it's really terrific for female players to have two strong women who are very different in this game. While I think women get a little bit tired of seeing women being in competition with one another, these two have their own agendas and they're complex. When I worked on "Farscape," Sci-Fi Channel found that because they had such interesting female characters on the show, they doubled their audience with women 18 to 34. It started to do incredibly well for them in that female demographic, and I think with this game, it will have a similar impact.
The cast of Uncharted 2 did performance capture for this game. What was that process like for you?
I get asked in interviews what I like most: theater, film or television, because I do them all. The fourth part of that is voice work, which is a very pure form of acting. This particular gig incorporates all four of those paradigms because we perform it like a play, so it's very much like theater. There's a film quality to the game, and like television, we have a high turnaround of scripts.
I saw one of your table reads. Can you explain how the actors and director all have input into each scene in the game?
With theater and film, the script is sort of very sacrosanct. Here it's this amorphous kind of base that is constantly changing. We are required to be flexible around it as they create things or we film things. Amy Hennig, who is our writer/producer, will invite us to contribute where it's appropriate. It's not an actor's job to write or rewrite unless they are writers and they've been brought on in that capacity, but sometimes it's required. Nolan is a very responsible storyteller, and when I first rehearsed with him on this gig, he was capable of looking at the scene and knowing what was needed. I subscribe to the theory, especially now writing and producing more myself, that ten heads are better than one. And when it's well-controlled, it's a valuable process.
And what role do you see video games playing today in Hollywood?
Video games are such an important element of the business. They're a huge threat to movies, and I think moviemakers, when they're smart, include video games. In the past, it's been sort of a merchandising opportunity. That's when games were first starting, but this is a massive industry. And I sort of quietly smile to myself proudly, as does my husband, that I'm part of an industry that is equally important. I think the film industry and the gaming industry inspire one another to do better work, so people have a high expectation now in video games because of CGI and what's been achieved in a lot of action movies. Conversely, video games have become so sophisticated, especially Uncharted, that it's making people in the movie business live their game.
What kind of crossover are you seeing based on the sci-fi work you've done in the past and video games?
There's been a lot of interest in me because I'm not the girl next door and I'm prepared to be slightly edgy and unlikable. Those are the more interesting roles to play. And as Gordon Hunt, our director, pointed out to me, I'm not really a cheerleader type. In science fiction, for years the women have either been ball breakers or bimbos. But now I get to play these really interesting strong characters in action and sci-fi. They're for the taking.
We enjoy those performances. Take care, and congratulations on voicing such a strong-willed character.