The animated series TRON: Uprising, debuting with a special preview on the Disney Channel on May 18th before premiering on Disney XD on June 7th, takes place after the 1982 feature film and before the events in TRON: Legacy. Produced in CG animation with a 2D aesthetic, the series follows the heroic journey of a new character named Beck (voiced by Elijah Wood), a young program who becomes the unlikely leader of a revolution inside the computer world of The Grid. You can watch the first episode here.
At the press day for this highly anticipated new show, actress Emmanuelle Chriqui, who voices Paige, General Tesler’s (voiced by Lance Henriksen) confident and polished field commander, talked about how blown away she was by the look of the entire series, having been familiar with the original TRON film, what attracted her to the role, how Paige is much more than just a villain, the process of building the character’s persona, and what she enjoys about voice-over work. She also talked about how she’d love to do a live-action action movie, what she looks for in a role, playing a recurring character on the CBS drama series The Mentalist, and the current status of the Entourage movie. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
Question: What did you think when you saw your animated character?
EMMANUELLE CHRIQUI: I was blown away by the entire series, to be honest with you. The whole animation is so unique and edgy and cool-looking. Paige is amazing! She’s so hot! She really is. She’s cool, with this short hair and really long legs. I wish I could relate to that. I love how she looks. It’s really cool.
Did you get to record to any of the animation?
CHRIQUI: Initially, not at all, actually. We just record without anything, and then they animate to the voices, and then we do ADR and match that.
What attracted you to this project?
CHRIQUI: It’s funny because the voice-over world is definitely another career. It’s another outlet to be creative. But, I’m just not invested, in the way that I am with film and television. If I go to an audition, I’m like, “Did you hear yet? What did they say?” With voice-over, it’s just far more relaxed, which is really, really nice. This was the first time that I auditioned for something like this, where I was like, “Did you hear yet?” I really, really wanted this because the material was that good. When I read the role of Paige, I couldn’t believe it was animation. It reads like live-action. The fact that it’s a cartoon, I just find that astounding, really. With the dialogue, the stories, the complexity and the characters, you wish that you could do that.
Were you familiar with TRON, before this project?
CHRIQUI: Yes, I was familiar with the original film.
How would you describe Paige?
CHRIQUI: Well, Paige is such an interesting character because she goes under the villain category, though I don’t play her as a villain. She works for the bad guys, but I think it’s because she’s misguided. She’s very smart, she’s very driven, and she also does everything with a lot of conviction, which are all really admirable qualities. It’s just unfortunate that she works for the bad guys. Later, we learn other aspects of her, so that we understand why she is in this situation. It’s very interesting because, though she’s a villain, she’s not really.
Did you know her backstory while you were playing her, or have you learned about her during the process?
CHRIQUI: As we’ve been recording, I keep discovering stuff. Charlie [Bean] is awesome. He’s such a great director to work with. We just have such a good rapport together. He’ll fill me in, as we go. He’ll say, “This is where she’s coming from, and this is what just happened.” When we’re not all recording together, and I’m by myself in the booth, I just have my pages with me, so he’s really good at filling in the blanks. He’s heard everybody else, so he knows exactly what he needs. It’s a very organic process, I would say.
How did you go about building your character’s persona?
CHRIQUI: The voice quality is essentially the same as mine. She’s a little breathier when she talks, but it’s in more in what she’s saying. Often, people ask if it’s different doing live-action and voice-over, but the only thing that’s different, really, is that we’re in a booth and there’s no camera on me. But, my intention, as an actor, is exactly the same. Whatever I’m saying and whatever my dialogue is, that is really authentic. If you were to see us in the booth, you would laugh because you’d see our hands flailing. We do anything to make it come across, as we would in life. So, as far as playing things harder, which is who Paige is, it’s really in the material.
Do you like playing a harder character like this?
CHRIQUI: Yes, definitely! I figure that this is my stepping stone. Someone will watch it and go, “Oh, my god, that’s Emmanuelle Chriqui?! She can sound bad. Let’s give her this.”
Would you like to do a live-action action movie?
CHRIQUI: I would love to! I’d love to have to train for three to six months and get in the sickest shape ever, and have gun training and fight training. That would be so fun. I want to do that, at least once. I get to play for a living and I’ve never played that, so I would love to play that.
Are you prepared for the feedback from TRON fans?
CHRIQUI: I’m sure it will be intense because ThunderCats was pretty intense, and I think TRON is even more intense than that.
What do you enjoy about voice-over work?
CHRIQUI: The beauty of voice-over work is that maybe you come in and record once every two weeks for a couple of hours, and do a couple episodes a session. It’s awesome! You spend an afternoon playing in the booth, and there you have it. It doesn’t interfere with much. Even when I’ve been on location, we can do studio time, wherever I am. It’s the best job, ever.
What do you look for, in a project? Is there a dream role for you?
CHRIQUI: There is a dream role. God, there’s so much left to do. I think the dream role is getting the opportunity to really sink my teeth into something and transform in the role. There’s material that I read that I fall in love with, and I always get a little bit sad because I know that, when I fall in love with it, almost everyone else is falling in love with that same piece. Getting the crack at doing that thing that, in my soul, I know I have to do it, that’s the role. And that role is a wide range of things, but it’s complex. It’s a film that will move a very wide audience ‘cause I seek to inspire the way I’ve been inspired. As an artist, that’s the dream.
And you’ll be recurring on The Mentalist now?
CHRIQUI: Yeah. It’s a really, really fantastic character that’s very different. I’m excited about it.
Have you heard anything about the Entourage movie?
CHRIQUI: I know that it’s being written, as we speak. Maybe it’s done. I need to check in. I don’t know.
Will you be in it?
CHRIQUI: Yes. Should it ever be made, yes.
If it is made, what would you like to see Sloan do?
CHRIQUI: I haven’t really thought about it. She was pregnant, when we left her. We don’t really know the future of her and E. I’ve always said that I would love to see them work it out, just because it’s been so cat-and-mouse for years. It’s like, “Can’t we just get along and love each other?” But, I also think it would be really fun to play that. We always see them either fighting or not talking. It’s just always so extreme. I’d love to be able to see them with a little family, and married or just together, and having a normal life. I’d like to see what that’s like.
So, you have no idea what the plot of the movie could be?
CHRIQUI: I have no idea. I just keep saying to Doug [Ellin], “You should write it in the South of France or Italy. Let’s all go on vacation.”