So I assume this was different from anything you've acted before?
Oh my gosh, yeah. I mean, I didn't even know I could do such emotional things. And because I had to do—I mean, I went through six months, about, of auditioning to get the part—and a lot of that—I mean, a lot of I think what they were looking for was someone that could portray the sass and the vulnerability that she always has, and accompany it with an emotional range to pull form and to be able to—because, you know, the performance capture is of her face, too. So when you see her face or her lips moving, it's me. My lips move her lips. So in so many ways, I mean, I'm so nervous to see it, because it's—I just put my whole—it's all me. So it was really hard. Really hard. I had some tough days. I had a lot of fun throughout the whole thing—there were some light, kicking-ass days, and, you know, Chief has to do all this stuff, and I would just tell him. So I had a lot of dialogue. But the emotion was, yeah—it was difficult. But I really think I pulled it off.
Cortana spends most of her time in the Chief's helmet, or standing still on some kind of platform—so was most of the mo-cap you were doing concentrated on your face?
We had to do some pips—like, for when they have the helmet view, and then she pops up in the corner—those were just like head-turns or, like, things to indicate something going on off-screen. And then every other time you see her she's on a plinth. So no, she doesn't move. So most—90 percent of what was registered for me was face. Everyone else got more movement in, more like—you know, action, fighting or whatever. So my physicality was face. And then there's other things that she, you know, like—something I noticed in the other games: Cortana, just, she's always kind of like hands by her sides, and says the information, and then she's gone. So because I was a real person playing it, and I had, you know—she touches herself for the first time. I make her do, you know, she's scared, she's like huddled in a ball. Her hands are crossed, or like, she can use her arms to display her anger or whatever it is. So I think that there's going to be a lot outside of the face. I think that she has more physicality in her body movements than ever.
So she'll seem more human?
She's going to seem a lot more human. Yeah. I mean, I really think I brought her to life. And because—she's me. I'm so close to her now at this point it's like—anything you see is a real person feeling what you're seeing. I think that it's so life-like.
Is it going to be weird to play Halo 4 when it comes out?
It's going to be really weird! But I'm definitely going to play it. I mean, I really want to see the cinematics before each level, too, because that's obviously where all the scenes were. But yeah, it's going to be strange, because I even see the pictures of her now that are coming out, and if she's in thought, or whatever, I see my face. I'm like, "Oh my god!" because it's all of my expressions and the way my face moves. So I know it doesn't look like me, but it does to me because it's my movement, you know? Like, how my lips move.
It looks like you a little bit. I can see it.
It's definitely strange. And I've definitely been pointed out—I mean, you learn how your face moves when you have 500 dots on it. So it's like, "Hey, you know your mouth's a little lopsided, right? And like, your lip goes down when you talk."
Someone actually said that?
Yeah, they're like, "Well, we were watching video of your lips just doing this. So we see how they—" I'm like, "Great you guys." [laughing] So there's a whole joke that I have a lopsided face.
So you have a complex for the rest of your life?
[laughing] You've never been this familiar with your own face. It's like a microscope, but like on every movement. I mean, I feel bad for the programmers, because I've met a bunch of them, and they're just like, "We have spent hours staring at you and registering all of your facial movements." And I'm like, "I'm really sorry."
In any other situation that would be the weirdest thing to say.
It's so weird now! "I've been staring at you for days!" [laughing] It's definitely weird, but the ones I met, I mean, they're all amazing, and they're such an incredible team. They've been working for years, so I think at this point everyone's just ready for the damn thing to come out.