Breath of the Wild: Meet the Actor Bringing a New Voice to the Not-So-Silent Princess Zelda
Nintendo’s Breath of the Wild is one of the most eagerly-awaited games of this year- and for fans around the world, it didn’t disappoint. With amazing, detailed graphics and an updated Link came some changes. A free map storyline that allows for more exploration, the cutest dancing food I have ever seen, and a full-fledged voice acting role for Zelda.
Here, Word of the Nerd has a chance to chat with Patricia Summersett about bringing a voice to our Silent Princess. Find out her inspiration, challenges, and successes in voicing Breath of the Wild- and what she’s doing next.
WOTN: What do you look for in a role? Is voicing Zelda significant to you personally?
PS: I love portraying strong, complex characters. This manifests differently in each potential role. Does it excite me? Will it stretch me? Is it a worthy investment of my time, energy and emotion? Voicing Zelda is certainly a highlight in my career and represents so much of why I chose my profession and this lifestyle. It is a huge gift and an incredible adventure.
WOTN: What did you look to for inspiration for interpreting this character? Did you channel any specific persona, or reference your own experiences?
PS: I certainly used the idea of the “Silent Princess” while recording the Silent Princess. Her quiet studious journey, the pressure to access her inner powers, her need for a mentor and love for family and community. There are many parallels to make. She is very relatable in many ways and I think most people would agree! I too am a huge lover of nature; I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I delighted in that imagery. I’m inspired by the actors like Emma Watson, Cate Blanchett, and Kate Winslet and secretly channeled a bit of them into my work. I found them great inspirations when I began my personal prep.
WOTN: Was there a specific aspect of voicing Zelda that you enjoyed the most or anything that was particularly difficult?
PS: I enjoyed every aspect of being part of the project. I appreciated it so much. The hardest part was holding onto the secret for a year and living with my own doubts. Because until a project is released, until it is presented to the world, you really never know what will happen to it. It’s hard to be patient.
WOTN: Is there any character in video games that you would love to voice after Zelda? Do you hope to be involved with more Zelda games or related material?
PS: I get asked this question a lot and it feels a bit like “now that you’ve just gorged on the biggest most decadent ice cream sundae ever, what amazing dessert would you like to eat next?” But actually, I’m really enjoying some games I’m currently working on, as well as my TV, film and music projects. Regarding Zelda, I would love to be involved in every Zelda thing I can, but that is up to Nintendo, and I’m just celebrating what I’m currently involved in.
WOTN: Princess Zelda, historically, has not had many actual lines of dialogue. How does it feel to finally bring a strong voice to this iconic character?
PS: I can’t remember who said “your voice is your longest arm”, but I often think of this phrase and what having a voice — a platform from which to speak — means to so many people. I’ve been given the amazing opportunity to meet and inspire people this year because someone gave me these lines of dialogue. I hope to make the most of it, in whatever way I can.
WOTN: How much, if any, interaction did you have with other American or international voice actors for the game? Did their interpretation of the characters influence your own interpretation of Zelda?
PS: It was mostly a solo experience in the studio. I had research and the franchise to reference, and new snippets as we went along. I’m now starting to meet up with my English cast mates in real life and it’s fantastic!
WOTN: What was your experience auditioning and working for Nintendo in the US? How did this experience differ from your other video game acting roles?
PS: They were super nice and awesome! That is generally my experience in almost any recording studio. There was dubbing involved with this, which takes a lot of concentration and focus. So in general, it was a focused room, but a cheerful one. I ate an unusually large amount of green apples while recording this particular project… haha!
WOTN: Have you had any special or memorable fan moments since voicing Zelda?
PS: So many already… it’s incredible. I suppose one moment that has really stuck with me: I just got back from Kuwait City Comfest Con and was visited at my booth by a royal Sheik who had funded this blossoming convention. They suddenly cleared the way and ushered him in. I wrote him an autograph in TP Hylian and I was thinking “I’m in Kuwait, invited here as a video game princess who was disguised as a Sheik, and I’m writing a Hylian autograph for a real royal Sheik. WHAT IS MY LIFE?!”
WOTN: Have you played the game? Is it strange or fun to hear yourself when you open the game?
PS: Usually I’m not weirded out by it. But hearing myself in this game… it’s a bit strange for me. Yeah. Maybe it’s the size of it all.
WOTN: What’s up next for you? Are you working on more video games, or focusing on other acting roles?
PS: I’m usually doing several things at once, which is the case now. I’m working on some other games, writing some music and I have some upcoming TV work. I’m looking forward to the release of some wonderful film projects and looking forward to seeing new places in the world through the eyes of a convention guest.