The Voice of Padmé Amidala AND Princess Leia Told Us About Her Love for Star Wars
It's safe to say that the extended Star Wars universe wouldn't be quite the same without the talents of actress Catherine Taber—she's played Padmé Amidala, Princess Leia, Vette, Numa and more in various animated incarnations of the franchise.
But Catherine didn't start out in voice acting, and of course her resume extends beyond that galaxy far, far away. In a recent interview, we asked her about her introduction to acting, her love of Star Wars and her tips for making it in the competitive world of acting.
(Photo credit: Richard Wright)
Sweety High: As a kid, did you do a lot of impressions and voices?
Catherine Taber: Not really! I know many voice actors who started in radio and doing impressions and stuff, but I started as a regular actress. I always liked reading stories growing up, but I truthfully didn't know what voiceover even was until a commercial agent thought I was well-spoken and recommended it and my manager set up a meeting.
SH: What were your first experiences acting, and how did that lead up to you making voice acting a career?
CT: My first experience acting was in the first or second grade in a play about dental hygiene set in the old west. I played Flossy the saloon girl, and thankfully I don't think there is any video evidence anywhere.
I think that simple experience set me up with the love of performance and the thrill of being a part of telling a story. I'm not sure my portrayal of Flossy has actually affected my voice over career though—but there's still time for me to bring her back!
SH: What are the toughest and most rewarding things about voice acting that a lot of your fans might not know?
CT: The toughest thing about professional acting in general is the amount of auditions, effort and behind-the-scenes work it takes, and even after all of that there are no guarantees. You have to have a thick skin, be a hard worker and have a very tenacious attitude. Maybe it even helps to be a tiny bit "unrealistic." What I mean by that is people will tell you along the way how hard it is and how you can't make a career out of it, but if you have a passion for something and are really willing to sacrifice and put the work in, then consider yourself lucky that you know what you want to do and go for it!
There are quite a few rewarding parts. Like I said, I really love being a part of the storytelling process, especially in positive stories such as Star Wars, Minecraft Story Mode and The Loud House. But the most rewarding thing is getting to meet and hear from fans who really are touched by my work. When a fan tells you how much some project you did means to them it is very humbling.
(Via Star Wars Celebration)
SH: As a voice actress, you've done a lot of roles for video games and comic book adaptations. Were those mediums you enjoyed before you acted in those roles?
CT: I have always been a science fiction and fantasy fan and so I think that really helped me to be able to "act" in those worlds. I already knew what Star Wars was all about. I knew about Rogue and her backstory in the X-men. I think that knowledge and appreciation of those "worlds" translates to performances. I personally don't do much gaming simply because I don't have time. I rely on and owe a big thanks to the gamers out there who post gameplay and reviews on YouTube so I can check things out.
(Star Wars: The Clone Wars via Lucasfilm)
SH: What has it been like to give a voice to iconic characters people already know and love like Padmé in Star Wars?
CT: Padmé is a really special character to me, so it has been a huge honor to play her. There is pressure for sure, but I felt I knew who she was and that made playing her feel very natural to me. I've thankfully been able to work with great directors who gave me the freedom and trusted me enough to let me make her my own. At this point, having spent so much time in her boots, when I get the chance to play Padmé again, as in the upcoming Forces of Destiny, it's as if I'm coming back to a dear old friend.
(via Disney-Lucasfilm Press)
SH: What are the biggest tips you have for aspiring voice actresses?
CT: Study the performances that inspire you, but also work on discovering what your own "magic" is and the things you can do that are uniquely you. Find out what can you bring to the table and what niche you can fill that no one else can.
Once you discover that, hone it and work hard. There are so many talented actresses out there, and when you are new, there isn't a great reason for a producer to hire you over someone with a huge resume and tons of credits—so you need to give them one! Bring your own fresh and unique "youness" to the table and see what happens. Also, be a nice person who people want to spend their time with—that goes a long way.
I think that all of our experiences, even mistakes, lead us to where we are meant to be. There is value in the process, so you need to have patience—which does not come naturally to me! But if I do have any advice, it's to be discerning about the advice you take. How's that for irony? But in life, not just in regards to career, you will encounter many opinions on what you should or shouldn't do, think, wear, be and everything else.
My advice is to always ask yourself if the opinion you are getting is ringing true in your gut and if the source of the opinion is actually an authority on the subject that you respect and trust. In other words, take wise counsel when you can find it, but always follow your heart.
Princess Leia is one of our biggest sources of inspiration. If she's one of yours, too, click HERE to see the items you MUST own if Leia's your favorite Disney princess.