06th Nov2018

MCM London Oct 2018: Veronica Taylor Interview

by Xenia Grounds

Veronica-Taylor-mcm

How has your weekend been at MCM?

It’s been fantastic. Huge crowds! I can’t believe how busy it is. I’ve seen so many people. People I’ve seen at other shows have come back and I’ve met a lot of people as well.

How does it feel walking around seeing so much love for Pokemon after all these years?

Isn’t it extraordinary that it has lasted this long. I think there’s something that’s real in the unrealness that we can all relate to that journey whether we are ten or still ten somehow inside. I guess that’s a testament of the real story behind the merchandise and all of that. I think that’s what seeped but twenty years on, we’re still talking about it.

How did you get in the position to be Ash’s voice actor?

I was working on another anime called Slayers. The people who had cast me in that were doing the casting for Pokemon so I was asked to audition. As an actor, you’re always auditioning for a million things. Anything that goes, you jump in. Pokemon was one of those things where I was lucky to get the audition and even luckier to get the job.

Is there a character in the Pokemon universe that you would’ve liked to voice but didn’t get the chance?

I wish I was still voicing Ash. We didn’t have a choice to leave the show. I certainly wish I was still on it. It was really joyful and working with all the people involved was fantastic. I never really thought about if I were Misty or Brock. I never really thought about it. As an actor, you have to deal with what you have, not what you don’t have so I often don’t dwell on the ‘wish I had’ type of things.

Where did Ash’s voice come from?

Sure. When we first auditioned for Pokemon, we were basing the voices on the original Japanese voice actors and actresses. We got to go in and see a tiny clip from Pokemon and from listening to it on the tiny TV; hearing the voice and jump in the booth and do your best impression of that. We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. It was based on that and it was allowed to transform into what it eventually became while I was working on it. Even in the first season, it transitioned from a million people kind of directing to two or three so it was matching the originals.

What is it like as a female playing a ten year old boy?

Extraordinary but I’ve played a lot of sports my whole life. I was doing a stunt show before that so doing sports and combat and all of that stuff is kinda what I do anyway. I think there’s something about Ash that is part of all of us. Yes, I was playing a boy but I was playing a character who was exuberant, positive and just kind of naïve especially in the beginning out on his own. I think when you’re creating a character, you have to figure out what their essence and you’re playing that. Then you can add the age, the sex or the animal characteristics or whatever they are on top of it. It was pretty natural.

What were the challenges?

*Using Ash’s voice* It’s not the most vocally hygienic. *chuckles* There’s not a lot of air that goes through so the most challenging is making sure you are taking care of yourself. If you start getting a cold that you know how to properly place it so it can move around if your nose is blocked. That’s probably the most challenging is staying healthy for any role that you play but especially for that.

Was there a favourite Pokemon generation?

I loved the very beginning when they were in the Orange Islands. It was the most simple and figuring out what this journey was going to be about. There was something for me like roaming along on a beach and just getting fruit off a tree and what a great world that is! It’s not what my life in New York City was like unless I went to my community garden so I loved that. Then it got more complicated and everything as it went but in the beginning, it was simple. I think it allows you as the viewer and as the actor to connect with your imagination and be on the journey because it wasn’t all done for you so I think that’s why I like it the best.

If you weren’t acting for Ash, who do you think you would be voice acting for?

In the beginning, we only had the three main characters to audition for. I suppose I would’ve wanted to be Misty. Brock is a little older so I don’t know if I had much of a chance to be him. I didn’t audition for Ash’s Mom until a little bit later so it would have really been just those three. Maybe Jesse and James were in the beginning too.

Why do you think Pokemon has resonated for so long?

There’s something about it that we all kinda glomp onto. When kids are younger, there’s all that to learn and your parents have no idea what you’re talking about. There’s something wonderful about that and being able to teach your parents about it. I think as we get older and then you learn how to use your own skill playing the games. After a certain time and twenty years on, there are a lot of kids are in their thirties who started watching it when they were ten. To be able to pop back to when you were ten and didn’t have all that responsibility when you were just dreaming about what you wanted to be and revisit who you were at ten. I think Pokemon allows you to do that and it’s not marketable but there’s something about it and why we still love it. It’s multi-layered.

Have you ever sat down to play the Pokemon games yourself?

I have played a little of Pokemon Red because I have a DS but we don’t really have any video game consoles at home. Of course I have Pokemon Go on my phone but I don’t play it that often because I’m not on my phone that often. I’m like the worst trainer on that. I think I’m level eight and have been for like a year.

Have you put thought into what your Pokemon team would be?

No, I never have, actually. Ash was determined to get something and he had to take what he got and I think I would be the same. I’ve never thought about choosing a Pokemon.

What Pokemon do you think you’re the most like?

I wish I were more like a Lapras because Lapras just floats along and is so calm but I think ultimately I might be more like Pikachu who can get along but also when frustrated…I hope my anger isn’t like a lightning bolt. I think I’m a little temperamental.

Other than Pikachu, who’s your favourite Pokemon?

Pikachu was definitely my favourite. My daughter and I always joked that if we had a Charizard, we could fly around New York City or Los Angeles so it would be a better thing. We do go camping and we’re not very good at building the fire so having a Charizard would be pretty handy. You have to be practical. I was a girl scout.

What’s been your favourite part of Comic Con?

Coming here and talking to people. I love hearing everyone’s stories and to feel a part of your families is amazing. My daughter and I travel so much to other Comic Cons so for my family to be part of your family is such an honour. That never gets old and it’s the same all around the world and to be part of that is great. I think MCM is such a lovely show and the crew here are extraordinary and being part of that.

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