Interview with Adrienne Wilkinson

Beauty met power in The Force Unleashed when the game introduced a brand new character: Maris Brood. Who could fill the the role of a good Jedi gone bad? Why, none other than actress Adrienne Wilkinson, of course! EUC’s Andrew L. got the amazing chance to sit down with the actress and talk about her work on The Force Unleashed– from Maris to TFU in ‘09, they chat about it all.


EU Cantina (EUC): Greetings, Ms. Wilkinson, and welcome to EUC!

Adrienne Wilikinson (AW):  Hello. Thank you so much for your interest. I’m thrilled to speak with you. Love connecting with the Star Wars community.

EUC: Well, thank you very much; it’s an honor to speak with you. Now, it’s been awhile since the release of “The Force Unleashed,” in which you of course played fallen Jedi Maris Brood. How have you been?

AW: Doing really well, thank you for asking. It was great to see the game getting such a huge response. And it was especially gratifying to hear how much people enjoyed the story and performances.

I’ve been lucky to have been busy the past few months with new projects. I hope everyone will check out the latest news and updates at my website. I’ll make announcements with details about upcoming projects as soon as I can.

For the gamers out there, one project I can already announce is that I play Mina Tang in the game Alpha Protocol, which is a Bourne Identity style game which comes out later this year. I’ve heard great things about it, so I hope everyone will check it out.

I also have a film – Reflections, that is touring the festival circuit right now. We’ve won 13 awards so far and have had a great response from audiences. We have a few festival appearances left, and we expect to release the film on DVD in late 2009.

Adrienne's SW counter-part, Maris Brood

EUC: That sounds great! We will look at your career with much interest. Well, let’s start it off with the basic: how did you get the job of Maris Brood?

AW: It started as a regular audition. The only major difference was that unlike most voice over jobs, they wanted to meet me in person. I later found out that was due to the fact that they were looking for actors who could not only bring the right voice and delivery to the characters, but they had prototypes (concept art) of the characters that they were looking to find actors to match. At the audition they explained that they needed actors to create the entire performance not just the voice.

So even the audition was filmed to see not only if I looked like Maris, but if the performance was all they were looking for, and fulfilled all the potential they saw in Maris. I believe I auditioned on one of the first days of Maris auditions. And while I wasn’t confirmed until a few months later – I was told by casting that they knew when I left, that I was the one…and stopped looking once they had met me. I immediately loved the character, so it was great to hear that they saw the match right away.

EUC: Very interesting. On that note, what was it like working with Lucasarts?

AW: What an extraordinary group of people to work with! I had so much fun and knew I was in the best of hands. I loved every moment of the process – from the original audition, to recording and working with the new technology, down to promoting the project.

They are all the top in their field and everyone is constantly raising the bar – getting everyone to deliver even better performances and making sure the project was as great as it could be. It was a wonderful experience.

EUC: Lucasarts was only the company; what was it like working with Sam, Nathalie, and the other actors?

AW: I was blessed to work with such cool, talented people! Sam has such an amazing work ethic. He brought so much to the character. Nathalie is a doll, so funny and beautiful – she fit the part perfectly. Cully has such a majestic person, he was perfectly cast. And David Collins who played Proxy is an amazing voice talent. He can do anything! He was also who we worked off of in recording sessions for any characters that weren’t there at the time. I can’t imagine anyone else voicing Proxy!

I was so impressed with the performances and everyone’s commitment to make them as real and full as we could despite having to overcome obstacles like wearing the motion capture dots and being confined to a very specific area to fit the needs of the technology.

Maris with her master Shaak Ti

EUC: Sounds like it was a blast; were you a Star Wars fan before getting the role of Maris? I know when I talked to Sam he said he was.

AW: Absolutely. But of course, the level of my love for the world of Star Wars increased dramatically once I was involved in TFU. I learned so much and just got a better sense of the behind the scenes stuff that I hadn’t known before. So being involved made me a bigger fan.

EUC: Yep, that sounds like what Sam felt as well; very cool. What did you think of the story of TFU? How powerful it was towards the saga itself?

AW: I thought it walked a fine line, a delicate balance… For instance, while the story was epic, it was also incredibly personal and showed how the smallest personal decisions can make such a huge difference not only in your own life, but in the lives of so many. How most of us can relate, as in some degree everyone faces these personal trials and decisions in their own lives and how your conscience can guide you to do what is right, despite what influences are trying to pull you down a darker path. How power corrupts.

The script was so well written and knowing it was canon, everyone worked so hard to make sure that not only was it an entertaining story, but that it bridged the two trilogies in a way that not only answered questions and made cohesive connections, but really added to the overall message that is the core of Star Wars.

The darkness can draw even the best...

EUC: What do you think about the success of TFU itself and Downloadable Content that has come out recently?

AW: I’m not surprised at the success. I know that one issue with the game is that most people wished it lasted longer…and this is a great way to extend the game, but not derail the original story that was being told. Even with game play, the game needed to keep true to the story being told, as it is canon. But with downloadable content you can extend the fun – but not mess with the parts of the story being told.

EUC: There are rumors that there will be more TFU stuff, DLC, action figures, etc. in ‘09– do you know anything about that?

AW: I wish I was in the loop enough to officially confirm or deny, but at this point I have no idea. But I wouldn’t be surprised at all. There is enough interest, that I can’t imagine they wouldn’t.

EUC: Indeed. Were there are any scenes from “The Force Unleashed” that didn’t make it in that you were in or wanted to see in?

AW: Maris Brood has an incredible back story. They had written pages and pages all about her pirate past and her youth and the journey that brought her to the place where you meet her in the game….. I wish more of that history could have ended up on screen. Or generally I would have liked to see more of Maris as the good Jedi, instead of just the focus on how she was tempted by the dark side, after loosing her sanity on Felucia.
EUC: Is there anyone you based your performance of Maris Brood on?

AW: Most of the building blocks I used to craft the performance were based off of the extensive history of Maris they had given me. So I felt that I knew her incredibly well and she was so fully developed that there wasn’t a lot of mystery that needed to be filled in. I knew I wanted to establish that she was strong and a fierce fighter. A loyal Jedi who was simply trapped in a situation that was more than her sanity could handle. And once her sanity was compromised, the dark side had a way to tempt her when it wouldn’t have otherwise.

I wanted to make her as deliciously devious as possible once she is seduced by the dark side…but never let go of the fact that she is a good Jedi- just with a troubled history and in an impossible situation – where everyone she knows and admired has been murdered, and she is trapped alone on a planet….her grip on reality and on ‘what is right’ is getting harder and harder to hold. She makes choices that she would never have made in another situation.

EUC: Would you like to play Maris again, say in, the live-action tv series if the opportunity arises?

AW: I would jump at the chance! I adore Maris. She is such an awesome character, and I had a fantastic time working with everyone. It was a dream job and collaboration. I would love the opportunity to work on the TV show. For that matter I would love a TFU film…or even just to see all of our work from TFU without the game play put together and released as an animated film. There are tons of people I know that are interested in the story, but not so much in gaming…this would be a way to reach all of those people with this latest chapter in the story.

EUC: How do you feel being a part of the SW galaxy now?

AW: It’s the coolest thing ever. The fans are so loyal and enthusiastic. I’m honored to be part of the history. Love that I have an action figure. The fan art I’ve seen and all of the other merchandise and creations that have come out are so impressive, and I feel so lucky to be part of it all.

EUC: You certainly built a very interesting character, that’s for sure. More on the movies, what additional scenes (known cut scenes or your own wishes/fantasy) would you like to see in extended motion picture versions of the complete STAR WARS Saga (Episode 1 - 6)?

AW: Fantasy? Ha…well, I adore Harrison Ford in the films, and would love to see more of him. He played my favorite character. Though a close 2nd is R2-D2.

And of course I would love to see a live action Force Unleashed film as 3.5 to bridge the two trilogies. :)

EUC: Adrienne, thank you so much for joining me. Come back anytime!