Courtesy of 'A NIGHTMARE WAKES'

Actress Alix Wilton Regan is the voice of Alt Cunningham in Cyberpunk 2077, the action role-playing video game developed and published by CD Projekt. 

Regan is also the voice and body of several characters in other well-known games that have infiltrated our society. Video games are not going away, and as our culture demands more entertainment, actors of all body types and voices are being hired. The video game market is a great place to put your acting chops to work!

Regan has been super busy. She plays Mary Shelley in the thriller A Nightmare Wakes. The film is an adaptation of the novel Frankenstein as told through the life of Mary Shelley, the author.

We talked to Alix Wilton Regan about the movie and her experiences recording and acting in video games.

 

What was it like portraying Mary Shelley in the period timepiece A Nightmare Wakes? Did you have to learn to walk and speak differently? Were you told which portions of the film were true biographical vs. fiction? How much (if any) research did you do on Mary Shelley?

Luckily, I am British, as Mary Shelley was, so the accent came naturally to me. [The accent] was of course a heightened RP based on when the piece is set, so I adapted my voice for that. However, my posture had to be a little straighter, my demeanor a little more demure and my gestures a little more restrained than today’s standards. The two books that proved invaluable during the process were Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon which is the biography of Mary’s life. I highly recommend both books for anyone interested in this period of the Romantics.

 

Tell us about your costume fittings.

I had a couple of days of costume fittings ahead of shooting and then numerous other meetings and alterations on our shoot days. This is a great way of working as it means you can plan your fittings around your shooting times – such as on a lunch break – thus saving time on the shoot days overall. Most of the gorgeous costumes were “one-offs.” They were either authentic vintage finds or costumes on loan from a Canadian theatre company known to our designer.

 

You’ve voiced an incredible amount of characters in video games, including Alt Cunningham, in Cyberpunk 2077 and Aya in Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Let’s talk about how voiceovers and actions are done in video games. Do you audition for video game voiceovers at this point or are you asked? What was the most difficult video game voice over audition and why?

I do sometimes still audition for video games. Although I am in the fortunate position that a lot of studios and developers know my work now. They also have an extensively long list of voice samples saved of mine if they need a reference. I would say that the hardest auditions are the ones where you really desperately want the job. Wanting the job makes it harder to be relaxed in the moment, for sure, so the pressure piles on. As an actor, it’s our job to learn to unburden ourselves of that pressure.

 

Do you need to memorize lines?

Generally speaking, no, not in voiceover video games, but in performance capture (or for film/TV/stage) then yes, you absolutely do!

 

Are there any games you worked on where you are JUST the voice, and another actor does the motion capture? How does that work? Does production do the motion capture first and then you add your voice, as in lip-syncing to the actor, or does the actor lip-sync to your voice?

Yes, I assume that this probably has happened to me, though I can’t fully remember if that was the case. Usually, either I would have to time and/or lip-sync my performance to that which was already performance captured and/or animated or I would act the lines first and then they would be performance captured and animated later on. For reasons of ease and artistry, , my preferred choice is therefore to performance capture and voice over the whole role at once.

 

You are flexible with different accents such as USA (Standard, NYC, LA, Mid-West), Northern Irish, Irish, Scottish, and South African. Do you have an accent coach?

I don’t have a coach, but I am a total slave to YouTube accent tutorials. You can teach yourself if you have a discerning ear and enough time to do so. Most definitely though, when it comes to accents, practice makes perfect. That said, I’ve had the good fortune of living in the states too, so it was impossible not to pick up their accents! All of this being said, I love it when production provides an accent coach to me on a job – it’s a luxury to have and a huge help.


In Cyberpunk 2077, Alt plays Johnny Silverhand’s (Keanu Reeves) ex-lover. How do you decide what type of voice you’re going to use? Are you given a breakdown that helps, i.e. what type of accent, different mannerisms when speaking?

Casting had a very specific idea of what they wanted for Alt: low and husky but with a young “rocker” voice when alive then (spoiler alert!) smooth and goddess-like when I am turned into an AI. Two very different energies. As such, I channeled Emma Stone from Birdman in the first version of Alt and then my most zen goddess-like persona as the AI. I did *A LOT* of tai chi whilst in the booth to stay very calm, grounded, smooth, and serene as AI Alt. I must have looked completely bonkers doing all these confusing arm gestures while saying her lines, but it worked for me.


In Assassin’s Creed: Origins (ACO), Aya is kissing Bayek, played by Abubakar Salim. Are you the actor as well as the voice? If yes, are you actually kissing him and interacting with him in the same room as you’re filming? Are scenes in video games with multiple actors blocked the same way they would be done in a TV show/film?

Yes, I am the face/voice/body of Aya. Therefore, unfortunately for Abu, he did have to kiss me.

When shooting a performance capture piece, as ACO was, we do indeed rehearse, block, and then shoot as a TV/film would. As such, I tend to think of performance capture as “a filmed performance for the stage.” I came up with this idea, but I hope it helps others to better understand performance capture too.

 

Your character Anastasie ‘Tasi’ Trianon in the video game Amnesia: Rebirth, was challenged with weights, extra body parts, and tortuous positions. Did you know these challenges in advance of accepting the job? 

If anything, I came up with these torturous positions! In fact, I started demanding that they let me do them! I didn’t become an actor to lead a “normal” life. Rather, I became an actor to live, breath, feel, and experience different characters, situations, and ways of existing. I also like to wildly express myself and my creativity. Therefore, the whackier and weirder the situation, the better! However, the fake pregnancy belly made quite a lot of noise so, eventually, for the most vigorous scenes, I did have to remove it. 

 

You were born in London, England. Please share some family history with us, as well as why you choose to use Alix Wilton Regan as your professional career name instead of your full name Alix Sophie Wilton Regan.

Good question! Most people seem to think that Wilton is a middle name, but actually, it’s not – it’s one of my surnames. Alix is my first name. Sophie – which was my great grandmother’s name – is my middle name.  Wilton belongs to one parent and Regan the other. Alix Wilton Regan is my stage name simply because that is indeed my name.

 

Anything else you want to say?

The charities that I support with monthly donations include Medecins Sans Frontieres (also known as Doctors Without Borders), Shelter, War Child, and the World Wildlife Foundation. I also sponsor a girl growing up in Gambia through Plan International. Additionally, I give yearly gifts to Refuge (a domestic violence charity) and Survival (which protects indigenous people from genocide). This isn’t to “virtue signal.” But I am saying this because I truly believe that if everyone gave a little bit more of whatever they could – be it time, activism, or money – then the world would be a better place for all.


Readers: 

For those of you interested in learning more about motion capture, aka mocap, click HERE for an interesting article!

Want to play or study the actors in the video games mentioned in this article?

Cyberpunk 2077 – PlayStation 4
Cyberpunk 2077 – Xbox One
Assassin’s Creed Origins – PlayStation 4
Assassin’s Creed Xbox One


Written by Ilana Rapp

Ilana Rapp is a media-savvy Generation Xer with instinctive wit, quick humor and a taste for deep human emotions. As a former (child) actress with Broadway, film and television credits, she is adept at, well, lots of things. She blogged on The Huffington Post and writes entertainment pieces for Casting Networks, Casting Frontier, NYCastings, Mupo Entertainment and New Jersey Stage. She is a huge fan of the television show V. Ask her why her favorite number is 22. Follow Ilana on Twitter @IlanaSpeaks22