Michelle Ruff is a veteran in voice acting for animation and video games. Versatile, she does not only give voice to heroines as Jill Valentine, but also to children such as Rani Chawla, from RE: Degeneration. Michelle is known by the North American anime fans as the owner of the voice of characters like Chi (Chobits), Matsuri (Naruto Shippuden) and Rukia Kuchiki (Bleach). In video games, the actress has played Katherine McBride (Catherine), Crimson Viper (Street Fighter IV) and Cream the Rabbit (Sonic the Hedgehog). In an exclusive interview for REVIL, Michelle Ruff talks about the differences between working in movies and games of the RE the series and the challenges of playing a character beloved by fans of Resident Evil.
REVIL: How did you get the opportunity to play Jill Valentine in RE: Revelations and RE: Operation Raccoon City?
I auditioned for the character of Jill and I ended up getting the role.
R: How was the voice acting process and how long did it take?
It was really fun playing Jill. I love playing the bad ass tough girl! There aren't many roles like that for women so when I have an opportunity to play a character like Jill, I really enjoy it. The actual recording time in studio for me wasn't that long. I think I had a total of 6 sessions each about 4 hours in length.
R: You worked on the series before, in RE: Degeneration, playing Rani Chawla. How is it to make the voice of a child?
Playing kids is one of my specialties so it's not difficult for me to do the voice of a child. The challenge with playing Rani was the accent.
R: There was any difference in voice acting processes between the games and RE: Degeneration?
There was a huge difference in the process. Degeneration was a film and we did the voices in ADR after the animation was complete. In Revelations we recorded for scene timing and performance. I got to do what I wanted with my performance (and what the director and client wanted of course!). But I didn't have to worry about any sync issues for lip flaps. It was fun because I got to really put all my energy into the performance and character.
R: Have you ever played any Resident Evil game?
Sadly, I have not. It looks fun though! And scary!
R: Jill was played by other actresses before, like Patricia Ja Lee and Catherine Disher. Were you inspired by any of these voices to build the character?
No, I worked with the director and client to build the character.
R: Is it hard to play such a beloved character that was already played by other people?
Yes!!! It really is difficult because there's already such a huge fanbase for the game and that character. I don't want to let anyone down! And some fans prefer the previous people who played that character which I understand completely! All I could do is give it my best and hope people will enjoy the performance and playing the game.
R: Much of our personality is shown both the way we act as the way we talk. What does Jillís voice brings that makes clear her personality?
Jills's voice says a lot about her personality. I kept her in my lower register . She's all business and not "girly" at all. Almost military-ish. Not a lot of "color" in the performance. Very straightforward.
R: Do you identify yourself with Jill in any aspect?
Yeah, ya know... I like to kick some L.A. Zombie butt.
R: From all the characters you played, which one was the most interesting? And which was the most challenging?
Hmmmm.....that's such a difficult question! They're all my favorite children so it's hard to pick just one! They each have their own unique challenge.
R: Would you like to play Jill again in the future?
I would LOVE to play Jill again! It was a blast!
R: Tell us about your projects for the future. Where can we expect to listen to Michelle Ruff again?
I wish I could tell you about projects for the future but I can't talk about stuff until its released! Keep your ears posted...
R: Would you like to leave a message to the Brazilian fans?
Yes. I'd like to know the secret recipe that makes Brazillian people so beautiful. And to send much love and gratitude to all the fans!!! Besos!!!!