As we patiently await The Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian season three, we sat with actress Emily Swallow. We talk with Emily about her role as the armorer on the show, might she return? We also ask her about her voice acting work on Netflix’s Castlevania series. Check out the exclusive interview below.
Thanks so much for joining us Emily and welcome to the GVN family! Let jump right in.
When it comes to The Mandalorian, how was the process when it came to auditions?
The audition was pretty low-key; it was just me in the room with the casting associate, Jason Stamey. I had no idea how huge the project would be, which was a blessing—I’d have been a lot more nervous had I known! Jason filmed me doing the scenes a few times and gave me some helpful adjustments. I knew very little other than that the character was a leader of a group in hiding and that she was very zen-like. I was also informed that she would be masked, so I tried to focus on my physicality a bit more than I normally would. The final adjustment Jason gave me was to do the scenes with a British dialect, which we held onto in the show.
Did you find any restrictions or struggle being under the helmet the whole time in The Mandalorian?
I enjoyed the challenge of playing a masked character. My background is theater, and I’d done mask work on stage, so it was fun to work with it on camera. It was a wonderful process of exploration between those of us in the Mandalorian armor and our directors. Deborah Chow and Dave Filoni were directing the first two episodes we shot, and they provided valuable feedback about how the movement translated to the screen. I found that it was distracting if I had too much extraneous movement, so I tried not to fidget much (In real life I am in constant motion, so it was rewarding to explore more stillness with The Armorer) and made her movements very simple and slow.
We see how important the creed is to the armorer, do you think she would be disappointed in Mando’s decision to remove his helmet in front of people?
The creed is hugely important, so it would definitely be interesting to see her reaction. I think she’d be curious to know why he felt it was necessary to remove his helmet, though.
Has there been any mention of when filming begins of season three? Can we expect to see you make a return?
I know nothing!
( You and Jon Snow have a lot in common)
Did they tell you how to play the role or did you have free reign to make the character your own?
My development of the role started out based on what I’d done in the audition. After that, the costume played a big role in inspiring me; I had a few fittings as they built it and those images really informed how I imagined she moved through her armory and how she carried herself. A few days before filming began, I got to talk with John and Dave and John encouraged me to look at Kurosawa films such as Seven Samurai to inform my physicality and to give me an idea of the Armorer’s status in the world. That last piece was hugely helpful; I’d seen a few Kurosawa films in the past, but after that talk I went home and binged on them!
When it comes to your character on Castlevania, Lisa Tepes, how did you approach playing that character and do you find voice work much different than live action work?
Although the performance of voice work differs from live action, my preparation is very similar. When I’m exploring a character, even if it’s just for a vocal performance, I have to find the physicality and movements of the character as well. My body informs my voice, so it’s all integrated. I find that, when I’m doing voice work, I’m often working on my own without the other actors, and I miss that collaboration, so it’s different in that sense. I’d much rather be in a room with a bunch of other performers trying to work it all out together.
What sold you on Castlevania? Were you familiar with the games?
I auditioned for Castlevania at the same time as several other projects, and I was excited by the character; I loved the seeming contradiction of seeing the good in someone like Dracula and wanting to help him be better. I knew of the video games but hadn’t ever played them.
Do you think Lisa ever thought Vlad was more of the villain or just misunderstood?
I think she saw the best part of him and knew that the world would be a challenging place for him. She saw his best parts and wanted to help him navigate the world without giving into his darker aspects, but I think she knew he’d be up against a lot of obstacles.
Do you currently have any upcoming projects you would like to promote?
I don’t have anything I’m allowed to talk about just yet!
Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with us and we cannot wait to see what else you got planned in the future.