I got a chance to talk to actress Bex Taylor-Klaus at MomoCon last week. You might have seen Bex in Arrow, The Killing, or you can hear her as the voice of Pidge on Netflix’s Voltron. Check out my interview with the multi-talented actress.
Did you do any research from the original Voltron for your portrayal of Pidge?
I didn’t. I wanted to go in and do it my way and see what the reboot was going to be. I wanted to match that instead of kind of replaying the same old gremlin. I love that gremlin by the way.
What are some of the challenges you have switching between live-action and voice acting?
I like this question. I was thinking about it the other day. We’ve been really fortunate in Voltron. A lot of the time we actually get to record together, which is really helpful, because in live-action you get to feed off the other people that you’re working with, and a lot of times in animation, you’re in the booth alone. And on days when you’re in the booth alone, you have to put in the other performers voices and performances based on memory, but on days when you’re together it’s just like live-action — the whole family is back together and you really just remember why you love these people and why you’re doing this.
Coming into a property like Voltron, did it worry you how the audience would react to you portraying a character they already have in their minds?
Oh yeah. I mean that’s always the big fear. When I did Scream, the TV series, it was an existing franchise and we were always concerned that the OG fans would dismiss us as a joke. And that was a very similar fear for Voltron. Are we going to be able to appeal to the original fans? Are we going to be able to keep up with this legend, no pun intended? Pun slightly intended. But, what was the most rewarding thing was hearing from the OG fans was that they were prepared to dismiss us as a joke, but even though it is different from the first series, it brings in things from the old and it creates this comprehensive, hilarious universe.
How much is improv and how much is written? Also, how much of yourself do you put into Pidge?
I like to say that I put as much of myself [in] as humanly possible, just because I find it more interesting. That way it’s also more fun to play. But [a] majority of it is written. 98% is very, very scripted, which is a testament to our writers; they’re brilliant. The most improv that goes into it, like when Hunk does those stammerings and goes ‘no no no no no,’ even that is written.
Can you tell me about some memorable fan encounters?
Every single one. I know that’s lame to say, but the Voltron fans are some of the most wholesome people I’ve ever had the chance of meeting. Actually walking into MomoCon day 2, I walked in and saw an array of Voltron cosplayers and I walked up and asked if I could photobomb. I’m blown away by cosplay, I really am. Its so creative and genius. Everyone puts so much effort into their costumes, how could you not appreciate and love that.
Who would you say has had the biggest impact on your career?
Jonathan Demme, may he rest in peace. I did a show called The Killing, and spoiler alert; my character exited the scene before Jonathan Demme did his episode. He asked me to come in and be there for his episode so I could shadow him and say goodbye to my character. It was one of the most formative experiences of my life. He changed everything about how I was viewing the world and the industry. I will forever be grateful.
When it comes to LGBTQIA+ representation in on-screen acting and voice acting, which community do you feel has been better with representation?
I like that question and, honestly, I feel like you probably watch Steven Universe, but that alone and bringing in Pidge’s whole bathroom situation, it’s been really, really cool to watch how representation has popped up in animation, which is something that the edgier cartoons have had. Now it’s becoming more mainstream, which is beautiful to watch. In live-action, it’s sometimes still a struggle. You’ll have people saying “Oh, we’ve got one queer character, so we’re good. We filled our quota.” The rest of the community’s like, “There’s more of us. There’s so many more of us. We’re all grouped together.” And it’s just going to be fun for the next couple of years to watch as the industry evolves.