Katy Townsend Interview

STUNNING actress Katy Townsend reckons that Hollywood needs to sort itself out and get more sassy roles for KICKASS Scots girls.  The talented star left Glasgow to live the American dream in the movies in Los Angeles.  But instead she’s made a huge name for herself voicing characters in multi-million dollar computer game franchises.  And Katy reckons the beefier parts are in the virtual world rather than on the silver screen.  She has had voice roles on four of the biggest-grossing game series — Call Of Duty Black Ops 2, Fallout 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and Far Cry 3; and she’s just added a part in No1 best-seller Mass Effect to her CV.  Katy said:

“Both voice acting and live action roles are rewarding and a challenge.  It all depends on the essence of the character.  There seems to be more fascinating and innovative roles for women in video games right now than there are on screen – and that’s certainly more attractive to me.  Perhaps Hollywood needs more empowering roles for kickass Scottish women.”

But Katy has worked hard for her big break.  She added:

“It took a few years to break into voice acting – it’s a tough wee niche to crack.  I got lucky early on with a game called Ingress and suddenly found myself doing a lot of voice work and simultaneously travelling the globe with Pokemon Go creator John Hanke.  That was surreal.  But it took patience and practice to really get things moving.”

Life in LA is a far cry from her early days at posh Hutchesons’ Grammar in Glasgow, and Katy admits that pairing was never a great fit because of her rebel nature.  The 29-year- old laughed:

“Truth is, I never fitted in at that school.  I wasn’t very academic and my head was always in the clouds.  There was a lot of pressure at Hutchie and I was constantly fighting to express myself as an artist.  My mum was always getting angry calls from school about silly things like piercings or dying my hair blue.  It was actually my drama teacher who convinced me to pursue acting or I might not have had the confidence to do so.  However, after a couple of years exploring theatre in Scotland, I hit a wall and couldn’t get a job.  There were too many closed doors so I decided to try my luck in LA.  You can’t wait around for opportunities that might never come.  I’m happy to be marching to my own beat – no regrets!  We can’t all be scientists – but it’s fun to play one.”

As well as her game roles, she also got parts in cult show Days Of Our Lives, playing Superman actor Dean Cain’s daughter in the haunting Kill Katie Malone and in Academy Award winner Ronal Judkins’ feature Finding Neighbors.  But she is known across the globe for gaming characters like fiery Celtic pit-fighter Cait in BAFTA-winning game Fallout 4.  And she will get a new legion of fans for her latest gig as Suvi Anwar the Science Officer on board the starship The Tempest in Mass Effect.  Katy loves the fact that she can dig her teeth into the scientific part of the role.  She said:

“It’s pretty incredible to be invited to play in such a brilliant, progressive and challenging new universe that reflects a wildly intelligent, broad and devoted fan base.  My character Suvi is a quirky wee gem and I’m beyond grateful.  It came through my agent in LA and was a massive surprise.  The funny thing about video games is there are ridiculous amounts of secrecy and NDAs – unlike movies, you often don’t find out what the project is until after you accept the role.  I was really chuffed.  I’m a fan of the series, particularly Mass Effect 2 and 3 which explored some of my fave characters.  It’s brilliant to be part of such a ground-breaking franchise.”

Katy was determined to bring some of native banter to the game and admitted she had quite a bit of leeway in developing the character.  She added:

“She’s a curious wee thing and spends a lot of time ruminating on her existence at the intersection of science and spirituality.  I’m a bit of a dreamer myself and in tune with my own sense of purpose.  Her philosophical musings and values felt similar to mine.  She has an infectious enthusiasm for sciency stuff – like dirt.  I definitely nerd out in similar ways about my own passions.  Sadly, I wasn’t allowed to change the dialogue.  However, I did sneak in the odd ‘wee’ or ‘aye’ – and at one point even changed ‘balls’ to ‘baws’, which seemed to slip under the radar.  I am not sure whether the latter made the game or not.”

Katy is also delighted that Suvi is the lesbian interest for lead character Sara Ryder and she reckons that twist has gone down well with fans – and she has become a bit of a hit with the girls.  She insisted:

“So far they seem to be enjoying her.  She’s a pretty loveable oddball, if I do say so myself.  She’s also romanceable but only for the female ‘pathfinder’ and it seems she’s quite a hit with the ladies already.  It’s certainly nice to represent part of the LGBTQ+ community in this game.”

Katy has not given up on major film roles just yet though, and younger fans will soon hear her in the Monster High: Electrified movie.  She also stars as a dysfunctional drug addict alongside Danny Trejo and Joan Jett in TV pilot Hooked and as Peter Gadiot’s girlfriend in American mini-series All You Need Is Me, starring Toby Sebastian from Game Of Thrones.  But Katy hopes a reprise with Suvi is on the horizon.  She said:

“I would love to see Suvi return.  It would be cool to watch her step out of the science lab, gain confidence with weapons and kick some arse!  I have a few fun gigs in the pipeline.  Unfortunately the NDAs prevent me from giving too much away.”

The interview with Katy Townsend originally appeared in the Scottish Sun on Saturday 1st April.  Photo credits: Dana Patrick.

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Stuart Cullen

Scotland’s very own thorn in the side of the London gaming scene bringing all the hottest action straight from The Sun… well… The Scottish Sun at least, every week!

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