When most Star Wars fans think about the character of Padme Amidala, they usually go to one person: Natalie Portman. But that doesn’t mean Ms. Portman should be the only one fans think of, at least now thanks to Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Voice actress Catherine Taber has the task of bringing the Senator from Naboo alive in the hit series as well as playing some other pretty important Star Wars roles.
Join EUCantina and Catherine as they discuss everything from Ms. Taber’s involvement in The Clone Wars to her time on Knights of the Old Republic.
EUCantina.net (EUC): Greetings Ms. Taber and welcome to EUC! So, how have you been? Busy, I’m sure.
Catherine Taber (CT): Yes! Very busy and I had a few friends over last night to watch Hostage Crisis!
EUC: Oh, yeah? I loved it! I can’t believe Corey Burton played Cad.
CT: I know – I agree, I always say working with our cast – especially, Corey, James and Dee is like going to Harvard for animation acting….
EUC: I bet; do they talk to themselves– especially in Dee’s case being the clones– or do it once with someone else pretending to be them and then go back and do the other voice?
CT: It is crazy – Those guys can actually go back and forth between voice in a scene by themselves – it is so amazing – especially when there are these crazy accents and stuff and yet somehow they can go in and out and still be true to each character – and Dee, I mean, wow! I think he has done such a great job of making the clones seem and feel like unique characters.
EUC: Oh, yes; Rex is different from Cody, Cody from Gree, etc. But, why don’t you tell readers who you are and what you’ve done for SW.
CT: Well – I am Catherine Taber, I am currently playing Padme Amidala in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, movie and series . My first voice over role was in a Star Wars project, a game called Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) where I played Mission Vao. I also played a young princess Leia in Star Wars the Force Unleashed, I think that’s it…as of now!!!
Oh, I also forgot to say I played Numa and the Angel from Iego in the Series this season, can’t leave out Numa!
EUC: So, let’s start of with TCW. Last night (when this interview is taking place) was the 1st season ending premiere of TCW, in which Padme played a pretty big role. How do you feel about this episode and the general fan reaction to first season of TCW.
CT: I loved this episode – on a personal level and in general. I really like that our Padme is strong and self sufficient and just NOT a wimp. She ends up in harms way a great deal I know, much of which, I believe is orchestrated by Palpatine, but is always courageous and ready for a fight – I love when she says “I count five of them” and then Bail Organa is all frightened and Politician like!
I also LOVED Bane – and I think Anakin was so great in this – I love Matt’s Anakin – he is funny and charming – but you still catch glimpses of the flaws which will lead to his downfall. As far as Fan reaction – the Fans who have given an animated Star Wars a chance and watch the show seem to REALLY love it -I have been getting lots of great letters and our ratings have been amazing – which is great because I am so proud of the show, I want everyone to see it!
EUC: Yep–on the Palpatine thing, have you read Karen Miller’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Wild Space? She uses both that and Padme’s character the way you, and me personally, like to see her: tough and intelligent.
CT: No! I haven’t. But now I WILL. That sounds like something I would love and I really like checking out stuff that can give me new insights and thoughts about Padme.
EUC: Sounds good; she mixes both your Padme as well as the movie Padme, which is really cool. So, before we discuss the series in full let’s discuss the movie. It got a mixed reaction, from mostly critics. Would you say this is in part due to many of them not understanding the true purpose of the movie, a primer for the series itself?
CT: I guess I think it is a combination of things probably – One critics in general from what I have read and heard have not been particularly fond of or supportive of Star Wars over the years. Some critical reaction bordered on Hysteria – so you sort of have to question its validity. As far as fans – Star Wars is so beloved and such a personal thing for many that it is hard, probably impossible to make everyone happy.
I think, some folks hated it before they saw it! And many people said after they saw it – they were pleasantly surprised after some of the critics reviews – I think with the series, people were more relaxed and open to see what was there – and they seem to love it. The movie was never going to be a second Revenge of the Sith…
EUC: Exactly! Well, the series is doing well so it must have done its job well. So, the movie opened the series to fans, in a way. Padme, however, didn’t have a large role until a few episodes into the season. Do you kind of wish you had more of a role or do you feel Padme is getting her time and will get more time in Season 2?
CT: You should ask Dave Filoni that! I am always bugging him, saying shouldn’t Anakin and Padme a least get a little “holo” time in the next episode? (: But seriously, I would love her to be in every episode, because I just love playing her. But it makes sense in the context of the War, that her and Anakin can’t be together as much as they would like.
He is fighting and I am politicizing. And the show hopefully has different types of episodes that each will appeal to different fans -and I think that is great – that being said, we have some really great story lines in season 2 I can’t wait for everyone to see …and any Padme fans out there are certainly free to contact Dave and the gang to say “give us more Padme”…its just an idea….(:
EUC: Yeah, with the season finale we did get to see a little bit of Anakin/Padme, which is nice. Like you said, it makes sense. But Padme has gotten a few important roles in S1 and they mostly involve Anakin and Padme together with others.
Do you feel different when acting in this environment, knowing that the dramatic irony in every scene is huge?
CT: I do realize that some people might be thinking – “hey its just a cartoon”, but the truth is I have never approached it like that. I am a Star Wars fan myself and so I take the whole idea of being a part of the Universe very seriously, and for that reason I do think a great deal about the importance of their relationship. It has to be so true and beautiful, that is leads Anakin down the path he takes.
I want the Anakin/Padme relationship and also in the future the Obi-Wan/Padme relationship to reinforce the story we know… I like that we can see deeper into that than we were able to in the movies and it is fun playing the idea that we are hiding it from everyone…although not always that well!
EUC: Gotcha– makes sense to me… not that I’ve had to hide a marriage… When recording, from what I’ve heard, it’s round-robin with everyone there. How cool is that to have as a voice-actress?
CT: I started in on camera acting, so I LOVE being with the group. It makes the whole thing so much better – it is always better to be able to react off of someone. Plus, we have such a talented cast, the record sessions are so fun. Dee and Phil, and those guys are so FUNNY…we spend half the time laughing!
EUC: As a fan and watcher, I’m actually really glad to hear that. Humor is always needed– even in war. What is it about Padme that really got you into playing her and doing so well with her?
CT: Well, so often female characters are either feminine OR tough, but not both. I love Padme’s integrity, that she tries to do what she thinks is right, even when it is difficult of unpopular. Mostly I love that she is elegant and beautiful – and shoots blasters!
EUC: Now, in one of the Ryloth episodes of TCW you also play Numa, a Twi’lek girl. Tell us a bit about that, if you care.
CT: Well, I love Numa. Again, she is sort of a surprise – a tough and resilient character in this tiny little body…I thought the episode was really beautifully written, I think I got a little teary when I read the script and I am NOT a big crier! So, I was so glad that Dave had me perform her.
I think my mom likes Numa now more than Padme! She keeps saying, I hope they bring that Numa back! _ I also that the Clones and Obi Wan were just wonderful in that episode…it was slower paced for some people, but definitely my kind of episode. Also, Mission Vao from KOTOR is a Twilek – so you know I was familiar with them!
EUC: I was just about to say– that isn’t the first time you’ve ever played a Twi’lek. You did play Mission in Kotor, one of the best SW games ever. How was working on that?
CT: That was so amazing! It was my second voice over audition EVER, and the audition piece was just a page of dialogue…I think my love of and understanding of Star Wars was a real benefit…then I get the job and my agent was like ” you might want to keep it to yourself that this is your first job” – and I was thinking, it was just a little tiny part so I wasn’t nervous at all…turns out, they hand me this HUGE script ! The director, Darragh, was so great that I was comfortable immediately and it all turned out great…I still get letters from Mission fans all the time. It is an awesome game.
EUC: Mission may have been a little touchy, but she was certainly interesting.
CT: Well, you know she is teen aged girl. They can be a little touchy, I remember! But, I think we managed to keep her youthful and spunky – without being super annoying as those characters can sometimes be. I am still surprised by how many tough guys I meet who say “Mission was always in my party”….
EUC: I’d be one of those guys… She got me through Taris…. Now, Jennifer Hale worked on Kotor, as well as TCW. When something like that happens how do you feel?
CT: I had not met Jennifer before, but I knew she played Bastila, so when I met her at the studio one day, I was kind of excited! She is really cool and so beautiful in person. Plus, I think she is such a talented actress, I am very glad we get such great people on the show…it makes the show even that much better.
EUC: You guys aren’t usually told who’s voicing say, a new villain, right? I can imagine walking into the room and there is Michael York.
CT: No – not really. Sometimes Dave will tell me some who is on the show in an episode that I’m not in, when he knows I’ll be interested in the character showing up…the Michael thing was THE coolest – I walk in and then I am on mic right next to him and acting with MICHAEL YORK!
He made me laugh so hard, I almost thought I was going to loose it and have to leave the room! Yeah, that was a cool day. I have to say, too, I was super excited when we started to meet and get to work with Ian Abercrombie – he is another GREAT!
EUC: Looks like Palpatine requires the name Ian to work well. So, where are you guys in recording right now?
CT: We are well into season 2 – but things aren’t always chronological on our side. Certain episodes will require more animation and can take longer, so sometimes we are a little out of order. I am actually recording a new one this week…I can’t wait to see what it is! It is always just a bit hard to keep your mouth shut about stuff…but I have gotten used to it!
EUC: Well, if that trailer on Friday was a sign of what’s to come, I’m asking my Senator to have March become October just to watch S2.
CT: I feel the same! But, I am kind of excited to re-watch this seasons episodes. It amazes me how many new things I see when I re-watch an episode…I almost always like them even more.
EUC: Yeah; some things you don’t understand the first time around (why someone is acting a certain way, for example) makes more sense after seeing it again.
CT: Most of the time that is SO true…you might be like, why did he do THAT and then you the next time around you totally see the reason. Also, I can take in more of the animation and music the second or third time around.
EUC: Do you get to watch it in HD at home?
CT: No. I saw it in HD at a friends though and WOW – that is the way to watch it if you can. Those artists are amazing. And the designs of the different planets are really impressive.
EUC: Yes indeed; it’s hard because not many carriers have Cartoon Network in HD. I know it was on HD on TNT, but it seems they stopped running TCW.
CT: Yes it does. I am going to write my cable company to demand CN in HD!
EUC: Yeah! So, there was a recent rumor that a CW video game may be coming out in September of this year. Can you maybe confirm or deny this?
CT: I can neither confirm nor deny anything …but I can say, that certainly seems…possible
EUC: Well, Catherine, thank you so much for talking with me! I wish you and the rest of the crew continued success!
CT: Thank you so much for having me!