Anjali Bhimani Interview
Symmetra in Blizzard's Overwatch
How did you first get involved with video game roles? (or are these two your first?)
ANJALI: These two are actually my first! I got involved the good old fashioned way, by auditioning. Before these roles I've mostly done television and theatre, with a handful of movies sprinkled in for good measure.
What was one of your favorite moments working to voice Symmetra in Overwatch?
ANJALI: Oh that's a hard call. I tend to love her sassier lines a little more, although really there's so much laughter when working with the team in session, I don't know how to pick one moment. I think honestly my favorite moment, or period, was when the whole thing came together and I could finally see how my voice and the beautiful work of the Blizzard folks worked together. I basically had a permagrin the entire month of May.
Where did you draw inspiration for this particular role as Symmetra?
ANJALI: Honestly it came from the designs and story that the Blizzard peeps created. When I came to the process, it felt like they had already fleshed out a lot of who she was on paper and screen, and much like any role, I just came in and did what I imagined the creators had in mind. She was drawn so elegantly, and her movements so graceful that I definitely felt she had to have an ease and fluidity to her voice and demeanor. And it's always a little sexier to me to play someone who kicks ass without breaking a sweat, inside or out.
Could you tell us about your time working on Fallout 4' Nuka-World as you portrayed Nisha?
ANJALI: I actually only came to Nisha very close to when the game came out. In fact, I actually never saw what she looked like until after I had voiced her. It wasn't until I showed up to the recording session that I even knew I was recording for Fallout 4. The good news is that it was pretty clear to me the kind of gal she was from the character description I was given, and then finding out it was in the Fallout world and seeing the Nuka-World trailer, it was a smooth jump to giving her a voice.
How did this compare/contrast to Symmetra in Overwatch?
ANJALI: With Symmetra, there was definitely a little more information ahead of time – and having the benefit of seeing what she was going to look like helped. While I voiced Nisha in one quick session, Symmetra took a little more and there was still a little more development going on after my first session. I feel like in that way we could be a little more organic with the process.
Where did you draw inspiration for this role in Nuka-World?
ANJALI: I think I basically just thought of all of the villains I've seen portrayed over the years who were cool as a cucumber while they did horrible violent things. Nisha's world view was clearly a matter-of-fact one... she is so comfortable with violence and just doing what she thinks should be done, and usually what I find more disturbing about those characters when I see them on screen or stage is how blasé they are about violence or cruelty. That was definitely something I thought needed to be a part of Nisha because that's how I felt she internalized the brutality of her past.
What advice would you give someone looking to get into an acting career?
ANJALI: Engage life!!! Learn EVERYTHING you can... read, ask questions... get yourself an education in every way possible. I am always so saddened by people who think that learning a different skill or about other subjects won't help them in their career as an artist, because being an artist is about showing the world to people in a way they can't necessarily see it. It's our job as actors to learn even MORE. There is literally nothing I can think of in my life that doesn't inform my work one way or the other, and there is no encounter with another human being that doesn't matter... every experience has an effect. The more well-rounded and interested (not interesting... interestED) a human you are, the better an actor you will be. Everything else is gravy.
What is the most rewarding part about the work that you do?
ANJALI: Hands down, 100%, the engagement with viewers and fans. There is nothing that I love more about creating than seeing or hearing how something I've been a part of has positively affected a person who has watched it or heard it or played it. Again, I do this because I think it's my job to help people enjoy experiences or stories they otherwise wouldn't be able to... to have emotional experiences in their life without having to actually go through the circumstances to get them there. When I speak to someone after a show or talk online with a fan and they tell me how something I helped to create made them think in a new way or inspired them to do something or simply entertained them, it's a high I can't compare. I hope I always live in a world where that connection can be so immediate... I love it so much.
What other upcoming projects can should we be on the lookout for that feature your work?
ANJALI: I just finished shooting a series by Eric Garcia for Fullscreen that will be coming out in 2017, but I can't talk about it just yet... have to keep an eye on social media for that. I'm ridiculously excited about it, it's a female driven dark comedy that I just adore. And I'll be doing a beautiful play at South Coast rep called ORANGE which is a world premiere by Aditi Kapil. And you'll see me pop up on a couple of episodes of shows in the next couple of months here and there... like a sneaky Indian TV ninja.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
ANJALI: I really can't say enough how grateful I am to be able to do what I do for a living, and to be able to hopefully bring joy to people while doing what I love. And if it weren't for the creative souls who play these games or enjoy the art, as well as the designers and writers and animators who conceive them, I wouldn't have such a clear purpose that was so fulfilled. So really, thank you to everyone who makes being an actor such a joy. I hope I can make you guys proud.
Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us!
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Official Overwatch Website
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