Hey, fans! We have another interview for you. This interview was conducted via e-mail shortly after FanExpo 2012 (which occurred in August).
We’re pleased to bring you the final version now. Katie was wonderful about answering lots of questions for you!
Moon Chase: How did you get started in acting and what was your first big break in acting?
Katie Griffin: When I was 15, I did a play at Ryerson Theatre (just auditioned for the fun of it, but ended up getting the role), and from there I got noticed by my first Agent. I was then auditioning and booking various commercials, and small parts on Canadian Television and movies-of-the-week. I stuck with that Agent through high school, but then started to feel like I could handle bigger things, so I moved on to a different Agent. I started to book bigger parts, and really felt as though I was making some head-way, but Canada is a very interesting place to have a career. There is no ‘star-system’ here in Canada, so you can book a lead in a film, and it really doesn’t mean anything. Your resume is really only as good as your last acting job. So, what was my first real break? I don’t really know. My very first series lead was Sailor Moon!! That felt pretty great!! But, to tell you the truth, when I booked it no one told me (how could anyone have known) that it was going to be an insanely popular show!! Sailor Moon had a huge impact on my career, because I honestly feel that I got the confidence I have now, from that show. That show led to other animated series, and kick-started my voice-over career. ….which quite frankly I’m far more proud of than anything I’ve ever done in front of the camera. I’ve been with my voice Agents, Edna and Paul my whole career. I owe them a lot.
Moon Chase: Over the years you have worked with a lot of “big name” actors such as Nicole kidman, Taye Diggs, Billy Ray Cyrus, Glenn Close, and Alicia Silverstone to name a few. Which one stands out in your mind as your best film experience and who did you learn the biggest lesson from?
Katie Griffin: I worked with Rob Lowe, playing his love interest in a movie called, “Too Late to Say Goodbye”. I had a fantastic time working with him. He’s actually hilarious. Very down-to-earth, and just an overall great guy. The biggest lesson I’ve learned probably came from Nicole Kidman. Not that I could ever be the ‘high-maintenance’ actor on a film set, my mom would kill me, but Nicole was simply lovely to everyone around her. She respected everyone on that film set, from the Director to her fellow actors as well as the crew. I will always show up to a voice record or a film set on time and with a smile. This is a crazy industry to try and make a living at, but if you enjoy being there, and respect the people you’re working with, the whole experience becomes a lot more enjoyable.
Moon Chase: Who would you like to work with in the future?
Katie Griffin: Hmmmm, good question. I’d like a crack at a juicy, emotional scene with Meryl Streep. I’d also like to star in an animated Disney film, or Pixar. ….mostly so that I could go and see it with my boys. 🙂
Moon Chase: Many of our readers don’t know that you are also a singer! How did you come to record your first album, “Kiss Me Chaos” and how did you come up with the title of that album?
Katie Griffin: My first album was born out of a fluke! I was recording an Excel gum jingle for a friend, and at the end of the session, I played a few of my songs for him on a guitar. I asked him if I should turn them into a demo, just to have, and he suggested I meet with a musician/producer friend from the band, JAMES (Laid) who had just come back from the U.K. That was Michael Kulas. Michael and I hit it off right away, and he really liked my songs and wanted to produce them! And, VOILA! ….then I married him. (tee hee hee….what a cliche) The name Kiss Me Chaos, basically came from a Taming of the Shrew reference. Growing up I was a pretty strong kid, and my mom sometimes referred to me as “Kate the Shrew”. Anyway, long story even longer, there is a musical based on this play, called “Kiss Me Kate”, and it’s a play on that.
Moon Chase: Many years ago, there was talk of a second album. You wrote a beautiful song for your nephew that you performed at Playing for Parker that had The Rivoli in tears – is there any chance of this track being released?
Katie Griffin: Ha! That second album is still being talked about. I have six songs. Four more, and it’s an album! Work and having two boys just seemed to get in the way. Making an album is an all or nothing process for me. If I can’t commit 100% of myself, I just don’t want to do it. Oh, did I mention I’m a perfectionist. lol. Awwww, that’s so nice that you remember that song. I actually did record it. If I were more technically inclined, I would somehow post it for you, but I really have no idea how to do that. Send it as an attachment?? The track will never be released on an album, but it’s a very special, personal song, and I’m glad I have it as a demo.
Moon Chase: Which do you prefer – acting on camera or acting in voice for cartoons and why?
Katie Griffin:I would be a complete hypocrite to say that I didn’t want to act on camera any more, but the truth is, I’m pretty sure I’m a better voice actress. I love being a cartoon. I’m kinda good at it, and I’m a lucky duck to be able to make a good living at it, so if for some crazy reason I HAD to choose, I’ve had a much better relationship with my voice career, and that’s where my loyalty would lie.
Moon Chase: The Rhythmoband method isn’t in use much any more, but some actors preferred this method over the beep method (and found it more fun to record using Rhythmoband). Which one do you prefer and why?
Katie Griffin: I prefer to do original animation!!! Hahaha. Rythmoband or ANY form of dubbing is a challenge, because aside from stifling your acting, it’s a challenge to be that accurate, while giving a performance you’re proud of. The beep method is a little easier, though.
Amanda: When is your birthday?
Katie Griffin:January 14th, 1973. Yup! I’m turning 40 in January!!! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!! ….I’m really not looking forward to it.
Moon Chase: How did you find out about the auditions for Sailor Moon and what was the audition like?
Katie Griffin: The original Darien/Tuxedo Mask, Rino Romano and I were good friends, and he suggested to the Producer that she should audition me. I got the audition, and truthfully I didn’t think much of it after I left. I couldn’t believe it when I booked it!
Moon Chase (and Corey): Was Sailor Mars the only character you auditioned for or played in the series?
Katie Griffin: I think so. Susan Roman said she auditioned for Sailor Moon, but I’m pretty sure I auditioned for Sailor Mars from the get-go.
Moon Chase: How did you come up with the right voice for the role? Was it hard to come up with a voice that could be sort of a bully, yet sweet at times?
Katie Griffin: Ha! When I auditioned I no idea she was a bully. I actually never saw her that way. I always felt like she and Serena were just different personalities, but they loved each other like sisters, and FOUGHT like sisters do. I always felt like they were the closest of friends.
Moon Chase: How many episodes did you record a week? Was it hard to sustain her voice for long periods of time (especially when she had to yell a lot)?
Chris T: Was it difficult to take care of your voice while playing Raye/Sailor Mars (because of all the shouting)?
Katie Griffin: It was sooooooo long ago. I was just a pup. My voice could really endure a lot. Now, I take care of it a lot more. …tea, rest etc. We sometimes recorded two or three episodes a day, but I don’t remember ever feeling like my voice was strained. I play Alex on Totally Spies, and her voice is super high-pitched. I can really only record a couple episodes at a time.
Taylor: Your rendition of “Oh Starry Night” is extremely beautiful and is one of my absolute favourite moments from the show, is there a reason why your version was never released?
Katie Griffin: I remember singing Oh Starry Night, but I can’t remember if it was ever recorded????? I know that when I suggested to the Producer that I could sing it, she told me it had already been recorded. Weird , that they never asked me if I could actually sing.
Moon Chase: Raye was a unique character because she was also a miko (a shrine maiden) in the cartoon. Was this a bit of a culture shock to get used to? Did you do any outside research into Japanese culture to better understand her character?
Katie Griffin: Sadly, no. I wish I had known a lot more about her character back then. It was all pretty fast and furious with the records.
Moon Chase: Do you yourself have anything in common with Sailor Mars’ character?
Katie Griffin:I fight for what I believe in. I’m strong. I’m loyal. …and, I can be a bit stubborn. 🙂
Moon Chase: Sailor Mars was the bully of the group at times. What is your take on the friendship between Sailor Moon and Sailor Mars? Did you base your portrayal of her character on any “mean girls” that you knew? Were any of the scenes involving Serena and Raye challenging from an acting point of view?
Josh2Darien: What were your views/thoughts on the love/hate relationship between Serena & Raye?
Katie Griffin: I never really saw her as a bully. In the beginning, they were fighting over the same guy, so I just thought it was a ‘typical’ girl-battle. But, the truth is, I think that Rei and Serena were best friends. And, best friends fight. It was a personality clash, sometimes. Perhaps, viewing it that way, having that internal back story made the fighting easier to digest.
esahC: What exactly was the illness that cause you to not voice Rei for “The Lost Episodes”?
Katie Griffin: There was a lot of speculation as to why I didn’t record some of the episodes. The truth is, I went to L.A. for a while, and the show wouldn’t do a ‘phone patch’ while I was there. My good friend Emilie stepped in for those episodes until I got back. She is a tremendous actor, and I thought she was brilliant as Rei!! When I came back, she actually continued on as Sailor Venus!
ChibiGinger: Was it hard getting back into voicing Sailor Mars, after hearing someone else do her voice?
Katie Griffin: Nope. I had done so many episodes at that point, that I felt pretty comfortable coming back. Also, the truth is, I didn’t actually hear Emilie’s voice as Rei until much later. I thought we sounded pretty close!!
Moon Chase: Do you wish things would have worked out for Raye and Chad in the end? Or do you think she could have done better than him?
Katie Griffin: I totally wish that!! Chad was awesome, and he reeeeeeeally liked Raye!! (or Rei….I guess the English version is spelled Raye 🙂 )
Moon Chase: In December 2010 in Japan, the 5 actresses who played the 5 Sailor Scouts all got together for a reunion to celebrate the launch of the half-season boxsets in Japan. A lot of them spoke about how they felt for their characters during the worst battles they had to fight – did you ever feel like this was the case for you sometimes during the recording sessions?
Katie Griffin: This is a tricky question. I guess my honest response is, obviously I wanted Raye to come out strong, and survive, but I never got the script ahead of time, so I really didn’t have a lot of time to digest what was happening! I had to just hope for the best, and go for it!!
Moon Chase: What was your most memorable experience recording the series?
Katie Griffin: I had really great time recording this series. The people made it memorable for me. I can’t think of one specific moment. I just felt good going in and coming out of each and every record.
Salvatore: Do people recognize you as the voice of Sailor Mars?
Katie Griffin: Not really. My everyday voice is a lot different than Sailor Mars. Unless I specifically do her voice, I remain anonymous!!!
Anne: Did you have a favorite episode or scene? What was it like recording it?
Katie Griffin: I really liked the Raye/Chad/ Grandfather scenes. I can’t think of one specific scene, but I liked taking a breather from always butting heads with Serena.
Josh2Darien: Have you ever seen the final season (Sailor Stars) of the show? If so, what are your thoughts on it?
Katie Griffin: No, I haven’t!!! I would love to see it! I should try to find it.
Moon Chase: Did you ever think that this show would have become such a huge phenomenon around the world?
Katie Griffin: I knew that it was huge in Japan. There was just soooooooo much merchandise out there. But, never in a million years could I have predicted the impact the show would have on so many people. When I was in Vancouver a few weeks ago, I was blown away by the support for the show!!!
Note: Katie is referring to her appearance at Anime Revolution 2012
Tpirandsailormoon: Have you read [any of] the manga or [watched] the original Japanese anime of the series?
Katie Griffin: Truthfully, no. Vancouver was the first time I had ever even heard of the manga! I watched the original Japanese anime series every week during our recording sessions. We would watch the scene in Japanese first, and then record it in English.
Moon Chase: Do you have any Sailor Moon merchandise?
Katie Griffin: I have a TON of Sailor Moon merchandise! Because it was my very first series, I was very proud to be a part of it. I went to little China here in Toronto, and bought sooooooo much stuff. I have posters, backpacks, glasses, trading cards, keychains. My favourite is this comb/mirror set. Sailor Moon had the coolest merchandise ever!!!
Moon Chase: What do you think made Sailor Moon a special cartoon when it first broke out onto the scene?
Katie Griffin: I think Sailor Moon was special for a few reasons, first of all I found it pretty empowering that GIRLS were fighting all these bad guys. When this series came out, most of the action animation were guys fighting evil. Second of all, there were different Sailor scouts with different personalities, so girls (and guys) could relate to their favourites and role play! And, finally I think that each of the Sailor Scouts had very detailed back stories, and it became more than just a show. The characters were very REAL!
ChibiGinger: Were you upset that the last season was never [dubbed]? Did you even know [anything about it]?
Katie Griffin: I was upset when it ended. I didn’t even realize there was another season. Politics entered the picture, and that was the end.
Moon Chase: What do you think is Sailor Moon’s legacy, almost 17 years later?
Katie Griffin: Hmmmmmm, good question. I’ll have to think about this one. I’ll come back to it.
Moon Chase (and everyone else including Zozonae, Ecoreck, Jigglypuff2cute, tpirandsailormoon and Anne): If there was a complete redub of the series or a dub of the very last season, would you reprise your role if given the chance to?
(Note: one of the fans chose to extend this question…)
Jigglypuff2cute: and do you think they should just [rate] the last season as PG-13 [because] of certain things in it? … If they try to keep the last season (if they decide to air it in the US) rated for kids, it just wont be the same and there will be A LOT of confusion from all the [cuts]. I know I was kinda confused when I saw the sailor scouts first die. I didn’t even know they were dead untill I saw the ghosts giving princess Serenity power.
Katie Griffin: I would absolutely reprise my role, if asked!! It’s all going to depend on who gets the series. If it’s done in the US, I’m quite certain they’ll recast. I’m also pretty sure that regardless of where it goes, Canada/US it will get a PG-13 rating. I wish they would just leave it as is, but as ‘free’ as our countries are, there is always censorship. It’s a shame. I would love to see the show left in its truest form.
Moon Chase: Michie Tomizawa, the woman who played Sailor Mars in Japan commented at the event that she always features Sailor Moon on her resume because it has such a leading presence – do you share the same sentiments?
Katie Griffin: I don’t really have a voice over resume. Sailor Mars is a huge part of me, and if I’m auditioning for any form of animation and someone asks me what I’ve done, I always say Sailor Moon first. But, in Canada your voice resume (which people don’t really have) and on camera resume are totally different.
esahC: Did you [use] your experience on Sailor Moon to your advantage for other [shows], like your role in Totally Spies?
Katie Griffin: Not really. Maybe, I used my confidence from Sailor Moon, but Alex and Raye are soooooooooooo different. The only thing they have in common is the ability to kick some ass!!
Taylor: You’ve played goofball roles like Alex from Totally Spies, mean girl roles like Nina from Braceface and the mix of the two in Sailor Mars’ character, what kind of character do you like playing most?
Katie Griffin: Nina from Braceface was really fun to voice. I don’t think I have one single thing in common with Nina, so it was fun playing that role. I guess in the end, I like playing badass kind of characters. I was the original Ruby, on the show, Max & Ruby, but there was nothing badass about that bunny, and I really didn’t enjoy playing her that much. I also played Zair on Redakai. She’s pretty badass. Fun to play!!
Moon Chase: Of all the cartoon characters you have played, which one is your favorite and why?
Salvatore: Would you say playing Raye was one of your favorite roles?
Zozonae: What would you say was your most favourite role as a voice actor/actress and why?
Katie Griffin: Raye was my first voice over character ever, so she’s always going to be one of my favourites. But, I love Alex on Totally Spies because she’s such a sweetie, and a little ditzy. ….and yet, you wouldn’t want to mess with her.
Moon Chase: A long time ago you used to teach through Voiceworx – what was this experience like and do you have any inspiring stories from the classroom?
Katie Griffin: Teaching at Voiceworx was a little outside of my box. I loved sharing knowledge to people just breaking into the business, because it IS such a tough nut to crack. Hopefully, I was helpful to some.
Moon Chase: We came across an old interview you did with Animerica Magazine where you said you were training in Kung Fu and at the time you had a Blue Belt (this was waaayyy back in 1997). How much farther did you get? (NOTE: We have this scanned).
Katie Griffin: Ooooooh, I miss Kung Fu. I was obsessed. I was training for my brown belt when I left. I started to feel like the place I was training at was corrupt. I got a little disillusioned by it all, and took a break. ….a really looooong break. I’m going to train again someday. I love Kung Fu. I own over 80 Kung Fu movies!!! A lot of Golden Harvest productions from waaaaay back. Five Deadly Venoms is the BEST!!!
Moon Chase: Did you ever have any moments when you were training or sparring where you felt like Sailor Mars in the midst of battle at all?
Katie Griffin: Always. (wink)
Moon Chase: Any other upcoming productions that your fans can see you in?
Katie Griffin: I just recorded a Christmas special for CBC called, “The Magic Hockey Skates”. Not sure when it will air, but I play Mom, and a couple other characters. Also, if you’re in Canada I have a couple of commercials on the air right now, Wallmart (where the little boy is deciding between a ganola bar or a fruit cup) and a Baby Tylenol commercial, where it’s me and my real son, Wyatt!!! (that will be the only time I put him in the business, until he can decide for himself. My agent kind of talked me into bringing him, and I just looked at it as, ‘bring a kid to work’ day!) Oh well, it’s a start to his University or travel or whatever fund! My other little man, Jett, has absolutely no interest in acting.
Moon Chase: And with that, we have to blow out the temple flame! Thanks again Katie for this interview and we wish you the best of luck in the future!
Katie Griffin: Thanks!!! xo