REFANB Interview: Carolyn Lawrence, A.K.A. Ashley Graham
Carolyn Lawrence Related:

Carolyn's Voice Actor Page
Resident Evil 4

How did you come about the role of Ashley Graham? What was the audition process like? Can you tell us a little about what you were up against?

I was called in to audition by the game's casting director, Ginny McSwain. I work with Ginny on Jimmy Neutron so I was very excited that she thought of me. In this profession having someone in your corner, always makes the process more fun. Even if you don't book the job, you walk away knowing that someone respected your talent and work enough to call you in. I'm not sure how many women read for the role of Ashley, but I know from previous experience that the numbers can be in the hundreds.

What kinds of things did Capcom tell you about the character of Ashley Graham ahead of time? Did they go into much of the plot detail or did they pretty much confine it to Ashley's character?

They tend to confine the information to your character . They showed me a picture of her, and told me a little about how they envisioned her. I found out about the plot as we went along.

How long did the process of recording Ashley take?

The whole recording process took about sixteen hours. We ended up working in four-hour increments and it was completed over several months.

Have you had a chance to play Resident Evil 4?

Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to play the game. I don't own that gaming platform. (Is that how you say that?) I jokingly asked them how many shows I would have to record until they gave me a GameCube, but I never got a firm answer. I'm going to have to buy one!

Do you enjoy video games? If so, what games?

I have friends with several different gaming platforms like XBOX, PS and GameCube, but I'm not all that familiar with any of them. I need to visit with some of the fans on your site so they can give me lessons!

Now for the fun question, which is about something I discovered through forum chatter. In the game, Leon can obtain a sniper rifle with a scope. If he jumps down from a ledge, leaving Ashley up at the top, he can take the rifle, look up through the scope and attempt to see up Ashley's dress. Ashley will quickly respond by putting her knees together and angrily saying "what are you looking at, you pervert!!". I tried this myself and found it to be true, and I had to laugh. Anyways, when you were asked to record this bit, what did they tell you about it? What did you think? Did it seem odd to you?

I don't remember them telling me exactly what the scene was about. This is the first time I've heard all the details, and I think the whole scene sounds very funny! I wish I could see it. Now I know I am going to have to buy that GameCube! They did show me a couple of scenes where Ashley starts running, and her skirt flips up, and you get a peek at her panties. I gave them a hard time about that!

Did you get the chance to meet any of the other voice actors from the game?

Yes. I know a couple of the people who worked on the game. The voiceover community is very small, so most of us have met on one job or another.

What influenced you to become an actress? Do you have any role models?

From the time I was a little girl, I knew I would be a performer, but I wasn't sure in what capacity...singer, dancer, actress. I diligently worked at my craft and waited to see what the universe would bring my way. It's been an amazing ride. I don't really have any role models per say. There are so many people I admire for various reasons. I admire Oprah for the empire she has built, and I admire Meryl Streep for always challenging herself as an actress.

You also do the voices of "Sandy Cheeks" and "Cindy Vortex" from the SpongeBob and Jimmy Neutron series' respectively. How did you get involved with each of those, and do you have a favorite character?

My involvement in SpongeBob is one of those strange Hollywood stories. I was working in voiceover, television and film, but without much luck in animation. One day I met Donna Grillo (casting director) on the sidewalk in Los Feliz. I was with a friend who knew her, and she said I had an interesting voice, and wanted to know if I did voice work. She told me she was currently casting a show that I might be right for. Donna brought me in to audition and I got the part.

Jimmy Neutron was interesting as well. I auditioned for the film and then my agent got a call that they needed someone to do what's called a scratch track. A scratch track is when they start laying out how the film is going to go, but haven't cast the roles yet. Apparently they remembered me from my audition, but weren't sure about casting me for the part. I agreed to do the scratch track, and my agent told me I wouldn't get the actual role in the film for various reasons. Hearing that I didn't have a shot at the actual role in the film, gave me an I've got nothing to lose attitude. I went and recorded the scratch and had the best time. Later, when I got the call that they were going to cast me in the film, I was so excited. I found out that the producers had wanted me all along!

I don't really have a favorite character. I love them all for different reasons.

Of all the things you've done, what would you say was your favorite project?

I'd have to say that working on the Jimmy Neutron feature was one of my favorite experiences so far. I loved working with the director John Davis, and my character, Cindy, had such a fantastic journey to go through that it was marvelous to act out.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of the acting world?

I have so many! I love gardening, home fix- it projects, my pets. I love being involved in my community and I make the time to do community based things.

Some people don't like watching the things they've acted in. Do you have anything you've done where you look at it and it makes you cringe?

Oh sure, but some of the things I might not like other people really I think I'll just keep that to myself.

If Capcom were to ask you to come back and reprise the role of Ashley in a future game, would you be interested in the job?

Sure, she was a blast to play! I do hope if they have her back she gets more of a spine.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is aspiring to be a voice actor?

Yes. Voice acting is no different than acting in general. If someone wants to be a voice actor, they need to work on their craft. The best thing to do in order to get started is to take an acting class.

What are your future plans? Any projects on the horizon (that you're allowed to talk about)?

I'm getting ready to start two new shows. One of the shows is for The Cartoon Network, and hopefully another one for Nickelodeon. I can't share much more at this time. When the shows are up and running I'll let you know. I'm also trying to produce a feature film so I'm actively seeking investors.