Shelley Blond is the first and original voice of Lara Croft. Tomb of Ash presents an exclusive interview with her!
An exclusive audio message from Shelley Blond!
Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! It is a great honour to interview a woman who is behind Lara’s original voice!
“Thank you very much for saying that!! You obviously realise flattery gets you everywhere!!“
How did you find out that the Tomb Raider developers needed a voice actress for their upcoming video game? Were you approached or casted?
“As well as being an actress, I was also busy with voice work,voicing commercials and animations and I had heard on the grapevine that Eidos and Core Design were searching for a voice for Lara Croft but I didn’t know anything about that specific game or any games to be honest. Never being a computer game buff, I had no interest in the subject. One day my agent rang and asked if I’d like to record a few lines as the Lara character and so I did. Those were the days of recording something on tape and sending it by post! I understood that Eidos and Core had been searching for the voice for over 6 months and I didn’t think anything of it after recording the ‘audition’. Three days later I received a conference call from the people at Core Design in Derby and they offered the role to me. I wasn’t too excited about the character… Just about getting a job that so many people had auditioned for. Bearing in mind I was never interested in video games.. I was just happy after searching for so long, the voice they were searching for was mine.”
As you know, there were just a few female protagonists in video-games at a time. What were your thoughts about Lara back then? Did you expect her to become a worldwide icon?
“I dont think even Eidos and Core had a clue of how iconic she would become. I certainly thought I would record the voice and that would be it. But after that there were cinema commercials to record for it and interviews with newspapers all around the world.”
How did you react when you got the position? What where you first reactions?
“I was just happy that my voice was the one they had been looking for for so long and that it was another voice job to add to my CV! At the point of getting the job I didnt realise what a huge thing it would become”
Did you play Tomb Raider at all? What are your thoughts on it?
“Ha! If you want the truth I have never ever played it!!!! I am completely, utterly technically challenged… No clue how to play a computer game. I can just about email! I know many friends who have played it and I meet people all the time all over the world who have played it over and over. I think maybe I’m the only person never to have played it!”
Have you done voice acting before becoming Lara’s voice?
“Yes. I was already voicing jingles and cartoons and promos. But I had only been a voice-over artiste for about a year and a half. At that point I wasnt too established in the business. Also acting was a big part of my world, acting singing and dancing in West End shows as well as several commercials on TV and film”
What was most unusual about this role? What parts did you like or dislike?
“I didn’t find any part unusual as such. But I did actually find the voice quite dull. I thought she looked quite sexy even in her early stages of development and I wanted the voice to reflect that.. But I followed directions they gave me to the letter and did it in a very straight mono syllabic way. Their actual direction was ‘do it like a female James Bond.’ The straighter I did it the more they liked it. ”
Where did you have to go to be recorded? Was anyone from Core Design there at the time?
“Gosh you’re going back nearly 20 years.. I can’t remember if it was a studio in London or in Derby. There were several people from Eidos and Core Design there directing me in the session and giving me more of an idea of the character”
Have you integrated quotes from the script of Tomb Raider you have worked on into daily life?
“Haha!! Like ‘welcome to my home. I think I’d better get out of these wet clothes?’ No. Can’t say I have!”
How long was the process of recording?
“It took a total of five hours. Most of the time was spent making all the sounds for fighting falling and being hurt.. Or the sound of being slammed into a wall”
Does anyone recognize your voice in real life to be that of Lara Croft? How much did you change your voice to become the character?
“No one recognises it in everyday life but sometimes people I do voice work for ask me to ‘do’ the voice. Then they all get excited as they recognise it. It makes me laugh to see them so excited. I only changed my voice in keeping any excitement or emotion out of it which was hard for me as I am a very expressive person and that shows in my natural voice”
Do you recall any funny moments or out takes that occurred during the process? Unfortunately, there are no out-takes online for us to see or hear.
“I can’t recall any funny moments or out-takes. We were all there to do a job and get it done fast. If we had worked together for a longer period then no doubt things would have been more relaxed and funnier. ”
Would you voice Lara Croft again if the opportunity arose?
“I was unable to do games 2 and 3 but I agreed for my soundbites to be used on them from the original game. My very good friend Jonell Elliot was chosen for a few of the games. I was called and asked if I would be interested in returning for the 6th or 7th game. I don’t remember which one.. And I agreed to be involved if they wanted me. Then they called me to say it was between me and Keeley Hawes and they called again to say they decided to go with Keeley, as she is a famous name. I think she was a wonderful choice. She has a gorgeous voice, very fitting for the Lara character.
It was lovely to be asked again though. A friend of mine worked on the Tomb Raider movie with Angelina Jolie and she told my friend that it was my voice in the original game that she listened to for inspiration. For me its a wonderful thing to hear ‘Shelley Blond…the Original Voice Of Lara Croft. I’m very proud of that.”
Thank you very much for your time!