Though she may forever be known as Alicia Lambert, the all-American character from the 1990’s sitcom Step by Step, Christine Lakin has gone on to start in countless diverse roles whether they be on film or on stage. Having acted in all-manners since she was but a child, we have literally had the benefit of witnessing Christine grow and mature in front of our very eyes, and by the same token – she has witnessed the landscape in which she practices her craft change exponentially as well. As technology progresses video games are beginning to become not only serviceable means of conveying a story, but in fact a brand-new lens in which we can experience emotions, and at times even managing to match the experience provided even the most popular of the traditional mediums; film.
Today there is perhaps no property in gaming that is more cinematic than the Uncharted, and it is fitting that in the marquee PlayStation Vita title, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Christine took on the role of the fiery Marisa Chase; the latest in a long string of strong- willed women featured in Sony’s blockbuster franchise. Though technically not her first foray into the world of video games, it was clearly her most prominent, as the character of Marisa was key to the plot of the much-hyped title. Approaching the two-year anniversary of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, I spoke with Christine about her time in the boots of a treasure , while also finding out what it was like to star in an entry to one of the most beloved series in gaming today.
It has been nearly two years since Uncharted: Golden Abyss launched alongside the PlayStation Vita. Looking back on the project, were you aware of the pressures of the project being a “system seller” while you were creating it?
I wasn’t really. It was my first “mo-cap” job and frankly I was just excited and impressed with all the technology behind creating the game. I was aware of how big the franchise was for the Uncharted games and was really excited to be included in that family. I just tried to learn everything I could quickly (motion capture is quite technical and specific and moves very quickly) and not f*** up!
Though you have appeared alongside many talented actors during your busy career in television and film, could you share a bit about what it was like working alongside industry and series veterans Nolan North and Richard McGonagle?
I actually never got to officially work with Richard as we didn’t have any scenes together but we did overlap on one day and he is a lovely man. Nolan North is an absolute blast. He’s funny and crazy and inappropriate in all the right ways. He keeps everyone laughing. He’s a total goofball and a complete professional at the same time. Which is a compliment by the way. Loved his energy and he really embraced me in this new world.
You’ve lent your voice to projects before but I believe that this was your first foray into the world of motion capture. Was the experience in mo-cap something that you found difficult, or was it one that you found natural and fluid?
It’s actually very much like doing black box theater, in that there are no “costumes”, (just your crazy mo-cap suit – not sexy by the way) or real “sets”… everything is rigged with boxes, levels, bars, etc. to simulate a rock crag or a hanging branch, an airplane hangar or a jungle scene. So in that way, there’s a lot of imagination that comes with playing each scene. I could see how that would be frustrating or daunting for some actors but I had spent much of my childhood and present day doing theater, so for me it felt like I was back in acting class or theater camp.
“Nolan North is an absolute blast. He’s funny and crazy and inappropriate in all the right ways.”
I found a lot of freedom with it and it allowed me to fully just relate to the other actor and not be limited by camera marks, angles, lighting, etc. You just play the scene the way you would in real life or on stage and the hundreds of cameras capture it. We would be given an artist’s rendering of what the game looked like before we did the scene, which also helped Nolan and I understand the intensity of the situation or the difficulty in maneuvers ahead for the player.
As an actress who has been featured in a diverse assortment of roles, what attracted to the character of Marisa Chase?
Are you kidding? Who doesn’t want to be a smart, bad-a** in an action video game? Is this a rhetorical question? I’ve always been an action snob so to get to play a female sidekick in one of the bigger action adventure games was literally my Indiana Jones childhood dream come true.
There are times when actors greatly identify with the characters they inhabit, and at other times the role can be a wishful fantasy. What are some aspects of Marisa’s personality that reflect you as a person, and what are the attributes of hers that perhaps you wish that you had?
She’s definitely not scared of much and has a great snarky attitude that doesn’t take much s***. Being that she’s stuck in this “guy’s world” and just wants to find her Grandfather, she handles being shot at time and time again pretty well I think; probably much better than Christine would.
Without spoiling too much, it is clear that by the end of Golden Abyss Marisa has undergone a pretty large transformation. With her storyline being left as open-ended as it was, if the opportunity came up to play the character once more would you be interested in returning to the role?
Oh gosh yes. I had a blast and would absolutely love to pop up in the series again in the future. I’d love to see what’s become of Marisa… and if the adventure of Golden Abyss inspired her to continue other adventures.