interview: Voicing Shaak Ti

This interview originally appeared on Click here to read the original.

Actress Tasia Valenza, who plays Shaak Ti in tonight’s Clone Wars episodes “Clone Cadets” and “ARC Troopers,” has enjoyed an extensive and varied career in film, video games, and animation, with an acting range that’s landed her recurring roles as Dottie Thornton on All My Children and voice-over stints as Aurra Sing and Poison Ivy in the Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds and Batman: Arkham Asylum video games respectively. That’s not to mention the dozens of characters she’s portrayed on shows like The A-Team, Cheers, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and scores of other acting and voice-over roles.

While rubbing elbows with the likes of A-Team‘s ‘Hannibal’ Smith and Star Trek‘s Captain Jean-Luc Picard would get most TV fans downright giddy, Valenza keeps her geek in check — just the repose you’d expect from Season 3’s newest Jedi Knight.

We asked Valenza a few questions about her role as Shaak Ti, and what qualities she was able to bring to her character:

How did you like joining the select club of actors to voice Jedi Knights in The Clone Wars?

As an actress and voice-over artist, these are my favorite kinds of jobs because I get to put a foot in both worlds. It’s a gift. I get to play a wonderful role but I’m not subjected to the hours of make-up that would be required to become Shaak Ti. I actually normally record in my closet, but for Shaak Ti I came out of my closet to record with the other actors in the studio.

You record in your closet?

I record in my closet because the clothes and the shoes are great for blocking out the sound. It’s a big walk-in closet so I have one wall which is just for the studio and the rest are for the clothes. The bonus is I get to organize shoes in between takes.

Are you aware of the deleted scene from Revenge of the Sith in which Shaak Ti is executed by General Grievous?

I had no idea that Shaak Ti almost didn’t make it! How fortunate for me so that I could “give her life.”

What kind of direction were you given for your character?

That she is very calm, subdued, and has a Spanish accent. She was written to have an accent with a Spanish flavor, maybe something on the Brazilian side. They definitely wanted to add that Latin dimension to her — I guess they felt she should have an exotic flair to her. She has a calm yet authoritative nature that’s very grounded. She doesn’t need to show off — her presence is enough.

Will we be seeing more of Shaak Ti in Season 3?

I sure hope so!

Finally, I see you played a character named “Bonita” in an episode of The A-Team — so who’s scarier, Asajj Ventress or B.A. Baracus?

I’m gonna go with Asajj, for sure. She’s just rockingly scary.

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