We Asked for This – An Interview with Michelle Boback aka Megan Reed

We Asked for This – An Interview with Michelle Boback aka Megan Reed

We were lucky enough to talk to Michelle Boback who is the beautiful and talented voice behind Deus Ex’s Megan Reed. In this exclusive interview with Manatank, Boback discusses her family, the future of Megan Reed, and what it’s like to be a female gamer.

Manatank – You have seemingly done it all in regards to acting, from stage productions to voicing video game characters. What is your method of choice?

Michelle Boback – That is almost impossible to answer! Each has its pros and cons. Theatre is very time-demanding but you get instant gratification at the end of each performance and you get the natural high of performing live. [With] film and television, you get to see the final product which is a collaborative effort of a whole team of people. Each person in the production is contributing, but sometimes you don’t see the results of that contribution until you watch the final product. Most of the time, I am amazed by the talent of my peers and coworkers. Voicing video games is much like film in that respect; except for the fact you don’t know what ANYTHING is going to look like (not even your character sometimes)!  And there is something really intimate about voice work. Hearing the character take shape in a sound booth is a very private experience and I really learn a lot about my voice in those sessions.

MT – Deus Ex was not the first time you have worked with your husband, Elias Toufexis, what is it like to work along side of him and how do you two manage between your working and personal relationships?

Boback – Elias and I have worked together in a few different mediums [including] theatre, voice and video games. It’s funny that we get cast as boyfriend/girlfriend a lot! I guess we have strong chemistry….ah, ya. We both had a long history of acting before we met each other, so our ‘professional selves’ were pretty solid by the time we started working together. Add the intimacy
of our private life and I think we reach[ed] a dynamic relationship with each other pretty quick. I can’t speak for Elias, but I have a great time working with him. I really respect him as an actor, and I really respect him as a person. Also he’s sexy. I think that respect for each other is the key to our success both on and off screen together; that, and our love for William Shatner.

MT – Megan Reed’s character in Deus Ex was a brilliant neuro-scientist working on cybernetic augmentations. What was it like to voice a character who was so involved in scientific advancements? Are there any parallels between you and Megan in this regard?

Boback – Well Megan is a genius and so am I, so yeah, that parallels….did I spell genius right?
No, unfortunately I am not very scientific. I am not very good at math either. But, I can and do
include the Golden Ratio proportion in a lot of my paintings! Does that count as science?

MT – There is a lot of discussion about whether your character is really naïve or a heartless scientist. What would you say to those questioning your character’s ethics?

Boback – That’s an interesting question, especially because as I was recording most of my scenes I didn’t know how the story ended.  So I played true to everything I said. I wouldn’t say she’s ‘heartless’ as she hoped to use augmentation to better peoples’ lives, but I would say she lived for her research. I think it was that narrowed ambition that made her choose to betray Adam. For her there wasn’t any other choice. Perhaps that’s where she was naïve.

MT – What would you like to see Megan Reed do more of?

Boback – I would like to see Megan do more Deus Ex games!

MT – What type of characters are you drawn to in regards to acting? Why do you think this is?

Boback – I love playing the villain, the distressed, the crazed [and the] emotionally unstable. I like to have fun. I’m such an optimistic, positive person that it’s nice to play my juxtapose.

MT – You and your husband have a gorgeous little girl, is it difficult being a working mom?

Boback – Yes, it is very difficult sometimes. Especially because we have no set hours of work, they fluctuate all the time. Trying to nail down a sitter or to keep our daughter on a schedule can be a huge challenge some weeks. Plus we jump around cities a lot so that’s an obstacle as well. I am very lucky though, because I get to spend a lot of time with my daughter.  I’ve seen all her firsts and [have] still been able to work. That I think is a huge blessing.

MT – What are some of the struggles you have encountered while working in an industry dominated by men? What advice can you give to women who are trying to make it in the video game industry?

Boback – Hang in there! As more women come into the video game industry, more great female characters will emerge! I think Megan is such a great character thanks to the main writer being a woman (Mary DeMarle). As the demand for more female leads in games grow, we’ll see more strong, realistic female characters emerge. [My] greatest struggle is finding enough characters to play. I would be interested to know what the ratio of male to female characters in video games is.

MT – As a female video game player what are some tribulations that you have encountered?

Boback – I have a hard time identifying with the characters sometimes; probably because they are mostly men, doing men stuff, or because the option of heroine is stereotyped to [the] extreme. Maybe that’s why I love the female characters in Deus Ex.

MT – What is your all-time favourite video game?

Boback – Left 4 Dead 2, Tetris….and Deus Ex!

MT – Is there anyone in the video game industry that you would like to work with?

Boback – Rochelle Aytes, because I always play Rochelle in Left 4 Dead 2. I’d love to kick some zombie butt with her.

MT – We are made to believe that your character in Deus Ex is essentially good (albeit a little shady), are you one to gravitate to the good guys or the bad guys when you are playing video games?

Boback – When I play I always play good.  I feel bad when I don’t.  I want to go back to the character I was mean to and apologize.

MT – Is there anything that you wish to say to your fans at this point in time?

Boback – Thank you for all the support! This game would never be successful without you. If it wasn’t for fans I wouldn’t have a job, so thanks for that too. Keep gaming.

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