Back in May, Actress Lara Heller spoke to us about her upcoming movie, ‘Synth.’ The film is based in a world of artificial intelligence. It is also inspired by actual events such as Hanson Robotics in Hong Kong create a robot named Sophia. The A.I resembles Audrey Hepburn’s face. Sophia is also the only A.I to have citizenship in the world.
Heller also shared with us that she would be a part of a video game that would be released in September, but could not discuss any details at the time. She did say she would share with us her involvement in the project closer to the release of it. Turns out the project she was working on happened to be NBA 2K20.
We were able to sit back down with Heller to discuss her role in NBA 2K20 after she announced that she would be a part game via her Instagram account on August 20th.
You recently announced that you would be part of this year’s installment of NBA 2k. Can you tell us how this opportunity presented itself?
I was given the opportunity to be a part of NBA2K through Sheldon Candis. I was very excited to work on an interactive game. PC is now such a part of the storytelling culture for video gamers. I guess every age has its storytelling form, and video gaming has become a big part of our culture. Coming from feature films, I was very curious about what it would be like to work with 2K. Sheldon brought an artistic quality to the project that was great. It gives me the impression that it will only be a matter of time before video games will be recognized on a par with film.
What will be your role in this year’s game?
I’m playing a character called Twiggy. Playing a character in a video game is very different from other performances because the characters can’t lead the audience of players. It is the players themselves that lead the story. And I like that! And in some ways it’s just the beginning – performance capture is going to grow and change so fast in the upcoming years. There are these huge strides the performance capture industry continues to take and I can’t wait to see what it’ll be like a decade from now.
You had the opportunity to work with director Sheldon Candis. How was that experience, and could we see you both work on something else in the future?
I’m blown away with what Sheldon and the team have achieved. They created this immersive, narratively driven game that players can really engage with.
Creating a video game all together felt a bit like working in theatre and a movie all at once. Sheldon helped us all to get into the motion and performance capture world which feels like pure imagination. It’s raw in that you’re in a black outfit with markers on, you have no set or environment to interact with. We’re also working in the round, being able to shoot a whole scene at once. It feels the most natural way to perform for games and again it reminds me of being on stage.
We rehearsed it and shot it in the same way as you would for a movie – except that we had hundreds of cameras on us. Sheldon ensured that we brought movie-quality performances to the video game world. I felt the team created a game that was a really immersive and also a cinematic experience. On top of that, it’s a choice-based game. I learned a great deal about the game.
Can you describe what it was like working with Thomas Middleditch and Deric Augustine for the first time?
It was great fun being in a room with such talented actors. Performance capture is pretty involved – with reference dots painted on our faces and a camera and microphone mounted on our heads. Everything is captured- our vocal performance and face at the same time. Thomas has incredible comic timing and will bring this wonderful humor to the game that he is so loved for. And both Thomas and Deric have a depth and heart to their performances that will transform the game.
It definitely keeps things exciting working in different mediums. I enjoy learning and there is so much to learn in gaming due to the constant developments.
Originally posted on The Hype Magazine.