Meet the real-life Chell from Portal 2
29th Mar 2011 | 16:09
You might not recognise Chell, despite her being the heroine of acclaimed puzzler PC/PS3 Portal. For a start, she's mute, and only visible in glimpses as you tumble through portals. Also, she's arguably upstaged by Portal's schizophrenic AI construct, Chell's tormentor GLaDOS. For Portal 2, due April 21st, developer Valve have latched onto Chell's relative anonymity and cult following, redesigning her with a controversially sexy new look. So PSM3 caught up with Chell's real-life inspiration, actress/producer Alesia Glidewell, to see what she makes of her 'edgy' new image...
How did you get involved with Portal and your role as Chell?
Through my agent Jamie at the Actors Group in Seattle. He must have submitted my photos to them as they asked to meet with me in person, to see if I'd be a good fit.
What do you think of the 'new' Chell design in Portal 2?
I like it! From the one image I've seen so far she's pretty cute and shows a little more skin. For some reason I did have an affinity for the orange jumpsuit, though. *Sigh*
How tempting is it to follow fan reaction to your character? Has any fan feedback surprised you?
Hmm... funny to think about this one. I've never really been tempted to follow it at all. Hard to explain why, but I'm kind of like that. My mother definitely does, and some of my family members or friends occasionally throw me a link to something funny or different. I enjoy seeing some of the drawings people make. (Click on the attached screens to see some of the 'saner' fan art. We've excluded the more left-field stuff, in case Alesia's mum is reading...)
Of all your acting/voice-over/directing roles, what's attracted the most media and fan attention?
This and Starfox, the Nintendo game. (Alesia also provided the voice for Alma in FEAR 2 - see her full list of credits on her IMDB page)
How does Hollywood view videogames?
How do you think videogames are viewed in Hollywood? How can they raise their profile to that of the movies - or is that the wrong approach?
Raise their profile... aren't videogames more profitable than movies these days? Or is that not true? I guess profit and profile aren't necessarily the same thing. I see billboards and commercials for videogames all over Hollywood, but not nearly as many as there are for film and TV. Movies have their roots here and the studios have a long history with moving pictures before videogames were even invented. Visual effects artists don't even have a union. And I guess there are still a lot more people out there that have watched mainstream movies but have never owned a videogame console. I definitely think that'll change though. More players and demand will greenlight bigger budgets, more technological advances and interactivity. Maybe they'll be meshing movies and games more in the future - beyond just making movies based on games and games based on movies. Personally, I'm just anxiously awaiting my holodeck. Hello people!
How was working with Valve? What do you think they do well? How does working in games differ from working in advertising or movies?
Valve are amazing. They're such a unique company and have a very different way of collaborating that I find extremely admirable. Its what makes their work so brilliant. I think they in particular have that certain movie magic behind their games that could surpass and take over Hollywood.
In terms of the difference between working in movies & commercials versus videogames... its really a difference between live action and being on a set versus doing everything on computer. As fascinating and advanced as it is for one person to be able to control angles, lighting, movement and color all in a machine I'm a people person and don't love sitting in dark rooms for too long.
You've worked in a variety of roles, recently as a director - how has this affected your view of the creative process? What do you think would be most challenging about directing a videogame?
Directing a feature hasn't necessarily changed my view of the creative process since I've been directing short films and other projects since 2003 but I fall in love with the creative process more every time I do it. The energy and excitement I feel when I'm directing is something unparalleled in my life thus far. I would imagine that directing a videogame would be just as exhilarating plus challenging in ways that I can't even imagine. I would be constantly wanting to test the game along the way to make sure it would be something I would want to play. Making something fun and cool that's challenging but not frustratingly so would be big for me since I always skip the tutorials and am ridiculously impatient. Creating the worlds and creatures would be a dream though.
How do people react when they find out you're the model for Chell? What's the most memorable reaction you've had? Has anyone ever recognised you as Chell by looks alone?
Wish I had some cool story to tell about this but nope, no one has ever just recognized me as Chell. I've had a few 'that's awesome!'s in the past but that's about it.
To hear more from Alesia, pick up the new issue of PSM3 on-sale now at all good UK newsagents, with an exclusive look at Saints Row: The Third, plus all the latest PS3 news, reviews and gossip.