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Interview: Voice actress Kari Wahlgren talks 'Kaijudo,' video games, and more

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We caught up with Kari Wahlgren, a prominent voice actress who's appeared in a plethora of video games from "Halo 4" and "Kid Icarus: Uprising" to "Prince of Persia." She's also had several roles in well-known movies such as "Bolt," "Tangled," and "Shrek the Third." In all she's performed in an astounding 239 titles to date (check out her IMDb listing), and currently plays the character Allie on "Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters" - among many other ongoing projects.

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How did you land the role of Allie on "Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters?"
Well, they sent out auditions for the role to the different agencies. I auditioned for the role of Allie and then I went out of town. They had callbacks while I was out of town, and I was extremely disappointed that I wasn’t getting the part because I wouldn’t make it to the callbacks. But luckily, they said that I was Allison from my first audition. When I came back into town, I found out that I got the role.

Did you do any research for Allie after you received the role? What do you think of her?
Allie is a fun character. She’s very sassy and very quick with the sarcastic retort but yet she loves her friends. She’s a really fun character.
I didn’t do much research for her. When we started recording, you fall into a rapport with the rest of the cast. As we recorded together, we found the characters more and discovered a little more of who they are and how we wanted to play them just by working together.

How would you like to see Allie's character develop in season 2?
I would like her to see where her friendship with Gabe goes. Curious to see how her friendship with Gabe could evolve. They’ve done a nice job with her friendship and possible crush on Ray. I think Gabe is such a fascinating character and I would like to see where that friendship could develop.

What's your favorite episode of "Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters?"
Ooh…hard to say. But I am pretty partial to when Allie first meets Squeaky because I love that whole friendship. I love the relationship between Allie and Squeaky. I have a real soft spot for Squeaky.

Who's your favorite creature from the show?
Squeaky is right up there. Love Squeaky! I also love Bob. I think the relationship between Bob and Ray has been really neat. I love seeing that unfold. And the freakiest creature is Razorkinder. Very scary!

Was there a memorable moment while recording for the show?
Just anytime we get the whole cast together. It’s such a great group of people that it’s just really special when to be with all of the guys and record together.

Do you know how to play the "Kaijudo" card game? If so, what's your favorite card?
Unfortunately, no. I don’t know how to play card game.

You've been incredibly busy this year! What's a typical work week like for you?
Every week is different. I’ve been very fortunate that it has been a busy year. On an average day, I have a couple sessions and lots of auditions.

Are you looking forward to more on screen roles or do you prefer the anonymity that comes with voice acting?
Voiceovers are my first love. I love cartoons. But I am enjoying the challenge of doing more on camera work. I hope I can do more in the future.

You've starred in quite an enormous amount of high profile video games. Have you played any of them?
I have played them…and I have played them badly. That’s pretty much sums it up.

Would you consider yourself a gamer? What type of video games do you enjoy most? What are you playing now?
"I am a poor gamer, but I do love the dance video games. I’m playing the Michael Jackson video game now. And a friend of mine gave me a game called Rocksmith. My goal in 2013 is learn how to play a little guitar."

Of all the work you've performed as a voice actress, what has been the most challenging role to date? The most rewarding?
Tigress on “Kung Fu Panda: Legend of Awesomeness” was very challenging because they wanted to tweak the performance a bit from the movies. And there is a lot of dry humor. And she has to be very buttoned up and not show a lot of emotion, but still show emotion at the same time. Haruko from FLCL was the most challenging and most rewarding because it was my first anime cartoon. Having this character and learning how to synch the voice to the picture was a huge challenge…and rewarding!

If you could voice any character from any show, movie, or game, who would it be?"
"Right now, I’m into “Birds of Prey.” So I would say Black Canary. She is a really strong, interesting female character.

Are there any upcoming roles or projects that you'd like to let readers know about?
“Tinkerbell: Secret of the Wings” DVD just came out. I voiced a couple roles. I played the receptionist fairy and they have an additional movie on the disc called “Pixie Hollow Games” and I play Ivy. And we have new episodes of “Fish Hooks,” “Kung Fu Panda: Legend of Awesomeness,” WINX and a number of games I can’t talk about yet.

Kari Wahlgren stars in the upcoming "Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters" finale episode “The Rising – Part 2," which airs this Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 at 2:00 PM EST on The HUB Network.

Watch Video: “The Rising – Part 2" clip

Episode synopsis:

The Choten’s plan to take over the human and creature worlds starts falling into place. Ray, Gabe and Allie alongside their creatures and the Kaijudo masters are faced with saving Earth from an impending apocalypse.

For more information about Kari Wahlgren, follow her on Twitter @KariWahlgren and visit her website at www.KariWahlgren.net.

Related:
Win a Kaijudo "Creatures Unleashed" party box
Review: 'Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters' DVD 'Creatures Unleashed'

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