Myriam Sirois describes her start in voice-acting as "Voice-acting
kind of came out of the blue... I got my start in theater, and I
did about five years of theater before I even started auditioning
for film and TV." Her acting career was already well underway at
that point - she'd even gone to Hollywood in her youth with every
actor's starry-eyed dreams.
"My father had taken me down when I was thirteen and we went
there blindly, not knowing anything about anything," she says. "And
you know, [we] realized that there were a lot of shady characters
and a lot of people who were just going to take you for your money
and had no interest in helping you. So we kind of learned the hard
way. You have to learn it." But she counts herself as lucky to have
had so much support in those early years. "I was fortunate because
I had parents who supported me and helped me, and I was never alone."
Now, about eight years after her first voice-acting job, she's
well known among anime fans as the anime-in-English voice of Ranma
1/2's Akane Tendo. "Being on Ranma's been an amazing experience
'cause it's been the same people for years, and it's become a really
good time, and no pressure," Sirois says. "In live-action you're
on one thing, and you go on another thing, and then another thing,
and you never really hook up with other people. On this show it's
been really cool, and I think it's been a little bit like the experience
of working on a television series, and it's something I'd really
like to do more of."
Although she still continues to work in live-action - most recently
in TV's Night Man and in upcoming independent film - she thinks
of both sides of her acting career as something she'd like to continue
for a long time.
"I think in many ways [live-action] really doesn't compare
to voice, because voice is a different medium," Sirois says. "You
can really be free and loose and not worry so much about looks,
and hair, and makeup, and this and that, and you physicality - you're
very much dependent on your voice and how animated you are. I mean,
I'm the type of person who'd like to do both - forever really."
You've been involved in theater for quite awhile. Were you into
theater in school as well?
Actually, it was more actually like extracurricular. In school,
I concentrated on my academics, and then outside of school, I had
a private drama teacher who taught me one-on-one. I entered the
Festive of the Arts in Canada, and won my provincials - it was basically
a competition where you would do prose and monologue and that sort
of thing. I'd do lots of different plays - of course, Cinderella
- and that's basically what I did. So for a long time it was just
theater, and I loved it. I'd love to go back to it.
How do you handle the translation from Japanese on a character
such as Akane? Do you listen to the Japanese version, or do you
make it up on your own?
Well, I think that when we started doing Ranma, I was very
much dependent on the director, and I would constantly watch for
what he would say. If he said he didn't like it, I'd do it again,
or whatever - so by the first few episodes I had sort of done my
thing and they said "we'll go with what you're doing." It was very
much like we wanted to stay true to it, so sometimes yes, we definitely
do [listen to the Japanese]. Also, I have to say that the translation
that's done on Ranma is extraordinary - we barely ever have any
problems, like getting sentences or words or ideas or emotion because
[Ranma translator and scriptwriter Trish Ledoux] writes it so beautifully
that it's easy for us. In a lot of ADR work, you'll get the script
and it doesn't match up, and then it becomes more of a problem.
At those times, you really have to listen to the Japanese, but since
she's listened to [Ranma], and she knows exactly the essence of
the characters, and it comes out in what she writes in English,
and then we just go with that. It makes such a big difference. I've
done other projects where you just want to rip your hair out because
nothing's fitting and you're not really getting the essence of what
it was in the other language, where it be Japanese, or Cantonese,
or Italian, or whatever.
On Ranma, after doing it for so many seasons, we've basically gelled,
all of us together, and we sort of know what our characters are
like. We've developed our own little quirks and personalities and
we go with that. I think [the English Ranma series] has its own
flavor - I think it sometimes comes out a little different [than
the Japanese], but it's so enjoyable I think people have accepted
Have you ever played another character like Akane before either
in animation or live-action?
Not really, actually. She's a tough cookie, you know? She's
a tough gal and she stands on her own two feet. As far as playing
a character like that, even in live-action, I really can't say that
I have. I've played a lot of softer characters, always the "good
girl" kind of thing, and never somebody who's maybe a little bit
more edgy. I've always been more the good sister, or the good daughter,
or the one that is always the good person.
Actually, it's been really fun in animation because I've had more
opportunities not to get pigeonholed into playing a certain type,
because looks don't play a part. In animation, it's very much your
voice and the character, and it's kinda cool because what you look
like, whether you're blond of you're tall - it doesn't matter, you
know? And you can just imagine and create fantasy, where oftentimes,
in live-action, you get stereo-typed because of the way you look.
What was your impression of Akane's character when you started?
Do you think that's changed at all?
I think it's changed a little bit from my audition to when
I got started, because in the bare audition you know only the very,
very, very bare basics. In the audition I didn't see the edge she
had until later episodes, when I started going, "Oh, wow, she's
pretty edgy; she's feisty," and that kind of thing. I didn't get
that from the beginning, when I first auditioned, but yeah, that's
probably the biggest way she's different from how I first pictured
her. You see the cute little cartoon, you see the picture, and then
the edginess that comes out of her is kinda different than I had
first imagined or perceived. I'd thought we were gonna make probably
her more cutesy - ha, ha, ha, that kind of thing - and we just made
her very edgy and standing on her own and not worrying about defending
herself, that's for sure. Assertive, and all those really positive
qualities. In a good way - I mean, that's the thing, you don't wanna
say she's assertive and edgy, blah, blah, blah, in a negative way.
It's all very positive.
What do you enjoy the most, doing Ranma?
I think I enjoy it the most when Akane and Ranma do that little
flirting business, and you think they're gonna hook up, and then
all of a sudden, they kind of... well, I think that's always fun
to do. That's the time I giggle the most. You finally see her soft,
sensitive side all of a sudden, and then 360° again.
Do you watch the animation you're in?
Oh yeah, [Viz Video producer] Toshi's very kind and he sends
me all the tapes, so I have my own little private library at home.
My cousins love to watch them, too - they always get a kick out
of that. I mean, I haven't seen everything that I've done, but I
do probably watch at least most of the episodes that I get. Which
is good, because it allows you [to think about] what you could do
differently and how well it's gelling.
In ADR, one person goes in and tapes their voice, and another person
goes in at a different time, so you're never together and you're
never really hearing what the other person's doing or responding
to what you're saying. So it's kind of fun to see it all put together.
It's just like doing a film - you see the back and the front and
the middle, and then you see it pulled together. And it's always
really interesting to see the end effect of what you've been doing.
You've said that you tend to play a lot of good girl characters.
Is there any particular archetype that you haven't played yet but
you'd like to try?
I've always been a very dramatic actress, like somebody who
does a lot of drama. I get cast in a lot of things where I'm a victim,
you know? [LAUGHS] Getting abused in some way, form, or fashion.
But probably any actor's dream is to get a character that has many,
many sides, and I'd like to do somebody that is going through turmoil
- physical abuse, mental abuse, or whatever - but she finds resilience
in herself, and that she has the strength, and she does overcome
it, and just being able to see the transition. Sometimes parts are
so one-sided, and I think the ones that intrigue me the most are
where you really feel at the end of the film that you know the person.
I think that's what I'd like to do. To take a character from the
beginning and see her transformation. I think that would be the
most fulfilling experience for me as an actor, where you're really
taking it from the very beginning, and you're really bringing it
to the end and making [the audience] feel like they can relate to
this person, and feel for this person, and maybe even know this
When you prepare for a role, do you do any special research?
Oh yeah, definitely. If it requires it - I mean, I've never
done anything "based on a true story," or anything like that, where
in order to get the essence of the person you're portraying, you
obviously would want to talk to them. Like for the roles that I've
done, mostly they've been very close to something I can relate to.
I'm not a method actor in the sense that if emotion is required
- like crying or whatever it might be - I don't need to listen to
sad music or stay in character all day, or look at sad pictures,
or put myself back in a time and place where I was personally upset.
I think I've very much the type where if the character requires
me to cry, I feel like that there's got to be a reason, and I very
much concentrate on that, and concentrate on how I would feel. It
just comes down to having a really good imagination, and being able
to just transport yourself so that you leave everything else behind
and just think what it would feel like. And being able to be open-minded
and just relate - although I've played a sexually abused child,
and I've never been abused a day in my life, so it’s hard to say
that I can relate to that - but as an emotion first. Obviously you
have to be emotional if you're going to be an actor. I can sort
of just put myself there and just feel that pain and go with that.
Send Fan Mail to:
c/o Viz Video
P.O. Box 77010
San Francisco, CA 94107
Originally Published in:
Animerica Vol 7. No. 3
Please Save My Earth
Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture.