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Saffron Henderson

How did you get started in voice-acting?

Well, I guess it kinda grew out of some singing stuff, and acting work, and I started doing milk commericals, and-

Cool! So you do the jingles in the local milk commericals?

Yeah, singing, and talking... and cartoons and animation are like a combination.

[LITTLE BOY VOICE] Well, because it's crazy...

And you got good voices.

[LITTLE BOY VOICE] Because it's fun. [LAUGHS]

Do you do anything special to prepare yourself for a role? Research of any kind?

If there's something that I feel I need to look into, or a skill that the person has, or... accents, yes. That's a lotta fun. Tracking 'em down.

So you practice all those different dialects, accents and stuff?


Luvely. [LAUGHS] When doing a character translated from the Japanese, do you want to hear the Japanese, to see how that voice-actor handled the part?

Actually, it's facinating to hear it. I love to hear it, and often- for the roles that I end up playing- my voice is usually lower than the actual Japanese voice. But to here the intensity of it, and to hear how it worked with the animation is facinating.

So it gives you an idea of where the character's coming from, like that?

Oh yeah.

What's your impression of the character you play in this series?[This interview took place during a taping of Maison Ikkoku- Ed.]

[KENTARO VOICE] He's a brat! [LAUGHS] I love it!

[LAUGHS] You do that so well!

I get to be a lot of little boys.

It was cool! You do that bratty thing really well. The 'tude is great.

It's a riot. You gotta have somewhere to do this stuff. [LAUGHS]

Was your impression different going into this project?

Well, I knew from the Maison Ikkoku manga, that it was Kentaro, and... I didn't expect him to be as bratty as he was. I wasn't ready for that, but I sure enjoyed it- he's just hilarious.

Has your impression changed after recording a few episodes of the series?


Have you even played a character like this before, either in animation or in live-action?

Uh, pretty similar, but similar in age and sex, like little boys... I've played young boys before, but this one was quite rambunctious!

Did you have a lot more fun playing the more rambunctious ones?.

Oh, yeah, they're great!

Do you even watch the animation you are in?

Yes, whenever I can.

Did you watch animation before you got into voice acting?

When I was a kid, I was just glued. I didn't have a TV when I was growing up, for quite a long time, so when I actually got one, Saturday morning was... yeeehaww! I was allowed to watch Saturday morning! [LAUGHS]

What were your favorite cartoons?

Oh god... Road Runner... I loved Road Runner, I loved Bugs Bunny, all that stuff. I just absolutely adored it. Those were my big favorites.

The classics.

The classics, yeah!

What about action cartoons?

I haven't... most of the ones that were on when I was a kid I wasn't attracted to, because they were very much targeted at a male audience, I think.

It's true, I never really thought of it that way. It's true, 'cause they were all selling those "boy's toys".

Yeah, they were all serious and stuff.

Yeah. They didn't really have a Josie and the Pussycats feel. Well, sorta did.

I preferred the [TWEETY VOICE] "I taut I taw a puddy-tat!"

The fun stuff!

[TWEETY VOICE] I did! I did!

Do you have a "type" of character that you're usually cast for?

Well, like I was saying... young boys. [LAUGHS]

It's because you do 'em so well! [LAUGHS]

It's fun. It's because they're a part of me that is very outward, and I don't have a problem with that.

And you can sort of create whatever you wanna go into...

Yeah, their innocence, and the way they do funny things, and the way little boys [LITTLE BOY VOICE] get angry... it's just funny. You know, things like that. Those are my favorites.

Do you have a favorite character that you've played?

I couldn't have a favorite. Each character is like a little part of yourself, right? So it's like you take that little part of yourself out and you make it really huge, and you work with it, and play with it... and then it doesn't really go away, you just put it back in. So it's hard to say that-

So they're all kind of pieces of the whole.

Yeah, and it's hard to be too attached to one over the other, 'cause they're all wonderful. And you hopefully get to take them out over and over and over again! [LAUGHS]

What's the strangest role you've ever had to play as a voice-actor?

Oh geez. When you say that, instead of voice-acting, I think of when I was the back end of a reindeer [LAUGHS], but that was my dancing career. The strangest? Oh, god. I've been all kinds of monsters and things, that was pretty strange. Yeah, well, in Dragon Ball, often like... Goku, didn't he turn into a monster at one point? I know he did at one point. So some of that is pretty strange.

So you have to get real huge, and completely wreck your voice.

Yeah. [LAUGHS]

How does that work though, 'cause like you're a singer, and you have to sing in the evenings- how can you wreck you voice during the day, and...?

Well, I've sort of stopped singing as much in the evenings, because I really enjoy doing animation work, and if I don't have enough voice for the audition then I don't get the part- my goal is to do some animation where there's lots of singing.

Do you also do live-action work?

I used to, but I don't do it so much anymore. I gotta tell you, it's a lot more fun in the studio.

Is there anything the readers might have seen you in, like TV or movies or anything?

Well, I was in The Fly II. I gave birth to a larva and died. [LAUGHS]

Did you really? I saw that- now I'll have to watch it again. [LAUGHS]

[LAUGHS] That was me- gave birth to a larva and died. Yeah, it was the Geena Davis role. We spent two days on that one scene, and boy... we got that sucker. If you've ever seen it, it's right at the beginning of the movie. I have a tendency to get killed at the beginning of films [LAUGHS], and it happened again! There was a "Jason"- I'm not gonna say which Friday the 13th, 'cause I really don't want anyone to know- but I was a rock guitar player, and Jason took my guitar from me and I got killed with a guitar in the head. Right at the beginning of the film! [CHOCKED SOB] It just keeps happening!

How does voice-acting compare to live-action work?

I enjoy voice-acting a lot more- I don't really like the focus being on what I look like. I'm not comfortable with that, I find that a little more difficult. I suppose-

It's like, "she was really brilliant, but she didn't look the part."

Yeah, and it matters if you've got a little hair falling across your face- it wrecks the shot. Or if your lipstick gets smudged while you're saying the line... Whereas in here, in the studio, I feel that everybody can pretty well let go of-

You can just be you.

Yeah, if you're having a rough day, and you're feeling a little tired, it's not gonna show on screen. Nobody's gonna be putting you under that magnifying glass. And sound is fun. Characters are fun.

I guess when you're not on camera, you can be anything, anything you want to do voices to.

Oh yeah, you're not slotted the same way, like you or I would be if we went into the audition- like they'd say, "Oh yeah, there's Mike Dobson. Okay this is what he does, this is what he's like." But we get chances to explore in the studio. And we get chances to have really bad hair days.

Yeah, and you wouldn't get cast as a little boy because you don't look... like...

Yeah, I don't... look... like... [LAUGHS]

She's really gorgeous, for you viewers who haven't seen her in person. I don't mean to embarrass you but...


Do you ever get fan mail? You'll probably get lots, now! [LAUGHS]

Well, I've had little bits and pieces, but I must say I'm no Madonna. [LAUGHS] I got no big mailbags sittin' by my door, just stuffed full.

Do you have any closing message, or any words of advice for aspiring voice-actors?

Oh, for voice-actors? Oh my.

Yeah, we spoke to Paul "Happosai" Dobson yesterday, and he said there was no @&#! room for more voice-actors, and people should just go away.

No @#&! room- are you gonna print that? [LAUGHS] Okay, in that case, I say, *@&#! it! *@&#!ing do it! *@&#!ing go for it!

Fan mail can be sent to:
Saffron Henderson
c/o Characters Talent Agency
1505 2nd Ave., 2nd Floor
Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6H 3Y4

Originally Published in:
Animerica Vol 4. No. 7

Note: This interview was conducted by Michael Dobson, who is also a voice actor.

Credits include:

Tsubasa Kurenai

Maison Ikkoku

Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball Z

Lucrezia Noin
Gundam Wing

Galaxy Express 999

Adieu, Galaxy Express 999

Ogre Slayer

Miho Utsuse
Key the Metal Idol .

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