*DISCLAIMER* This interview was conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike.
As a guest at the D23 Expo in September 2022, Emma Berman was announced to voice the role of Nash Durango, one of the lead characters in this year’s animated series Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures, which began streaming on Disney+ in April, with further episodes due to be released throughout 2023. Since finding her love of voiceover after voicing for LeapFrog toys at nine years old, Emma made her main character debut as Giulia Marcovaldo in the 2021 Disney/Pixar feature film Luca, and she also stars as Ginny in Superkitties for Disney Junior, which also released this year. We chatted to Emma about starring as Nash Durango in Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures, recording as Ginny in Superkitties and being in the cast of Luca as Giulia Marcovaldo.
What is it like voicing the role of Nash Durango in the new animated series Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures and how would you describe the character?
Nash is such a charismatic and lovable character; she is confident, dexterous, lively, and absolutely hilarious! She plays such an important role in the Jedi’s adventures and it is an honour to have been trusted to voice her!
Can you tell us about the series and how was it joining the Star Wars franchise?
Young Jedi Adventures is an action-packed show full of heart and valuable lessons! It’s about three Jedi younglings and their pilot Nash Durango and her co-pilot RJ-83 as they follow the squad’s adventures all around the galaxy!
Is there anything you enjoy most about working on Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures?
Working on the series has been a totally unreal experience. It’s literally a dream come true to be part of the galaxy, especially being part of such an important project, being the first series that opened the door to a new generation of young Star Wars fans!
How did you feel finding out you’d booked the role and being announced for the cast at D23 Expo?
It’s actually a funny story because when I auditioned for this role, I had no idea this was a Star Wars series. I knew it was for Lucasfilm, which was VERY exciting, but the script for the audition and the callback did not contain any Star Wars related material. I only found out this was a Star Wars show when I received my first script a few days before my first session! Going to D23 was so beyond surreal and seeing the audience’s positive reactions to the announcement was priceless!
Why would you recommend watching Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures?
Young Jedi Adventures will make viewers feel good, optimistic, and inspired. Besides a perfect storyline, there is also this colourful, vibrant, and charming animation style that brings a fresh and captivating visual experience to the Star Wars universe. The thrilling action, adventures, and heartwarming moments of friendship and growth create a perfect blend of excitement, emotion, and education for young viewers and their families. I think it definitely delivers.
What are some of your favourite memories from your time working on the project so far and being in the cast?
My favourite Young Jedi Adventures memory was during the first recording session after we wrapped the first episode and the team said ‘Welcome to the galaxy’! I literally remember how my mind just exploded, that was such an epic moment and a core memory I know I will carry with me all my life.
You voice the lead role of Ginny in Superkitties, how is it getting into character?
I have such an awesome time voicing Ginny in Superkitties! Every episode leaves me feeling inspired, happy, and proud! Getting into the role of Ginny is a very fun process because I get to hone into the Disney Junior energy and it’s just a blast! Ginny is a leader and she is comforting and kind and always ready for action, and it’s awesome to come into the studio with that energy!
What is the show like to record for and what does a typical day in the studio look like voicing Ginny?
The recording sessions for this project are the highlights of my week! I always come into my session with excitement because I know I’m in for an action-packed fun time! The directors on the series have been incredibly fun and easy to work with! I feel like we have such awesome chemistry and we feed off each other’s energy during the sessions which makes the session go by super fast and the work feels like play.
How did you find the experience voicing Giulia Marcovaldo in the Disney film Luca?
Working on Luca was the most incredible experience of my life. Being 11 years old and getting my first job voicing for a Pixar feature film is mind-blowing! Everyone at Pixar was so kind and really fun to work with! I still, to this day, get so many positive messages from Luca fans all over the world and it makes me feel very proud!
How was it attending the film’s premiere and what was it like watching Luca for the first time?
The Luca premiere was the very first one I ever went to and it was unforgettable and absolutely surreal! I got to watch a lot of clips and unfinished versions of the movie before the premiere and I remember the first time I saw Giulia come up on screen as I was watching the film at home just months after finishing up recording, I started crying because I just couldn’t wrap my head around my voice coming out of a Pixar character!
Where does your love of voice acting come from and how did you get into it?
My love for voice acting came from my experience of voicing LeapFrog toys when I was nine, which was how I got my start and it has now become the greatest joy in my life!
We understand you have recently performed as Baby June in Bay Area Musicals’ production of Gypsy, how was this?
Playing Baby June in the Bay Area Musicals production of Gypsy was both a fun and challenging experience because Baby June does splits and cartwheels, so I had to train for months to do the splits and to be able to do all sorts of fun acrobatics! It was so much fun getting into Baby June’s character and it was really awesome to read all the positive critics reviews of my performance and to see my hard work get recognised.
Do you have any favourite films, TV, and theatre shows to watch and how do you like to spend your free time?
Some of my all-time favourite films are Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, Inside Out, Titanic, and Revenge of the Sith! My favourite musical is Seussical! In my free time, I love to spend time with my friends, go to the lake, swim, and bake!
Do you have a favourite aspect of working as a voiceover and theatre actor and what are you hoping 2023 brings for your career?
My favourite part of voice acting and theatre work is the process of creating a character and bringing life to words on a page. A big dream of mine has always been to voice a video game character so I hope that will come true!
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