Interview with Maggie Robertson – The surreal experience of playing Lady Dimitrescu

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Resident Evil Village’s greatest delight is Lady Dimitrescu, the gigantic vampire who has become extremely popular among cosplayers, fan artists are more. So it was interesting to see that Maggie Robertson, the voice actress of the larger than life Lady Dimitrescu, won the Outstanding Character Achievement award at the last DICE Awards.

Last week, I joined a group of journalists in the winners’ room backstage for the DICE Awards to celebrate the best video games of 2021 at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas. Each group of winners walked around our room and together we threw a series of questions at the winners.

I asked the last questions while other journalists asked the rest. Here is an edited transcript of our interview.

Question: As an actor, what do you think you can do now after working on these games that you couldn’t before?

Maggie Robertson: Well, I think a theater background is so important, especially in this type of performance capture work, because it’s about your body’s storytelling. They have no sets or costumes or makeup to tell the story for you. You only have your body. I like to do a lot of animal work, animal studies. If you look at Lady Dimitrescu, she’s a bit feline. She becomes more sensual and curvier. She takes her time. If you use this to create more physicality for each character, you can also create really clear physical characters very quickly. You can use that as a starting point.

Question: When your character was revealed, it set the internet on fire. How was it for you as the person behind this performance?

Robertson: Oh god it was so strange. Especially strange as I was still under NDA. I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t tell my roommates. I couldn’t tell my mother. I just freaked out alone in my room. It was so surreal and so much more than anything I could have imagined.

I’m incredibly grateful for that. It has given me a platform to create a safe space for many different communities, like the LGBT+ community. I love that. It was the greatest honor and privilege, and a totally unexpected one. It means a lot to me to be able to give something back and to offer a safe space. I love that Lady D is loved.

Question: When you think back to the time you first met your character, what made her so special? Did you feel like she would stand out in a series like Resident Evil?

Robertson: Well, she stands out anyway, but — I love Lady D’s character design. When I first saw her, she was so physically distinctive. What I think Capcom has done so wonderfully is creating an image that already shows so much character. You just look at her and before she even opens her mouth she smacks you in the face with her figure. Again, they make my job so easy. I looked at the picture and thought, ‘Oh great. I now have 10,000 ideas of what to do and who she is.” She tells a very clear visual story.

Question: Among all the reactions you got from playing this character, have you ever been intimidated or harassed by people? How do you deal with that?

Robertson: Ah, totally. Listen, she was quite a phenomenon when she first came out. I was nervous that I would address this before the publication even came out. I was nervous that I was going to get something like this as the majority of the interaction because it’s so fetishized. But I have to say that the community has been truly amazing. There’s no escaping the fact that you’re a woman on the internet. The stuff exists. But the overwhelming response from the community has been positive.

Maggie Robertson at the CUBE Awards.

The first thing I got was people talking about my work and how much they appreciate what I’ve done in the game. And oddly enough, many strangers write to me saying they’re proud of me after winning these awards. They write to say, “We’re so proud of you, really so proud.” That’s touching, very moving. It was really nice, the reactions.

Question: Has playing a character that has garnered so much perhaps unexpected notoriety in video games opened additional doors for you? Or, conversely, was it a thing where people would reach out to you and say, “We want you to play a character that’s similar to her, but a little bit different”?

Robertson: It’s so interesting. Time will tell, because I don’t know – this is my very first entry into the world of video games. I happened to get an agent a week before the game came out, so it’s hard for me to tell if my new auditions and new bookings are because I have that shiny new agent or because I have that shiny new accolade. Anyway, I’m really happy about them. But I guess time will tell. This is a very small industry. Relationships matter. I’m grateful to have worked on this game with other developers and collaborators who I would like to work with again, who treat people well and are creative and always open to new ideas, always willing to work with you and not just respond to you you what to do. I value these relationships and hope they continue to grow.

Question: Is it strange to you that the character’s face is someone else?

Robertson: I find it quite liberating to be honest. It allows me to have that separation so now I can watch the game and experience the game myself as a fan, as a spectator. I don’t overly criticize my own performance. Especially in terms of fetishization and this reaction we have to it – I wonder how Helena Mankowska, the face model, thinks about that. But I enjoy that level of separation. It allows me to have that little bit of space and the security around it. I can just enjoy it.

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Chris Barrese

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