Halo 4’s Mackenzie Mason Brings Cortana to Life in FanBolt Interview
Recently we interviewed Mackenzie Mason, the actress for Cortana in Halo 4. Her profile states that she is aiming to be the next guy’s girl that we can’t get enough of and is also a Sci-Fi geek. Well, she is off to a good start in my book by playing the role of such an important character as Cortana in Halo 4. In the interview that follows, she has a lot of great things to say and provides some good insight about her role and the game itself. I hope you enjoy our conversation with Mackenzie.
FanBolt: First of all, let’s start easy – are you a gamer yourself? What kind of games do you enjoy? Are you a fan of the Halo Games?
Mason: Yes! I love games, I’ve played Halo 1 and 3 and a LOT of Mario. Throw in some Mortal Combat as well.
FanBolt: How did you get the role of Cortana?
Mason: I went through a pretty long audition process and worked my butt off.
FanBolt: Coming into such a massive franchise and taking on such a major role, were you at all intimidated by the role?
Mason: I really felt like I could take on all that was asked of me, so I wasn’t intimated, I was more excited and blessed to be a part of such franchise.
FanBolt: The Halo universe has expanded beyond the games. Have you had any exposure to the Halo universe outside of the games, like the live action skits or the books?
Mason: I looked into all of it once I got the role and became more familiar with it, I really liked them. There is so much history and story, it’s insane.
FanBolt: When performing the role of Cortana, did you actually say the lines?
Mason: Yes, I do the whole performance, the emotions you see on her face are mine and the way she moves her body and turns her head, that was all what I did while acting out the scenes. I really had to bring her to life.
FanBolt: In the trailers for the upcoming game, Cortana is clearly edging on rampancy. Was it difficult for you to portray her in that manner? How far gone is she?
Mason: YES! That was the hardest part. I had to feel and go through everything that she does so that you can see the emotion and pain on her face when you see her in the game. That’s really me being very vulnerable and feeling all those things myself but expressing them through her body.
FanBolt: Do you feel there is any sort of special bond between Cortana and Master Chief? Would she be able to sacrifice him if she felt it would serve the greater good or would her emotions get in the way?
Mason: Their bond is insane. It’s so intimate; they know each other through to the core. No, I do not think she would ever be able to sacrifice Chief, for anything. She would figure out a way to take on the pain herself.
FanBolt: How do you feel Cortana’s impending rampancy is affecting her judgment and interactions with the Chief?
Mason: Honestly, it makes them so much closer, she’s so vulnerable in this game and there is so much more depth and heartache in their relationship that I think people will really feel an even stronger connection to them.
FanBolt: Do you feel Cortana could ever reach a point where she would be a villain?
Mason: I think if her system is off or tampered with beyond her control, then, anything is really possible.
FanBolt: Do you have any insight for us on the new villains and since they seem to be largely synthetic, how they might interact with your character differently than the covenant?
Mason: The villains are badass! I can’t say much more than that but I do think that they have a stronger presence so the interaction is more personal.
FanBolt: If a Halo film were to ever get off the ground, would you be up for reprising your role as Cortana?
Mason: Yes, that would honestly be a dream. I’ve lived her for so long and her most intimate moments in this game are all my own which makes me feel so close to her, so I think I could be the best at doing her justice.
FanBolt: Were there any scenes that stick out in your mind as being especially demanding to capture?
Mason: The highly emotional ones where crying and extreme anger was required. It was hard to get to such a dark place authentically so that I could really give the fans a true performance. I literally had to bring her to life.
FanBolt: How structured is the recording process? Is every movement painstakingly plotted? Or are you more or less given a scene and allowed to act it out?
Mason: The scenes are written out and we have the script that we have to use. Just like on a movie or TV.
FanBolt: A lot of actors who have gotten into large Sci-fi franchises are later surprised at the fan response they get and the level of enthusiasm that goes along with it. Are you prepared to be mobbed by fans at cons and answer questions about minutia?
Mason: I think I’m going to be surprised by all of that because as of now it has been really mellow; it’s hard to see that changing.
FanBolt: Any message or info about yourself you’d like to give to your new fans?
Mason: I really just hope that the fans are proud of what I’ve done to Cortana and that they see the truth I brought to her and her situation.
I hope you all enjoyed our interview with Mackenzie Mason. I would like to thank her for taking the time to do the interview with us and we can’t wait to see her in action on November 6th, when Halo 4 releases. I’d also like to thank my colleague, Carlos, for creating the questions that were used in the interview.
Halo 4 is almost here and the reviews have started coming in, one great score after another. It looks as if 343 Industries has done a good thing with the latest Halo installment and we can’t wait to get our hands on it and experience it for ourselves. Keep an eye out on FanBolt for further Halo 4 articles, personal gameplay videos and more. Unfortunately our review got delayed, but it will come soon enough. Until then, let us know what you thought of our interview with a comment below.
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