Toonzone Interviews Actor Lauren Mote on "Tinker Bell & the Great Fairy Rescue"
Lots of parents will tell their kids to follow their dreams, but when it comes to making sacrifices so that can happen, most parents have a way to go to measure up to actor Lauren Mote’s mother Michelle. Lauren has been training as an actor since the age of five, but after Lauren was accepted to the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School, mother Mote sold their house to pay for the school fees and quit her job as a medical secretary to move to London. The younger Mote has since landed roles on BBC Radio plays and West End stage musicals, but her latest achievement was to beat out thousands of other girls to land a role in Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue. In the new direct-to-video movie, which hits store shelves on September 21, Mote plays Lizzy, a young girl fascinated with fairies who becomes the first human that Tinker Bell meets. Toonzone was able to chat with Lauren Mote via telephone on the eve of the release of Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, about landing the part, the differences between radio plays and animation voice-over acting, and how to act like you’re flying.
TOONZONE NEWS: How did you find out about hte auditions for Lizzy in the new Tinker Bell movie?
LAUREN MOTE: My agent told me. They didn’t tell us what it was for, because I guess they didn’t want to stress us or put any extra pressure on us, so I went for it not knowing what it was. Then I got the job and found out what it was, and I was like, “Wow!”
TZN: Did they tell you anything before you walked into the audition?
LAUREN MOTE: I think I just knew it was an animation, and that it was a movie. I don’t think I knew anything else.
TZN: Do you remember what happened at the audition? Did you get any hint at what you were going for?
LAUREN MOTE: Well, because they changed directors, the audition script was with another character who was taken out of it later. It had nothing to do with Tinker Bell, it was just to do with flowers. I can remember just studying that and what was it, and why was it. But no, I didn’t have any indication that it was Tinker Bell.
TZN: Have you seen the other movies?
LAUREN MOTE: I’ve seen the recent one, and I’ve seen all the Peter Pan movies.
TZN: A lot of the articles I’ve been reading about you mention that you’re training at the Sylvia Young Theater School.
LAUREN MOTE: Yeah.
TZN: Did you take any specific animation or voice-over classes at the school?
LAUREN MOTE: No, we don’t, we just take drama classes. They don’t specifically put in voice-over classes, but the drama classes do help you when you’re doing voice-overs because it helps you express emotion without showing your face, which is pretty good.
LAUREN MOTE: Well, I started two years ago, and I finished about five months ago.
TZN: Did you get to see any artwork or any footage in the later sessions?
LAUREN MOTE: Yes, towards the end, I think in my last couple of sessions. I did the flying scene, and that’s when I had some animation, so that was the only point where I had some.
TZN: So you didn’t have any visuals or anything to work with in any of the other sessions before that?
LAUREN MOTE: Nope. I think I had a few pictures of what Lizzy looked like, but I think that’s all I had.
TZN: Did that throw you at all when you finally saw what your character looked like?
LAUREN MOTE: Well, yes I was imagining obviously a little girl, but obviously everything’s different when it’s on a piece of paper. I did imagine a small girl who looked pretty sweet and innocent, and that’s what Lizzy is, essentially.
TZN: I also saw on your resume that you’ve done a couple of radio dramas for the BBC radio. Were you doing those in-between sessions for Tinker Bell?
LAUREN MOTE: Yeah, that’s right. I’ve done a lot for the BBC. I did Matilda, where I played Matilda, Highgate Letters, The Steps, and On Mardle Fen, which were all very fun to record. But like you said, in between each Tinker Bell session.
TZN: Was Tinker Bell your first voice-over acting role, then?
LAUREN MOTE: Well, no, it wasn’t, because I’ve done language tapes to teach other kids from different countries to speak English. And obviously, I did radio dramas before Tinker Bell.
TZN: What sorts of things on the radio dramas did you find you could apply most easily when you were recording Tinker Bell?
LAUREN MOTE: Well, obviously, the headphones, because on the set, they’re are pretty hard to get used to, but apart from than that, there’s no other similarities other than recording your voice. In a radio drama, you’re walking about like it’s a normal scene, inputting sound-effects like walking with hard-soled shoes. Basically, it’s like TV but you only hear it, whereas recording Tinker Bell was just in the studio and I was just sitting with the headphones on, but there was really nothing else similar.
LAUREN MOTE: No, I recorded it on my own.
TZN: How do you adjust as an actor for not having that other person in the room to interact with or where you’re being fed lines from somebody else?
LAUREN MOTE: You just have to imagine that somebody else is there. It’s just like talking to someone, really, but the other person’s not there (laughs).
TZN: One of my favorite scenes from the movie is the bit when Lizzy is learning to fly in her room. Do you have a favorite scene from the movie?
LAUREN MOTE: Well, obviously, I do like the whole movie, but like you, that is my favorite scene.
TZN: What were you thinking of when you were recording that in the booth?
LAUREN MOTE: Well, I had my arms out like the way Tinker Bell flies, just to get the feeling like I’m flying, and I just had to feel like I was weightless, which was hard to begin with, but you just let go and just get into it.
TZN: What was the hardest thing about this role for you?
LAUREN MOTE: Probably just at the beginning, not having any animation or a picture to work off of, but I got used to it.
LAUREN MOTE: Oh, probably the strangest was laughing. They just told me to laugh and I didn’t have any lines to lead me in. It wasn’t necessarily strange, it was just a bit odd. It was just like, “Can you laugh please?” I enjoyed it (laughs).
TZN: Other voice-over actors say that it’s important to have a good laugh for a character, but it’s also one of the easiest things to pick up on when it’s fake. How did you get around that?
LAUREN MOTE: I completely agree. But just to make me laugh, I just have to think of something completely silly and funny. It was jokes that I heard or funny pictures or silly things, really.
TZN: What are you working on now? Are you still going to school?
LAUREN MOTE: Yeah, I’m still at school at the minute, but it’s the summer holidays now, so I’m soaking up the sun. Or the lack of it, since this is England (laughs). I’m not doing any other projects at the minute, but hopefully something will come of this one.
Toonzone would like to thank Lauren Mote for taking the time to speak with us, as well as Jackie Cavanaugh at Click Communications and the team at Disney PR for arranging the interview. Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue will be released on September 21, 2010, on DVD and Blu-ray combo pack. For more details on the release, check out Toonzone’s earlier coverage, and stay tuned for more the Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue cast and crew, and our review of the Blu-ray combo pack: