According to my very favorite zombie story, We’re Alive(WA), the zombie uprising took place on May 9th 2009. To commemorate the anniversary and celebrate two years of this entertaining podcast, I have a very special interview today with French-born voice and theatrical actress, Claire Dodin. Claire plays Riley on WA and her sexy accent, infectious laugh, and incredible acting make Riley one of my personal favorites on the podcast.
Charlie: To kick things off, can you tell us how you got involved with We’re Alive?
Claire: Hi Charlie! First I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about Riley. I’ve been living with her for about two years now and she is very dear to my heart. I feel incredibly blessed to be part of this wonderful podcast. I got involved in We’re Alive the same way most actors do. I saw a casting notice on a casting website, I applied for it and then got called in for an audition. I had just arrived in LA and I didn’t have a car yet so I asked my friend Jim Gleason to give me a ride. When we arrived there we met Kc and Shane [WA co-creators] and they gave me a couple of pages from the script to read from. Jim asked if he could read with me and they said yes. If my memory is good, we read the scene from the first chapter when Michael goes out for a cigarette and Riley joins him and ends up laughing hysterically.We ended up both being cast in the roles.
Charlie: I love your character – Riley. She has been such a strong female character right from the beginning. What is your favorite thing about playing her?
Claire: I love that she is a fighter. Even when she’s scared, she works through her fear and keeps fighting. A lot of women roles on TV and films are written weak. This is not the case with Riley. She’s strong. It’s very fun to play a strong character. I hope that if we get invaded by Zombies one day, I will be as strong as she is! 🙂
I have no doubt that Riley can survive any situation that gets thrown at her. Her survival instinct overrides her personal issues. We haven’t seen many of them yet, but she has some deep traumas from her past that have made her this way. She’s tough on the surface, but there is more underneath.
Charlie: In the first chapter, the soldiers dismiss Riley’s archery skills as not very useful, but they turn out to be pretty handy at times. After listening to We’re Alive, I’ve added archery as a skill to have in my Zombie Survival plan. Have you picked up any survival tips for the Zombie apocalypse from working on the show?
Claire: Absolutely! A bow if you know how to use it, or a crossbow, is a very useful weapon. Not only it is quiet, but there are also less chances of getting hurt with your own weapon. I also find it a lot more fun to use than a gun and it looks cool 🙂
From We’re Alive I’ve learnt the basic things to do in order to survive. Find a building with restricted entrances and exits so you can control them, fill up bath tubs and any containers with water while there is some, organize food supplies, find Kc who will always know what to do…;-)
Charlie: Sounds like a great plan – especially finding Kc! 😉
Near the end of the first season, Riley and Angel have to hide in an ooey-gooey pile of rotting corpses, to hide from the zombies. There was lots of subtle voice work in that scene and the whole thing was wonderfully cringe worthy. What do you do to prepare for and work through a scene like that?
Claire: Ah, ah! This is actually my favorite scene. Kc gave us some really disgusting fake snort to play with. It was such a good idea! We had it all over our hands, it was just the right amount of repulsive to get us through the scene! It was also great because for the first time Riley discovered a different side of Angel. This is when they truly discovered that they could count on each other no matter what and find some fun in a terrible situation. This sealed their friendship with deep trust. From this moment on they both know they would give their lives for each other. When we recorded this, Shane and I had known each-other for a while and developed a friendship of our own, so it was easy to care about each-other and find this place of trust and empathy, as for the cringe worthy moments, Kc’s snort thing did the trick!
Charlie: One of my favorites too! It added a lot of depth to the characters of Riley and Angel.
The storyline in the last few chapters has been very intense and full of awesome, but we haven’t been getting much Riley. Can you tell us if we’ll be hearing more Riley soon?
Claire: I’m not sure if I’m allowed to tell you this, but Kc will forgive me I’m sure! He told me that he has a really interesting story arc for Riley coming very soon. You will get to discover a lot more about who she really is. Right now she’s been hiding behind a tough girl facade,because this is her way of coping with what is going on, but there is more to her, some of it that I know but can’t tell you and some that I don’t know yet; and it is about to come to the surface. I’m hoping this will happen in season two, but I’m not sure.
Charlie: We’re Alive is in its second season and has a new distribution deal and a growing and dedicated fan base, but I know it isn’t a full-time gig for cast members. Are there any other projects you’re working on that you can tell us about?
Claire: Yes. I always have many projects going on at the same time. I will be in an episode of Deadliest Warrior airing this summer on Spike. This time you’ll get to see me fight on camera!
I’ve also got a French short film that is screening at Cannes this month, it’s called “L’improbable mécanique du cœur”. This film is quite the opposite, it’s closer to a fairy tale in which I play a very sweet girl in a magical town where it is never night until one day…the night falls and everything goes wrong.There will be a screening in LA at some point and maybe in other places. I will let people know on my facebook fan page(www.facebook.com/clairedodin)
I’m also in the feature film “Slew Hampshire” coming out probably next year, with Dayo Okeniyi who plays one of the lead characters in the highly anticipated “The Hunger Games”. “Slew Hampshire” as its title suggests, is a horror movie, so not for the faint hearted! But it is full of interesting characters, this will be a fun movie for those who are not afraid.
Thanks a lot for interviewing me!
Charlie: Thanks, Claire, for giving us the inside scoop on you, Riley, and the other projects you’re working on! It sounds like you have lots of fun stuff coming soon. I can’t wait!