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Patricia Summersett On The 'Gift' Of Playing Zelda Again In Tears Of The Kingdom - Exclusive

Known for her exceptional talent and versatility, Patricia Summersett has become a prominent figure in the world of voice acting, in addition to her theater and live-acting experience. Her portrayal of Princess Zelda in "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" captivated audiences and brought the beloved character to life when it was released in 2017, followed by "Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity" in 2020.


With the launch of "The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom," Summersett once again flawlessly embodies the regal and courageous Princess Zelda, bringing even more depth and emotion to the character. The game's captivating storyline and immersive gameplay are further enhanced by Summersett's remarkable performance. With her ability to convey both strength and vulnerability, Summersett takes Princess Zelda to new heights, leaving players enchanted by her portrayal.

In an exclusive interview with SVG, Patricia Summersett discussed her role as Princess Zelda in "Tears of the Kingdom" and provided insights into her approach to the character that she first voiced over six years ago.

Theater's influence on Princess Zelda

First off, congrats and happy launch day! "Tears of the Kingdom" is all we're talking about at SVG today, like it's its own international holiday! 

You have a background in theater, and obviously, there's something theatrical and larger than life about "The Legend of Zelda." Do you find that you bring a lot of that experience with you, speaking to the back of the house?


Absolutely. I definitely bring my theater background into whatever characters I portray. A lot of people think that voice acting is about the voice, but, truly, it's acting first. I think approaching a role like this, when you're preparing it, it's the same sort of script work that you would do for any kind of character, particularly with dramatic roles. Theater background has definitely informed the way that I treat the script and the choices I can make in a booth about what might be the most powerful. 

I think there's something about having a theater background where you approach things with physicality. So, whether you're speaking quietly or with a grand voice, you are speaking from a very physical full-body place when approaching characters.


Rules for bringing Zelda to life

Were there any rules that you had to follow when voicing Zelda? For example, Kratos from "God of War" would not use any contractions because it makes him sound more serious and authoritative. Was there anything like that, or did you have room for creative freedom?


A role like this is very scripted. The dub has been pored over and meticulously written by multiple writers. It's localized as well. So it's already branching out from a performance and a script that existed for the Japanese version. In fact, there are a lot of technical elements that go with that sort of dubbing work. 

Then, within that, [Zelda] is a very particular personality. So we play within a certain sandbox that's already been established. There are strong technical elements to follow for sure. And then you, of course, try to breathe as much life into it as you can and stretch the boundary as much as you can to keep it living.

Princess Zelda is a 'gift' to revisit

Zelda has had a ton of different lives and has been "reborn" in multiple ways through the years. What was the biggest or hardest challenge that you came across between the first time you voiced her versus "Tears of the Kingdom?"


For me, the voice factor is kind of the little cherry on top. I wouldn't say that there were so many "trying" things, but a lot has evolved since the first game was created — including a worldwide pandemic. So what I'm bringing to any character I play now is a combination of having moved through that strange time and coming out on the other end. And it's fascinating to re-approach or reprise any role after six years, but also after such an incredible world event that affected everybody.

It's just kind of a relief to come back to roles after a time because it's such a gift to be able to revisit them and build from what you've already established. It means there's even more room for nuance and more room for play. And it's very subtle, but that's where an actor's brain loves it the most. You can really hone in on details. It's just really fun.


'An old friend'

"Tears of the Kingdom" is one of gaming's most anticipated titles, possibly ever. My next question was going to ask if that fact added any additional pressure for you this time around, but it sounds like it was a bit more of a relief than anything else. Kind of like, Zelda is your girl, and voicing her was nice for you to be able to come back to.


"Breath of the Wild" was such a big adventure for me. So many things shifted after doing that role. It wouldn't be the same thing coming in for a sequel, even if there's so much more hype. I'm coming into it with more seasoning and experience.

I would definitely say it was a relief. Of course, there's pressure with any big game or any major IP that you're trusted with. It's a new game, a new script ... probably new people on the team. There are always going to be new elements and you want to live up to and expand upon what you've already done. Inevitably, there's going to be innovation within the process, and you look for that innovation. You look for those moments. You have to come in prepared as you always do. You can never rest on your laurels.


The relief is a really interesting one. She feels like an old friend that I get to revisit on some level and there's something so soft and nice about that.

Who could hang with Zelda?

One more fun question for you: What other famous princesses or characters do you think that Zelda would be friends with? Who would be a part of Zelda's crew?

[Laughs] Oh, famous princesses ... Princess Mononoke, probably. As an actor, I think she's so awesome. I feel like a character that I voice would feel that way too. They would have a lot in common. They'd have great chats about nature!


... and what is Patricia looking forward to the most in "Tears Of the Kingdom?"

Fused weapons. Weaponry. Seeing all the crazy stuff that people did [in "Breath of the Wild"] — to just know that's going to be expanded upon ... it's going to be endless, crazy creative stuff!

"The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom" is available to play now exclusively on Nintendo Switch.

This interview has been edited for clarity.