Each week, we’re taking questions for the cast and crew of the hit animated series “Transformers Prime” from fans of the official Transformers Facebook page. Check out this week’s Fan Q&A with Arcee voice actress Sumalee Montano!Chalrie Levitz asks: What was your favorite Arcee episode in season 1 and why?
Sumalee Montano: For me it’s a tie between Predatory and Crisscross. I love Crisscross because of the amazing fight and scenes between Starscream and Arcee. Both characters are at their utter best…and worst!!!
Predatory is also a favorite of mine because of the style and tone of the episode. It’s strikingly different from the others episodes, and it’s a huge turning point in Arcee’s character development. We meet her nemesis, Airachnid, and gain insight into Arcee’s vulnerabilities: her guilt over her partners’ deaths, losing those she cares about (Jack), and struggling with a desire for revenge (against Airachnid). Those are some pretty hefty character traits that, as an actor, I really enjoyed delving into.
Sumalee Montano: Mind-blowingly awesome! I’m a big believer in surrounding yourself with people who inspire you. And not only is this cast insanely talented, but everyone is so nice, generous, and giving – an absolute joy to be around! It truly feels like a family, and I’m convinced I’m the luckiest girl in the world to be a part of it. Plus, we laugh together sooooo much. It’s an incredible blessing and an honor.Amanda Butt asks: How have you adapted your approach to Arcee's voice over time? When watching the early episodes it sounds like you played a more feminine angle, whereas by later episodes she sounds more dry and sarcastic. Was that intentional? And if so, what about her character is it you respond to and use to shape her voice?
Sumalee Montano: That wasn’t intentional, but I definitely appreciate your attention to detail. When we started, I focused on Arcee’s toughness, which vocally came from a certain posture and physical stance that I used (and still use) in our recording sessions. I chose a very specific way to stand in relationship to the mic/mic stand that makes me feel my strongest and most powerful. As time went on, I was able to “fill in” my physical stance with Arcee’s history and life experiences. Living through those things in my mind affects and shapes the voice.Abby Ryan Cluster asks: As a female VO artist, how fun/hard/interesting do you find working in what some think is a "boys’ club?"
Sumalee Montano: Being an actor is interesting, fun, and continually challenging. I love my job! I don’t really think about it as being a boys’ club. Although that kind of thinking can push you to work even harder, which can be a good thing. But I basically see myself as a “guy’s girl,” so I always appreciate an opportunity to hang with the guys. :)Jordan Hobbins asks: Are you planning on buying the toys?
JSumalee Montano: YES! All the toys! They’ll be great replicas of these hopefully indelible characters. There’s also a fun coincidence related to the new Arcee toy. I was talking to a friend on the East Coast who I hadn’t spoken with for years. I didn’t know she was part of the team working on Arcee’s toy packaging, and she didn’t know that I was the voice of Arcee. When I told her, she exclaimed, “Hey, I just worked on Acree’s toy earlier today!”
I love it when you discover how Transformers touches so many people’s lives and brings us together.