Interview With Lani Minella
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Interview With Lani Minella
02/06/2018 09:16 AM EST
Along with the cast of characters in Mortal Kombat (2011), a group of talented actors came to lend their voices to them and make every kombatant more unique. From those actors, Lani Minella stands out for having done the voice of Sheeva and Sindel. With a large major career, she is also recognized for her voice work for Nancy Drew series, Starcraft, Soul Calibur, World of Warcraft, Star Trek and many more in her portfolio. I had the good luck of interview her, and now here is the answers from one of the most proliferating voice actress of the entertainment industry.

First as a Mortal Kombat fan and a Sheeva fan, my first question is how was performing Sheeva in MK9?
Great, but I was hoping to make her voice more different to make it stand out more from Sindel. They were surprised I could do emotes in a different voice and originally just said they’d use Sindel’s attack sounds but I told them I’d like to do another set.

How you started your career? What was your first voice performance?
I did some radio work at a station in town while in college and then, many years later I ended up on air for morning drive radio for 3 stations. Someone heard me doing impersonations and asked if I could impersonate some Fern Gully characters for a pitch they were doing for the Laser disc. They were also doing children’s CD roms and after I did several of them they suggested I go to trade shows to investigate other companies doing the same thing. That is where the gaming career started.

You had been voicing for over 15 years. What was your most challenging role?
I’ve been doing voices for a lot longer than that. I think the roles where I rattle my vocal chords with no voice like the Hivemind for Warhammer end up making me so hoarse after hours of constant rasp, I can’t even swallow water. Other voices with that rasp are Silitha and Tiamat in Darksiders, Zerg in Starcraft and other Blizzard games, but usually they weren’t hours and hours of work like Warhammer’s tutorials. Yes, I’ve gone hoarse a couple times, but I am a trooper and never quit to “save my voice.”

One of your performances was in Unreal Tournament, also an iconic game. What character/s did you voice?
Narrator/Tutorials, Juggernauts, Mercs, Necris, Angels and probably more that I’ve since forgotten.

Is there any reason have you been in the game voice acting industry for so long? Do you like games, playing them, or another reason?
I really wanted to do animated movies, and still do. I thought perhaps I could get a demo reel from games to improve my chances, but way back in ’92 there was no great way to capture video. I started Audiogodz as a way to use the best talent from around the world and do casting, directing and even script tweaking to help game companies and it caught on. I was so “cost-effective” and quick with a great bunch of actors and directing, I guess if the job was impossible and had very little budget, people came to me. I have done some animation VO in the meantime like Rugrats: All Grown Up and Justice League and an animated movie coming out soon, but I still would love to be in a Pixar movie. Unfortunately they tend to go for celebrities.
So the best answer is that I respect and admire gamers and the industry, but can’t say that I’m a good gamer. Just try to make the best out of the scripts, which, by the way, people should know......are to blame or are to credit for voice acting in general.

Back to Mortal Kombat, you also acted as Sindel. Which character between her and Sheeva is your favorite?
I like them both and was amused when I found a clip on Youtube of them fighting each other. I think Sindel might have more interesting fighting moves, but not being a great gamer, I rely on watching clips on YouTube, so I might have seen everything Sheeva can do.

If you said you like playing games, have you played Mortal Kombat? How are your skills?
I wish I had the time required to play games. As Nancy Drew, I did manage to play one of those games to completion, but after 40 hours, I realized this would not be easy for me to do given my schedule. Working with companies worldwide with the time differences means I seldom get more than 4 hours of sleep.

Did you know Mortal Kombat before you worked with them?
I certainly was aware of the franchise but found out a lot more after I was cast and had a chance to look at several walk-throughs on YouTube.

If Netherrealm contacts you, would you like to do another MK character voice, other Sindel and Sheeva?
I’m always up for doing more voices
do you have in mind one?
In all humility, I can do creatures, males and females in almost any dialect, so I would be open to any age, any style or however much wicked toughness I could convey.
I was especially entertained with the animations of the kills and they stand out from any other game as far as I know.

With which voice actor/s or actress/es of the MK casting did you relate to the most?
We don’t work with other voice actors in most recording sessions. So honestly, I admire and respect everyone equally and hope the franchise continues to do well, despite my not being called back for MK X.

Thanks Lani for agreeing to do this and hope seeing you again! For the Shokan! :)

To everyone who wants to know more about Lani Minella, you could check her IMDb page:

Or could go to her websites:

whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there.

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