Portal Actress Ellen McLain Talks Differences Between Voicing GLaDOS and Acting in Hybrid Twitch Film
Acting is a process, and it’s not always easy. Ellen McLain says that acting is a process. Voice of GLaDOSInPortalMarsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play is being adapted by Twitch.“Night, Mother–Acting can be an emotionally draining and difficult job. Sheila Houlahan agrees with her co-lead.
McLain is close to Houlahan. They have been friends for over a decade and share a strong professional and personal admiration. McLain compared her most famous role to her latest in a Game Rant interview about the Twitch version of ‘Night, Mother.
Embracing Difficult Feelings
In Night, Mother, the play is about Jessie, who wants to take her own life. The story focuses on Jessie’s relationship with her mother, Thelma. Thelma spends much time trying to curb Jessie’s suicidal tendencies.
While speaking on her role as Thelma in the upcoming theatrical Twitch stream, McLain cited her character’s tough position as a key reason why it’s such a tough role to play. She must feel like a mother who is on the brink of losing her child. This is not an easy task.
Houlahan, seen recently in The Little Things with Denzel Washington, shared a similar sentiment when discussing one of her biggest challenges during ‘Night, Mother. Due to the “harrowing” and distressing subject matter, Jessie’s role might lead her to “dark, scary” places.
Although this can be emotionally draining, there are safe and responsible options. Houlahan believes that she surrounds herself with people she can trust. McLain was a favorite of Houlahan’s and other members of ‘Night Mother’s production crew, who she relies on to keep her safe and in character.
Getting Into Character As GLaDOS
McLain is most well-known for her role in GLaDOS. However, Portal fans shouldn’t expect McLain’s latest performance to be much like her time as Aperture’s sadistic AI. The performer discussed how the differences between Thelma’s and GLaDOS influenced her approach to each character.
McLain’s analysis of the cake-loving GLaDOS is fairly spot-on: she is a program driven solely by the single directive of performing her cruel science experiments. McLain’s voice is a clear reflection of her emotions. This character is clearly different from Thelma and requires a different level of emotional investment.
McLain’s voice work has been praised by critics since her appearance in Portal’s GLaDOS. It’s easy for us to understand how she became so successful, given her deep character knowledge. McLain’s acting approach – being one with the character — has been a success. Houlahan and McLain shared a similar level of knowledge and understanding as they discussed their respective roles in Thelma or Jessie.