Cortana actress

Assuming Showtime’s television adaptation of Halo ever actually makes it to the small screen (and considering this property’s rocky path through Hollywood, that is not a guarantee), the show will be porting over one of the game’s most famous voices into the world of the series. Halo has hired a new – um, old – well, not old, but a prior – Cortana actress during a recent recasting session. Get the details below.

According to IGN, actress Jen Taylor, who has lent her velvety voice to the artificial intelligence unit Cortana in every single mainline Halo video game, has been hired to once again lend that distinctive voice to the A.I. character in Showtime’s upcoming live-action series. Taylor replaces actress Natascha McElhone (The Truman Show, Ronin), who was previously hired to voice Cortana and portray a live-action character named Dr. Catherine Halsey, who is Cortana’s creator in the Halo universe.

Here’s an interesting detail: IGN reports that “due to scheduling difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, McElhone can no longer complete her work as Cortana – but will continue in the role of Halsey.” Major Hollywood productions like this have the resources to transport voice recording equipment anywhere in the world and capture actors performing remotely, sometimes even having the actors run the equipment themselves. You’d think that a global pandemic, during which many actors are being even more careful about the jobs they take, would make it easier for someone to do voiceover work, not more difficult. But perhaps the scheduling difficulties meant that McElhone had another acting job that has now suddenly sprang back into first position, and she wouldn’t be able to give Cortana her full attention.

In the games, Cortana is essentially a holographic character. As of now, it’s still unclear whether Taylor will do performance capture work so Cortana will look like her, or if she’ll just provide the character with her voice. Previously, Taylor has voiced Cortana and Dr. Catherine Halsey across several games, including Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: Reach, Halo 4, Halo 5: Guardians, and the upcoming Halo Infinite, as well as the TV miniseries Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn and Halo: The Fall of Reach. She also provided the voice for Microsoft’s virtual assistant on Windows devices, which is named Cortana after the Halo character.

Showtime has been working on bringing this game to the small screen for years, describing the show as “an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant. Halo will weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future.” It does not have a premiere date yet.

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