INTERVIEW – In Conversation With Melissa Hutchison (Clementine, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier)

By Marty Mulrooney

Melissa Hutchison Interview - Alternative Magazine Online

Following on from our recent interviews with Shelly Shenoy and Jeff Schine (Kate and Javier in The Walking Dead: A New Frontier), Alternative Magazine Online is proud to present yet another exclusive online interview – this time with the hugely talented and extremely lovely Melissa Hutchison, the award-winning voice actress behind fan favourite badass Clementine!

Hi Melissa, thank you for your time and welcome back to Alternative Magazine Online!

Hello Martin! It is always a pleasure! It’s been far too long.

It has! What have you been up to since I last interviewed you (with Dave Fennoy) in 2012?

Oh man… it’s been THAT many years!? Wow. Time flies eh? I suppose a lot has happened in those years. How long can this interview be? Haha! I have worked on some very cool projects, done quite a bit of traveling, and of course have been hanging out with Clementine for Season Two and Season Three of The Walking Dead!

Melissa Hutchison in the recording booth in London

Did you ever think that you’d still be voicing Clementine in 2017?

Well, after the success of Season One, and the amount of love from the fans for my character, it only feels right that her story has continued on. But even with that said, I still have to pinch myself sometimes and say “is this real?” Telltale Games has created such an amazing game, and such an amazing character that I am lucky enough to give voice to! Clem and I have been through a lot together, and its been a hell of a ride! I am beyond grateful!

I’ve really enjoyed Season 3 so far! How has Clementine changed since the last season?

Clementine is now a teenager that has been through some serious s#%t man.  She is a bad ass, self reliant young woman now! There is a definite edge to her and she is less quick to trust the other characters, but for good reason of course. But underneath that tougher exterior is still the Clem that the players all fell in love with. She is still caring, thoughtful, and willing to put her life on the line to protect the ones she cares about.

Melissa kissing a walker

Has your technique for voicing the character changed much over the years, for example as she’s grown older?

Yeah, she now actually sounds more like my natural speaking voice! HA! Actually Clem’s voice is almost deeper than mine! The technique hasn’t changed much. I just had to gradually lower the range from Season 1 Clem to Season 2 Clem to Season 3 Clem. I have selfishly enjoyed the fact that she is now dropping eff bombs and speaking in a more “adult” manner! 🙂

I still miss Lee terribly and I get the feeling that Clementine does too – do you think he’d approve of the way she’s grown up?

Yeah, I do too. And so does Clem most definitely. I think Lee would be very proud of how she has turned out. Not only has she kept herself alive, she has been a mother to AJ! That is a huge thing for a child to do! Especially in a zombie apocalypse!

How would you describe the relationship between Clementine and new protagonist Javier? I think their scenes together have undoubtedly been the highlight of A New Frontier. The scene in Episode 4 where they discuss her first period was particularly well handled – it’s easy to forget sometimes just how young she still is.

Haha! Yeah… our Clementine is growing up, AND having to deal with real life issues! I loved that scene! Clem was so open and honest about getting her period, and depending on how you played it Javier was cute and awkward!  Jeff Schine did an amazing job with that scene!  I have really been digging the relationship between Clem and Javi! I’ve said it a thousand times, and I will say it a million more, the writers at Telltale Games are so freaking talented! They are the ultimate story tellers. Javi is really the first person since Lee, or Kenny if you are a Kenny fan, that Clem has connected with. Someone you can envision her sticking with and becoming close to.

What do you think it is that drives Clementine and makes her fight to survive?

I think Clementine genuinely wants to survive, She is a very sane and normal human, surrounded by a lot of very insane and not so normal humans… but I think she just has the will! PLUS with AJ in the picture she has had all the more reason to keep herself and AJ alive! She is a hero!

Melissa Hutchison (Clementine), Gavin Hammon (Kenny) and Maple

Have you had the opportunity to record with any of the other voice actors this season, or is it still very much a solo endeavour?

For the most part it has been a solo adventure. I did however record one session, for the Kenny flashback, with Gavin Hammon and one session Jeff Schine and I got to work together! Recording the Kenny (spoiler alert) driving lesson/death scene with Gavin in the booth was actually quite cathartic for me, since MY Clem is 100% team Kenny. The cast of actors for this season is FANTASTIC! I wish we all got to work together as an ensemble, but for video games, especially these choice driven games, it just logistically doesn’t work out that well.

Has the recording process with Telltale Games evolved much since the first season?

The process itself has not really changed all that much since Season 1. The biggest change for me, and with great sadness on a personal level, was the sudden death of my dear friend Jory Prum. He owned Studio Jory in Fairfax Marin. That is where all of my recording sessions for Season 1 and Season 2  of The Walking Dead took place. Jory and I had worked together for many years on so many projects, including all of the other Telltale Games work I have done, like Sam and Max, Back to the Future and The Wolf Among Us. Studio Jory was like a second home to me, and a lot of other Bay area actors. It was a comfortable space, that was filled with laughter, and of course tears.  Unfortunately the studio shut down.

I actually put a lot of the emotions that came with his passing into my performance as Clem in this season.

Melissa Hutchison and Jory’s microphone

Have you been playing Season 3 yourself?

YES! I have been!! I’ve played all of The Walking Dead seasons and episodes! Its really awesome to see the animation, all the dialogue, the sound effects, and of course the music score, all of this put together when the game is released. I am able to play the game, almost to the point where I forget that I am Clementine! I really get into it!

Would you have shot Joan at the end of Episode 4?

Yup. I was not cool with her killing Tripp. Not cool with that at all.

Melissa with a Season 2 Clem cosplayer at Walker Stalker Con

Are you up to date with the TV show?

YES! I sure am. I have always kept up with the show! I am a big fan. That finale was something else! A little frustrating, but of course now I am very eager to see how it picks up in the new season!

Congratulations on the multiple awards you’ve been nominated for/won since we last spoke! Which award are you most proud of?

Awww. Thanks so much! Hmm… honestly I am proud and extremely humbled by ALL of them! Voice Over can generally be a pretty anonymous career. So to receive such recognition for your work is an incredible feeling! Winning the VGA for best performance in Season 1 was a freaking amazing experience! The fans had SO much to do with that win! So that feels extra special! And then there are the BAFTA nominations! What an honour! It is incredible that BAFTA pays tribute to the handwork and talent that goes into making video games!  It is a huge honour!

Melissa with a Season 3 Clem cosplayer at Walker Stalker Con

What’s next for you Melissa?

My plan is to keep doing what I love! More games, more animation, and whatever cool gigs come my way!

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, it’s always an absolute pleasure. I can’t wait to play the final episode of A New Frontier!

THANK YOU!!! And thank you everyone who has been on this ride with me! Clem’s fans are THE BEST! It is always great to chat with you! Good luck with the last episode.

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