Children and many of their parents have come to 사랑 the 디즈니 Junior animated series “The Lion Guard,”
a spinoff of the heralded award-winning original “The Lion King.” This new storyline followed Simba’s son, Kion, as he leads a group of 프렌즈 in protecting the Pride Lands.
With the recent release of the remaining third and final season episodes, the Lion Guard embarked on a journey to the 나무, 트리 of Life. It was there that 팬 were introduced to the soft-spoken lioness, Nirmala, who through healing sessions with Kion, teaches the values of patience and self-reflection as a means for finding inner peace and understanding.
The actress bringing these lessons and Nirmala to life with her voice is Miki Yamashita
. Her own name means ‘beautiful 나무, 트리 at the foot of the mountain’ in Japanese and seems a perfect fit for this rising talent. On television, Miki has appeared on “iCarly,” “Law & Order,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” and “Successful People.” On Stage, she starred in the national tour of “A Chorus Line,” and appeared in regional productions of “West Side Story,” “The King and I,” “The Fantasticks,” and “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.”
Miki is no ordinary voice actress. She is a classically trained soprano who debuted at the Los Angeles Opera mainstage as Marcellina in “Figaro 90210,” an updated version of the Mozart classic. She created the 제목 role of the WWII original opera “The White Bird of Poston”; and produces and hosts the Los Angeles 음악회, 콘서트 series “Opera Off The Cuff,” featuring classical singers of color.
I recently caught up with Miki Yamashita to find out 더 많이 about “The Lion Guard”: Tell us about your role in “The Lion Guard.”
MIKI: Nirmala is a 암 사자, 라이오 네 스 who is part of the Night Pride. She is a nurturing, maternal figure who helps Kion in his journey to healing from an injury at the 나무, 트리 of Life. She is very connected to the elements of nature that surround her, and wears a lovely 꽃 tucked behind her ear. She recurs in 7 episodes this season. As a voice artist, what did 당신 do to prepare to play Nirmala?
MIKI: My first step is to see how I connect to the character. I ask 질문 about what the character’s life experience has been, up until the moment she appears on screen. And I try to draw parallels between my own personal experience and how I might react authentically in the same circumstances as the script. What would 당신 consider Nirmala’s ‘best’ quality? And ‘worst?’
MIKI: Nirmala’s best quality is her compassion. She is wise and knows how to guide an energetic lion cub like Kion, who can get frustrated easily 의해 life’s obstacles. Her worst quality? She only gets to sing one song? Haha, I’m a trained opera singer so I 사랑 to explore characters through singing! How was it working in the world of such an iconic storyline?
MIKI: I was thrilled to find out I would be voicing a character in the world of “The Lion King,” because I had been such a big 팬 of the original movie as a child. Everyone knows the characters and the story, so I was honored to be entrusted with voicing a role that had such a large impact on Kion, the son of Simba. Any interesting stories from the v/o booth 당신 can share with us?
MIKI: This was the first large 애니메이션 role I had ever voiced, so I learned a lot very quickly. Ford Riley, the creator of the show, and Kelly Ward, the voice director, were so collaborative and gave me such expert guidance, and welcomed my input on the character. The funniest moments were when Nirmala was involved in big physical fights, and I had to jump and hurl myself around in the booth to generate authentic non-verbal fight sounds. I learned that 당신 can’t be afraid to look crazy. Everyone in the booth understands. What’s the biggest lesson 당신 learned from working on this project?
MIKI: I have much 더 많이 experience working in live theater and on-camera, where other actors are usually physically with 당신 in the space. For this role, the way the recording sessions were scheduled, I was in the booth 의해 myself with Ford and Kelly and the engineers. So, I learned how to virtually connect to the other characters 의해 really listening carefully to the cue lines that they had already recorded. It was a brand new challenge for me. And, now just for fun:
Who’s your 가장 좋아하는 actor/actress?
MIKI: I 사랑 Julianne Moore. She is always so connected and present in her work. What role from the past do 당신 wish 당신 could have played?
MIKI: I wish I could have played Liz 레몬 on “30 Rock.” So many great jokes and hilarious scenes! Favorite animated movie 또는 TV show?
MIKI: My 가장 좋아하는 animated movie is “WALL-E.” In fact, my two 고양이 are named after the main characters: I have a male 주황색, 오렌지 tabby named WALL-E, and a white female cat named Eve! They are the cutest 고양이 in the world. Tell us one thing that would surprise our readers to learn about you.
MIKI: I’m only 4 feet 10 inches tall! I am small in stature but I have a big speaking and 노래 voice. How can 팬 keep up with you?
MIKI: I 사랑 to interact with my 팬 on social media. On Twitter: @miki410 link
and Instagram: @miki410 link
I also have a 팬 page on Facebook: /mikifanpage link
I 사랑 seeing all the beautiful Nirmala 팬 art and enjoy retweeting them! Thanks, Miki -- and we 사랑 hearing (and seeing) you, too!
"The Lion Guard" Nirmala (courtesy: Disney Junior)
"The Lion Guard" (courtesy: Disney Junior)
Miki Yamashita in the booth