Voice actress, Laura Bailey, has posted on Twitter clarifying how she got cast to play Nadine Ross in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Some people thought her being cast was inappropriate since the character is black while she is white.
Bailey’s explanation is quite long, but she reveals that she was cast before Naughty Dog designed the actual character. All they knew about the character early on what that she is South African.
Bailey said: “I think more than anything, I just want to clear up how the casting happened. I went in person to audition for the role of Nadine. The character breakdown I received had no picture or physical description at all. The reason for the being, there was no character design yet. Nadine was described as a strong willed, intelligent, powerful woman with a south african dialect. So I trained with my dialect coach multiple times before the audition. I obsessed over the scenes in my head. I went and auditioned alongside several other actresses of several different ethnicities. I was incredible nervous.”
She then explains it would have been rude if Naughty Dog changed the design of Nadine Ross when she got cast: “It wasn’t until we had rehearsed and arrived for our first day of filming that I saw the concept art for Nadine. One of the very talented artists at Naughty Dog had come up with a beautiful design for her, and it happened to look… very different than me. And that was difficult. Not because it changed anything about my performance. Nadine was the same woman. She had the same background, the same personality, the same strength. But suddenly, because she had a different skin color than I did, there was a chance some would deem my portrayal unacceptable.
But at that point, what’s worse? Choose that beautiful design the artist created knowing there could be backlash because they had already cast a non-black actress? Or change the design entirely out of fear and lose the opportunity to have a strong character of color in the game? I guess I don’t know if there’s a right answer to that. All I can say is, I think she’s one of the most badass people I’ve ever had the honor to play and I’m so proud to have worked on Uncharted 4.”
If anybody is kind of at fault here, it might be Naughty Dog. They should have designed Nadine Ross first before casting who would be the voice actress for her. Bailey has been put in a tough spot being blamed for whitewashing the game.
The game’s director, Neil Druckmann, also stated a few months ago that a black voice actor is playing a white character in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.