Resident Evil Voice Actor on Playing Claire, Death Island, and That Elusive Code Veronica Remake Interview 1
Image: Diana Ragland

Resident Evil is more than just games nowadays, so with the anime movie release Resident Evil: Death Island just a few weeks away, we caught up with one voice actor who covers both mediums. Stephanie Panisello provides the voice of Claire Redfield in both Resident Evil 2 and the animated films Resident Evil Infinite Darkness and its sequel Death Island.

We chatted to Stephanie about what it's like playing the same character across different pieces of media at different stages in their life, her other video game credits, and where on earth that Resident Evil Code: Veronica X remake is.

Push Square: With 2019's Resident Evil 2 being the first time you played Claire Redfield, were you already familiar with the character or was that project your first exposure to the series?

Stephanie Panisello: I was familiar with the game and Claire's character because I had played part of the original Resident Evil 2 as a child at a neighbor's house. I remember thinking how cool it was to see a female lead at a time when it was very uncommon.

Did you revisit the original PS1 game at all to get an idea for the story and Claire's character?

I was asked to make her my own by Capcom and the director. So I chose to keep the essence of Claire and then added some extra layers that we did not get to see from the original. I'm happy to say she's still a fan favorite, cussing and all — haha.

Resident Evil Voice Actor on Playing Claire, Death Island, and That Elusive Code Veronica Remake Interview 2

What were some of your favourite lines or moments in the game involving Claire?

I loved the scene in the parking garage with Chief Irons. I'm glad I was given an opportunity to help choreograph it and improvise a bit. That infamous last line "I'LL GET YOU, YOU F..." well you get the idea — just felt natural. Haha. So thank you to Capcom producer Mr. H for trusting me and performance capture director Tom Keegan and writer Brent Friedman for letting me play. Another favorite scene was with Eliza Pryor who plays Sherry, the part where Annette Birkin leaves her behind in the trash compactor was a highly emotional scene, and carrying her in my arms while dodging face cams was an art in and of itself. Happy to say one of my favorite lines and the simple reason Claire does everything she does "Because I Care", came to be that day.

You always picked her over Leon as your first playthrough, right?!

I'd be lying if I didn't admit I chose to play Claire first — haha, to be honest, I've played it a few times and I don't know if I've ever played as Leon first... might have to try it.

Now, where's that Resident Evil Code: Veronica X remake? Claire deserves that leading role all to herself now!

The age-old question. I get asked this quite regularly. Sadly, it's not up to me. I do agree it's a game that could use the extra love. I would be honored if Capcom chose to remake it and cast me once again. However, it's ultimately Capcom's decision and I respect where the remakes have taken the franchise, so fingers crossed we get this one.

Resident Evil Voice Actor on Playing Claire, Death Island, and That Elusive Code Veronica Remake Interview 3

How does playing Claire in the games compare to her character in the animated movies? Have you picked up on any differences in her character between the two mediums?

Claire in Resident Evil 2 is different from Resident Evil Infinite Darkness and Death Island in the way she approaches issues. She is more confident in her choices and who she trusts once we leave Raccoon City. In the game we are getting to know her origin story, we get to know her and what she's afraid of. Every good heroine has their character arc and I've kept that in mind when portraying her in the franchise. I try to keep all the parts that make her who she is and allow her to grow in her conviction. She's got some strong morals. I can't wait for everyone to see where we've taken Claire in Death Island.

What about playing Claire do you enjoy most? Do you see much of yourself in her character and personality?

I love that Claire cares about people. She's also a total badass and extremely resilient. I do see some parts of her in my personality. I connect with her straightforward approach. What you see is what you get with her; I relate to that. She's also funny and I'd like to think I am.

Outside of Resident Evil, what have been some of your other favourite game projects to work on? We can't help but notice you're credited on The Evil Within 2 — a classic!

I have loved working on Genshin Impact as the all-knowing Adeptus god: Cloud Retainer. I like to think of her as the Moira Rose (Schitt's Creek) of Genshin. She knows everyone, everything, is all-powerful, and yet she still gets hung up on little things in her over-the-top way. I've also enjoyed playing Fearie in Trials of Mana and Vora in Paladins. All very different characters with different objectives. That's what I love about being an actress, whether I'm the hero or the villain I enjoy finding out what drives them. And good find, I performed the facial capture for Esmeralda Torres towards the beginning of my career. Can't forget Tomb Raider, Star Wars, and Gears of War... truly blessed to be a part of so many great game franchises!

Resident Evil Voice Actor on Playing Claire, Death Island, and That Elusive Code Veronica Remake Interview 4

Have you managed to keep up with the latest Genshin Impact updates? Have you given Honkai: Star Rail a shot and could that become another obsession?

I wish I could say I've had a chance to but I only have enough time to play while I stream on Twitch these days. I do know it's a massive and beautiful game with a loyal following. Maybe one day I'll get an opportunity to play.

How are you finding the Resident Evil 4 remake so far?

I LOVE Resident Evil 4. They did a great job with the game and my friend Nick Apostolides who plays Leon crushed it! Very happy with it and excited to keep playing.

Do you dabble in any other horror games outside of the Resident Evil series? What are your favourites?

I'm a big fan of The Last of Us and Limbo. Crazy to say but I still have Five Nights at Freddy's and Silent Hill on my list. I attempted to finish Alien Isolation but it kicked my butt, touchy subject — haha.

Resident Evil Voice Actor on Playing Claire, Death Island, and That Elusive Code Veronica Remake Interview 5

Could you speak to your motto and Twitch name "Because I Claire" outside of the link to Claire Redfield? How do you use it to spread empowerment online?

I love puns and especially ones that are deep. When the pandemic happened my Twitch name really took on a whole new meaning. I don't believe we need big elaborate reasons to help each other out. I don't think we need to define our purpose as something grandiose. It's simple, I care therefore I do. I use my voice and platforms to create a welcoming environment for all. It's a place where you can laugh, sit back, get inspired, and know you're safe.

I spread empowerment through being an example, through kindness, and getting "real" with people. I don't sugarcoat. I keep it honest. I also enjoy learning about people, what they love, and where their strengths lie. I then use that to encourage them through "real talk". Wherever someone is on their journey, I encourage them to accept themselves fully first, find out what makes their soul sing, and then root them on! I've actually got some exciting empowerment opportunities coming up, everyone is welcome to follow me on Instagram and Twitch for updates.

We would like to thank Stephanie Panisello for taking the time to answer our questions, and Grace Topalian for making the interview possible. You can follow Stephanie's work across Instagram and Twitch.