“I’d never heard of it,” Anna Galvin says. “I’m not ashamed or proud, it’s just not part of my world. It didn’t even ring a bell, but my husband knew all about it. I’m just not a gamer.” The Australian actress is talking about Warcraft, one of the world’s most high profile video games. And though she might not be across the world of consoles and online multiplayer set-ups, it hasn’t stopped Galvin from scoring a major role in the big screen adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment’s top title. An epic sci-fi fantasy, Warcraft is set in the far-flung, peaceful realm of Azeroth, which stands on the brink of war as its civilisation faces a fearsome race of invaders: Orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonise another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes – the human, Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmell), and the towering Orc, Durotan (Toby Kebbell) – are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people, and their home.
Anna Galvin takes on the motion capture-heavy role of the Orc, Draka, who is the wife of Durotan, and comes complete with knotted hair, pointed ears, and protruding, fang-like teeth. Virtually unrecognisable, the actress spends most of her time on-screen with Toby Kebbell, the British star of such films as Wrath Of The Titans, War Horse, Prince Of Persia, Fantastic 4, and RocknRolla. “I met Toby walking into the motion capture studio,” Galvin says of her co-star, who is more than familiar with the rigours of mo-cap filmmaking after appearing as the villainous primate, Koba, in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. “We were in our polyester onesies, and we looked like giant toddlers in pyjamas. It’s very unsexy and extremely unflattering. You have the crotch implants and armpit gussets, which are a shiny fabric, while the rest is elephant-grey polyester.”
Warcraft represents a major bump for 47-year-old Anna Galvin, who has been seen on screens since the mid-nineties. The actress has an impressive list of credits on TV (The Sentinel, Stargate SG-1, The Andromeda Strain, Smallville, Stargate Atlantis, Mr. Young, iZombie) and in film (Way Of The Wicked), but Warcraft is her first big budget, potential blockbuster, and Galvin believes that it will have no trouble connecting with audiences. “I believe that people who don’t know World Of Warcraft will still like the film,” the actress says on the film’s enormous Vancouver set. “I do! I find it thoroughly entertaining. It’s got a lot of heart, and it’s very exciting and epic. It has a lot of intrigue, and it’s not just black and white. It’s not just for the gamers, and it’s not just for the players. It will blow the players away though, because it elevates the world; it’s so heightened above and beyond the scope of the game. One of the assistant directors pulled me aside and said, ‘I can’t believe that you’ve never played this game.’ I could have gotten into this world, but I just never came across it. But I have a character in it now, so I played the game for a little while, and I saw what it was all about. That really helped.”
Did Galvin know her Aussie co-star, Travis Fimmel, before the shoot? “No, I didn’t. I knew him from his Calvin Klein commercial,” she laughs of the one-time underwear model. “I remember that on Sunset Boulevard…it was very distracting. And I’d heard of TV’s Vikings, of course. But I didn’t know him at all. When we met, I asked him where he’s from, and that’s Echuca, so we’re both from Victoria. Echuca is a large country town, and it’s really beautiful, and I had friends who grew up there. I love how Australians are everywhere though. They’re everywhere here. Koala trash…they’re all over Canada too. I’m one of them. You know how they say Eurotrash? Well, Koala Trash…it’s not too demeaning.”
Galvin has worked in Canada since the 1990’s (when she appeared on the Vancouver-shot TV series, The Sentinel), and now calls the nation home…mostly. “I’ve just become a naturalised Canadian,” the actress says. “I want to say bi…I mean, I’m a dual citizen. My daughter was born here, and I married a Canadian. It was really important to my daughter, but on the day of the ceremony, I realised that it was really important to me too. I felt quite proud and moved at the ceremony. The judge who conducted the whole affair was quite moving. He made this amazing speech about anti xenophobia, and how important it is to volunteer in Canadian society. I was like, ‘I’m going to stand up for this country!’ In the meantime, I’m playing an Orc! I’m doing my bit…I’m carrying the Orc torch!” And she might be doing it for a while yet. “This could lead to a whole epic scenario of many, many films to follow,” Anna Galvin says. “There’s only so much that we can say about the movie. But I know that the fans are anticipating big things, and I don’t think that they will be disappointed.”
Warcraft will be released in cinemas on June 16.