Alena Koch might be the punny-est person ever. Not only was she “game” for this interview about her involvement with “Mario Warfare” – a YouTube series based on the “Super Mario Bros.” video game franchise, but as you can see below, she concludes our interview saying that she had a “Peachy time” doing it. Okay, two puns don’t exactly make up an entire personality, but if NMR got to spend a few days with Alena instead of one brief email session, I’m sure we’d hear a few more peach-tastic puns.
See, Alena plays Princess Peach in the series, one of fandom’s most beloved characters. Through the “Mario Warfare” crew, Beat Down Boogie and Alena made a controversial choice – strip the “damsel in distress” aspect from Peach’s character and make her a badass, gun-wielding fighter chick. Screwing with the tropes in gaming can sometimes bring out the chauvinistic side of people, but for “Mario Warfare,” the twist works well. And Alena makes for one hell of a Peach.
NMR got to catch up with the amazingly versatile actress now that the series has gotten to stretch its legs a bit (okay, more than a bit) and find out not only what’s in store for Mario and his cadre of badasses, but also, what’s going on with Alena at large. Turns out, there’s kind of a lot. You might say she’s very … animated (Okay, I’m … I’m not nearly as good at puns).
Princess Peach is one of the most beloved characters in the whole gamer universe — how excited were you to play her?
Alena Koch: It is really amazing bringing a popular video game character to life, especially with a modern twist. I mean, how could I say no to playing a character that breaks with tradition and transforms into an action fighting hero. Yes, please!
You’re probably the cutest Princess Peach to play her also — not a question, just a statement there.
Aww, shucks. (Blushes)
Are you a pretty serious gamer, and if so, what’s your favorite game?
People are usually surprised to find out that I’m not a gamer at all. I’m just a girl who loves acting and bringing characters to life. Movies and TV are my playground.
Is there a set end to the series? Like is this a one series deal or will you all keep making it until you run out of story somewhere in season 15?
“Mario Warfare Part 6” marks the beginning of the end. Two more episodes are slated. It is bittersweet because we enjoy shooting these so much, but every episode leads us to the finale.
There has been some controversy about Princess Peach being just a “damsel in distress” — your Peach isn’t. How did that come about?
Yeah, the whole waiting in another castle to be rescued thing. The idea to change that came from director/writer Micah Moore and writer Christopher Moore. They wanted to put their own spin on the story and do something a bit more unexpected and modern.
Did you have to undergo any special training for this version of Peach? Or did you come naturally skilled?
Heck ya! My dance background definitely helped with the fighting moves, because I see it more like a sequence in a routine, but I definitely needed to be trained in fight choreography. I have a new appreciation for stunt guys and girls because that is not easy to do. Even with the limited amount of stuff I did, I have some bruises and scars to prove it!
Also to help build my character, I went to the gun range a few times and shot at paper. It was important to me to feel what it was like to properly handle a gun.
How did you get associated with the Beat Down Boogie crew?
I first did a couple of one off projects with them for YouTube. I guess it was an audition of sorts. Then after the success of our “Modern War Gear Solid” series, the fans wanted another video game-inspired series. Now we’re having a blast making “Mario Warfare”! The whole group is really great friends and that makes working on projects that much more fun!
What’s something crazy very few people know about you?
I once taxied a commercial airplane on a runway in Greece. My friend and I gave up our seats to a senator and his wife. In exchange, we got to ride in the cockpit. She got strapped in to a seat that was attached to the cockpit door, and because I was smaller, I got to sit on a upside down garbage pail. Seriously! (Not a good spot for a girl who gets nervous flying.) I was right next to the pilot and he let me taxi the plan. That and flying in the cockpit was one of the coolest things I have ever done!
What’s a secret we can know about what’s upcoming with “Mario Warfare”?
All I can say is there will be lots of big action scenes, and episode 7 will see the addition of a beloved character that the fans have been hinting at wanting to show up.
What else do you have going on?
I’m also starring in a new film in production called “Disengaged” from Christopher Moore and Eryk Pruitt. It is a horror film with a “Twilight Zone” feel to it. I’m always working on something, whether it be film/TV, commercials, spokesmodel work, voice-overs, etc., and the best way to keep up with me and what I’m doing is on Facebook. I spend way too much time on there, but I just love engaging with the fans!
Thanks for the interview! I had a Peachy time!
Here’s more interviews with people who NMR finds peachy as well: