INTERVIEW: Zelda Williams

Majora’s Mask was my shit.”

MOVIE STAR Robin Williams named his daughter after Princess Zelda.

Instead of simply divorcing her father and changing her name, Zelda Williams embraced the name and the series and is now helping Nintendo promote the franchise via TV ads – and the Zelda Symphony Concert in London

Here, we speak to Zelda Williams as part of Zelda week – our five-day celebration of the 25th anniversary of the series. She shares her thoughts on the franchise, the upcoming Skyward Sword and her dad’s legendary beard.

Why the devil did your parents name you Zelda?

It was actually brought up by my older brother Zach and his best friend. I think they were like four or five at the time, and they ran in as my parents were discussing baby names for me. They threw in their two cents and both my of parents loved it. They love the games and it is a great name for a girl. I have enjoyed it thoroughly. I think it is fantastic, and it makes me laugh that it was a whole family decision. It could have ended up a lot worse.

So it wasn’t because your parents were hoping for a lucrative PR deal with Nintendo?

22 years in advance? My father would have to have been a psychic for that to happen. The funny thing is I think Dad has only done a commercial once before and that was in the 1980s. We are not the type; we don’t really do that kind of thing. And the only reason why we did this time is because the games do mean a lot to us. Video games have always been something that is the great equaliser in my family. We all have our different type. And I was a huge Nintendo kid. So it made sense. We wouldn’t have done it otherwise.

It is rare to see celebrities endorse something they are truly a fan of.

It is not like endorsing some chocolate. Where you watch celebrities smile and grin and go Oh God this means so much to me.” But no, this is quite literally my namesake. It is not some silly ploy. Someone was telling me about the comments that were left on the video on YouTube, and quite a few people thought I was just an actress they hired. It was just a marketing plot. They were like, Bullshit, he didn’t name is daughter Zelda.” And I am wondering how many people looked it up and thought, Wow, they really are super nerds.”

You appear to be a brand ambassador for Zelda now; you’ve done the promos and a presented at the Live concert. What else does it involved?

I don’t know what Nintendo was expecting and I don’t know what I was expecting signing up to it. I wasn’t really asked by Nintendo to do it, I was asked by my dad. Dad wanted me to be involved in it, and I think they had approached him with the idea of he and I doing it together. And I had so much fun doing the ads and I had so much fun getting to know the people at Nintendo – I went to E3, which was a blast – and between filming and when I have free time, I actually enjoy doing this with Nintendo.

What is your favourite Zelda?

Majora’s Mask. I stand by this. There are a lot of Legend of Zelda fans that think it is the best Zelda game. And there are quite a few that think it is a worst. I think it depends on their choice of if they want to do all the collecting games and get all the masks, and there are some people that get bored by that kind of gameplay. But I think in terms of how involved I got with that game, that one was by far and away my favourite. The new one is probably going to come really close to that particularly in terms of the game design. I am also a very visual person as well, and Skyward Sword is so pretty. And I am really looking forward to playing it and seeing if it gets me as involved. But Majora’s Mask was my shit. It is my favourite. It was also a bit of a goofy game, putting Link in bunny ears and silly masks and dressing him up. It is kind of a little girl way of looking at it, but I enjoyed that thoroughly.

It was also quite a dark game.

Yeah, incredibly. It had some really cool imagery. The moon with the strange face crashing towards the earth and the dancing mask people. It was kind of Tim Burton’s Legend of Zelda.

Have you played the new Skyward Sword?

I have played it a little bit. I have fought a couple of the bosses. But it was one of those things that it was what was available to play E3. And I didn’t want to hog the machine. What I played was really beautiful and really fun and really vibrant. But it was a tiny piece of it. But from the few minutes I played it, it is beautiful. Everything looks bejewelled. It is a much more whimsical, which I think is going to be amazing. It’s more like a fairytale.

If you had to pick a Zelda moment, what would you say is your favourite?

I loved Midna [from Twilight Princess]. I liked her in her little cute form, but I do like the moment where she becomes her proper form and it turns out she obviously has the hots for Link. And it becomes this thing that was very entertainment to me, it became like Soap Opera Legend of Zelda. She was like Oh I am so attractive you can’t even say anything?” And you are like, well Link has always been mute Midna, but thank you for that.

I also loved a lot of the cut scenes in Majora’s Mask as well, because they were quite dark and twisted. A lot of the appearances of the moon in the sky as it would grow closer. I really liked how they played that out. Otherwise, Midna was my favourite. Her dramatic moments were very funny, I liked her sense of humour and the way they wrote her.

If you were to be a kidnapped by a giant green gnome with red hair. Who would you like to come rescue you?

Oh God. I have lovely, incredible friends in LA. And there are a group of four guys who are my best friends and are friends as well. They are like my big brothers. And they are always chomping at the bit for chivalrous moments. And I think that’s because three of them are British, and they really do aspire for that chivalry. It isn’t as common amongst the American guys, or at least as far as I have seen. So I think they would come running. And I would be thoroughly entertained by that, watching the four of them.

But if I was going to go with the creative answer… well I wouldn’t want dad to come rescue me, that would be strange. I would want it to be someone on a motorcycle. Who would be a reliable action man who could actually fight Ganon?

Ok, I’ve got it. In the movie version of The Legend of Zelda where I get kidnapped, Garrett Hedlund [of Tron fame] would be Link.

What do you say to the millions of heartbroken fans who have just witnessed the loss of your father’s beard?

Epic beard is epic. It’s mindblowing how quick my dad’s facial hair grows. As saddened as they are, it will be back. It shall return, inevitably, in the very near future. He has gone through so many beards and so many different facial hair phases. I personally feel it needed to be culled for the moment so it could come back stronger.

He was clean shaven and now it is back to scruff. It was funny, because when it was at its full craziness it sheds, and you get whiteness everywhere. He loves it, we always make fun of him for it, he makes fun of himself for it, it is just dirty Santa beard and it is great.

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