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Laura Bailey Reveals What It Was Really Like Making Marvel's Avengers - Exclusive

For some Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, is synonymous with actress Scarlett Johansson. But for nearly as long as Johansson has played the deadly assassin in the MCU, there's another performer who has played her as well: Laura Bailey.

Like a lot of the performers in the new Square Enix-published action-adventure game Marvel's Avengers, Bailey has a very long history of playing characters you absolutely know: Gwen Stacey, Mary Jane Watson, Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Chun-Li, and, recently, Abby from The Last of Us: Part II. Plus, Bailey's greatest claim to fame is her work on Critical Role, the live weekly series where some of the best voice actors in the business get together for a little tabletop role-playing.

But what you may not realize is that Bailey started playing Black Widow all the way back in 2011, with Marvel Super Hero Squad Onlineand she's steadily been the voice of Black Widow ever since.

"I don't know if the voice print has changed drastically," Bailey shared in an exclusive interview with Looper, "but every iteration is a little bit different, depending on what storylines they're pulling from. And this project is just very grounded in a way that I've never been able to experience with Black Widow before."

Bailey is talking about the full motion capture work she and Team Avengers did for the latest cross-platform online game. So, what's it like playing Black Widow in Marvel's Avengers?

What makes this Black Widow story different?

"I think it's because we shot it on the stages," said Bailey about what makes this outing as Natasha so different. "We were suiting up and fully embodying the characters, as opposed to just being in the booth with each other."

How does it feel? "It felt like an upgrade, if I'm going to be honest. [I got to do] all the things that I imagined being able to do," Bailey revealed. "You have the body stance when you're in the recording session and everything just because you have to, if you want to emanate that sort of presence. But being on the stage and able to pull out the weapons and feel as bad-ass as she is [was incredible]."

Even though Bailey admitted to looking at stories like S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Most Wanted, she noted that a big part of what made Marvel's Avengers so challenging is that it's a truly new story.

"The thing that makes this project unique is that they take from everything, but they've created their own story," shared Bailey. "I got to experience this internal struggle with [Black Widow] that I've never gotten to do before just because of everything that happens with A-Day. A lot of really terrible things happen and Widow feels responsible for it. She feels like she should have realized what was happening and she wasn't on her game enough. So she does what she does best, and she pulls away from everybody and says, 'I'm going to fix this. I'm going to make this right on my own, on my own terms.' And she goes back to being a spy, playing both sides."

Getting to play with all the Avengers together

Just like with Nolan North's portrayal as Tony Stark, Bailey had a ball being in the motion capture suit and playing with her fellow actors, most of whom she's known for a long time.

"It's a big group. I mean, it was the full set when we would film. Every Avenger was there," said Bailey. "It was playtime. It was all of us that have gotten to work together so many times in the past, so you all had that natural camaraderie that the Avengers have. It felt instantly like we all knew each other and we're meant to be there. And then Sandra [Saad] came in playing Kamala, and she's just so enthusiastic and she hadn't done motion capture before. So in addition to her being new to that world, she really brought that to the character, because we felt kind of mentor-y to her on the stage, as well. And it worked out so naturally."

If you're wondering if there's a secret to being Black Widow, a key into the character, Bailey has some simple advice for a good starting place: "One of the things we always joked about in sessions was 'hands on hips.' Because it's just like a posture: As soon as you go into it, you feel you've got that swagger."

Marvel's Avengers is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.