Ashley Johnson has appeared in television shows, movies, video games and web shows. With some seriously good roles under her belt you’re bound to have seen or heard her somewhere. Oh, and today is her birthday so let’s check out what she’s done!
Screens Big and Small
One of Ashley Johnson’s earliest roles was in the TV show Growing Pains. This was back in 1990, the same year she had her first movie role as well; Lionheart, alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme. Most of my experience with her came much later than this. I was pleasantly surprised to find she had starred in quite a few of the shows I watched as a child. Perhaps my earliest encounter was with Recess, in which she voiced Gretchen. She was also in Teen Titans as Terra and Ben 10 as Gwen. This was from Ben 10: Alien Force onwards. She has also been in Jumanji, Naruto: Shippuden, Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Some of her television work also involved movie roles; she played the same roles in multiple Recess and Ben 10 movies. More recently, as fans of Critical Role would be painfully aware, Ashley has also had a key role in the show Blindspot. Starting in 2015 and ending with its final season in July 2020, Ashley played the role of Patterson.
Television and animation aside, Ashley has also starred in quite a few screen roles. The one I remember the most is What Women Want (2000) where she played Mel Gibson’s daughter Alex. She has had roles in Columbus Day (2008), The Help (2011), Much Ado About Nothing (2012) and even The Avengers/Avengers Assemble (2012). However, she attributes her initial joy of acting to an independent film called Nearing Grace. The filming process for this movie helped her to see acting as more than just a job. This was also followed by Fast Food Nation, another movie which helped cement her career choice.
Now we come to the world of video games. There have been multiple Ben 10 games, Ashley has also voiced Petra in Minecraft: Story Mode and Spider-Gwen in Marvel Heroes. She was also a part of Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, along with the rest of the Critical Role cast. Oh and of course, she is also Ellie in The Last of Us and The Last Of Us Part II; the latter of which has caused some major controversy. There are people on both sides of the fence when it comes to the game but I’m sure we can all agree on the fact that Ashley’s role in the game is absolutely stellar. When I say she is Ellie, I mean she really IS Ellie. The level of dedication for the game was immense. It was more than just a voice role, there was a huge amount of motion capture involved to make the game as smooth and realistic as possible. I have to admit, the result is spectacular.
Lastly, we have web series’. Ashley has appeared in Tabletop, Spooked and Force Grey: Giant Hunters. She is also a key member of the Critical Role cast, a show that began in 2015 as part of Geek & Sundry, later forming a stand-alone channel due to its massive rise in popularity. The show streams every Thursday and follows the adventures of the Mighty Nein in Wildemount (Campaign 2) and previously Vox Machina in Tal’Dorei (Campaign 1). Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer guides Ashley and fellow Voice Actors Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, Marisha Ray, Taliesin Jaffe, Sam Riegel and Liam O’Brien through a series of badly thought out plans and hilarious high jinks. As mentioned above, Ashley also began filming Blindspot in 2015, meaning that she was unfortunately absent for a lot of shows across the first campaign. But it’s okay! It just made it even better when she was able to make a surprise appearance throughout the show. She has been present more during the second campaign and now that Blindspot has finished filming, she’ll be with us even more. Cheers!
Ashley’s character in Campaign 1 was Pike Trickfoot, the Gnome Cleric who had a great backstory intertwined with Travis Willingham’s character Grog Strongjaw. The two made a great, if not unusual team, whose dynamic created some great moments across the campaign. In Campaign 2, Ashley’s character is Yasha, an Aasimar Barbarian with an interesting history that gives rise to a really gripping story arc. If you haven’t seen the show then I thoroughly recommend it!
Go, Watch, Play
If you’d like to know more about Ashley Johnson then check out her interview on Between The Sheets with Brian W. Foster. It offers more insight into her younger years, her career path and her role in The Last Of Us. Or if you’d like to see her in action, watch some of her shows or movies. Otherwise, play The Last Of Us Part II and dive into the internet battlefield.
Happy Birthday, Ashley! Thanks for giving life to some incredible characters.
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