‘Uncharted’ is the best job I’ve ever had. Film, television, whatever – it’s without doubt the best. It’s changed my life.
Because Naughty Dog relies on their facial team to hand animate the faces of each game character and they do such a remarkable job, I think you can be more realistic with your acting. It gives the story and what’s happening to you the feeling that it’s a game.
Harrison Ford has always been one of my favorite actors. I grew up with Han Solo and Indiana Jones, and ‘Regarding Henry’ is one of my favorite movies of all time.
I am a person who believes in the good of people and who may have had things influence them to a certain degree, but deep down I think most people are good and would like to be good.
I don’t think ‘Call Of Duty: Black Ops’ sells 25 million plus copies and makes of a billion dollars because of their great storytelling. It’s the multiplayer aspect of that type of game, where people get together to shoot each other and have fun. And it’s very much gameplay; it’s like ‘Gran Turismo’ or one of these racing games.
I don’t think there’s room in video games for people to bring an ego. It’s very frustrating for any actor to have someone who’s a celebrity take over your place. Like the ‘Uncharted’ film, they’re trying to find someone to play Nathan Drake. And it’s like, why do they not think of us? We do this.
I eventually became an actor, starting with doing stand-up comedy in New York and then theater wherever they would let me. Finally, I moved out here to Los Angeles and got on a show.
I know a lot of games have been going to the facial capture. And movies like ‘TinTin’ are using it, as well.
I revel in my anonymity. But when I’m at a specific event and gamers are there, they’ll recognise me.
I studied journalism at The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. I did my graduate work at Emerson in Boston, and I was actually a reporter for a year in New York and New Jersey. It dawned on me that I wasn’t cut out for that line of work. I mean… there’s a certain thing that really good reports have that I just didn’t.
I’m an actor. Whether I’m on stage, in front of a camera or a microphone, what I do is the same – although with videogames it requires a lot of imagination.
I’m proud of the versatility I’ve had since I was in high school, getting in trouble for all these voices. What happened was that there were so many of these big heroes I played – in ‘Dark Void,’ ‘Assassin’s Creed,’ ‘Shadow Complex,’ ‘Uncharted,’ and ‘Prince of Persia’ – and they all showed up at about the same time. It got a little ridiculous.
I’ve always had a penchant for dialects. I remember getting detention and being told, ‘Have a think about where doing these funny voices might get you someday.’
I’ve found a lot of the thinking in America is that a lot of people become actors to become famous. At least from my experience, I have a dozen or so British friends who are actors, and if you look at their body of work, and they’ll go do theatre, and they’ll go do this and this. They work, and they’re always honing and trying to be better.
In ‘Uncharted,’ we do the scenes the same way you would do a film or television show. The motion capture – the performance-capture process – is what makes such a difference for this franchise. So I don’t approach it any differently. The other actors and I go in and rehearse scenes together, and then we go in the next day and perform.
My first motion capture game was with Sony – ‘NBA: The Life.’ It was very ahead of its time. Brandon Akiaten, he was the writer and director. He had a real vision of what this game was meant to be; it was a basketball game where I was the Jerry Maguire sports agent type guy. And it was great!
Of all the games I’ve done, the only time I’ve ever lost my voice was on ‘Call Of Duty 2,’ playing a rasping Russian captain on the Stalingrad level.
One thing that’s unique to ‘Uncharted’ is something called ‘chasing picture,’ where Naughty Dog run a section of gameplay and I’m allowed to ad-lib over it. We call it ‘panning for gold.’
The really best acting is children in a playground or in a backyard. They’re just lost in their imagination. The backyard isn’t a pirate ship or a jungle, in the same way that the soundstage isn’t Shambala.
The tailor from ‘Avatar’ actually made my suit for ‘Uncharted 3.’ And no, it’s not a hand-me-down from Sam Worthington. My 11-year-old would fit in Sam Worthington’s. I’m 6′ 1″, 180 pounds.
There was a time when all the actors were saying, ‘We should get residuals on videogames.’ I just kept going, ‘You don’t have any idea what goes into making a game, do you?’
There’s something known as the Uncanny Valley where things look a little too real and you’re not quite sure what you’re looking at. It becomes weird like it did in ‘The Polar Express,’ where the eyes seem so realistic, and yet you know it’s animated.
When we did the first ‘Uncharted,’ we weren’t able to capture the audio with the performances. We would go back and do A.D.R. – Automated Dialogue Replacement – in which you would hear yourself and then repeat your line. Even when we were doing that, there was a slight disconnect because you were trying to recreate a performance.