Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Click here to go to the Teaser site
Click here to go to the From The Trailer To The Grave Website
Monday, February 6, 2012
Hey guys! I have an extra special interview here for you today! With help from K Harrison Sweeney I snagged an interview with the biggest badass who ever hit the west! You know him and love him so now it's time to get to know him! Ladies and Gentlemen time to meet Rob Wiethoff voice of the one and only John Marston! So yet again grab a drink and get to know Rob Wiethoff!!
1) Are you yourself a gamer? If so what's your favorite video game?
I have been asked this question several times and I hate to say it, but I am not a gamer. I know that probably doesn't go over well with many readers of this interview, but it's the honest truth.
I used to love to play Nintendo back in the day, but I haven't been into anything to do with gaming since. I do have Red Dead Redemption and Undead Nightmare and I have played them quite a bit. I haven't played any other games, though. I'm afraid to get any other games because, knowing myself, I'd probably end up getting all the games and never really doing anything but play them. Ha!
2) Have you yourself played the game? What do you think about how it ended?
As I mentioned above, I do play RDR and Undead Nightmare. I can't play them as often as I like for a few reasons. Probably the biggest reason now is that my wife and I just had twin boys. I don't have much time outside of doing my part in taking care of them and going to work. The other reason that I didn't play too much before the boys arrived is that my wife couldn't ever be comfortable in our house while I was playing. She would always peek in the room and ask if I was yelling at the TV or if the TV was yelling at me. The funny thing is that it was usually both! Of course, I always told her that it was just the game.
The ending of the game was very strong, I thought. I really can't compare it to other games, obviously, but I do like how people are saying that it had an effect on them. I'm not sure if people look to video games for that kind of entertainment, but it sounds like they're getting it from the ending of this game.
3) How did you get the part?I got called for an audition one night. It was one of those last minute auditions that you usually have to just drive directly to no matter where you are or what you're doing. Once I made it to the place holding the auditions, I walked into a waiting room full of men dressed in Army gear. It was pretty nuts. I didn't know I was reading for an Army guy, I thought. As it turns out, none of us were. I finally got in the room to audition and was given some direction. The first time I read, I felt pretty good. The session runner told me, too, that I had done a pretty decent job with the first take. He liked the "vibe" about what I had done, but told me that it just wasn't what the director was looking for. After a little bit of working through the changes he had advised, we were ready for take two. Just before he said, "Action", he was called out of the room by one of the other employees at the audition site. Of course, as soon as he got back, he told me that he didn't have time for me to do another take and that the one I had already done would have to be the one. Luckily, that session runner was wrong.
4) What was it like working with Rockstar?
Because I haven't worked on any other video games besides RDR and Undead Nightmare, I don't have anyone in that industry to compare Rockstar Games to. I can tell you with 100% certainty, though, that Rockstar Games is easily the best company I've worked for/with in any capacity. They were all very well educated in and good at what they do. They are all helpful, patient, fun, cool, and a pleasure to be around. I still keep in touch with and genuinely like those people. I feel like they've got it figured out.
5) Do you play multiplayer and if so what character do you play as?
I have never played multiplayer, actually. I have thought about playing that way and seeing if anyone would recognize my voice. It would be fun to see if anyone would notice. At some point, I'll try it out and see what happens.
6) What do you like most about the character John Marston? Is there anything don’t you like about him?
I like a lot about John. If I had to pick what I like the most about him it would be the fact that he is absolutely fearless. I love that about him. A close second would be the way that he cares about his wife and son.
Because the player can make the decision of whether John is a good guy or a bad guy, it's hard to say what is best about him. He can, sort of, be two very different characters. It just depends on who is controlling him. The two things I like the most that are constant no matter how the game is played, though, are his fearlessness and his love for his family.
I don't like that John did so many bad things early in his life. I really don't think that, if he could, John would disagree with me on that. By the time we meet him, it's clear that he learned from his mistakes has tried to be a better man.
7) Is John like you in any way?
The only thing that I can say that John and I share, for sure, is our voice. Ha! We sound exactly alike! --I'm an idiot for saying that. I just thought I was funny for a second.
I like to think that I'm, at least, half the man John Marston is. He may not have liked everything that he was asked to do in order to keep his family life the way he wanted it to be, but he didn't ever quit. He was a man about things.
I had an issue with an adult the other day and I was embarrassed at the way he handled himself. Without getting into what happened, I will just tell you it was pretty gross. This guy lost his cool and acted like a spoiled child.
I went home and told my wife that night that what this guy needed to be aware of is that just because you can no longer call yourself a child, that doesn't mean that you can call yourself a man.
John Marston was always a man. I would hope my friends and family would agree that it's important to me to be looked at in that same light.
8) What’s your favorite mission in the game?
My favorite mission is number 29: The Mexican Wagon Train. I can remember shooting that scene like it was yesterday. The day that we shot it was one of those days when I was having trouble remembering my lines. I don't know if I was tired or if I was over thinking everything, but I wasn't feeling very good about my work. Right before we shot that scene, I was walking around with my script and my headphones trying to get the lines down. Because I would record myself speaking the lines the night before and listen to them while I read the script, I usually had pretty good luck remembering most of them. I could not get the lines from this scene down to save my life, though. I remember feeling like I was going to make everyone upset by holding everything up. I really didn't know what we were going to do. It was terrible.
Anyway, to make a long story short, as soon as Rod called "Action" I ended up knowing the lines more clearly in this scene than any others that I can remember. It was so weird. It was like I was reading them off the page. I had never experienced anything like that before and I haven't since.
I really enjoy the actual mission, as well. I think it's cool that you have to go chase down a guarded wagon, take it over, and release the prisoners when the work is done.
9) What’s your favorite western and why?
My favorite western is Tombstone. I'm not sure if I like it most because I really like the movie that much or if I like the story that much or if it's because I have seen it over fifty times. My college roommate loved that movie so much that he would have it on every single time we were about to head out somewhere or have people over. The funny thing is that if I was somewhere and I realized that Tombstone was on, I would gladly hang out and watch it again.
10) Are you friends with the other voice actors?
I would like to consider the other voice actors as my friends. The only reason I don't just say that I'm friends with them is because I don't know all of them well enough to know if we are actually friends or not. Based off what I know of each of them, I would be happy to hang out with any them. They all seemed to be cool people. I know that if I did get a chance to hang with any of them, I would probably learn a lot. I can't tell you how much I learned by working with such talented people. It was incredible.
11) What are your thoughts are on doing voice overs for animated films vs. video games?
I've often thought about doing voice overs for animated films. I'm not sure if I'd be any good at it or not. Honestly, I don't even know how it works. I would love to give it a shot!
Most of the voice acting that was recorded in RDR and Undead Nightmare was recorded along with the motion capture. We didn't have to synchronize our words to lip movements or anything tricky like that. We just had to say the lines as we naturally would in any other format. It was pretty easy once all the blocking was in place and the scenes were rehearsed a few times.
12) What modern voice actors are you a fan of?
I really wouldn't know outside of what I've worked on. I haven't done any research on any other projects.
If you haven't already done this, listen to K. Harrison Sweeney speak when he's not playing the character "Irish". If he was speaking to you in the grocery store and you didn't already know he was the guy that was Irish, you would never guess it to be him.
K. Harrison and others who use an accent other than their everyday accent while delivering their lines are extremely talented people. Because they are able to pull off something that is so difficult as well as they do, I am absolutely fans of theirs.
13) Did doing RDR change your life in any way?
RDR has changed my life very little, actually. Other than being able to say that I was part of something so special, which is very cool, my life hasn't changed too much. Because nobody recognizes me by appearance when I'm walking down the street like they might if RDR was an actual movie instead of a video game, I haven't experienced much of a change. Once people know that I am the person that played John Marston, they tend to ask me questions about it. Most people have no idea what I really look like, though, I would imagine.
14) Was it weird at first hearing your voice coming from John when you played the game?
Hearing my voice coming from John Marston is as weird as you hearing your voice when you set up your voicemail, probably.
"Do I really sound like that? ...Ugh! I don't really sound like that, do I?" --It was kind of like that.
It's really weird for my family and friends, too, to see my voice coming out of John Marston's mouth. Because I did the motion capture for John, people are freaked out seeing him move and sound like me.
15) When Rockstar approached you about doing Undead Nightmare what was your reaction?
I loved the idea of doing Undead Nightmare. Working with Rockstar Games, as I mentioned above, was a very cool experience. I would work with them right now if they told me they have something for me to do. I wouldn't think twice about it. In fact, I'd be thrilled to work with them again.
16) Was this your first time using motion capture technology when acting? If so was it hard to adapt?
This was my first time working with motion capture and it was a very different way to do things, to say the least. Thankfully, the people at Rockstar Games are extremely patient because I didn't learn how to work with the new "gear" very well right off the bat.
I'm not sure if there is a website to look at or a YouTube video of someone working with motion capture so everyone can see what I'm about to try to explain, but I hope there is. I'm not sure where to start...
I'm not going to get technical and start explaining how everything works because I really have no idea. I can tell you, though, that we all looked like we were wearing full length wet suits with little ping pong balls stuck all over them. On top of that, we had helmets on that held a camera with lights out in front of our faces. This was what was used to capture our facial expressions and eye movements.
It was a little distracting especially when working on a scene when the characters had to be positioned close together. We all kept banging our "faces" off of each other. It was actually pretty funny.
If there is a motion capture class out there, I would recommend to any actor that is serious about the business take it. Having all of the different suits, batteries, helmets, and lights in your face takes some getting used to.
17) Is there anything you know about John and wasn’t revealed in the game that you’d like people to know or wouldn’t mind telling?
John Marston is the character that everyone already knows. What I mean by that is that there really isn't anything about him that wasn't presented to the player.
If you want to know who I thought about most of the time when I was trying to get into character, it would be my brother-in-law. That man lives in Seymour, IN and owns a concrete finishing company. He is the modern day version of John Marston if you play the game as John being a good guy. Actually, my brother-in-law had a much different upbringing than John did and he was never involved with any kind of gang or robbing banks or trains. He's never held anyone for ransom, either. He is, though, the kind of guy that demands respect and gets respect. I thought of him many times while getting into character.
18) Which did you have more fun with Red Dead Redemption or Undead Nightmare?
I'm not sure if I can pick which was more fun. There were a lot of similarities between both of the shoots, and both were a lot of fun in their own ways.
I didn't have to do anything on either of the games that made me feel uncomfortable which I'm very happy about. I did, however, have to pretend to be a zombie several times while shooting Undead Nightmare. I'm not sure why, but I would get so embarrassed every time I had to do that. Ha! Just mentioning it makes me feel embarrassed! It was a lot of fun, but everybody would stare and laugh at me because they could tell it was killing me. Small price to pay for the incredible experience I had, I suppose. I'm just glad that part is over. Laughing that off is hard when you know you're going to have to do it again at some point.
19-23) Tell me about “From the Trailer to the Grave"
I'm not sure what I can say about "From the Trailer to the Grave". I am very excited to get back with some of the guys and get to work on what I feel is an excellent script.
K. Harrison Sweeney is more likely to be open about this film because he is the one who has poured his heart and soul into it for the past couple of years. I would hate to spoil any surprises by saying too much. I will say again, though, that I'm excited to be a part of it.
I think there is a real good chance that it will be seen by a lot more people that K. Harrison Sweeney is anticipating. Either that or he is just being really cool about it when he and I talk.
He's a smart guy. People will love his story. He will eventually run Hollywood because of it. --Ok. I'm getting a little carried away, probably. It's gonna be awesome, though.
24) Where are you from?
I'm from Seymour, IN which is the "Small Town" if you listen to John Mellencamp.
25) Did you always want to be an actor?
I didn't always want to be an actor, actually. I have always wanted to be a pilot or own a construction company.
I flew a plane in Santa Monica, CA with an instructor a couple years ago. It was one of the coolest things I've ever done. I actually flew a plane!! If I were young enough, I would probably go to school and get my pilot license. I would still love that as a career.
I still do construction work from time to time. I love to get into a project and really work hard. It's great to be able to see, each day, exactly what you have accomplished. I love the instant gratification and the good exercise construction work provides.
I became an actor when I moved to LA about 11 years ago. I had no idea what I was getting into, but it seemed like fun so I ran with it. Why not? -You only live once, right?!!
26) What were you doing before being cast in RDR?
I was fortunate enough to have been cast in a number of commercials before being cast in RDR. I, also, was a bartender for about 8 years and worked as a door host at a bar for 3 years before that.
After I had been living in LA for about 3 years, a few of my friends and I went to Vegas for a long weekend. While sitting at a Black Jack table, the dealer asked us what we did for a living. A couple of the guys had regular 9-5 jobs and said what they were, but the rest of us sat there quietly hoping that she would know we were actors. I'm not sure how she would know. None of us had done anything, really, that she would have seen. We just wanted her to know without us telling her, somehow. We were terrible idiots, basically, is what I'm saying.
Anyway, when this dealer heard my friend say, "The rest of us are actors", she, without hesitation asked, "So, which restaurant do you wait tables in?" Ha! I will never forget that moment. She nailed us! We deserved it, too. We thought we were so cool. Good for her.
27) Where did you study?
I never really studied in an acting class in LA. I never did that anywhere for that matter.
There were a couple classes that I started because I had a manager that told me I needed them. I hated them so much, though, that I never went. I always thought the teacher was just collecting and check and not really teaching anything.
I'd like to thank Rob Wiethoff for this awesome opportunity! I got to interview the actor who voiced my favorite video game character! Now if you'll excuse me I have to go cry tears of joy now. Bye!
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Hey guys! I might be in the hospital ATM but that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking of ya! In fact I have a great treat for you! Who's ready for another interview?! With help from K Harrison Sweeney I snagged an interview with the man who brought fear to New Austin! Bill Williamson himself Steve J. Palmer! So again grab a drink (have one for me too since there's no alcohol in the hospital) and get to know the man who played one of the meanest men in the west!
Brittany) Are you yourself a gamer? If so what's your favorite video game?
Steve) *Whew*...Sadly, yup. I've had to cut back entering our 2012 New Year due to upcoming acting/writing projects, but last month over the Christmas Holiday, I punched the buttons off my PS3 controller with Saints Row: The Third. Fun game, GREAT soundtrack. I made my character look like an uber-busty version of Marvel's She-Hulk with a Russian accent. Yule tide fun. *Ha*
My favorite game? Tough one. I obviously had a blast with Red Dead, but I would find it too easy to include it...so...I'd say it's a tie between Diablo II and Populous, two PC games of the later 90's that got me through the stress of my college years.
Brittany) Have you youself played the game? What do you think about how it ended?
Steve) Oh, yeah, I've played it, Brittany! How could I not?! I adored the game, still do. LOVED the soundtrack by Woody Jackson and Bill Elm. I found the game flawless, grand, epic... and it ended beautifully. What still kind of shocks me, is that I've been surprisingly credited by many as the game's main villain, but you've got to give Edgar Ross his due. That guy was a slime ball, and the TRUE baddy. Hats off to Jim Bentley for a great character. It felt so refreshing for his limp body to slink lifelessly into that Mexican river. Some of the best writing in a video game to date, if not ever. So much detail put into it, and Rockstar/Take 2 Entertainment continue to do outstanding, phenomenal work. It was an absolute honor working with such gifted professionals.
Brittany) How did you get the part?
Steve) Just prior to Christmas 2008, my agent called me to do an audition in Santa Monica for an unspecified mo-cap video game. I got there on a rainy night at the casting office, and found out it was for a 'Western-themed' game. I was allowed to audition using props and costume pieces, which I hadn't done since COLLEGE THEATRE, to be honest. Though it was crowded, and a tad confusing when I first got there, it was one of the BEST audition experiences I ever had; certainly the most fun.
Brittany) What was it like working with Rockstar?
Steve) They are magnificent. They create a healthy and fun atmosphere which allows you to do your best as an actor. Our sound stage was set up similar to a black box theater, with mo-cap cameras all around. We truly got to ACT our scenes, rehearse them, have them blocked out, etc. Very organic, and not just go in a booth to record, "mail it in", and drive home. Mo-Cap is becoming INCREDIBLY sophisticated, and if you've seen how amazing the look of L.A. NOIRE was this past summer (which I also played), you'll know that Rockstar Games is at the head of the pack.
Brittany) Do you play multiplayer and if you do what character do you play as?
Steve) I've NEVER played multiplayer on RED DEAD, and it'll be awhile before I've time to play any more games. But as soon as I've a free moment, I'm going all out with Pig Josh. That, or I hold out for a possible Herbert Moon playable feature for the "Racists & Bigots" Pack. *laughs*... but I think Rockstar's not going to scrape the barrel's bottom on THAT one!
Brittany) What do you like most about Bill?
Steve) His hat. I WANT that hat. I looked all over North and West Hollywood in costume shops, and couldn't find it. An awesome, swanky hat indeed. THAT... and the fact that he always finds himself on a higher precipice when encountering Marston, and is able to slink away JUST at the right opportunity; the ever fleeting antithesis to the stoic hero.
Brittany) What’s your favorite Bill mission?
Steve) "An Appointed Time". It's very awkward, Cyber-suicide. But I got over it. *ha*
Brittany) Would you like to see more content for Red Dead ?
Steve) I'm pretty sure as far as RDR goes, they won't be adding any more DLC; the Game of the Year Edition I believe was the definitive statement on that. As far as a third game to follow RED DEAD REVOLVER and RED DEAD REDEMPTION, I'd be intrigued with a prequel that delves more into how Javier, John, Dutch, Bill and Abigail 'met' each other. I've no clue what Rockstar's plans are, but if they ever called, I'd be honored for the privilege to work with the company again as Bill Williamson.
Brittany) What’s your favorite western and why?
Steve) Wow, loaded question. Yikes... I take my Western's seriously. Let me break it down, because picking one can't really serve anyone justice:
FAVORITE WESTERN T.V. SERIES: "Bonanza" (Why? Great lessons learned; second only to STAR TREK as the great 'morality play' of 60's T.V.)
FAVORITE JOHN WAYNE WESTERN: "The Cowboys" (Watch This if you want to know why this film rocks; Roscoe Lee Brown's stellar performance makes this John Wayne's darkest movie, in tone and subject matter. Our hero is shot in the BACK, which was UNTHINKABLE for a John Wayne movie prior.)
FAVORITE CLINT EASTWOOD WESTERN: tie= "Two Mules for Sister Sarah", "Unforgiven" (Why? Shirley MacLaine and Gene Hackman. 'Nuff said.)
FAVORITE WESTERN COMEDY: "Blazing Saddles" (Why? What PLANET are you visiting from to disagree???)
FAVORITE WESTERN MUSICAL: "Paint Your Wagon" (Clint can sing AND light dynamite with a cigar??? Duh, winner!)
FAVORITE WESTERN FILM CHARACTER: Charles Bronson's "Harmonica", from "Once Upon A Time in the West" (Watch this movie. The soundtrack is a masterpiece, and is the ONLY movie in which Henry Fonda played a villain. And GOD, was he brutal!!!!)
Brittany) Are you friends with the other voice actors?
Steve) Actually, a few, yes. I've performed improv on occasion with Adam Beesley (Errol Hewitt; the wily rancher in Pike's Basin who John helps retrieve his cattle from the Bollard Twins Gang), and good 'ol Joe Ochman (Blackwater's overdosing Prof. MacDougal) and I are members of the same Theatre Company, NEO ENSEMBLE THEATRE here in L.A. It really can be a small world out here, believe it or not. And yes, there are a few more cast mates I hang out with, but I'm saving that surprise for a little bit later in the interview...
Brittany) What are your thoughts are on doing voice overs for animated films vs. video games?
Steve) I can't even FATHOM putting a "versus" in that statement, Brittany. Video games AND animated films are awesome, and I'm awaiting calls for BOTH!!! *laughs*
Brittany) What modern voice actors are you a fan of?
Steve) Hank Azaria! Bless him! Seth MacFarlane and Hank both have made FOX on Sunday nights a sacred place in my heart. Kevin Conroy, Frank Welker, Peter Cullen... and let's PLEASE give a standing ovation to H. Jon Benjamin for literally making "ARCHER" the sacred comedy cow of FX. Pretty much, I'm a fan of anyone who can make a living doing such a fun thing!
Brittany) Was this your first experince using motion capture technology in acting? If so was it hard to adapt to it?
Steve) To me, acting is acting, so adapting was not a difficulty. Those little balls they velcro onto your suit can hurt if you have to lie on your back on a hard surface (which I DID do a few times), but it was a fun experience... and yes, it was my first mo-cap job. I am now an expert on the "T-pose". The headpiece with the panoramic camera doing the digital facial scan was trippy seeing on the monitor, but not an overall distraction for me.
Brittany) What is "From the Trailer to the Grave"?
Steve) ...ah... that's the surprise I was hinting at a few questions back. Okay, well, here's the scoop (or as much as I can tell you): Well, as far as 'hanging out' with other former RED DEAD cast mates, I'm going to be filming a Redneck Zombie Romantic Comedy titled "FROM THE TRAILER TO THE GRAVE" in the fall of 2012 with K. Harrison Sweeney, Rob Wiethoff, Brad Carter, and Anthony DeLongis (Irish, Marston, Deputy Jonah and Marshall Johnson, respectively). So that's 5 former RED DEADers in one film. It's a RedZom Rom-Com. We're coining the genre, people! *laughs*
It's to be shot entirely in the state of Wyoming come this September-October time frame.
NOTE: This film, it's plot, and it's characters, are in NO WAY related to the events of RED DEAD REDEMPTION, nor are they connected to Rockstar Games or Take Two Entertainment in any way, shape or form. It is a separate enterprise being produced by Big Horn Samurai Sinema.
The film will also star Jim Turner (Kirby Carlisle from HBO's ARLI$$), Ken Campbell from Armageddon and the FOX series Herman's Head, Mark Fite of Mr. Show with Bob & David fame, and Vonia Arslanian of Stake Land and Mulberry Street to name a few.
Brittany) What is the movie about?
Steve) Well, it was written by K. Harrison Sweeney himself, and basically, a zombie virus on an apocalyptic scale literally wipes out the U.S. metropolitan populations, which leaves the sparse residents of the least populous state in the union: Wyoming. They're far enough from major cities and coastal regions, so everyone left alive heads there... or TRIES. Comedy and romance ensues. I can say no more, Brittany.
Brittany) Who are you in the movie?
Steve) Patrolman Barney Tolliver. I am one of the guys who gets to decide who comes to the blessed sanctuary of the Cowboy State.
Brittany) When will the movie be released?
Steve) Can't give an exact date, but if the readers want to follow our production process, have them simply go to www.fromthetrailertothegrave.com for updates! Brittany, it's been a pleasure. Thanks for the interview, and a big thanks to all you fans out there who've bought and continue to play the game. It's because of you guys I get to continue my pursuit of a craft I love.
And yes, we voice-over guys do occasionally peek in on the message boards, whether we all admit it or not (the game developers perhaps more so), so be sure to play nice, folks. ;-)
I'd like to thank Mr. Steve J. Palmer for giving me such an awesome opportunity! It has been great meeting you!
Hey guys! A few weeks ago I got the shock of a lifetime when I found out that K Harrison not only read but commented on one of my blog posts. After I found out we talked for a while and I asked him if I could ask him some questions. He graciously said yes (imagine my surprise and excitement) and here it is! So grab a drink and get to know the VERY cool and VERY funny K Harrison Sweeney!
Here you go. Sorry it took so long.
It's my pleasure to interact with the fans. We had no idea RDR would be this big.
1. Why wasn't Irish in Undead Nightmare?
Mr. Irish's BAC is so high that he's impervious to the Zombie curse, which would have made everybody want to play as him instead of Marston. But that damn Rob Wiethoff sandbagged me in a fit of a professional jealousy rage over this, and RockStar sided with him.
Actually, I had booked another gig while RockStar was shooting "Undead Nightmare." Believe me, I would have loved to have been in that game. For a man of the West like me who loves the zombie metaphor, that extension to RDR is epic.
2. Are you yourself a gamer? If so what's your favorite video game?
I'm admittedly not much of a gamer myself. With the exception of "Red Dead Redemption," I only ever play Star Wars games. I played a little bit of "Halo" and "Halo 2" with my friends when I first moved to LA, but they'd hate playing with me because I've got "two left thumbs."
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic I & II, on the other hand... if either of those two games are in my house while I've got nothing to do, I won't see the sun or a shower for a week. I'm pretty big on Star Wars Battlefront I & II as well. I've always been a Star Wars nerd. Though when it comes to Episodes I-III, I thank God for the advent of DVD so I can skip through all the Hayden Christensen/Natalie Portman scenes. I'm very old school Star Wars. My idea of true romance is a rebelious princess who falls for a space pirate whose got a walking carpet as his co-pilot.
Long story short, I should play a leprechaun Jedi in the next Star Wars production.
3. How did you get the part?
I got the role by going to an audition that my agent had sent me on. Veronica knew my forte is dialects and movement, so she submitted me on a call for an interactive game set in the Old West. My particular audition called for an Irishman. The casting associates were somewhat stressed out at the time, telling us in the waiting room that the producers were British so if we weren't from Ireland or Wales, don't bother. A few of the other actors there for the audition got psyched out by this, but I have five different Irish dialects to call up on a moment's notice. You want a bloke from County Kerry? Boom, I'm from County Kerry. You want a Mick from Ballycastle? Clank, I'm from Ballycastle.
They had us walk from one wall to the other to see how we moved, then had us improv some dialogue with the casting associate who was running the camera. I bullshitted about growing up in Ballycastle and moving to America for college.
4. What was it like working with RockStar?
RockStar's great to work with. Rod Edge, who's also directed a few of the Grand Theft Auto games, is one of the more fun directors to work with out there. He's a Brit himself, so he and the producers were a bit taken aback when I first revealed that I was American.
But since I'd found out that this was being done by RockStar, I did everything to bring my A-Game. Acting is a crapshoot, with little to no job security. Just because you get cast in something, that doesn't mean you're going to work regularly forever. Fortunately, as fun as Rod & the gang are, they are first and foremost pros who never settle for any scene just being "OK." Rod made sure everything was either as tough as nails or funny as shit. And he was open to the programmers who would come up with something last minute too. Anything to ensure the game on the whole as kickass as possible.
There were quite a few times they'd keep some of my adlibs, like checking the horses' balls... or in the Shaky end scene when Irish makes fun of Shaky by stuttering and walks off saying, "Oh, my Virgin ears." Rod tweaked an improv of mine after Marston roughs me up for trying to rob some nuns, so when you hear me walk off in pain and say, "Mether Fecking Mary," that's Mr. Edge's funny bone of perfectionism.
The writers themselves came up with some of the funniest lines I've ever been given. When we did our last voiceover session in NYC, there were times when I had to catch my breath because I was laughing so hard at some of the shit they wanted me to say.
5. Do you play multiplayer and if you do what character do you play as?
Like I said, I don't play games much... but if I were to play multiplayer, I'd most likely stick with Marston. I feel warm and safe in his arms. His voice makes me coo like a wee baby.
6. What do you like most about the character Irish?
Honestly, my favorite thing about having played Irish is that I'll walk up to bands who are getting ready to take a break from the stage back home in Wyoming... they'll look at me like I'm on crackrocks, and I'll say, "Who here plays video games?"
They'll say, "Yeah..."
"Who's played 'Red Dead Redemption'?"
"Dude that's my favorite fucking game of all time!"
So I'll do the Irish voice and say, "Yeah, well I played Mr. Irish and I wanna sing "Friends in Low Places" with y'all!"
They end up whoopin' & hollerin', I have a few beers with them, and I sing some country songs with them. When they'd tell anybody else who wanted to sing a song with them to get the fuck off the stage.
Since I grew up in Wyoming, "Red Dead Redemption" is perfect as one of the things that has put me on the Industry Radar. Grand Theft Auto set in the Old West? Fuggitaboutit!!! RockStar went above and beyond-- not just with their stories and characters in this game-- but even just seeing the shadow on the ground of the hawk flying above... the details that RockStar programmers went through to accomplish the reality of the Old West is mother's milk to me. I grew up in a small town of 5,000 people with 6 stoplights in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. It just made sense for an outlaw like me to be in it.
As far as I'm concerned, RDR is not just a video game. It's interactive cinema. Guess that's why it's been named Game of the Year.
7. What's your favorite Irish mission?
Honestly, I'm a big fan of the first mission. Here's why.
For starters, we of course only get our lines for our particular scenes. RockStar, like any other epic franchise, makes sure to keep all aspects of the production as tight-lipped as possible. So after shooting for a few days in January of 2009, they brought me back for some more missions that following June. Then we did voiceover sessions in a booth that following October which essentially covered all of the programmed stuff like walking around or riding drunk on that horse.
Point being, with very little knowledge of the plotline and huge spreads of time between each shoot date, by the time I first played the game I'd completely misconnected the fact that Irish's first mission sends you on a goose chase. I mean, I knew Irish was a cowardly bastard, but I laughed my ass off when I found out that I sent you to kill some people... and when you try to find me for the next part of the mission, I'm on the completely other side of the map! That was genius.
When I found that out while playing for the first time, I literally shouted out, "Way to go, RockStar!" I mean, I acted in the thing and it surprised ME!
8. What is your favorite western and why?
"Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid" is my favorite Western of all time. Written by William Goldman, who won an Oscar for it before writing "The Princess Bride," it stands the test of time. Newman and Redford in their hay days as two of the most notorious criminals... Butch Cassidy is huge in Wyoming since that's where his "Hole in the Wall" gang was based.
Great story about Butch... the Wyoming Territorial Prison, where I've worked during college and shot a certain amount of my short film this summer, is the only place that ever held Butch Cassidy without him breaking out. But he was released because the cattle barons whose ranches he'd work on between robberies... they all lobbied together to have him let out of jail! Talk about your lovable outlaws...
Plus, it's got one of my favorite lines of all time from when Butch & Sundance are being chased by Pinkertons... they've ditched their horses and are on a cliff. Sundance wants to fight it out with the Pinkertons, but Butch keeps pressing them to jump into the white water rapids below. When Sudance finally shouts, "because I can't swim!", Butch laughs and says, "Can't swim?!? Why hell, the fall alone will probably kill ya!"
9. Are you friends with the other voice actors?
As far as the rest of the cast is concerned, we all had so much fun working together that I've ended up writing roles for a good amount of them in my upcoming Redneck Zombie Romantic Comedy I'm producing next Fall of 2012.
I love Rob Wiethoff... I've crashed on his couch many a time. I've been reading gamers' comments on Rob's headshot, saying he's a pretty boy. Far from it. That tattooed SOB could kick your ass seven ways from Sunday in a bar brawl. And leave enough of you left over for his two pit bulls to feed on. I've written the lead role as my brother for him in my film.
Steve J. Palmer has been helping me with the publicity on our film. Brad Carter and I talk somewhat regularly, both of us dabbling in stand-up. We've been talking with Anthony DeLongis, Joe Ochman, and Frank Noon about possibly being in "From the Trailer to the Grave" as well. All of us are pretty much constantly working.
Outlaws to the end.
10. Are you really of Irish descent?
Whenever people see my red lamb chops and ask in person if I'm Irish, I'll tell them "Actually, I'm full-blooded Aborigine." It's downright silly to ask a man who looks like I look whether or not I'm Irish or Scottish. It's like asking Hugh Hefner if he likes naked women.
Having said that, I'm honestly more German/Scandinavian. 8D
11. What other accents can you do?
I can do every single accent you can think of. I don't know if it's from trying to be like Mel Blanc while watching all his Bugs Bunny cartoons as a kid or what, but once I hear any dialect, I can parrot it and make it my own. Some people can play a song on any instrument after immediately hearing it. Others can sing right away. I hear voices and reproduce them. Believe me, I've prayed for more useful skills like car mechanics or architecture know-how. God gave me a set of ears and a mouth that can mimic stuff.
Most of my more recognizable work has come from doing accents. In my "GPS" commercial for Foster's Beer, I'm doing an unintelligible Australian accent. I appeared in TNT's "Rizzoli & Isles" this summer as redneck rv camper. I've got a few one-on-one scenes with Eddie Murphy in Paramount's upcoming "A Thousand Words" where I play an mostly naked British man.
The RockStar producers heard me playing around with different voices on the set between takes, so there were a few days when I played other random characters that they had forgotten to cast. I forget who all I played... just a few random one-liners... but I do remember doing a Mexican colonel because Rob wouldn't stop laughing after my lines; every voice I do has a particular body posture and face that goes with it, and I guess the one I did for that Mexican colonel made Rob laugh so much that Rod had to tell him to settle down. Rob defended himself, "I can't look him in the face when he's doing that voice, man!"
Indeed, the only way we were able to finish that scene was when Rob looked just over my right shoulder while I said those lines.
12. What are your thoughts on doing voice overs for animated films v.s. video games?
My thoughts on animated films v. video games? Apples & oranges. Just please keep growing apple and orange groves!
It's a great time to be an actor, what with all the cinematic video games and multitudes of cartoons out there these days. "Avatar" really paved the way for making MoCap (Motion Capture) acting more of a mainstream career for those of us who can do it.
I love to work. Make as many cartoons and video games as possible so you can hire me.
13. What modern voice actors are you a fan of?
Andy Serkis has quickly become a legend and personal hero of mine. Mel Blanc sewed the seeds for my love of doing voices. I still watch those Looney Toons when I've got time. I was quoting Bugs Bunny saying things like, "He's trying to slip me a Mickey!" to the audience... before I even knew what a Mickey was.
Going through college, the voiceover actors for the Simpsons, Futurama, and Family Guy were my gods. Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Tress McNielle, Billy West, John Di Maggio, Seth McFarlane... those cats are the hall of fame of VO acting. I've recently become acquainted with Ken Hudson Campbell, who does voiceovers for just about everything. I grew up watching Ken... he was in one of Fox TV's first shows, "Herman's Head," played the Santa Claus in "Home Alone," the guy Bill Murray first runs into every day in "Groundhog Day," "Armageddon"... the list goes on. So it's very surreal for me to be doing shows with him and having him in my Fantasy Football league. Ken's a fellow Chicago Bears maniac, so I'm okay with him winning my league.
But Andy Serkis... having played both Gollum and Smeagol in the same epic films, and then going on to provide both the MoCap for Kong in "King Kong" as well as a live-action role, and then recently providing the MoCap for Caesar in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"... that man is king right now. He's a consummate artist. Most of my training and experience is in Arena Theatre, which has an audience on every side of the stage. There are no walls. MoCap takes me back to this primal level of acting; you have to picture all of the details of where you are and be able to translate that to the audience. It's a very organic way of storytelling.
As much as I love people being able to see my beautiful face, I love even more being able to put on a skin-tight suit covered with reflective balls and providing the MoCap for some creature that I can't be in everyday life. I could die a very happy man if I could have a career like Andy Serkis'. I can't thank RockStar Games enough for giving me my first crack at it.
14. What are your thoughts on the controversy about Irish's character? (If you don't know about it a news outlet wasn't too happy about him being the "stereotype of the drunken paddy")
I think anybody concerned with the drunken Irish stereotype should relax. It's FICTION, people. While investigating Kickstarter as a fundraising resource for my film's publicity campaign, I saw a project on there where people were trying to raise money for a new edition of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" where the N-word is replaced by "Robot." So Huck travels around with Robot Jim. It's hilarious.
Anybody who throws a thrombo over Mr. Irish being a negative stereotype obviously doesn't get enough lovin' in a day. My advice? Bring the object of your affection some flowers, put the Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post" on the record player, make sweet sweet monkey jungle love, and take a nap.
When you wake up, make yourself a bowl of Captain Crunch and a White Russian. If your asshole still hasn't relaxed after all of that, smoke a bowl. Then play "Red Dead Redemption" and laugh your ass off while being a part of a story that gives William Goldman a run for his money.
I'd like to thank K Harrison Sweeney for this awesome opporunity! It was great meeting and talking with you!