Tonight, have Jeff "The Get" Haas sit down and chat with actor Nolan North about his career, life and more!
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Interview mit Nolan North
[00:00:00] Hello listeners. Today in Split Country we had the fantastic Nolan North. how are we mr North? Doing well. Doing well. Thank you Jeff How are you doing? Very good. Are you in California right now? Am. Am. It was a very hot day, but unfortunately it cooled down a bit.
So actually outside with my dogs and enjoying the last rays of sunshine. Well, what I found fascinating is that you grew up in Warwick, Rhode Island. Yes, yes, sort of like the Cranston area of Edgewood. I'm a new Englishman. I went to high school in Warwick, so yeah, but you know, the biggest little state in the Union, right?
Yes, that's a, that's really where I live. I have lived in Rhode Island for most of my life and work. I live in Colombia. Ah yes sure. In fact, my high school friend lived in this area, so I know exactly where you are. So do you miss her? Do you miss your island at all? Yes, every once in a while I get a little homesick for [00:01:00] Rhode Island.
My parents lived there until a year and a half ago. You know, they finally had enough of the snow, so they went to Florida. But yeah, you know, I love Rhode Island because there is. Everything is so accessible. Everything you could wish for is there. And it's, and last time I was just visiting there, it's really grown since I was a kid.
How often do you visit Rhode Island? No, no, I don't go there as often as I'd like, but, you know, I have a lot of friends who still keep me updated on everything, all the news. So you want to say hello to your high school? What was your old high school? I was in high school with Bishop Hendrick and in Warwick.
wow Yes, graduating class. yes oh yes It was, it was great. It was, it was, my brother actually went to LaSalle Academy, which was his big rival at the time. wow A little, a little, when I went to Hendrick and, but, [00:02:00] we lived closer to Hendrickson and, you know, I was easy, and besides, it was one of the few schools that actually they had one campus for seniors where they would do it.
Well my senior year actually we were on another campus a few miles away where nine to eleven were on one campus and then the seniors. So yeah, he had a bit of a sense of independence and, you know, a little idea of what it was like, what college was going to be like eventually.
I remember the best part was that if you wanted to drive anywhere off campus for lunch, you could. That was the big thing back then, like I said, Hendrickson has a fantastic reputation. These are usually the schools that everyone talks about as some of the best schools in Rhode Island.
So for high schools. Yes, yes, well, you know, and I, and I know, it's, it's, it's really grown by leaps and bounds since I graduated in 1988, a long, long time. In fact, I like going back and seeing that [00:03:00] where I'm back in town has changed a lot since then.
And we're actually doing very well, let me say, even with the coronavirus, we're one of the few states where cases have gone down. Yeah, yeah, in the country, South on the news the other night, I thought, wow, look how separate New England is usually from Connecticut. And I think Vermont, New England, is doing pretty well overall, but Rhode Island, he was very, very proud of, of, of, of those people.
'Cause I mean, man, we did, we just hold the sidewalk, but I told my wife, I laughed. I said yeah these people are like dude I ain't dating Absolutely not. Yes we are relatives going up but not going out. I come to stay there, I have to get sick. So I mean, you know, we were, you know, you know, maybe that's why I became an actor.
I take direction. Well, Rhode Island is taking the lead. You know what? They told me to find a blanket and a place. I stay here. Yes, except via Rhode Island, as you probably know, we don't drive more than [00:04:00] 15 minutes from our home. So we keep it pretty good. You know, if you walk 30 minutes from someone's house, you're in a different state, right?
That's one hundred percent true. Yes, I mean it's nice. If you visit it again, you will probably find that many things have changed. Yes. The center is a crazy change. Oh, like a providence you mean? oh yes yes Battle. What's it called? You know, the brandy that was put down is all over downtown.
You know where the library was next to the train station the last time I was in Romana and I was actually there for a convention, a Comicon convention in Provenance. And, and there was a. Amazing, the restaurants and, and just, the action and life, the downtown lifestyle was just, you know, totally different, different than what I remembered.
Oh yeah. Running Comic Con is one of the things that we are very proud of here. What did you think of your visit to Rowan Comic Con? Excellent. It was great. actually, yeah, friends come with their kids [00:05:00] who maybe, you know, were fans of some video games I made, or some cartoons I made, or some TV shows I made. I did.
It was great to see some old friends, you know, it was very well directed. And I think we talked about leaving this year, but I think everything was fine. Close. I'm certainly not going anywhere until 2020, so maybe we'll catch up in 2021. Yes, actually I started running.
I go down a couple of times. I've thought about addressing this, but that's obviously out of the question. Do you go to the comic con circuit or was it one of the few times I went? No it actually happened, I did a few of these around the world this week. I've been to conventions in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, London, many parts of the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, maybe it was, it was really, really fun, Australia.
Actually I should be in New Zealand this year. Yes I've been, I've been everywhere so it was amazing. and then across the country, this year I should be in Seattle [00:06:00] and Kansas City and Miami, I think New York. So in Canada we don't make them everywhere. I've done a lot over the last few years because I started a YouTube channel called Retro Replay and really promoted it.
So technically, the coronavirus is actually something like that. It forced me to take a break and maybe that was a good thing as the ride got a bit hectic. Sorry, my alarm went off to make sure I'd be on time for the interview. I am sorry, my mistake. You, you, you know what you did. Yes thank you.
So, back to your early convention memories, how did it feel to sign your first autographs? It must have been a wonderful feeling? You know, the, the, the first ones we had, it was fun. It was when I had my first job, a day program called Port Charles. And I remember getting fan mail and people asking for my autographs and I thought that was funny.
And then I realized. Why do you want a photo? We haven't even broadcast yet. [00:07:00] So, you know, but you know, it's easy, it's, you know, collectors want something like that easy. But the best part about going to these conventions, right? It's just about having that interaction with the fans. You know, you don't really understand much, you know, when you're doing voiceover work or when you're doing a TV show or a movie on camera.
They have very little interaction with the fans. So it's really nice to meet people face to face and hear about their experiences, and you know, with your game or your show. And, yes, it was really rewarding now when you first realized you were entering the profession as a professional actor, or before your first convention, did you know I had done it? I made it
I have, I broke in and I'm doing pretty good. You know, I never really find success like, you know, doing it right. I'm just thinking, I'm thinking to myself, I know it sounds a little cheesy, but my success I've always felt [00:08:00] was, it was just trying, it was just trying, knowing You, our, our mutual friend, Doug Shovel.
You know, it was mine, it was one of my first big cheers. He was my roommate, my, you know, before I really hit it off we were, we were just two broken eyes, you know, he just went surfing in the mornings. And I went to auditions and. You know, and the thing is, you know, that was during the, you know, lean years when you were broke, you know you're struggling quote-unquoted, but we had a great time, you know, we , we, we, you know, I had restaurant jobs and he, he, he had jobs and we made our living and we went out and, you know, had a few beers and had a lot of laughs And.
So success for me was just trying to do things, I guess, when, I guess, it wasn't really autographs or anything like that I felt, but, you know, I had it done in quotes, I guess I guess when I was, when I realized I didn't have to, [00:09:00] Hey, I didn't need it, I didn't need a second job either.
pay my bills I think that's when I realized, okay, well, I'm really a working actor. That's what I really set out to do. And I think, yeah, that's when all my bills, and they were, they were paid by working, you know, as an actor. I had the feeling, yes, I'm fine. Yes.
And I have to say because you mentioned Doug, Doug to me. Because when I speak to him, he is one of the most optimistic people I have ever spoken to. How does it help to have someone by your side? Who is the optimist and are you also an optimist or did you need someone like that to help you? Propel, you know he is, he, if you look up optimism in the dictionary you will have his picture there.
you know, and a ridiculously talented singer. I mean he can tell me to do anything. He was always so good at almost everything. And, but he, you know, he always, I mean, he, I can't remember when I was down and I mean that honestly, I don't remember [00:10:00] ever. You know, and yeah, I think it's been a really, really good thing for me to be here.
Technically, I can't get down. You know, I've always seen things positively, but... Not the way it does. I mean, he's just cheering, you know, constant energy. he was, he was, go, go, go. Or was fast asleep. And you know, having that energy, especially early in my career, was certainly a good thing.
Cause. You know he's, he's just a, he's a, he's a great guy. I remember feeling kinda bad when when he moved back east he was like, man, you know, he's just, he's one of those guys that after we stopped being roommates, he wasn't anymore as much as i saw, i wish i had. And I think work and life and everything has caught up with me.
And then he did very well in business and moved east and started a family. And, but he's someone I always look back on, okay. With good memories and him. You know, you know, when I, [00:11:00] when I go back to New England, I'm definitely gonna call him, you know, catch up.
Still, you say Doug is good. A lot of things I looked at your background, you went to college to study journalism and got a baseball scholarship, and then you did stand-up comedy. This is a very interesting career path at this time. First Journalism. What made you do this? And then you got a baseball scholarship.
Well, I got a baseball scholarship and I remember my older brother was playing baseball at a college in Mississippi and he hurt his shoulder and said, you know, just make sure it's my older brother when you choose a college. He said make sure that if you decide to go to college, you know, if for any reason you ever get hurt, you know, find something you'd love to do.
So I think Syracuse, Missouri and North Carolina were very important back then. accredited journalism schools and Caroline had just said, you know, the appellation was going south, they had other offers somewhere else, but they wanted to go somewhere. That felt good.
[00:12:00] And that was for sure, it was Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I mean we, it was beautiful and they had a great program and baseball was great. You know, it was a lot of fun, but I joke around with people, I think, yeah, I majored in baseball and got my degree in journalism because after that I went to Boston and went to grad school in television journalism.
Because I, I didn't have any experience, internships or anything, because I was too busy, you know, with school and playing baseball to look for them. There were practical life experiences in business. And Emerson gave me, actually Emerson in Boston gave me an opportunity to get a little bit more experience.
And that led me to my first job as a reporter. I got up like an idiot in college. And then when I was in New York, I started doing that again and I, and then I went to the theater a little bit more and then all of a sudden I said, [00:13:00] no, I don't want that anymore, not a reporter. This is very funny.
Yes I remember. Yeah, I remember, you know, just when I made the decision that I'd rather be, I was already broke as a reporter and I thought I'd read, but I wasn't happy. And I was like, you know what, I'm going to be broke. May also be happy. So. Make a decision. I just want to be an actor and I found it more fun and got good reviews and little plays I did.
And I just thought, you know what? I have a shot at it. Why don't I try? it doesn't work it doesn't work You know you can and I tell people all the time, especially younger people who are like, oh, I have to find my career. What will I do for the rest of my life? It's never too late to reinvent yourself.
So you know life is short but the days are long. You know, despite the things you're passionate about right now, I'm sure people will be wondering what position you played in baseball? By the way, I was a jug. I said oh wow what pitches did he throw? The fastball slider [00:14:00] is a really nice change, a nice change, but I don't find it interesting as a ProHeart and I didn't throw hard enough to call it a true split finger fastball.
So definitely, I call it more of a fortball. It was weird. It was weird, just funny. And that was a good thing as a pitcher because he didn't pitch, I threw 80 highs but I think I hit 91 times. I don't know but it was a lot of fun. Then why did you come from Rhode Island or will you be a Red Sox fan then?
I'm actually not, my dad is from Iowa and I, I, we all grew up lifelong Cardinal fans, which is fun and interesting around the house because my grandfather. He's from Boston and he was a die hard Red Slam and he and my dad would get involved because I think the Cardinals had a great team in the '60s and I think in the '60s the Cardinals beat the Red Sox and the World Series.
[00:15:00] And my, my grandfather, my father never agreed to that. They rubbed quite a bit, but, but you know, when it was me, the Red Sox finally broke their curse by winning. Who else? the st Louis Cardinals?
I don't remember what it was. Was it 2000, 2004, 2004? Yes, I remember it was the only time I went to a sport. A sports restaurant watched the final and it was an incredible experience. Yes, yes, but they let it come. Well yeah I'm, I mean I'm an Orioles fan so we've been sad for a long time.
So. You know a friend of mine is if you're an Orioles fan, do you remember Rick Dempsey? Yes, Rick Dempsey is a very good friend of mine here. He's a, he's played a lot of golf with him. It's a, and I hear all the stories about it, because when I was 20, I told him that in North Carolina, one time during a rain delay, I did the Rick [00:16:00] Dempsey where I slipped on the screen in front of the crowd.
Yes, impressive. And then me, but I heard him, he was, he was known to be a little clown in the clubhouse. Good. Oh yeah he's the best. He is the base. He's a, he's a grown child. Yeah, I remember growing up, I look at the team in the 80's when it got covered again, there was Eddie Murray Dempsey, all these guys.
That was kinda funny. They lost a lot in the late 80's but it was fun. Yeah, but why did you say baseball? Wasn't that your thing? Not me, me, my shoulder, yeah, I told him my rotator cuff is pretty good. And that was more or less the end. And you know, it's fun.
It's like me, but I, I, you know, I, I've done my, I've worked hard. I have no excuses and like I said, you know, I've got friends here that I know, now that we, we're big as Dempsey. I know, I have, I have, I don't know, half a dozen friends who played in the majors for many years. And [00:17:00] they were at a level that I can remember.
I don't think I was at that level, so I don't regret it. You know, I mean, I've been an underdog for most of my life. I mean, I played at Hendrickson. We've won state championships, but I've never been anywhere near the team's star player. You know, I went to college and I, you know, against all odds.
I, I, I got a scholarship there, and I got to play, and, you know, it was a, I think, the fact that, you know, if you always give 100 percent, then you, then w w when like you're hurt, or you just got to the end of the race, you, you, you know you did your best. I think that was, that was my, my goal.
My brother drummed this idea of Mason's into me, so I don't regret it. and no, you know, I can try and then, you know, look back and talk to some guys that I had more fun on days that I wasn't playing. right now in the bullpen [00:18:00], telling jokes, making voices, fooling around and all that, all that stuff that I'm getting paid to do now, you know, is what I really, probably should be doing, because, and it's really what I, what I, I, I enjoy more, you know, and there's less running.
let's be honest It's all about speaking into a microphone or through a camera in your own way. It's much better. You just said that you practiced a lot with the voices, played baseball, did journalists and also got up. Which of these skills did you acquire along those paths that you think made you the actor you are now?
I've always thought of the kid playing with my family and doing family imitations. And I think if you're a little kid and you can make older people, your relatives, yours, the adults, laugh. You know, that's how you get attention and people, you know, it feels good as a kid.
I think so, but I've always been able to. And, and, you know, I [00:19:00] talk a lot about my older brother, you know, if I could get him to eat he had one of those contagious labs where it started out like wheezing. I knew if I could, if I could make him gasp, it would be fun, you know, well. I know, you know, it was something that got attention and it worked, you know, when I went to journalism school I thought I never knew that acting was like a job that people would actually do.
hence journalism. I thought, you know, I'd like to be at the sports center, you know, and because, you know, the sports center could be fun for the kids back then. Chris Berman, Keith, on top of that, they were fun, Kenny Mayne, they're fun guys, they played sports and it was easy and simple. but when I actually was a reporter in front of the camera for a year, I covered it.
I didn't make it to the sports center. was. Cover deck and fire and political stuff. And it was just dark and heavy and it just wasn't that, it was just like a soul sucker. So, [00:20:00] I don't know, but you know, journalism is, you know, a way of doing business. I was an actor before I was an actor. I think you'll become an actor as you understand the craft better and so on.
I don't think I can really go to school for that. I guess that's like getting old. You just take the wisdom out of it. Now someone can pick up the wisdom because they've been doing it since they were 12 and they have that wisdom when they're 20. I actually became an actor when I was like 24, 25 and we do it professionally. .
About 26. Yes, 26. I got my first real job and it was a five-year contract. So I worked full time for five years in a row. and then never came back. It never stopped after that, you know, it just snowballed. And I kept my head down. I think athletics has also played a big role in my life, because athletics is known to never rest on its laurels.
You always want to top your next performance. So keep working hard. Keep trying and trying to [00:21:00] get better. and I think in any profession that's a good rule of thumb. Always try to be better than the day before. And yes I did. And, and so far so good. Yes I mean I looked at your profile ID M B.
It's so long I mean there's so many things I knew you for you had done some things I didn't do I didn't know it was you and it's I mean it was you when Actors and voice actors have a lot of work to do at this moment. Oh, I'm approaching 50 now, Jeff. I mean it's crazy.
It's a fact. It's funny. Because one day I had, I had, I bought a PlayStation and put it in my office and oh, there's the dog. So I set up the Playstation and my son said you should play a game. I guess uh I don't really play a lot of games. Did I say play something?
Just try one. I'm like. Well I was like, you know, if the corona virus went underground and I had nothing to do [00:22:00] I said okay you know and he said yeah I'll play if you come you there. you are inside I think no, I don't want that. Like I said, I was just flipping through old titles on PlayStation and I'm flipping through old titles and all of a sudden I see this sniper saying to him, hey, that could be a cool sniper.
Yes, yes, I'm making a sniper game. I like shooters. That's great. The first voice I hear is me. I'm basically the sergeant of the tutorial, okay. Pick up the gun, we're going to rage. And then I was like, oh my god, I had no idea I was in there. You've made so many now that you can't remember where you went to find it.
And so, I mean, you, I mean, the games you make, you do the voices for, I mean, have you ever liked what makes you most famous? I think it's unknown. I don't know. I may be wrong about that, but I think it's the one you connect with the most. Yes, and did you ever go when you were playing the part and given the opportunity to play the part to get a feel for what's going on and how it's being played?
Or [00:23:00] do you really not want to worry about that part? You want to focus on acting. Uncharted was different from most video games because it was one of the first games where I didn't just do the voice but all the motion. I mean we shot it like they would, Andy Circus in The Lord of the Rings or Avatar, the movie or any kind of motion capture, the Tintin movie.
Have you ever seen behind the scenes of Tintin? you know that was Polar Express Polar Express Yes, so we actually shot Charter 3 on the same set that Polar Express was shot with the same cameras Zemeckis used. And, you know, it's, it's like making a movie. One of the reasons they chose me is because I've done a lot of theater and done a lot of things in front of the camera.
I mean, easy, I was a perfect fit. and I think, you know, we do what we do, we let Nathan Drake run through his moves [00:24:00] before you play. So it wasn't like I could touch something and see what it was like. They literally touch the movement and the things we've done.
That's right, and the funny thing is I only played the first one about a year ago. I hadn't played this game. I never played it, you know, because I always joked that I lived it, but I was really busy. I worked, I had a family, I had. responsibilities and things. And me, I've never been a big player and just through the youtube show, the retro rep that I had, you know, people just go, come on, I wanna see you play the charts.
So I went back and did it. I tried it. and I'm terrible, but I'm getting a little bit better, but, but you know, it's like this, you know, that's how I, I, my kids will play. games sometimes. And I'm gonna sit and watch and say, man, uh, because it's almost like that, especially the Uncharted thing, it's like a movie, you know, but when they perform something, I [00:25:00] that is , it's just the graphics and the setting and the interaction is just awesome.
So Nathan Drake is no good in Uncharted. Let me tell you, put it that way. It's easier to play Nathan Drake. Then don't play because it's so much fun. That's great. It's, it's, it's, you know, I mean, and then, you know, dying, you know, killing yourself over and over again. It gets a bit tired after a while, you know, I guess you know what?
In fact, the funny story is that at the moment every time Drake dies and three are unknown, it's like you're here. And then this music like this type of thing. Well, my son, my eldest son, was playing in our house at the time and we set him up, you know, like every house has a nice sitting room.
that nobody ever uses. We said, you know what, let's make this room [00:26:00] useful. And it wasn't in the middle of the house, but we remodeled it, we put a TV over the fireplace and a comfy sofa. And it was kind of, no, just kind of an entertainment space that the PlayStation was set up in.
Well, every time Drake died, my screams would echo through the house and it would get so bad. That I would go downstairs and ground him or buy him headphones and decided that headphones were the best place. So yeah, we seem a little less cool. Well, and it was funny, because then I just heard, you know, I didn't hear the game anymore, but every now and then I just heard him scream.
I'm sorry dad, I killed you again. Whenever you punish him or he gets mad at you, you can enter the game and kill yourself for as long as he wants. Yes, yes, and what's really scary, when you go downstairs, you hear yourself dying and it's your [00:27:00] wife throwing you off a cliff. And that doesn't mean you're in real trouble.
So then you know that you sleep on the couch that night. So if you need motion capture, because I saw the video, you have the behind-the-scenes footage when I had the cameras, you know, the little dots on her face and the thing over her eyes. Yeah it's hard to stay in character when you, I mean, I mean, you must feel kinda weird or kinda silly when you see yourself in this Ghana with the black clothes and the little dots on the camera, it's hard... getting into the character at this point.
Yeah, well, no, I mean, you get used to it. And the funny thing is, there's something called black box theater that you do first, and you don't do that, you don't have costumes and there are minimal props. Usually the stage is painted black and all the props, chairs or anything is black. And it's just that it's supposed to get the audience to focus on the actors, and what the actors do is focus on each other.
but [00:28:00] the truth is, I, I don't have any fancy words for you about acting right now. It's just making Uncharted, it's more, it's a lot more like you're a kid and you have a clubhouse in your backyard, up in a tree, and you look at your friends and you're like, okay , what are we playing? They played pirates, pirates.
So. So. The clubhouse is a pirate ship that holds the treasure, and that's okay. And go. Yeah, really, you know, you just jump into your own imagination and play around and, you know, working on a motion capture scenario is, you know, there's technical stuff that you.
You have to do it and learn over time, but really it's just grown kids running around, playing in a sandbox, and their imaginations. And we had a big, big headache for the writer and creator, Amy, who gave us great scripts and, you know, encouraged improvisation. And Gordon Hunt, he was our director.
He was, you know, he's [00:29:00] famous, Helen Hunt's father. and it came from the back of the theater. Yes, and also a career as a great dubbing director with Hanna Barbera. Yeah, and he, when he went to the Emmys on TV too, I mean, he was phenomenal and he was really good at getting us to be very precise with the moves.
And a lot of times the captured performance gets into trouble when the actors think they have to make grand gestures, clean things up, you know, so people understand what they're doing. But if you just treat it like you would on camera, it stays nice and subtle and very real.
That's when you get the nuances and things in the performance that help people play a game or watch a movie or whatever. In terms of that, because an audience is very, very smart when they just know when something is overdone and doesn't feel right. So you have to keep it very, very natural.
[00:30:00] And if you step out of the way and let it happen, this, this, this is a lot easier. Now. I remember seeing one of Tom Hanson's backstage interviews, he did the Polar Express and him, and he mentioned that. The beauty of motion capture is that it allowed him to play all of the characters, at least from the acting status, but the boy didn't play almost all of the characters in this film, including the girl, the other kids and all that.
Have you ever thought or had a chance to explore this range that motion capture gives you that you can trade? We do that with different, different, you know, you know, bad guys and, you know, some of them, you know, the soldiers. I've been running around and unexploring Ive be sure to do so.
And I would extend it to anything, voiceover, you know, one of the things I like more than being on camera is creativity, you know, I've acted, and female creatures. You know, I mean, I was a [00:31:00] Viking beaver tune, that's called a breadwinner. I was pretty scared of Beaver. I mean, crazy, you know, and you're not limited by your height and your weight and your looks, you know, the way you are.
You know, on camera and so many times now I'm cast as a father or a cop or a lawyer or a doctor, I'm a doctor, a cop, a lawyer, and stuff, or a politician, you know, just those, those specific roles. But, you know, it's, you know, to get, I mean, you can be anything, in voiceover, in games, or in animation, you.
You know, it is, it is, it's a bigger and deeper sandbox and it's a lot more fun to play at times. Yes, I mean, computer graphics definitely opened doors for me. It seems that for the movies what they can do. So to a large extent, especially when it comes to motion capture, things obviously look more realistic. I know there was one study that seemed to get it right.
[00:32:00] To make a film with James Dean. And I think you could be John Wayne and bring them back into the characters as an actor. How does it feel? Do you think CGI is going in a dangerous direction in this area, or do you think that because of things like the uncanny valley effect, it just wasn't worth it and we're going to stick with it?
And the actors will always keep a W, you know, they'll be able to keep the film roles like that. Yes, I don't think that will ever work. I don't think people are like that. I saw this James Dean thing and thought it was silly. You know, especially after, if anyone's ever seen James Franco or James Dean perform, it was, you know, you know, good luck leaving behind something artificially intelligent.
Top this performance? no, I don't think so, I don't think so, you know, I mean, he says that, you know, we, we can do things with CGI, you know, like they didn't do Forrest Gump, you know where they replaced it. So he's there, you know, talking to President Kennedy, you know, [00:33:00] them, you can do cool things, you know, the different places that he's in.
You know, as far as the company goes, all the big story moments, it's a busy place for CGI, but if you try, we'll turn Andy into a circus. in Gollum, you know, even if he does it pretty much on his own, I don't want to take that away from him, but you know what he does as Caesar, you know, on the planet of the apes, you know, those things, you know, that means you have one, one person, that's another person who has been working with you for a long time.
He's a stuntman, an actor named Terry Notary who played the gorilla, I believe in Planet of the Apes. And he did it on those stilts, those hands. Stilts, I don't know what they're called, and just a phenomenal athlete and actor capable of doing these things. That's where CGI.
'Cause you know, you, you, you know, that's where it works. I mean, the one time, as a real [00:34:00] gorilla, he got it right. It was, you know, in every way, but Clint Eastwood would lose, you know, if CLI actually brought it up, but, you know, to have something to do. It's important to get it right, but you know, here's another good example.
There is a great movie called Togo, Disney where Willem Defoe plays this famous musher. And it's that it's Toko the dog that's starting an outbreak of diphtheria in Alaska. Yes, it's just that it's a wonderful story. And that, this Willem Defoe and this dog, and he was so fantastic and he's a real dog.
and then they called it wild with Harrison Ford and them and they did a CGI dog and it just wasn't there because it's a CGI dog and during that other movie but a much smaller movie. I mean, I cried because of the film, and that was [00:35:00] because of the connection between the actual dog and the actor.
Unlike, you know, they were looking for the same thing that expressed the same kind of feeling, and they call it a bit, but it wasn't there because it was a CGI dog. So I think there's a, there's a, there's a line that they have to draw very carefully. I think it's very surprising how the audience is progressing.
you can always feel The artificiality of CGI, no matter how well you do it, it feels like audiences can always tell there's something unreal about it. Good. But, and you know, the thing is, like Lord of the Rings, you don't care, you know, you don't care, but if you had a TV show and there's four actors on the screen and you know that one of them isn't real, it's not, it'll never be okay.
So if you're in a movie and you're watching all these actors working on a CGI of James Dean, [00:36:00] for example, you're going to go, I know that's not really him. He's not really there. So I don't know. I think that's what I'm saying. So CGI can replace it. many things, but no other truly living creature.
It can, it can replace an ORC or, or, or it can replace a robot. You know, today I have a friend, Alan, who got a tattoo. So in a villain, you know, he does a great job. You'll never see his face because he's K2. So the robot and its feats there, but you know, you can't do that, you can't get a robot to do that and then bend it.
It had to be done with a motion capture suit. So yes. It has its place but it never should, here's a great way. It has its place, but it should never replace real actors. I agree with you one hundred percent. I think the other thing that's really interesting about this voice actor is that you can't duplicate the human voice either.
Again and again [00:37:00] another aspect where people can also see the artificiality in something like a voice that you might not believe we can. TRUE. That's really true. Well, when you're playing Nathan Drake, you feel that kind of character ownership, that, you know, that's my character that I made, or can you walk away from that? character a bit?
OK yes. I mean, it's always been like this since I was created, and I think I'll always feel a little bit like I don't own it, but, you know, I, you know, I always like to joke and say: Amy, Hennig. gave birth to make a drake but let me help raise him. So, you know, like there's always talk of unknown movies and, you know, video game-to-movie adaptations that rarely work.
but I think you came up with a very interesting concept that is a younger Drake, like Nathan Drake in his 20's. So I think they're doing this film with Tom Holland. As Nathan Drake and his colleague Mark Walberg [00:38:00] re-English as Sully, his partner and mentor. Yeah, I think, I think, you know, that's an interesting take.
It's like, okay, you're not trying to copy what the game has already done so well, you're showing us another version. So on that note, yes, go ahead. I think it's fantastic. Do you think Tom Howard will make a good Nathan Drake? Sure sure. I mean I, as long as they make it their own, you know the problem I've seen with so many film adaptations is that they're trying to emulate the experience that the player has in two. hour-long movie that the player was part of an experience playing Uncharted for dozens and dozens of hours, maybe longer, you know.
25 hours to get over it. And you are Nathan Drake is very different than sitting passively in a seat for two hours and seeing Nathan [00:39:00] Drake say, oh, I wouldn't have done it that way. That doesn't sound like what I heard in my head. Yeah, no, it doesn't, you know, but, and so again, what they're doing is smart because nobody's ever seen a Nathan Drake in his 20's, so you can go, oh, okay.
That means that's before it's almost like they're making movies that are prequels to the movies we've made that they call video games. If that makes sense. No, it makes perfect sense. full of sense Well, Tom Holiday, do you expect him to get back to you and maybe four points on Nathan Drake how to play them?
I doubt it. I think it has. I think he will be fine. And do you know what I mean? You have to make it yours. I was actually at a convention and I saw him and I wanted to talk to him and he was busy and then they dragged me away. And the next thing I know, we didn't do it, we didn't do it, it didn't happen, but if I ever see him again I'll go up and say hi.
But you know, if he ever wanted some advice, I'm happy to give it to him, but again, you know, that's going to be his version and I think [00:40:00] we should let him. you know do your thing he is more than capable. Well, I mean, I would definitely think if they were doing an unknown film, you should have been in that film.
Good. I mean it's like having Stan Lee when he was in the Marvel movies, normally the Nor should be in the Uncharted movie but you'd think twice. Maybe I've talked to some of the directors about it at times, but you know, I'm pretty, I'm busy, I've got things going and.
You know, it's also, I never want to like him, I don't want to, you know, I don't want to be the guy who comes in and wires Mr Drake and likes to wink at the camera. And you say oh yeah that guy. And then it's like, yes, it's a kind of fair.
And it's like, I don't think I have to do that. I don't know if that's something. You know, something I wanted, I think it would be, you know, if they ever wanted, you know, I can really be a part of it. I think [00:41:00] I always thought it was like this, I've spoken to a few directors and.
One had a pretty good part. And then another toyed with the idea, yes. What I'm playing as a villain or, or, or, you know, or someone who could do all of that again if they do multiple films, like, you know, one of Sullivan's games, he gives up his guns before they go , or get some of their passports, you know, or, you know, the guy who owns a bar they go to all the time.
And you know, he's the bartender. You know, kind of, you know where there's kind of a nod, but it's not just those things where people are like, oh yeah, there's the guy. And now back to the moon, it could also distract from the film. People say, you know, maybe you just want it to look like your own thing.
So, you know, why did you put that guy in the game? So, you know, it's the business, it's, I never took anything personally. and you know what, and people say where do you want to go to see the movie? I'm like, absolutely. I think that would be great. It is fun. So, you know, it's, it's okay. [00:42:00] Well, it's kind of funny.
They talk about Tom Holland and the idea that you have to play Superman in the Lego DC Shizam movie because he was Spiderman. What is it like to be Superman? Well, also Superman in a young justice, Superman and Superboy. Is great. I won't lie, it's like I grew up there in New England between Tom and Jerry.
And all that crazy melody stuff. Me because I liked old cartoons. I mean I didn't miss Superfriends in the 70's man. Didn't miss that on Saturday mornings, cartoons, you know, kids don't even know they have their own cartoon channels. We had about five channels and on Saturday mornings you ate your cereal and sat down and drank a big bowl of sugar and watched cartoons and yeah I mean Superman, I mean he's just amazing. .
And it is. Yes it is, it is, it's very funny to say that I could voice Superman. He's such an iconic character. Every time you [00:43:00] play something iconic like this, you really want to improve your game. Because there is so much history and you never want to be put on some kind of worst Superman list.
So it's one of those things where I'm always, always trying to make sure I'm doing my best. And young clothes is such a good series. I mean their production values are huge and they, I mean, the stories are awesome. Actors like you do a great job of making characters feel real.
And we have a great cast. Great cast. No, I saw, I see that right, you play about 20 different characters on Young Justice. I don't know about 20 well, maybe. Yes, because I know I'm a super guy and Superman and Tara have a lot of their father and then every now and then something like that. They will ask you to play a few other characters here and there.
So you could be a guard you [00:44:00] could be. So you're probably done with 30+ different characters for the show now, but you know, you're just changing your voice, you're changing your register. Sometimes they can mess around with a tax when they need something else. but you know, and usually there's this, the most important thing.
Three four signs you do. And then, you know, fill in the characters, because it's easy, easy, it's economical for the actor to be underneath normally. union rules. They can make up to three signs before they have to pay you more. So usually you can count on playing your main character or two and then, you know, and it could literally be the crowd, he's up there.
It's like, look over there. It's in the books of heaven. Hey, listen to this. It is simply referred to as the wallah mob. So yes. So what is the key to playing Superman? As you must, because when you play Superman you obviously have to empathize with that character. You finally have the essence of Superman.
So what do you think is the essence of Superman or, I mean, Superboy too, but are we definitely focusing on Superman? [00:45:00] Fair, direct, strong, confident Superman is the type of what you think. I mean, there's nothing, nothing I don't like about being overly high on these things. It's Superman, it's easy, it's like sitting my kids down quietly when they get into trouble.
Like now, do you know why? You shouldn't do that to the dog. That would be Superman, very direct. And he always teaches and is very knowledgeable. I mean, his voice is very, you know, and he, you know, is very, and then Super Boy was a clone of him. but you know, he kind of had youthful balls.
So it became more of, you know, more like you're not my father's clone, you know, so. And then, then, and him, but he's matured over time on the show. Super boy has So but you know he was basically the same but yeah he didn't have the wisdom and competence that comes with wisdom and time you know so and of course he was [00:46:00] first Station .
It was essentially a youthful effect. So it was nice to see him in the different seasons. What a great boy he has. so matured. So yeah, I mean, but that's kind of the key point to getting this character right now, the notion that the Super Bowl has matured, how did you adapt your voice to that?
Or, or do you consciously think, how should you grow by presenting your voice wisely? No, you know, we have, our, our Creator and. The writer, Greg Weitzman and Brandon Vietti, they, they write, you know, they have, they write great scripts and they have other great writers on the team, but, you know, it's not necessarily the vocal quality that you do.
but it's, it's the, it's the scriptures, you know, just the word they choose, it shows their maturity and their age a little bit more. but you know again, he's a super boy who doesn't really [00:47:00] age, so really, he doesn't. The tone or the tone, maybe it's, maybe it's more the tone of his voice, not the tone and it is, and it's that, it's the dialogue, you know, he's just saying more mature stuff.
And how is he doing, how has he developed as a character, what, that question, I mean, you can answer with a nod, but I'll ask it anyway because it hasn't made the news one bit. I'm sure you've heard a bit about Dean Cain and his comments on Superman, or maybe you haven't, I'm not sure, but he can comment on whether or not Superman can still do it. allowed to speak the truth, American-style justice, because of the way audiences and films are served today.
Do you think that Superman and this culture still fit into the culture we live in today? And you think Dean Cain is right without pretense? Did you know? I don't know, I don't know. I'm doing well. I feel a little ignorant about this, but I don't know what Dean Cain said. I, you know, I'd say, I think Superman, you know, can be [00:48:00] again, Superman's favorite in countries around the world, you know?
So I see, I, I know he might be from Krypton and grew up in Kansas. But I think Superman is, is, is a global superhero. I mean, there are people around the world who have seen him as this, uh, you know, heroic character. So I, I, I don't know if he's been politicized in any way because he's fair?
Yeah, but Dean Kane said the words weren't quite right, but he took the step and said, oh, I think it was on Fox News. He said that if he's playing Superman these days, who can't tell the truth the American way. because of me because people don't accept that kind of Superman anymore and maybe nobody would want to hear that version of him in today's climate.
And he got many, many people answering him for it. And I was curious what position another Superman would take on the same question asked by this character. Oh god you know what? I didn't, I'm not aware [00:49:00] of it. So I can't really comment on that. You know, I mean, I, I mean, we live in interesting and changing times, and I think change, change can be tough, but usually for the better.
So, you know, I, I think yeah we've been through some, sometimes, sometimes it feels like we're going through some long overdue growing pains now and it's going to be uncomfortable for a lot of people. But you know, ultimately I hope so. makes us better. not just as a country, but as individuals, you know?
So, but as far as all that goes, I don't know enough about it. Hello, sorry I don't know enough about what exactly you were talking about. Oh, that's perfectly fine. I think it goes in as well, I think another conversation that seems to happen a lot with DC and the movies.
The idea that Superman needs updating. Or, for that time period or [00:50:00], Superman was always working to magnify what existed in the 70's, 80's, 90's, 50's, 40's, whatever that kind of idea of Superman is that, shall we say universal, and, you know, and last but not least, do you feel like you need to be modified to be more? I think I got more cynical.
If you look at the new films he was able to make. I think he can always be the Christopher Reeves, Superman we all connect with. Well, do you know what I mean? When you say we all date it's like, I don't know who he is, you know, but that includes, yeah, I mean, I think you're saying, you know, there was that, it was a bit of George Reeves who did it.
back in the fifties and there was this version and it probably reflected that time. Christopher Reeve was the one I was introduced to the most and I read a few comics and that's usually. Listen, that was, that was something amazing from DC and that's it. Everything starts on the page.
It was a comic and it was, and those writers don't get enough credit, [00:51:00] you know, because movies and TV take so much of the limelight, but it all goes back to the great comics, artists and writers that made them Creating things, that. Then it becomes a series and then it becomes a movie.
I mean I'm not who am I to say what should be done? You are the experts. yes I know and I and I think that's natural. You know, like someone, a 75-year-old comic artist might portray Superman differently than a 25-year-old comic artist. only for those, those, their perspectives on life and their experiences.
Superman obviously has. You know, the other day, like me, I walked by the house and they were watching Superman vs. Batman. And, you know, I remember people talking about, you know, Batman treating him like he's an alien. And I think, yeah, well, he's an alien. It's something like [00:52:00] distrust.
And I think, well, that's an interesting take. This isn't the Christopher Reeves from the movies I knew because they all love me, Superman trusted them and no one thought about it. So see you know what it was, Private Henry, right. It's, you know, seeing that version. It's interesting to me, I, you know, that's what's crazy.
It's like this, it's art and I think people either have to understand it or they don't have to understand it. You know that. Remember that all art, all entertainment, is subjective. there is no right or wrong, really. I'm interested in art, I can look at a painting and walk away. That's incredible. And you can go upstairs, I only see one place. I don't understand and that's okay, it doesn't make you ignorant.
It's easy, you know, it's just our taste. There's a bunch of things that I, you know, I've seen, you know, there are, there are movies. There's something I just don't understand and people like it, how can you not understand? That's incredible. [00:53:00] Amazing things. but no, just me, not for me. I do not understand it. That doesn't mean it's bad.
doesn't mean someone else is wrong. It's just that. That's just my point of view. That's how I feel about it. So yes. So, you know, I checked it out, look at what Marvel did with Spiderman. I mean Spiderman was one of my favorite comics and yes. Hay, from my friend Yuri.
Lowenthal just made a phenomenal video game like Spiderman. and then that, you know, and there were all kinds of films, Toby and Toby Maguire, you know, Peter Parker, I mean, there's all different styles. And then they went in, was it in the spider verse? yes oh my god This is probably one of my favorite Spider-Man movies because it shows, it literally shows exactly what you and I are talking about.
Who, you know, is John Malaney, he's a spider pig or whatever he was fighting. Oh no, Peter Pig. Yeah, spider pig, Peter Parker, spider pig, you know, and all these different [00:54:00] versions of how everyone can live. And they're all fighting for the same things, and they're all amazing superheroes in their own right.
Good. There is no right or wrong. You know, there isn't one, you know, Spiderman doesn't have to be male, female, male, black, white. It does not matter. He's a hero and it's something we can all do and if everybody, you know, admire, he, he, fights for justice and tries to do his best and, and, you know, and I think that does he, he such that made these films so amazing.
I loved. it was an amazing movie. I love this movie. and I think Tom Holland does a phenomenal job as Spiderman in Marvel verse. I mean he would sound like Peter Peter Parker, at least the way he does in my head. I think I'm also wondering one thing since Dan seems to have banded together to claim ownership of these characters and as someone who was Superman do you ever feel pressured by that owner that your fans [00: 55:00] claim this character?
No, because I can't, I can't control people's opinions. You know, because for every person, my dear, what I do, there's maybe two who hate it. but you know, I, I can't, like I said, it's all subjective. I'm just trying. My work, the best that I can, the best that I can. And if that works for people, yay. I can do podcasts with you.
You know people like it, if they don't then it just is what it is. Obviously you want to be respected and liked in the roles you play. You don't want people to do it. You know, I mean, I don't want to do anything for people like, oh, that was horrible. And I feel bad because I almost feel like I let her down, but yeah.
I can only do what I can. And it's my responsibility to provide the best possible service. Yes. You know, along with the other actors and the directors and the producers and what their vision is, you do that. And you bring it out in the open and [00:56:00] you're pinching your fingers now. Yes, I mean I agree with you 100% and I just have a few more questions for you if you don't mind.
Because I would like to point out that you also played a voice in one of my wife's favorite cartoons, The Lion Guard, which you starred in, yes. She is. In fact, she has, she has, loves, loves the Lion King. So she also enjoyed the blind watchman. I mean, it's a younger audience, but it's very, it's like, I sat through the episodes with her and there was just something to it.
I think as an adult you've come to appreciate a lot too and it's such a cute show and you play it. My statement, I fought. Hurry up for Harry. But yes, it was a Ferrari and a Tonka. Good? Was that? Yes Yes Yes Yes We had a lot of fun. I mean they called me to do that and I was like would you like to do some line guard?
It's a show I think I already know the show. So it's an intelligent show. Yes it is, it is, it's one of those shows. I remember there were certain animated shows. [00:57:00] It really could. I liked when my kids were younger that they could watch and enjoy, and I could watch and enjoy for a different reason.
Like the shows, they worked on two levels and I believe the Lion Guard was one of them. it's funny. I rarely get questions about it because I, you know, I've only been in limited episodes, but yeah, I, I, I, you know, they just did an amazing job and it was just, it was just a lot of fun to also work on funny characters.
And, and I think it's interesting, because it's pushing social media, even because once again there's a Lion Guard out of state, because now, you know, with Twitter and Facebook, everything else, and how many adults are clamoring for a line Guard season four. And I want, I asked you to like me, do you think that will ever happen?
Do you think you will be a part of it? it does. If they do, I'm in, you know, it absolutely is. I have no idea. You know, I mean, it's, I mean, I'd like to, I just, [00:58:00] just, I have no idea, no idea at all. Especially since the shutdown, you know, as much as when, it's gone, you know, it's gotten messy, because we don't know who it is, you know who it is, you know when we're going back to study, I was working from home during this time.
but I remember, I remember, I actually think Lion Guard was one of my last, right at the end of the year before the shutdown hit earlier this year. So interesting. Yes, I forgot. I forgot that. I mean since you have such a long career, singing career can like it if you are like lion guard or young justice. Can you tell when you're doing something that will be successful? , do you feel different when you're on top?
I think that's going to have legs, or you never know if that's going to be something that doesn't work. You know what I don't know no, I, the short answer is no, you don't. You go in, I tell people, you know, we've never [00:59:00] done anything unexplored. We made Drake's Unknown Fortune and we had no idea they would differ if they ever did a second one.
but he did quite well. And then they, they, they wanted the second one and then this one went crazy. When this one went insane, you knew there was a third, and then even a fourth. no, you, you, you don't know what what what's going on ever resonates with an audience.
Again, it's about doing your job as well as you can, as an actor or as a director, whatever, just do it. And if everyone does their part. then, like I said, you send it out and pray people like it. Now again since you've done it in so many different ways and also many roles because Lexi made it into the charts, but if you also didn't like Lion Guard and Young Justice, are you also looking for roles on purpose?
Does this solution fit a range of audiences? I think, you know, I played a few more roles as an adult. I want to do some shows [01:00:00] that maybe my younger kids can see and things like that. Do not you know that? You know, it's me, my agents, you know, there are people who just make offers.
Hey, would you like to come, that's the role we're thinking of. I don't really have an edict I issue, I'm looking for such a role. You know, it's like, it's interesting. It's like waking up in a hotel and going to the buffet with no idea what's being served that day.
So you really don't know what you're going to get. yes until you arrive and my agents were, and, and the industry has been very, very kind to me by having a very good variety of things on this buffet and, and, and to keep that to keep the analogy to keep , for many years well-fed.
But I'm terrible with names. I'm sorry. Tom Coat is the crocodile I now think is Ari. Is he, is the male a cheetah? Correct? Good. Well, and Tonka is the crocodile. I think I did [01:01:00] that more. I don't remember I don't remember When, when playing these roles, were you given any specific instructions as to how the character should look or sound?
Or do you just like to hear it in your head and then be able to produce it? You know, usually you walk into the room, they tell you about the character and then. Did you find your voice with them? What are you, what do you want to hear? What do you want? How should it sound?
Which, yeah, and you just play around with it until you find something that works. So yeah, you know, and I think basically specifically with some characters, you know, we want this one, especially when there's two of them, they have to compete against each other. So, you know, it's certainly a, it's, it's, it's really fun to find that in the space.
With the producers and the director, if that's one of my favorite parts of it, just a few final questions. Is there a character that you would like to go back to and is there a character that you haven't [01:02:00] played that you would like to play, any character that I, I wish I could play?
Me, I don't really get into other roles. there's, there's, you know, and I guess there would be, I guess. I always enjoy playing the penguin from the Arkham series. It's always fun. Always ready for another adventure with Nathan Drake, Sony has always wanted to do that. that was, was, must have been a lot of fun.
Yes, and I get it from a lot of fans. I heard Desmond is miles away from the Creed town of Fasten, they really wish he lived past the third. Access to subscription and screen. that's always fun. I, you know, it's like, I don't know if you're ever done with a character. So they were just, it's just I was very, very lucky.
I am very grateful to him. I've been, I've lived a haunted career so far. And I think I would revise them as much as possible. Well that must have been me, when I looked at your work history I was thinking about what I want to [01:03:00] talk to you about, you had such a long list. I have this Deadpool from the movie Hog versus Wolverine.
You've done so many things I wanted to mention, but I appreciate you spending your time with me. You are great to chat with and I really wish I had time to catch up on all the highlights of your career. 'Cause you had so many And when I was done, I didn't know. Well I'm, I'm still, you know, I'm not done yet.
So I'll, I'll keep trying to add to this list and keep having fun. And I hope people continue to enjoy these things, because that's what it's all about. You know, if you're a gamer playing a game, it's not about me. Is about. This experience you have while playing this game.
It's not about my role in any kind of TV show or movie or anything. Good. It's about whether you enjoy it or not. So, you know, and I think that's it. You know, you alone, me, again, like I said, it's not up to me whether you like it or not, you know, but it's my hope, every time I go in front of a microphone or in front of a camera That, you know, people just enjoy this crazy job that I [01:04:00] chose for my life.
Well we look at it and they said you've played so many roles that I'm just phenomenal. I said from Young Justice to the Lion Guard and everything in between. And I want to say a big thank you for taking the time to talk to us.
Thanks for the invitation