Nolan North on the Uncharted Fan Film, the Next Destiny DLC and ‘Filling in for Fillion’
Daniel Fine headed to the Nolan North press conference at MCM Manchester Comic Con
Sometimes light-heartedly referred to as Mr. Video Games, Nolan North is one of the most prolific voice actors in the business. From the Uncharted franchise, to Deadpool and everything in between, if you’ve played many video games in the past decade you’ve likely heard his dulcet tones. Last weekend, North attended the Manchester Comic Con, chatted with fans, took part in a hilarious Twisted Toonz panel, and gave a very lively press interview.
He started with his best Tiger Woods impression: “I’d like to apologise to my family, I know what I’ve done is wrong,” before stating “I have nothing to say so ask whatever you like.” This set the tone for a very informal and jovial press conference.
Unsurprisingly, most of the questions were regarding the Uncharted games, in which North portrayed the treasure hunter protagonist, Nathan Drake, for the best part of a decade. When asked to pick his personal favourite Uncharted game he said: “I kind of look at it like four years of high school. So freshman year was the first Uncharted, nobody really knows you but you have a good year. But then your second year – which we in the States call the sophomore year – you become a hit, you get straight As and you become the captain of the football team. You’re the valedictorian, you get the prettiest girl, you are the bell of the ball, so by the time 3 came around, man we’re having fun! That 3rd year was probably my most fun to make, because we were already coming off the high of 2 and I knew there was going to be a 4. And 4 was great, but I knew it was the end. So it’s like got to go to uni or get a job, what am I going to do.”
Nathan Fillion and Destiny
North’s working relationship with the actor Nathan Fillion was also a much discussed topic. A couple of weeks prior to Manchester Comic Con, an Uncharted fan film, starring Fillion as Drake was released online. The following day, news broke that North would be voicing Cayde-6 in the next Destiny 2 DLC, Forsaken – the character was originally voiced by Fillion in the base game. The E3 trailer for Forsaken depicted the death of Cayde-6 and North confirmed that the DLC will be a “revenge mission.” Even still, I wanted to ask him if he spoke to Fillion about taking over as Cayde-6, and what he thought of the Uncharted fan film.
On the fan film, North was full of praise. “I thought Nathan did a great job, he’s been a fan of the franchise for a long time and as he put in one of his posts, he said thanks for letting us scratch that itch. It was great, to see him doing his thing.”
On Cayde-6 however, he was keen to set the record straight. “I did not take over for Cayde-6. Nathan is incredibly busy, he’s got a new TV show that I think looks great, called The Rookie and he’s also one of the executive producers. Anybody who knows that world, knows that it’s incredibly time-consuming and he had just been coming off one of the most successful shows in TV history in Castle, so he was not available to do this.”
North said that rather than replacing Fillion, his job was just to do some temp work for two sessions “just to take care of this role” – or as he quipped “filling in for Fillion”. It seemed that the original plan was for Fillion to then come in and record on top of that, but they ran out of time. “He couldn’t and now it’s done. If they could ever find the time and do it then maybe, cause obviously I went back on a live game. But it is a death scene, so I dunno if he’ll want to come back and go ‘Yeah. Dead. OK.’”
After the first game was released, North came in and replaced Peter Dinklage as Ghost, the robot companion of the player character. North re-recorded all the lines Ghost had in the game and subsequently took over for the DLC and second game. Given that he had already taken over for one voice actor in the series, it was clear that North was very conflicted about recording for Cayde-6, even though the part was very small. “It really was a discussion. Like ‘no, no, no we can’t do that’. ‘Well, he’s just not here’, ‘well I’ll do the temp till you can get him’, until it came right up to the time when they had to lay some stuff in.”
He added that he will be uncredited for the role and repeatedly stated that he was worried how the fans would react. “My biggest fear was that the fans revolt, cause I probably felt like doing it too. I don’t want Destiny fans to think ‘He’s taking over all the roles’. Cayde-6 is one of my personal favourite characters, I love what he [Fillion] does with that. My son, my own son. His favourite is Cayde-6, and when I told him he was like ‘uch that sucks!’ I think it sucks too and you know we just did our best. This was just a one-time thing and, quite frankly, if they say we want you to do more Cayde-6 for the next one, I’m not going to do that. Get a Cayde-7, or get Nathan back if he’s available, cause I’m just not. I like the Ghost that’s what I want to do.”
North also gave us a brief tease of what to expect from Ghost in Forsaken: “My favourite part of the game, by the way, is that the Ghost gets a little edgy. He’s not happy, they killed Cayde, they killed his ghost. Revenge mission!”
Respect Your Elders you Bratz!
Finally, there was time for a more whimsical question as North was asked for his least favourite line or character from his career: “I did a small role for a video game years ago called Bratz, early in my career. And I’m reading these lines, and it came around to something like ‘You know who doesn’t like cell phones? Old people’. And I looked at the director and he goes ‘I Know’. I was like this is for kids, this is so rude and disrespectful, whatever happened to respect your elders. It was the oddest little thing, but that was one that made me go ‘oh, man’. It just seemed so odd to me that you’d be doing that. I know South Park did an episode on ‘is this what we’re teaching our kids?’ Maybe we can do better.”
“I’ll probably get in trouble for that.”
Daniel Fine – Find him online at https://twitter.com/DanielFine4