Interview: Joseph Gatt Answers Fan Questions
Last week, the man who helped bring Kratos to life in the past two God of War entries, Joseph Gatt, offered to answer some fan questions. And of course, because our community is so darn responsive, we quickly had over a hundred questions for the receptive actor. We've gathered up the best - and most popular - questions, and Mr. Gatt has responded. Here you go:
How did you get involved in the gaming industry? Was it something you always wanted to do?
"I was working in a West End musical in London when an actor friend of mine called me and said that a game company was looking for an extra actor to do some mocap. I have no idea at all what he was talking about but I needed the extra money, so I said yes. I spent a week rehearsing, playing some of the smaller characters (my friend was playing the lead), then we went to the mocap stage and shot for a week. The place we shot at was called Centroid 3D, just outside of London. After a week of learning this thing called 'Motion Capture' they said we were done.
A few days later, Centroid called me back to redo a lot of the stuff that my friend had done because they thought his movements didn't suit the character properly. Since I was more physical and ex-military they thought I'd do better. So I went in and in two days mocap'd almost everything the previous actor took a full week to capture. That role was 'Tanner' in 'Driver 2.' I was fascinated by the process and loved working with Centroid. They were pioneers in this media, doing stuff that no one else had even heard was possible. I worked for them several times as a motion capture actor on many games including 'Driver 3,' 'Sniper Elite,' '24,' 'The Game,' and some TV, 'Captain Scarlet,' before moving to America."
Do you play games yourself? If so, which ones?
"I know this is crazy...but I'm not really a gamer! I love video games but have to stay away because my life would disappear instantly into a controller and large screen TV! I save my gaming for parties and the green room at SCEA in San Diego. When I do play I love first person shooters and Role playing games...and racing / aircraft / combat simulators..."
Kratos does a lot of insane actions in God of War III. Did you do motion capture for all of them?
"In GOW3, I do everything you see Kratos do in all the cinematic sequences/cut scenes. In GOW2 I did all the cinematic sequences and also a lot of the in game stuff. Doing the stunts on the mocap stage is so much fun. It's a little like working on a major movie. You can use pads, wires and other people to enhance the stunt and make it safe because non of them are picked up by the mocap camera's. But there was still some very physical stuff to do. One of the hardest was to hang by one hand from a bar 10 feet up while Kratos gives a long 3 minute speech and then drops into the abyss! The other was mocapping the rough lovemaking scene with Athena...but that's enough about that..."
Would you consider portraying Kratos in a film adaptation of God of War?
"They've been discussing this movie for a while but there seems to be a little trouble between production and Sony about the script, casting etc...but my manager has been keeping me in the mix."
What's the best and worst parts of doing motion capture? How does it compare to other things you've done?
"The best thing about doing mocap is that it's hard work...but always enjoyable and never boring (except when you spend days doing in game generic movements!) The technology is so sensitive and advanced today, that very subtle/realistic acting is captured. I've worked on jobs when they've captured movement and voice at once which makes the whole process very satisfying! It's even more exciting when the actual characters look physically similar to how you actually look...and a lot of them have. It's amazing how many video game characters are muscular with bald heads!
"I've just booked a voice job on the new Star Wars game and the actual character design is VERY similar to my own physicality...maybe I'll do the mocap on that one as well! There really isn't a downside to doing Motion capture except that you don't always get any kind of recognition for the character. That always seems to go to the animators and the voice actors. People do seem to overlook how important the physicality is in defining a character. It is as important, if not more so, then the voice. Hopefully actors like Doug Jones and Andy Serkis are proving this."
How does it feel to be the actor/model for one of the biggest, most well-recognized characters in gaming today?
"When I first booked GOW2, I had no idea what or who 'Kratos' was! I had no idea how famous the game and character where....but now I get recognized as much for GOW as for the on camera acting I've done. I suppose it helps that I'm in the making of documentaries that came with GOW2 & 3. The best thing is the young kids. they actually think I'm Kratos...and...without chopping off any heads...I play along."
What's next for you? Would you handle Kratos again if you were asked?
"No matter how successful I become as an actor, I will always go back to doing mocap. It is such a fun experience and I've worked with the most wonderful people in the gaming industry. If Sony called me to do GOW4...I would jump at the chance."
We'd like to thank Joseph for volunteering his time and giving us such great answers. We'd also like to thank the ever-reliable PSXE readers for giving us so many good questions. By the way, you guys sorta scared him off with your fantastic response; he was going to post answers directly into that other article in the Comments section but the number of questions was so high...anyway, he said he'd try to drop in to to say hi, so behave yourselves. ;)
4/20/2010 Ben Dutka