: Interview: The Real-Life Nathan Drake...No, Really

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Interview: The Real-Life Nathan Drake...No, Really

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Nolan North is the voice of Nathan Drake. But maybe the individual who most closely resembles the Uncharted protagonist is actor Ryan Culver who, for all intents and purposes, is Nathan Drake.


You saw Culver play Drake in that fantastic live action trailer for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. At the time, a great many Sony fans went, "Wait, who's that...? It's kinda like Drake come to life!" And that's Ryan, who not only looks like Drake, he also exhibits many of the same personality traits. Hell, he even loves exploring, traveling, adventuring and thrills...perhaps he'd be the perfect fit for that Uncharted movie.

Check out this interview and see what you think. Ryan talks about his experience filming that trailer, and how he stepped into the shoes of one of the most popular and well-drawn characters of the generation.

PSXE: Nathan Drake is now a well-known and much-loved character in the gaming industry. What was it like stepping into those shoes?

Ryan: "‘laughs’ Daunting! It really was. I didn’t know a whole lot about the franchise going in, so it was like trial by fire. But I realized very quickly just what a big deal he is, and what a big deal the franchise is around the world. It’s interesting taking on a character like that; you get to have an outline in your head because there’s so much to look at and draw when you start such a project.

First of all, I got to know about the huge following the game has; the fan base behind [Uncharted] is just unbelievable and I quickly learned that. I realized from the very beginning that the process of jumping into Drake as a real-life person was going to be so very important because of the fans. As an actor, you say, ‘I’ll just bring a lot myself to this role’ and a lot of jobs are like that but that wasn’t the case here. It was important to go the other way, to learn as much I could about this guy, to get his personality and facial expressions."

PSXE: Were you given a lot of background information on Drake to help you prepare?

Ryan: "I did it myself. I called up a lot of people; I talked to my friends who were gamers and I talked to everybody in production. I talked to the people at PlayStation and said, ‘Look guys, I need advice on bringing Drake to life.' I took it all to heart because the last thing I wanted to do is step outside the boundary of who Nathan Drake is. I think if you take something from a game and bring it to life, sometimes people put their own spin on it and the idea gets lost. But they’ve already got an amazing character and storyline and they’ve done such an incredible job, so why add new elements? It’s already fully developed.

I just knew that I didn’t want to do this without knowing as much as I could about this guy. Because when you start and get going, you don’t really have time to think. You just have to feel that the character is inside. You can’t just wear his clothes; you have to move, act and react as you’d imagine Drake would."

PSXE: What do you have in common with the character of Nathan Drake?

Ryan: "Having learned so much about Nathan Drake, I came to realize that there are a lot of similarities in the way I lead my life and the things that I do. What was really funny was that my natural reaction to certain situations is to just say, “Oh, crap,” and then I laughed when I saw parts of these games, and saw that Drake uses that exact phrase a lot. It was really great because I could bring a lot of my own stuff to the role; I was already like him.

The guy is a world-traveling adventure-seeker and that’s kind of how I’ve grown up. I’ve been an adventurer and extreme sports athlete my whole life (rock-climbing, surfing, etc.). I’m also a pilot; I have a company that delivers small aircraft to people all over the world. So when I’m not acting, I end up going on all these adventures where I’m landing in all sorts of interesting and remote places all over the world, seeing amazing sights and people. So I’m constantly out and exploring and I’m a thrill-seeker, and that’s what I understand Drake to be. He and I are a lot alike, right down the line, in a lot of different ways.

I was probably born to play somebody like Nathan Drake."

12/8/2012 Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (10 posts)

Saturday, December 08, 2012 @ 1:31:13 AM

Great interview Ben. He can definitely be a good drake, also I think Nathan fillion packed a few pounds and would need to get fit again for the role if he still wants it. I could go with either but this could Ryan's breakthrough if he were to get it.

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Saturday, December 08, 2012 @ 2:03:56 AM

Yeah, I think Ryan might just be the best fit for the role of Nathan Drake. As much as Mr. Fillion resembles the character, he had to lose a lot of weight before he plays the role. I've seen all episodes of Castle and its no different to watching his neck disappear. LOL Anyway, I hope this guy gets to audition for the movie role, if they haven't casted anybody yet. Great interview, Ben!

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Saturday, December 08, 2012 @ 5:51:25 AM

I'm a straight guy, but I think he's hot.......

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Saturday, December 08, 2012 @ 3:24:13 PM

lol - thank you! I was trying to shape a similar sentence myself, in an as heterosexual way as possible but it wasn't easy. :D

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Saturday, December 08, 2012 @ 10:17:12 AM

Cool interview, thanks Ben & Ryan.

As for portraying Nathan Drake, I'd be happy to see either of these 3 playing him,
Ryan Culver,
Nathon Fillion,

or even Gerard Butler(he's got both, the swagger & smart-assed quips, pretty well down pat too).

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Saturday, December 08, 2012 @ 10:24:36 AM

I also like it that he's not just playing a role, but that he's a real-life adventurer and pilot too. In real life, Ryan probably won't be fighting zombies anytime soon, but it's interesting to see that his portrayal of Nathan Drake isn't entirely far off the mark from his real life.

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Saturday, December 08, 2012 @ 11:33:27 AM

Ryan sounds like a perfect fit for Nathan Drake. He seems to have what it takes to fill those shoes in my opinion. I would definitely support Ryan getting the role if Uncharted is made into a movie. PSXE is the only place I know to voice that support, though. It's also the only place I'd want to voice that support.

Great interview Ben.

Good luck to Ryan wherever his career takes him. Hopefully we'll see him playing Nathan Drake on the big screen sometime in the near future.

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Sunday, December 09, 2012 @ 11:49:09 AM

I wanna hang out with that dude.

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Sunday, December 09, 2012 @ 6:45:42 PM

This guy went to college at Texas Tech in Lubbock. That's my hometown. Pretty awesome. I hope he gets more work within the acting industry, he's pretty good.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012 @ 5:18:50 AM

Not sure if he is the same guy, but I personally think the guy who portrayed Nathan Drake in the "Michael - Long Live Play" commercial was outstanding and the resemblance was remarkable.

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