E3: Nolan North wants to turn movies into video games


Amy Hennig and Nolan North pose with his BAFTA

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Getty Images

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Former Naughty Dog creative director and writer, Amy Hennig, with Nolan North

Nolan North believes more movies should be turned into games.

The actor has voiced some of gaming’s most iconic characters, including most recently God of War’s Modi.

Few films are made into games aside from tie-ins like Harry Potter or Spider-Man, which North says is a shame.

“A video game is such an immersive experience,” he says. “It’s much more personal than anything you can go sit in a theatre and passively watch.”

Nolan, who’s also voiced Uncharted’s Nathan Drake and Assassin’s Creed’s Desmond Miles, was speaking to Newsbeat before receiving a BAFTA Special Award at E3 for “his outstanding contributions to games performance”.

“I have always felt that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo would be a phenomenal video game,” he explains.

“I will work on a Swedish accent that doesn’t offend the people of Sweden. I’d love to play Mikael Blomkvist.”

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Naughty Dog

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Nathan Drake is one of Nolan’s most famous characters

A-List celebrities like Gary Oldman, Mark Hamil, and Ellen Page have all taken roles as video game characters, something that North attributes to gaming’s well-written stories that challenge actors in ways film doesn’t.

But he also says part of it is down to the freedom voiceover work offers.

“I’m not limited to what I look like, especially in motion capture,” explains North.

“Motion capture is just digital theatre. We shot Uncharted in exactly the way they shot Avatar, or Planet of the Apes. The boundaries have blurred.”

As video games have grown, so too have roles that turn performers into character actors.

While some games faithfully recreate a famous actor’s appearance in the virtual world – like Rami Malek in Until Dawn – most offer total creative freedom.

This variety of characters naturally leads to a diverse range of narratives, which North wants to see more of.

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Colombia Pictures

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) starred Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig

“My next gamble will be trying to create. I want to go beyond just performing and try to create content and find stories, using this platform that I have to expand other things in my career.”

For North, that’s a video game adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – it’d be “a female-driven game with a strong female character”.

The film is already an adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s 2008 novel, but North believes gaming offers storytellers even greater opportunities than cinema.

He argues that in David Fincher’s film audiences “just sit and watch” the action, but in a video game they can live it.

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Getty Images

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Amy Hennig and Nolan North worked together on the Uncharted series

Nolan North’s performances have cemented him as one of gaming’s most recognisable figures – which he remains humbled by.

“It’s a privilege to be able to do this, and it’s a choice,” he says.

“So tonight I’m hoping this isn’t where they say ‘hey, here’s your Special Achievement Award, thanks so much, take care! We’ve had enough, you’ve got to go.’

“I’ve still got so much to do.”

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