An interview with Mark Hamill

The definitive Jedi Knight and Joker on his career making videogames talk

Hamill on his gaming glories: past, present, and future…

Call of Duty 2 (2005)

“I was mostly in the studio by myself, doing whatever was required. But it's all artifice really – like looping dialogue. A huge percentage of the Star Wars movies are looped, meaning ADR – additional dialogue recording. It’s not the original voice track: it’s us in studios, replacing our voices. If there’s anything that needs a specific noise it’s looped. The sound people will tell you – they won Oscars on all three films.”

X-2: Wolverine’s Revenge (2002)

“The thing about voiceover that is so appealing to me is it’s liberating not to be seen. The anonymity is part of the magic. I feel like a magician’s assistant in the sense that if you play your part right, it comes out really well. In voiceover you can play a much broader range of characters, because they’re not concerned with how you look, just how you sound.”

Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)

“Joker is endearing because he’s so committed to what he considers his own genius. There’s a real symbiotic relationship with Batman. I don’t know if there are two fictional characters more perfectly suited to one another. Maybe Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty. He takes such glee in what he does. It’s absurd on its face – you can’t bring too much real-life logic to it, but within the comic book world, he towers above so many other run-of-the mill villains.”

Full Throttle (1995)

“I remember playing a full, three-piece suited character, almost someone out of a Tennessee Williams play. I came at that game with a repertory theater frame of mind, where you play a butler one night, the leading man the next, then a sidekick the third night. Maybe the fourth night, you’re not even on stage: you’re running the booth. A jack of all trades, master of none. I grew up that way.”

Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix (2002)

“I love character parts because they are so far removed from yourself. When I played Amadeus or Joseph Merrick (aka 'The Elephant Man') on Broadway, I look in the mirror and feel Mark has receded and the character is there. I lean on the side of villainy for voiceover because they push the buttons of the audience and illicit emotions that make for a colourful story.”

Black Pearl (TBC)

“The challenge here is to make [the spin-off of Hamill’s comic book] as gritty and realistic as real life. If you accidentally kill someone, you'll be pursued by the forces of justice. You get wounded and tired, and so you'll be rewarded for non-confrontation. It’s the opposite of a shooter. The game isn't an easy sell, because it’s different. It’s more of a stealth game. We’re trying to attempt an alternate adventure and action game.”

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (1993)

“This is where Mark gets to be Steve Buscemi: a character sidekick to Tim Curry. Curry is a masterful actor. I saw him on stage when he did Rocky Horror at the Roxy Theatre on Sunset Boulevard. When I was listening to Tim's tracks, in my imagination I had a perfectly lit set, even though I was in a recording studio. To me that's what is so thrilling about voice-acting for games."

Wing Commander (1994-1997)

“We had cheat sheets of every kind. If you look at the game, when we’re looking down at the game's interface with light on our faces, that's from a teleprompter because of the massive amount of dialogue. One of the greatest things about doing animation or videogames is you don’t have to memorize your lines. You get as old as I am, it’s hard.”

Jan 13, 2009

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