LA Noire: interview with actor Michael McGrady

Rockstar Games and Team Bondi worked with a cast of 400 actors to bring LA Noire to life. One of the most memorable performances in this interactive homage to film noire comes from actor Michael McGrady, who has starred in films like The Babe and Wyatt Earp, and in TV shows like %26ldquo;Southland%26rdquo; and %26ldquo;24.%26rdquo; McGrady plays the wise-cracking LAPD Homicide Detective Rusty Galloway, who lightens the mood amidst the grisly murders players must navigate.

The actor, who underwent extensive performance capture and facial capture work to bring Galloway to life, also enjoys playing video games in his free time. Here, he talks about why he likes Call of Duty: Black Ops and what impact LA Noire could have on the expansion of gaming demographics in this exclusive interview.

GamesRadar: What attracted you to this virtual role?

Michael McGrady: When I read the script and started going through all the volumes of information and pages, I was actually stunned by the level of detail that was put into it by Brendan McNamara. The strategy and the research that he had to have done is amazing.

GR: LA Noire was an official entry in the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Do you think the game would make a good movie?

McGrady: I hope so. It%26rsquo;s so funny. We%26rsquo;ve seen so much. With the advent of 3D now, with CGI and everything else, we can go anywhere, we can do anything. You would think with all the new technology, that everything that comes out that is new would be a huge hit. But that%26rsquo;s not necessarily the case. We always seem to want to digress, to reach back into the past, and pull elements from those time periods forward to the present day because we like certain things about it. I know recently the 1970s style was in. Of course, we had a show that was named after the 70s time period. So maybe film noir will be next.

GR: This must have been a fun character to play because he has a comment for everything that happens in the game.

McGrady: Yes. The character was well written. That was one of the things that also drew me to do the project. I auditioned for it, and I was reading the lines, and the delivery of the lines. I couldn%26rsquo;t even keep a straight face myself, it was so funny. I thought, %26ldquo;You know what? I know this is going to be grueling work.%26rdquo; And it is, it%26rsquo;s really tough work. It%26rsquo;s long hours and everything. But I thought, %26ldquo;It%26rsquo;s going to be worth it.%26rdquo; And it was. The little bits and pieces that I have seen, I%26rsquo;ve been very happy with the results. And from what I heard at Tribeca, the audience is, as well.

GR: What are your thoughts on LA Noire opening up video gaming to film noir fans and people who have never played a video game?

McGrady: I would even take it beyond those people that are educated with respect to the film noir. I know for myself, when this game came out, I%26rsquo;ll play it. My son plays games. He plays the Call of Duties, and all the ones where you shoot stuff and blow things up. And I know a lot of young gamers play those games. When I found out about LA Noire, one of my first thoughts was, %26lsquo;Wow, this is a game that a broad audience can get involved with.%26rsquo; It%26rsquo;s not just shooting things, it%26rsquo;s not blowing things up.

GR: What do you think of the final game?

McGrady: It looks great. I saw little bits and pieces of it, and I was really impressed with it. I thought it was so strange to see yourself in a video game like that. It was like, %26ldquo;Wow!%26rdquo; I think that for people that want to go beyond the interactive experience of shooting things, and blowing things up, and stuff like that, this is going to open up that opportunity. I hope that this will actually create a whole rush of new video games being invented and brought to the market where there is an intellectual investment, if you will, beyond pushing buttons and whatnot. This kind of thing will keep me occupied.

GR: What are some of your favorite Hollywood noir films?

McGrady: I love Touch of Evil, and it%26rsquo;s always been a big favorite of mine of course. I love all the crimes ones. I like Laura a lot, only because I directed the stage version of Laura. I watched the film several times, and learned a lot about film noir from that. I believe it was a classic in its time, as well.

GR: What video games do you play for fun?

McGrady: I love Need for Speed Underground. I%26rsquo;m into that whole thing, the speed games and racing games. I like Call of Duty, as well. My son and I will play that. Once in a while, I%26rsquo;ll jump in and do Modern Warfare with him. Of course, Grand Theft Auto is great. I%26rsquo;ve been playing those games from the very beginning. I enjoy gaming because I get to spend time with my son. We laugh, and we play online with other people and stuff. But if I%26rsquo;m going to sit back, for myself, and just spend time alone, just drifting off, thinking about things, whatever, and I want to play a game, something like L.A. Noire is something that I could definitely get into.

May 10, 2011