With the release of Lost Planet 3 so imminent I have gotten the opportunity to interview the voice (and full likeness) of Jim Peyton, the main character of Capcom's upcoming third person shooter. His name is William Watterson, and he has been gaining some headway in the gaming industry.
Zach: First off, I would like to get some of your personal life out there in the open so we can get a feel about you being a real person, and hopefully not a sophisticated robot from Skynet to control the masses with the new game you are in.Where are you from?
William Watterson: Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Whenever the LP3 directing team wanted me to suffer and writhe in pain, I just thought about our sports teams. Gets you there real quick.
Zach: What did you do before voice acting?
William: I make a good living with on-camera acting, mostly with commercials. I was also a production assistant for film, TV and commercials before I hopped in front of the camera. Spent my 20’s in rock ‘n’ roll bands.
Zach: What got you into acting?
William: No longer being in a rock ‘n’ roll band. I loved the world of production, but I wasn’t born for behind-the-scenes. I missed performing too much.
Zach: When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up being? Did you always want to be an actor?
William: Nope. I wanted to be a paleontologist. I was way into dinosaurs. Then I wanted to be a smoke jumper. Why not? Then I thought about advertising, but I sold my soul to rock ‘n’ roll instead. Acting came late in life.
Zach: If you could give any advice to aspiring actors, what would it be?
William: Don’t quit. Put the work in. Always listen, always look for advice and guidance, you will always be learning. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but be specific in what kind of help you’re asking for. Don’t talk about acting all the time, no one cares. Have a rich life outside of your career, because your career will drive you mad. Don’t be a dick.
Zach: Now onto the cream of the crop, your work on the upcoming Third Person Shooter, Lost Planet 3 from Capcom which is kind of the reason people like me know who you are.
Zach; Do you play video games as a hobby?
William: Not often enough. I still get a kick out of my Atari 2600, those 8-bit graphics and tinny sound effects always make me laugh. I have PS3, but haven’t gotten settled in with it yet. Running around as myself in LP3 is a great reason to get in shape with the controls.
Zach: Have you played any of the lost planet games?
William: I’ve played LP2, and watched a lot of LP1 cut scenes, to see how all of this fits together. And they’ve done an incredible job of laying a solid, logical foundation in this prequel that justifies all the action and backdrops of 1 and 2.
Zach; Your full likeness is used as Jim Peyton, how was the experience?
William: So fun. So bizarre. The process of getting your face scanned into the computer the first time was by far the strangest—having to make countless expressions and hold them in place while a scanner soaks you up. Very strange. And I love doing MoCap, I wish I could do it every day. But nothing compares to that first time seeing it all put together—the animation, the background environment, the costume, the cold air coming out of your breath, seeing yourself inhabit this strange, beautiful world. It’s a completely surreal, out of body experience. I couldn’t stop laughing.
Zach: How were you approached to become the voice of Jim Peyton
William: I submitted myself online to audition for an unnamed video game demo in 2010. And now I have an action figure!
Zach: Was it always the idea to use your full likeness? Or did the company call you back saying they wanted motion capture?
William: The original demo was motion capture and voice, but the characters did not look like us at all. They were super stylized, almost anime. Very cool, but very different. When CapCom decided to go the photo realistic route, I was brought back in to re-read the monologue that landed me the demo gig back in the day. I looked enough like the Peyton they had in mind (luckily for me I showed up with a full beard), and I got to keep the job.
Zach: Do you feel more connected to the character of Jim Peyton since he is you in digital form?
William: The more I see of the final product, the more connected I feel. Now that I can really take in the whole arc of his character, his motivations, his inner conflicts, I feel like I have an even deeper understanding of this guy. And I want back in his snow boots, cuz he’s a hell of a dude.
Zach: I would say this is a standard question, if you could trade lives with Jim, would you jump at the opportunity to fight giant monsters?
William: That’s a great question, but a surprisingly complicated one—he’s not in it for the fun or the adventure. He only spills Akrid blood because the hazard pay is so good. There’s no fun in it for him. But it’s fun as hell to play as him! Personally, being so far away from my family and so isolated and at risk…I don’t know, I’d say it has no appeal to me, but that’s basically how I spent my 20’s living in Europe, and my life now isn’t all that different, so that’s not entirely honest…so bring on the bugs!
Zach: Do you see yourself voice acting in video games more?
William: Oh yes. Every day if I could, and the more MoCap I get to do the better. There are so many exciting stories to tell in the gaming world, so many great titles and developers. I want to be the go-to guy, I can’t get enough.
Zach: Thank you for having this interview to offer a look inside your involvement with Lost Planet 3. Just one last question for you. Do you have any other projects going on you want to tell people about? Other than to go out and buy Lost planet 3?
William: I’m wrapping up a comedy pilot with the Executive Producer of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ about a rock band called ‘The Thunderdogs,’ and I’m directing a feature film, a horror comedy called ‘Dave Made A Maze,’ that features stop motion, puppetry, and old fashioned in-camera effects—it’s got that Gondry/Henson handmade feel, with the playfulness of ‘The Goonies’ mixed with the darkness of ‘Time Bandits.’ And my next gig is a kung-fu fighting ogre pirate in the adventure comedy ‘Buccaneer Galaxy.’
Well there you have it gamers, my interview with the voice of Jim Peyton. Be sure to check out the other stuff he is doing and to catch his work in Lost Planet 3. It will be available later in August for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. I would like to thank Mr. Watterson for having this interview with me and I sure did enjoying getting his insight to the work on Lost Planet 3.