If you have a pulse, you have heard of Grand Theft Auto, and if you have a brain, you own GTA 5. If you own GTA 5, you have the informed perspective of who the insane, rational, maniacal and plotting character known as Trevor Phillips is.
Rockstar Games delivered us one of the most unique, innovative and terrifying characters in Trevor Phillips and he is one that takes the phrase "pushing the limit" and stomps its head in, in the middle of a desert.
The man who brought this person to life is Steve Ogg and we had some time to speak with him about Trevor, the aspects of the role that were improv, the type of leeway he was given by Rockstar, preparing for the character and many other interesting GTA 5 topics.
One of the first things we asked Steve about his character Trevor, was how much could Steve actually relate or understand the character and how at his core, he has things about him that make a person draw a certain humanity and near sympathy for Trevor.
"I really didn't find him appealing or relatable. I mean that guy is not a nice guy, but then people go along and they discover, 'Oh my God. I kind of like him and I feel bad for him a bit.'
"For Trevor though, you start with the writing and what informs you is the other character's reactions. Everything about him is a first instinct. There would be days where Trevor would get really upset at something, he would react violently, it would just devastate him. Not all of [the takes] worked, but what was wonderful was there was nothing pre-planned about it," Ogg said.
A character like Trevor struck us as one that had to have some improv work done, especially with some of the things he would say, being so out there.
Steve talked about how he would improv Trevor, but in a way that was within the arena of what the script said. Steve would make sure he never change words that disrespected what the writers on the game wrote for him to say.
"Rockstar is a wonderful place to play and pretend. You give me your words though, and I will respect your words. If you give me words and say I can go wherever I want, then I'll go wherever I want.
"But generally if nothing is mentioned, I really try to make those words my own and improv with the words. But there would sometimes be words that were written, were British-isms and they weren't necessarily local to the American dialect.
"Take the word 'loo' for instance. 'I really gotta go take a **** in the loo'. Most people are like, 'what?' Not many people know what a loo is, but I do because my mum is British and I spent a lot of time in England.
"But when an American says that, it's kind of weird. So I would improv within the line. I would think, 'okay, so how am I going to make this Trevor?' The improv that came and what was built was from within the text. I never tried to change the text and say, 'no this is how I'm going to say it.'
"That's not my job. My job is to take the words and make them make sense. So if I'm going to take a **** on the loo, that's what's written down. Then I'm going to take a **** on the loo," Ogg said.
Moving on from the bathroom and up to the front door, we asked Steve how much of a leash he had with the type of things he could say and if he felt an extra sense of responsibility playing this type of character.
"There were certain times when they said, 'it's just not appropriate for the direction we need to go in for this character.' We were always trying to find the humanity with each character.
"You didn't want to make him a caricature, which was my greatest fear with Trevor," Ogg said. Steve didn't want to make Trevor a one dimensional character from a behavioral or a emotional standpoint.
"There were times when I really felt the humanity of Trevor, and there were a lot of scenes that were quite sad. I mean Ned (who played Michael) and I had some scenes that were really sad when you're dealing with friendships and loyalty.
"That's what people don't get, they see the video game, but we're actors being motioned captured. We're on set and we've worked on this scene, and there were times when we had those moments when we both were into it, and there was anger and there was tears, but it all just felt wonderful," Ogg said.
Often times, actors and actresses tend to have routines or things they do to get prepared for a day of work or a certain scene, and while Steve had motions he would go through quite often, he never really felt like he had to have a routine each day.
"Once you get out there and you get suited up, I tend to generally know what I'm going to do and feel what I'm going to feel. Sometimes, if I felt like [it was] a day where there would be some **** really going down, I would get up early and watch something or listen to stuff.
"During the first part of the shoot, I would take the train a lot because I couldn't read while sitting in a car, I would just get nauseous. The train to me was quiet time, peace time, that was my biggest thing. If you've done the homework, you've done what you need to do as an actor; then you just want to have some peace.
"I would listen to music. For me, the different inspiration of the day would depend on what Trevor was going to show that day. As long as I had my lines down, I would listen to music like City and Colour. I would listen to weird stuff though, but nothing like speed metal or anything. But generally it's the kind of stuff where you'd like to have a good cry (laughs).
"For me though, I just need to listen to something if it's good, I listen to things that affect me. So that was sort of my prep for Trev," Ogg said.
There are many memorable moments, quotes, scenes and other aspects to the world of Los Santos players will talk fondly of for years to come. One of the scenes that was brought up a lot in certain reviews was the scene where Trevor was tasked with getting information out of Mr. K, by any means necessary.
Steve shared with us his experience on filming that part of the game and said it was the most technical scene out of any other he did in GTA 5.
"For that scene in particular, you know what you're doing. This wasn't emotionally difficult or I wasn't battling with it. My main concern was, 'am I doing my job? What do you guys need to see here?'
"It's all a bit technical because the other actor, you don't want to actually hurt. That scene was probably more technical than anything else I did because there were different instruments involved. What I had to do to him was very technical for it to look the way it did.
"I was more focused on, for better or for worse, was this what they needed? The emotional aspect of Trevor or where Trevor is, that just came because that dude is doing his job. Personally, when it comes back to the emotional side, it just comes down to your homework. I was just concerned about making sure [Rockstar] got what they wanted," Ogg said.
Finally, one of the last topics we wanted to discuss with Steve is what he thinks about all of the violence in video games "controversy." Even though, it's a heavily discussed and widely disagreed upon subject, it was a question we wanted an actor like Steve to answer.
We've gotten perspectives on the issue from developers, publishers, politicians, talk show hosts and anyone else willing to talk about it. However, for someone who just spent a significant amount of time working on GTA 5, we wanted to find out what Steve's perspective was like after he had some time to digest all the work he did on the game.
He first responded saying how little negativity he has seen from the game and how he was quite surprised with the reviews and the intelligence that was present in each of them.
"Honestly, I've been really surprised at how little negative attention there has been. Even when the reviews first came out, I thought 'wow,' these were intelligent reviews.
"I'm not in the gaming world, I've never been a part of it, I don't follow them, I never have played them. I knew GTA was Grand Theft Auto. But I was really surprised with the intelligence in the reviews. These people get it, that it's a cultural thing, what it reflects, the sarcasm, I thought 'wow this is really cool.'
"I remember this debate on CBC and they were talking about 'are video games an art form?' The answer is, of course it is. It's a creation and my God you see this world that's created and it blows me away as much as when I go to the Met and see a beautiful painting. That's what I see in this world," Ogg said.
Steve then recalled an earlier opportunity he had to work on a video game years back and shared his thoughts then about how he viewed gaming and why he chose not to work on a project back then.
"My personal experience years ago when I had an opportunity to actually be in a video game, I was a theater actor and was all high and mighty. It was for a [video game] role and I pulled out from it. I said 'no I can't, I just can't because I don't want to contribute to the violence.' I wasn't necessarily on the negative side, but it's so ridiculous because I feel like that was so in my ignorance.
"I have a child now, and now that I have a child, I understand that more than ever. It's about parenting, and parenting is a huge umbrella, not just your own child but parenting others as well. It just means taking responsibility for yourself and for others, through your actions and through your words," Ogg said.
Steve then got into how he, like millions of us, doesn't really understand the near obsession of some to blame video games for a lot of the violence that takes place in the United States.
"This is a weird cultural thing too. I know being from Canada, I have a different take on it to and of course, at Rockstar there are a lot of Brits. We see things differently and a lot of us scratch our heads and say 'what is your problem here?'
"I know random violence happens everywhere. But good lord these things don't happen with the frequency and the level of violence in other places. So I don't the fascination with blaming video games. It just seems easy to blame. It doesn't make sense to me," Ogg said.
GTA 5 is a game that stands above any other. Developers and publishers we've talked revere this game and each previous one. It's a franchise that transcends gaming and entertainment really.
While we may not get the chance to get lost in Rockstar's incredible world for years, GTA 5 is a game that will stand the test of time and is the new measuring stick for what a game can be. Not only that, Rockstar gave us one of the most unforgettable characters this industry has ever seen. Steve Ogg brought this character to life, perhaps like no one else could.
Steve created a personality that people will never forget and when people think of bad guys or complex characters, the top one they will look at, is Trevor Phillips. For all of our latest exclusives, previews, reviews and features, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Game On.