05th Nov2018

MCM London Oct 2018: Nolan North & Richard McGonagle Interview

by Xenia Grounds


What’s the hardest thing about playing an alien?

Richard: Well, it depends on which show. The hardest part is going back to being a human again, I think, because we’re not an alien usually.

Are you able to go back into your own voice easily?

Richard: No, it’s pretty easy. A voice like that if I have to do it for a long time, it really does a job on my vocal chords. Cartoon sessions are about four hours and there are a couple of breaks in there too. The hardest one I did was for a series called Ben 10. It was like he gargled glass.

(Nolan sneakily walks into the press room. He was late to the conference as he was greeting fans)

Nolan: Hi.

Richard: Hi. Yeah and everybody else in the room was like ‘How do you make that noise?’ and I told you have to gargle with glass.

Nolan: I read for that role. I did not get it. I was not willing to gargle glass and now I know why. Can’t even get close to that kind of thing.

It’s been ten years since the very first Uncharted game. Did you have any idea how popular the game series would be?

Nolan: Yeah, of course we knew right off the bat that it was gonna be a huge hit. Went and bought a house, several cars.

Richard: Lost them all!

Nolan: The best way to answer that is there’s no such thing as Uncharted 1. It was Drake’s Fortune and we had no idea. I’d done some motion capture but we’d never done something so theatrical with the narrative storytelling that the game introduced. Pretty amazing.

Richard: When I auditioned for Sully, I went into the room with the director. In all the games I’d done, I’d never done motion capture and I didn’t know what motion capture was. For the games, I’d just done standing in front of the mic and reading the lines. The director said: ‘Okay, you’re gonna start here and as you do this, you’re going to do this and move over to here.’ And I was like: ‘What are you talking about?’ And the director said: ‘This is the game. It’s motion capture.’ Motion what? He told me and I went and I did it. I felt like I was completely off-balance and walked out going ‘There goes that one. Forget it!’ When I got a callback, I was probably more surprised than anybody. When we first met at my second audition, they were auditioning the both of us together and none of us had any idea. When we started the game with you and I and Emily (Rose) It was gonna be one hell of adventure. We’re gonna have a lot of fun but that’s it.

Nolan: I remember the first scene we did in that game is Sully landing the plane and they had built a plane out of ply-wood. Sully originally had a cigar and he’d chewed on it half the day and it ended up being a yellow sharpie. It felt like playing like a kid. It was a clubhouse. You were pretending to float in the water. It was great.

What is your favourite moment in the Uncharted series that has stuck out for you personally?

Nolan: Wow. There are so many. So many moments. In Uncharted 3, we had a lot of fun with Graham McTavish. It’s the one where Cutter, McTavish’s character, is going through the cavern and he doesn’t like tight spaces. And he (Richard) just goes ‘Lead on, Macduff.’ And Graham who is Shakespearian trained goes ‘It’s lay on, Macduff’ and they have this little argument and I’m the first one through and finally we get out the other end. On the last take, they looked at me and I went ‘Who’s Macduff?’. Graham said one of my favourite lines and they kept it in. He said ‘Is there no bottom to your ignorance?’ and he laughed. I think those moments are what made Uncharted so special because they would leave that kinda of stuff in. Literally, we were supposed to get out and I’d be like ‘Come on. This way’ instead I go ‘Who’s Macduff?’. The fact they would give us freedom to change things like that and there were a number of things. Things I can’t even tell you about.

Richard: Best you don’t have it in your head. It’s the kind of thing that’ll keep you up at nights.

What do you both think about people cosplaying as your characters?

Richard: People actually cosplay as Sully?

Nolan: Oh, yeah! Men and women. I’ve seen it. It’s great.

Richard: Can I play?

Nolan: *chuckles* You did it for ten years! Let somebody else have a chance. I think it’s great. I’ve always enjoyed seeing men and women dress as the character. I’ve seen the whole group. I don’t like the Nate(s) that have too much blood. It’s just like ‘Hey, you must have been a terrible player if your character looked like that.’ I’ve seen a boyfriend and girlfriend where the guy is Elena. I still haven’t seen four people do the four Nate(s) from the different games. And if you’re doing Uncharted 4, don’t wear the ring. He lost that in 3.

Is Retro Replay something we can expect to go on for a long time?

Nolan: It depends if the people in this room start getting the word out to get subscribers. It’s free! Troy (Baker) and I love it. We brought it live to Manchester and Glasgow. Hopefully, we’ll bring live to MCM shows next year, London as well. I’m here and Troy’s in Argentina. We were live-chatting and fans loved that. Building that community has really become something that we love to do. The more followers we have then these advertisers start getting into the mix and that gives you money. Not for me. We don’t make anything off it.

Richard: I do.

Nolan: *chuckles* Oddly enough. The thing is that money allows us to hire more editors, do more things. Yeah, we want to keep going.

Is there a game that you can’t wait to play on Retro Replay?

Nolan: Oh, there’s a couple but I can’t tell you. We’re taking it live with podcasts, to Twitch and other surprises. Send the word out, please, so we can keep it going for years to come.

You can check out episodes of Retro Replay on Youtube.


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