Mass Effect: Q&A with Seth Green

We chat with the actor about his role in BioWare's upcoming sci-fi RPG.

by

Among the all-star cast lending their voice talents to BioWare's upcoming RPG epic, Mass Effect, Seth Green (Austin Powers, Without a Paddle) is one of the best known. The actor has enjoyed a career in the television and film industry that spans 25 years and has recently taken on the hat of creator and executive producer of the popular "Robot Chicken" series on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup. Green will join other film and television stars such as Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Net Games), Keith David (Crash, Delta Farce), and Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Sasquatch Mountain). We recently had a chance to speak with Green about his upcoming role in Mass Effect to see how the actor prepared for his role as Joker in the upcoming sci-fi game.

GameSpot: How did you get involved in the project?

From playing Ms. Pac-Man as a kid to starring in one of the biggest sci-fi RPGs of the year. Not bad, Mr. Green.

Seth Green: I got asked.

GS: Nice.

SG: Yeah. It was real complicated.

GS: Yeah, but by who though, I mean, just randomly, like did they pick you?

SG: I guess so, yeah, I got approached. I'm assuming there's a list of acceptable people that they would choose, and I'm not sure how far down I was. I'm guessing Ethan Hawke and Jonah Hill got the call before I did.

GS: How much did they fill you in on the story when they approached you? Did they come in and say, "Do you want to be in a video game?" or did they kind of give you a rundown of what--

SG: I got sent a lot of information: a bunch of cool demos, some graphics, character explanation, and story explanation. Just the overview of what the game was going to be; what the new technology was. And it all just seemed really cool.

GS: Did you prepare much for it? This wasn't exactly like a typical role.

SG: Yeah, it's different. I mean, the benefit of voice-over is that you can kind of create the persona in the booth as you're going along. And each of the lines was specific. So, they let me know what the character was, and you know, you can tell by the dialog how he reacts to things. So, I just went in, you know, in jeans and a T-shirt.

GS: You kind of already touched on this, but what are the challenges of acting in a game as opposed to in front of the camera? I mean, wardrobe is obviously not a hassle.

SG: No, voice-over is great just because you really build it. The downside is that you have to do everything with your voice; you can't rely on any kind of facial features, or there's no subtlety in your movement to define attitude or persona. You got to do it all with your voice. But it is easier to become something very different than you are physically because nobody can see you, they can only hear you.

GS: Yeah, but were you able to see what your character looked like?

SG: Oh, yeah, they gave me a rough idea. I'm not sure if they modified it or anything.

GS: You're pretty much known for your humor and your certain type of wit. Were you able to put that in, or did you feel maybe that you should play it a little more straight because of the kind of game that Mass Effect is?

SG: I played it fairly straight. I didn't do it with a winking eye and it wasn't comedic at all, but the character is pretty sarcastic and uses mean-spirited humor. People underestimate him all the time. And so he has a biting wit that kind of combats that.

GS: How much room was there for improvisation?

SG: There was a script, absolutely. The only improv I did was within the boundaries of it. There are certain details that the player needs that I had to--my character's role was to inform them. So, I answered all those questions in the dialog. And then whenever I was making a mean-spirited comment or anything like that, that's where the room for improv was.

GS: Where did you record and how long did it take?

SG: We were just west of Burbank, and I did it over two sessions. It took about four to six hours.

GS: Do you play games and what are you playing now?

SG: I'm terrible at games. The two games that I've mastered are Tetris and Ms. Pac-Man, and that should give you some insight into the type of games I'm good at. I wish I were better at games. I have a bunch of friends and they all love to play the online games and the console games and the Halos and all that, and I'm just terrible at it. I really wish I could get better but it's a skill that I have an awful time acquiring. And I've tried. I've sat for many hours with my buddies, wanting to be part of the group, and just being a liability to them.

GS: Do you own any of the systems, or are you more kind of like a backseat gamer?

SG: I am the guy who looks over the shoulder of my friends and cheers them on and gets vicarious enjoyment.

GS: So are you going to be playing Mass Effects, or are you going to be getting one of your friends to play it and just kind of hang out and watch?

SG: I'm sure as hell going to try it. I'm excited to try it. It's a cool-looking game. The sad reality is that I'll have to play it by myself so that I'm not insulted relentlessly by all my buddies who are good at it. And then eventually if I want to see how the game actually is played I'll probably watch one of them.

GS: Was there a particular video game that changed your life, for better or for worse?

An all-star cast of film and television actors will lend their voices for Mass Effect.

SG: Definitely Ms. Pac-Man. I started playing it when I was about 8 years old. Same as everybody who was eight at the time when it came out. And I played it all the time. I was traveling to and from New York for auditions when I was a kid, and my mom and I had time to kill in the train station waiting for trains and such. And there was an arcade that had like 10 Ms. Pac-Man machines. And I would just watch these hustlers play the game over and over and over again, and they spent hours and hours and hours, and just gambled on it. And I would study what they did and paid attention to the patterns that they played, and just played over and over and over again. I think it changed a lot of people's lives. It was the first time that girls were coming to an arcade--to play Ms. Pac-Man.

GS: We're seeing a lot of Hollywood talent getting roped in to do game stuff. Do you think that's a good thing?

SG: I don't know that there's really a downside to it, in a day and age when the Hollywood studio system is desperately searching for new and original content. They're turning everywhere. You know, comics have become really popular. Video games have become really popular. What's nice is that people are accepting all these other mediums which are really rich in story and character, [it] can be a jumping off point for other types of media. I like that instead of making another disposable romantic comedy, people are making a Resident Evil adventure movie. I'm not opposed to that. So, the crossover is just kind of natural. We're in a place where there isn't the same kind of distinction between television and film actors. So, it only stands to reason that people are being approached to do all types of things.

GS: You're of the age where games were kind of a part of your life; if you look at society right now, kids just grow up and they don't think anything of it. When games came out there was kind of a nerd stigma, but now they're kind of widely accepted. Do you think games are finally part of the mainstream?

SG: Definitely. Yeah. There's all sorts of thing that were considered nerdy or geeky or there was a stigma attached to them, and they've become socially accepted just because people are realizing--I hope--on a grander scale that intolerance is really unacceptable. And people are looking to find value--or, at least, open to finding the value in things that they never considered before.

GS: Nice.

SG: Turned it into a social statement! [Laugh.]

GS: And Mass Effect is all about social statements.

SG: It really is.

GS: Now, you talked about exploring new things. Are we going to see you in games more? Because we've seen you pop up here and there.

SG: [Laugh.] I'm certainly not opposed to it, but I'm fairly picky with what I like to do, so trying to pick stuff that's going to be really cool or fun.

GS: And so does this mean now that you're sort of leaning more toward game stuff, that you're going to make a concerted effort? Like, if we talk to you in '08, are we going to hear that, "I finished Mass Effect," or I moved up beyond--

SG: [Laugh.] Maybe in the third quarter of '08. I'll be like, "I finally got to the second level!" That'd probably be more accurate. Cause if I start playing the second I get the copy of it, and play it through until the third quarter of '08, I might get to the second level.

GS: The developers can help you cheat, just so you know.

SG: I don't like to cheat.

GS: All right.

SG: Although I probably would, because I'd like to see how the game ends. [Laugh.]

Discussion

189 comments
Rockmanneo12
Rockmanneo12

Seth green's comedic voice is a wonderful addition to such an outstanding upcoming release.

Stevo42989
Stevo42989

It's coming...this is going to be the best RPG I will ever play!!!!!

nicfromspace
nicfromspace

Seth Green is awesome. Keith David was the Arbiter in Halo. THAT IS AWESOME!!!

WingcommanderIV
WingcommanderIV

Lol Vahid...lol....Bioware is totally a Canadian Developer!!!!

HeroicNmaster
HeroicNmaster

im glad video games are starting to add celebrity voices in them, it makes them funner to play

tommo400
tommo400

You do know it's being made in Canada right?

Stevo42989
Stevo42989

I Can't wait any longer Awwww!!!!

nickythenewt21
nickythenewt21

This game is going to change games as we know them. (Don't you just love hype? Or is it hype?)

eshlad
eshlad

its some prospering times for gamers, so many great titles to look forward too, but Mass Effect is definetly on the top of my wish list, can hardly wait, its ashame we australians get it later than you americans

YourMomsButt
YourMomsButt

Seth Green, WTF!? that taken some gloss off this title. I wonder who he blew for the part

Cirus2
Cirus2

what ever game wins GOTY should be honored cos its gonna be very very tough this year

Big_To
Big_To

Can't wait to hear the snappy dialogue coming out of Joker, I bet he's going to be very interesting to talk to.

therejectx
therejectx

i can't wait for mass effect. just cannot wait.

frosty118
frosty118

Yeah **** it's Mass Effect - fo'sho

Snake329
Snake329

YOU LEAVE CHRIS CROCKER ALONE!!!!!! lol Good job, Seth.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

SirMonotone
SirMonotone

It's good to see more and more good actors lending their vioces to videogames. :)

xBLOODDRUNx
xBLOODDRUNx

Mr. green my man right there this games is going to be awesome!

yusefdoodi
yusefdoodi

MUHAHAHHAHA MUHAHAAHHAHAHAHHAHA MUHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHh*cough cough* -Goldmember reference

Devvy01
Devvy01

you are Dr Evil's, evil son, I like it!

thanatose
thanatose

The voice cast sounds top notch, I'm looking forward to seeing how this game turns out. Wow, jazilla way to jump to a conclusion. He didn't say he was apathetic to games he just said he wan't good at them, there's a big difference.

jazilla
jazilla

I love how Seth Green's apathy for games completely ruined this interview. I mean, the second he says he doesn't play games, wouldn't you ask him questions on the fly as opposed to sticking to a script? Or, say, tell your editor that you have to trash the interview because the guy doesn't play vids?

Dvorack
Dvorack

Keith David aka Big Tim from Requiem For a Dream - "I know it's pretty baby, but I didn't take it out for air" :)

Cirus2
Cirus2

Keith David was in Armageddon and Arbiter in halo3 i think.. :o

Dvorack
Dvorack

It's really embarassing to read how they are trying to make this random dude say how he loves video games and how important they've become when he doesn't give two $hits about this or any other game...

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

As long as the voices suit the game and arnt half a55ed then i could give a damn who's done them! so long a the game is good

CrazyFox_444
CrazyFox_444

i "care" a lot about famous peoples voices ehh...

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

I like the sound of this, but am not really sure what to make of it, just hope theres more to it than some famous actors voice overs.

Katsumoto18
Katsumoto18

I'm really excited for this game. And the cool thing about this game is that you don't have to follow the story line right away. You can explore the galaxy!

wiirdawgs
wiirdawgs

wow this should be interesting

Telekenesis123
Telekenesis123

Here you go. Video of Seth green in studio discussing his voice over work: ttp://www.gamespot.com/users/Telekenesis123/video_player?id=diRnwTWo5b8EvTTd Check out the other ones on the right as well, they feature some of the other voice actors too.

Shootingpeanuts
Shootingpeanuts

Seth Green is awesome and he's starring in an awesome game? Who knew?

ShaunFroggatt
ShaunFroggatt

I heard hes gonna be that main alien badder dude with a curly ginger quiff haha

Shaynas_Kitten
Shaynas_Kitten

Keith David was in Delta Farce?! I didn't bother seeing it , but...he's a good actor and really shouldn't have to stoop so low. He was good in Pitch Black, and of course why not mention Halo 2 and 3?! He was the Arbiter for Christ's sake!

JBiker51
JBiker51

I agree. No actor should be remembered for Delta Farce. That movie was the worst movie I've ever seen.

johnphoenix23
johnphoenix23

this game will be good the only thing that could make me happier would be online stuff like ship combat on the ground stuff that stuff

Syliss
Syliss

according to the GameInformer article this game's story is absolutely incredible, if the voice acting portrays the parts correctly this could be quite memorable

Daelock
Daelock

Great article, but they couldn't find anything better to list as Keith David's second credit than Delta Farce? I mean the man was voiced Goliath and was in Requiem for a Dream for Christ's sake.

aidsta
aidsta

seth green is a legend.

Harden_hawk
Harden_hawk

I thought Hermits didn't want any 360 trash?

KILLSYOU123
KILLSYOU123

LOL Seth Green's Funny I want this game to hear wat he sounds like and cuz it looks kool!

thewesman
thewesman

I think it's hilarious that since they don't know which character he's gonna play, they put up two screenshots of women from the game. Because they at least know he's gonna play a girl. lol

Rizer
Rizer

It true what they say. With the way games have been evloving, I would not be surprised if more actors, voice-over experience or not, start graviting toward games as another form of mainstream acting as the line between movies and games are blurred even further. Same thing with mainstream music. More artists will be more willing to participate as games become a better seller for there music.

Telekenesis123
Telekenesis123

I just added some videos featuring interviews of the voice actors in the game just check through my profile or do a search. Councilor Troi anyone?

Ryir554
Ryir554

I think it would be cool to see it on the PC, spread the love

waleedarshad
waleedarshad

dont worry ppl 6 months ul see it on the pc :|

robichon
robichon

wasnt it suppose to be only for the pc?