Rehired "Kane" actor discusses what it was like to return to the set of a game franchise he helped make famous.
EA Games' Los Angeles studio is putting the finishing touches on its highly anticipated real-time strategy game, Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars. The game will return to the series' roots by attempting to tell an epic story involving the two primary pillars of C&C lore--the "good guy" Global Defense Initiative faction and the "bad guy" Brotherhood of Nod faction. Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars is scheduled for release on the PC on March 26 and on the Xbox 360 later this year.
The game will also make a return to the series' original storytelling techniques of using filmed live-action sequences to further the plot, using various Hollywood talent and an old series mainstay, Joe Kucan. Kucan was originally the director for the series' cutscene sequences and also played the on-camera role of the charismatic and fanatical Nod leader, Kane.
Kucan has returned to again play Kane in the new game and shares his thoughts on his return with GameSpot.
GameSpot: How does it feel to be back in the saddle as Kane?
Joe Kucan: It feels very familiar. It's a lot like being reunited with an old friend, if that old friend held you down, pinned your arms to your sides, and shaved your head with an electric razor. But then, that old friend helps you up, and the two of you have dinner at a Thai restaurant and reminisce about that one time the two of you shot Seth in the head in a tight close up. And then you get really, really drunk. And wake up in a Mexican jail. It's a lot like that.
GS: Oh yeah, been there, done that. Though it's good to see the original Kane return to reprise his role, it also begs the question of how it came about. Previously, it seemed like your work with EA had come to an unceremonious halt. How did you come to work with the company again? Was rekindling the relationship awkward? Were terms difficult to negotiate?
JK: I was flattered with the C&C team's insistence on my participation. It was clear from the start that the team's respect for the history of the series and the character of Kane were really the main focuses of this new production. As far as the negotiation, it was really just a small matter of coming to an agreement about compensation and time: We had to agree upon the exact size of the pickup truck they would use to dump the money on my front lawn, as well as how much time I would get to roll around naked in it before it was bundled up and sent off to orphans in Paraguay.
Rekindling the work relationship wasn't all that awkward. After all, I was really being introduced to a whole new group of designers and production personnel. But I will admit that stepping onto set exclusively as an actor was odd. I was so used to helming the entire production process. In previous C&C games, I could shoot a take, review it, and go back to reshoot it if I found even the tiniest little thing I didn't like. I was not used to being in the position where I was acting through someone else's vision and under someone else direction--as Kane.
GS: And now that you're back working with EA on Command & Conquer 3, do you think we'll be seeing more of you in future game products?
JK: Oh sure--I play a 1969 Pontiac GTO in "Need for Speed 3." It's a tough role because that car had four-on-the-floor and as everybody knows, I'm a five-speed.
In "Lord of the Rings," I play Plinky, Gandalf the Grey's monkey sidekick. I took a lot of flack from the simian-rights community who thought that role should go to an actual monkey, but once I showed them my family tree, they relented.
And of course, I'll be reprising my role as "Frat Boy #3" in the soon-to-be released "Celebrity Cheerleader Tickle Fight 4000," a personal project I've been working on for quite some time.
GS: Why do you think EA brought you back to appear in the new game? What do you think you bring to the role of Kane that a look-alike or sound-alike might not be able to capture?
JK: The real reason they brought me back was because I'm cheap and easily persuaded to help move heavy pieces of scenery in between shots. In all seriousness, Mike Verdu, the game's executive producer, has made his enthusiasm for the original C&C series and the methodology behind his vision for the game very obvious from the start. He had an early love of the game even before he started working at EA, and when he flew out to my house to pitch the project, I could tell right away that he was a big C&C fan because he had my face tattooed on his chest. I thought that was sweet.
I honestly think that I might be the only one in the world who understands the humor in Kane--the wry sense of absurdity behind a lot of the megalomaniacal snarkiness. It's a fine line to tread between that sort of humor and the over-the-top, hyperdramatic, almost-Shakespearean villainy. It's a really tough distinction that I've worked very hard to create, right from the beginning of the C&C franchise.
GS: Did you have a chance to work closely with any of the other Hollywood talent that EA brought in for the game? Do you have any interesting stories from working on the set with them?
JK: I was in charge of Tricia Helfer's hair and makeup. And I polished her boots between takes. I was not, however, flown to Hawaii to assist on Josh Holloway's shoot. Apparently, they let just anyone polish his boots. Grace Park has a glass eye (not a lot of people know that), and it was my job to make sure it was pointing in the right direction when she spoke directly into the camera. There's nothing more disconcerting to an experienced gamer than to get a briefing from an actor with a wonky eye!
In all seriousness, Tricia was a lot of fun to work with, and she is a real talent. She certainly deserves all of the attention she's been receiving lately. We had a good rapport on the set; I think that whole restraining order thing was just her idea of a joke. If you're reading this Tricia: Good one!
Any interesting stories...well, there was this one time when the bald cap on my head slipped off and my long, flowing blonde hair fell out, and it looked like a mullet. And then someone on the set yelled, "Hey look! Kane's got a mullet!" And we all laughed and laughed. And then I had that person fired.
GS: From what we've seen of you in C&C 3, you don't seem to have aged a day since your appearances in the original games. What's your secret? Facial massages? Pilates?
JK: Just like Dorian Gray, there is a painting of me in my attic that just gets older and older. Oh, and I also do Bikram Yoga. Just like Dorian Gray.
GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about your role as Kane, Command & Conquer 3, or anything else in general?
JK: I would like to sincerely thank all of the loyal C&C fans out there. I'm constantly surprised by their sheer number and their loyalty. The honest truth is: I chose to reprise my role as Kane because of the huge outpouring of support and interest I saw online. I lurked in every newsgroup, surfed every fan site, and saw how energetically they argued that the game wouldn't be the same without my participation. It was very, very flattering, and I was deeply touched. Not to mention surprised. So, thanks to the fans.
GS: And thanks to you.
Who thinks Joe Kucan looks like Edward Norton in American History X? It seems the writer of the movie was playing too much Command and Conquer (if there is such a thing).
One vision! , one purpose! , the technology of peace ! , KANE LIVES IN DEATH! , and kucane saves the day !!!
Internet was down for a while. Just saw the interview. Man, Joe Kucan kicks so much ass. Never really knew the actor behind the messiah. He's even cooler than I imagined. That one question about look-alike and sound-alike is assinine. At the first sign of an imitation, I am jumping ship to the GDI. Better yet, I will jump ship to Warcraft. Heaven forbid. :) I just got a new level of respect for Mark Verdu. He knows what's going on. If he would just drop any possible ridiculous notion of three-sides => side mini-campaigns, he really would be my hero who saves C&C.
It's sounding better and better every time something new is released or reported. I'm dying for this game to come out, and can't wait for it to be released. I've had my Kane Edition pre-ordered since the day it was announced!
If it's going to be as good as battle for Middle Earth 2 on the 360 then this C&C is going to be great.
Excellent interview. Joe Kucan reminded me somewhat of Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H... I'm looking forward to seeing Kane onscreen again when C&C3 gets here... -PsyW
lolz, kane=nod a part of my email = nod haha, seems i am a fan of C&C whether i escape that matter i love the game, except for C&C generals. i started playing the game when i was 5 years old? anyways the interview is very hilarious "Just like Dorian Gray, there is a painting of me in my attic that just gets older and older. Oh, and I also do Bikram Yoga. Just like Dorian Gray." hehe i should get a "cursed painting" then!
Kane is awesome. The man hasn't aged a bit. Looks exactly the same as I remembered him. Brotherhood of Nod ftw
That guy has a great sense of humour. They should make uhm the new CEO of EA...that was EA probably won't suck as much as they do now :P
I don't think he's that funny in real life...but still, it's nice to see that Kane has a human side ;) FOR THE TECHNOLOGY OF PEACE!!!
yea that was realy funny its refreshing to see somone so into what he is doing that he cracks jokes about it oh and btw HEIL KANE
Nice interview! It's impossible to tell that he is wearing something to cover his real hair during the shots (if he really is).
Here's a short interview with from YouTube: [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGxJVvsAZZo[/url]
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