The lights are on
Kiefer Sutherland recently let slip he has been working on a Mortal Kombat game, which seems like a surprising casting choice. Some may have been disappointed to hear that he would be voicing Naked Snake in Metal Gear Solid V, but his previous roles certainly fall in line with portraying a expert soldier. Mortal Kombat is about violent kung-fu masters fighting each other to the death in a supernatural tournament, which doesn’t seem like his typical wheelhouse. Obviously, we don’t know anything about the project so it’s difficult and unfair to make assumptions, but it wouldn’t be the first time a strange casting choice has occurred in a video game.
Here are some other examples of known actors taking on video game roles that caused us to raise an eyebrow.
Troy Baker – The Joker in Batman: Arkham OriginsTroy Baker had a fantastic year in 2013, and 2014 is looking like another strong year for the actor who seems to be in everything. After voicing Booker DeWitt in BioShock Infinite and Joel in The Last of Us, we were all a little surprised to hear he would be taking on The Joker in Batman: Arkham Origins.
Joel and DeWitt are the epitome of serious grounded video game characters, while The Joker is basically the exact opposite. Baker pulled it off though doing a nearly indistinguishable impersonation of Mark Hamill’s Joker – which is a high compliment. It turns out the reason Troy Baker seems to appear in every popular video game is because he is super talented.
Susan Sarandon – Vera Moray (A.K.A. Granny Rags) in DishonoredAs video games have been slowly merging with Hollywood over the last few years, more and more noteworthy actors who made a name for themselves in film and television have been appearing in video games. It’s not too surprising that Sarandon appears in Dishonored, but the role she plays is.
Granny Rags is a homeless woman who used to be a wealthy aristocrat, but went insane and blind after experimenting with black magic. She provides Corvo with side missions, and that’s about it. In my personal playthrough, I almost missed her entirely. After running into her and hearing her speak, I looked up the character online, curious if it was Susan Sarandon. I was surprised that Arkane hired such a known (and likely expensive) actress to play an ultimately small supporting role.
Gary Coleman – Gary Coleman in Postal 2In Postal 2, there is a mission to travel to the mall in order to meet Gary Coleman and obtain his autograph. Coleman played himself in the game lending both his voice and likeness. You can either wait in line and get his autograph, or attack him, in which case he will reciprocate. If you do manage to get his autograph without casuing a scene, police come and attempt to arrest Coleman, in which case he will open fire anyway. It might be the strangest role Coleman ever played: himself.
Kevin Sorbo – Hercules in God of War 3If you watched TV in the mid-nineties, then you are probably aware of the television show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys starring Kevin Sorbo as Hercules. The version of Hercules portrayed in the show is far removed from the Hercules of God of War 3.
In God of War 3, Hercules is a vengeful, jealous, angry brute under command from Zeus to kill Kratos. Sorbo’s television Hercules is much different. The show was often humorous, and I’m surprised every attempt to distance God of War from that show was not taken. Ignoring Adam West’s age – which obviously would have made it impossible for him to play a young Batman – it’s as if Christopher Nolan cast West as The Dark Knight in his films simply because he once played Batman on television.
Despite the odd choice, Sorbo played Hercules in God of War 3 doing well to make him feel different from the Hercules he played in the nineties. It gives Sorbo the rare title of playing the same character in two entirely different fictions.
Gwen Stefani – Malice in MaliceMany musicians move over to the world of acting, but Gwen Stefani of No Doubt fame has stayed fairly rooted in the world of music. Despite that, she was set to play the role of the lead character in Malice – an action platformer starring a young female character who wields a giant hammer. The rest of the members of No Doubt were apparently also meant to appear in the game in small roles
The game went through many ups and downs moving from the original PlayStation, to becoming an Xbox launch title, to eventually releasing in 2004 (three years after the Xbox launch) as a subpar action game that everyone forgot about. At some time during the many years of development, Stefani and pals dropped out.
Many musicians appear in games, and sometimes it turns out really well. With games like Def Jam Vendetta and Guitar Hero, it makes sense to have musicians appear. In Malice, however, it just seemed forced since the game had nothing to do with music. Stefani and the rest of No Doubt must have felt the same way.
In many of these strange video game castings, it ultimately turned out okay. Are there any games that you were surprised about the casting choices?
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