Originals

12/27/2012

A Chat With The Live-Action Nathan Drake

Ryan Culver, the actor who embodied Nathan Drake for Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, speaks up about playing the part.

By: Ryan Winslett

Filed Under: Editorial Feature Industry Interview

Playing video games gives us the chance to take on the role of a hero. We escape into these digital worlds where bullets don’t hurt, demigods dole out justice and ordinary people are granted extraordinary powers.

Ryan Culver knows what it’s like to be Nathan Drake. No, I mean literally. Unlike everyone else who has to pick up a controller to take on the persona of Uncharted’s wise-cracking, death-defying adventurer, Culver got to actually fill the boots of one of the PlayStation 3’s most recognizable personalities.

Nathan Drake—Along with the likes of God of War’s Kratos, inFamous’ Cole MacGrath and LittleBigPlanet’s Sackboy—recently made an appearance in Sony’s mascot-infused brawler, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale; giving some of the publisher’s most beloved characters (as well as a few third party favorites) the chance to duke it out in grand fashion.

To promote PlayStation All-Stars, Sony concocted a live-action trailer that sees the characters mentioned above going toe-to-toe in the Prague back alley. Culver played the part of Nathan Drake and, though he never said a word, he managed to capture the cocky, charming swagger of the high-flying thief with more lives than a suburban full of felines.


We’ll begin with the question I think is on pretty much all of our minds: Is Sackboy really as difficult to work with as everyone says he is?

Man, I’ll tell ya, between takes the kid just sat there. Didn’t look around, didn’t talk to anyone. In fact, he didn’t even move. Between you and me, it was like he had a stick up his butt or something. Weird guy. Laughs. But he’s a true professional because he really came to life when the cameras were rolling. And he always had a smile on his face. Still have no idea how he doesn’t burn his legs with that jetpack.

So, how does one land a gig playing Nathan Drake? Did you know about the character before getting to fill his shoes?

Sony had put a search out to find the live-action version of Nathan Drake. I went in and met the producers and director of the spot, and we did some improvisation through some of the action and dialogue.

At the time I didn’t know much about Drake, so a lot of what I gave them in that meeting was how I would have responded to those situations myself and what I would have said. As it turned out, my actions, words and responses were already very much like Drake.

They [Sony] were very particular about this casting process, and really took their time to find exactly who they wanted for this, so it became quite a waiting game towards the end of the process. But well worth the wait!

So after I was cast, I underwent an intense study process to learn about Drake and immerse myself into his world. I spent many hours watching the online “movies” of the three games, and questioned all the gamers I knew to get their advice so I made sure I was headed in the right direction.

The most important thing to me was to stay true to the fans. To take this incredible character and this amazing storyline and just try and become a part of that. It is already so well fleshed out that there’s not much need to try and change it.

I understand you and Drake have a few things in common. Could you fill us in on those details?

Let’s see…We’re both quiet and reserved, we’re home-bodies, we never get into trouble…laughs.

No, really, Drake travels the world constantly seeking adventure and that’s kind of how I’ve grown up. I’ve been an adventurer and extreme sports athlete my whole life (rock-climbing, skydiving, etc.). I’m also a pilot. I have a company that delivers small aircraft to people all over the world. So when I’m not acting, I end up taking off on a lot of adventures, landing in all sorts of interesting and remote places all over the world, seeing amazing sights and people. I’m constantly out exploring and thrill-seeking, and that’s who I feel Drake is as well.

We apparently even talk the same. During the casting process, we would improvise and I would use phrases like “Aw, crap” a lot. This is before I really knew anything about Drake. Then I saw the whole series and laughed at how many times he uses those words.

You managed to pull off the attitude of Drake without ever saying a word. What’s the process like for that sort of a role?

Thank you, I’ve received that same comment from the fans as well and it means a lot.

It’s a pretty intimidating process to start with. After realizing how important Nathan Drake is to fans around the world, I instantly felt a great responsibility to live up to that vision that I knew people would have about what Drake should be like. So when you take away his voice, you’re suddenly in danger of loosing his sense of humor, which is one of his greatest qualities. Understanding that, it became even more important to absorb as much as I could and get lost in his world.

So it became a process of spending a lot of hours watching and studying the game to see how Drake moved and the way he responded to things when they happened. From curious, to frustrated, to humored, to angry – he’s got a great range of emotion in the game, and I tried to pinpoint that so, with so much action, it was clear to the audience.

Drake was also the guy you were gonna follow through the “story” of the spot, so that made it even more important to get his facial expressions down. Getting it right was so important to me, and the wonderful support I’ve received from fans since it came out has definitely made me feel like the work paid off.

Did you ever feel pressured by Kratos to do the duck-lips face? He seemed awful fond of that particular facial expression.

Laughs. Yeah, I noticed a lot of the fans commenting on that. Not sure where that came from. Oh wait, maybe it was because we were standing behind the scenes making duck faces at him while he was on camera. Nah, I’m sure that didn’t have anything to do with it.

Seriously, I have no idea, but Kratos took his job very seriously, so the last thing I wanted to do was steal his spotlight, laughsduck-lips or not.

What was the shoot like? I imagine this was a bit different from the roles you’re used to playing, what with a nine-foot-tall Greek god and a superhero who can shoot lightning out of his hands.

The shoot was fantastic. We shot over several nights in Prague and the whole production team was great. Sometimes shooting nights can throw you off, especially when you’re doing action scenes and the energy has to be really high, but this group made it a lot of fun, and that makes all the difference in the world. There may be a few behind-the-scene shots floating around, if you can find them.

And we had an amazing stunt coordinator, fight coordinator, and stunt team. We worked for a day on the sequence for the whole fight, then pieced it together over the many different shot angles. We did have stunt guys ready to step in and help if necessary, but it was really important to the authenticity of the characters and the scene that we were seen on camera doing everything for real. So we did all of our own stunts and wire work on the job, which is great fun. I love the stunt work, and will always do as much as I can myself.

Yes, there’s nothing like reading a script/storyboard and seeing “…Drake dodges massive sword on chain from 9 foot tall blue demi-god…” and “…he freezes in pain as he’s struck by bolts of lightning from the hands of…” When you’re an actor and you read those lines of action, you just know you’re in for a good time. And that’s why it was so important to understand Drake before going in because once you start that pace of shooting you just have to be there, living in that “world of Drake.” And by the way, it’s a kick-ass world.

There have been talks of an Uncharted movie being made one day. Is Nathan Drake a role you would want to pursue again?

I can’t think of anything cooler. I would be incredibly honored to have the opportunity to step into his boots again. He’s a character that is very similar to me in many ways. I guess if there was any character I was born to play, it would probably be someone like Drake.

I have been very humbled by the overwhelming fan support since the commercial came out. They have a very powerful collective voice, and can influence a lot of decisions when they get behind certain people or projects. It’s a crazy, exciting, awesome universe of gamers, and I’m stoked to be a part of it.

If there are other projects in the future, I would be very excited to wear the jeans and henley again.

What about the character interests you?

Holy crap, how much time do you have? Man, he’s such a rich character on so many levels. The humor and wit are his tools to survive in the world. And he’s really smart. You can see that there are always wheels turning upstairs, but he plays that down, which makes it even cooler. I also dig the fact that he’s not a “super hero.” No powers, no suits, just a guy with a hunch and a whole lotta guts.

Then of course, he’s got this great deep and quiet side; this lost and orphaned little boy inside that he hides from the world. He’s so complex, so humanizing, and so relatable, and I think that’s the mark of any true and long-lasting iconic character.

Finally, we all saw you make sure your gun was loaded before heading into that back alley, so I have to ask: Why didn’t you just shoot everybody and be done with it?

Ah yes, great question, and I’m glad I get to answer this for many of the fans who have been asking. We talked on set during the choreography about how to get Drake’s gun away from him. We actually shot that scene so Drake dives away from Kratos, pulls out his gun, and as he raises it he gets zapped by the lightning, which forces the gun to fly out of his hands. Part of that got cut out for time, so the audience missed seeing it. When I’m hit with the lightning, the gun is flying out of my hand, it just didn’t make it into the final cut. But that was a great catch by the fans and I hope that helps solve the mystery.

Thanks to all the fans for your comments and amazing support. I love connecting with you through Facebook and Twitter @Ryan_Culver. And thank you to Bit Creature for having me on. You guys were great. I wish everyone a Happy Holiday!

Filed Under: Editorial Feature Industry Interview

About the Author:
Ryan Winslett is an Arizona-based journalist and freelance writer. He is a contributing writer for Gaming Blend and his work has also appeared on Joystiq, Gamasutra and Joystick Division. His only crime is loving too much.

4,061 Responses to “A Chat With The Live-Action Nathan Drake”

  1. cheap flights

    great points altogether, you just received a new reader.
    What might you suggest in regards to your put up that
    you just made a few days ago? Any positive?

  2. http://tinyurl.com/

    We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.

    Your site offered us with helpful info to work on. You have done an impressive task and
    our whole neighborhood will probably be thankful to you.

  3. bang hieu alu

    Công ty Quảng Cáo Đại Phát cung cấp dịch vụ thiết
    kế, in ấn và thi công biển bảng quảng cáo,
    biển đèn led, chữ nổi, in ấn hiflex uy tín, chất lượng cùng giá thành cạnh tranh nhất trên thị trường tại khu vực TP.
    Hồ Chí Minh

    Làm bảng hiệu quảng cáo tphcm – Một bảng hiệu đẹp với thiết kế thu hút sẽ là lợi thế
    lớn của bạn trong việc quảng bá thương hiệu,
    và sản phẩm dịch vụ.

    Thiết kế, in ấn, thi công bảng biển hiệu quảng cáo đèn LED, chữ
    nổi Inox, đèn LED ma trận, mặt dựng alu, bảng hiệu, hộp đèn, tủ kệ nhôm kính giá rẻ.

    – gia cong mica
    – gia cong inox
    – lam bien quang cao

    Quang Cao Dai Phat
    Hotline: 0935 79 00 28
    Email: daiphatgroup2010@gmail.com

  4. tinyurl.com

    This design is steller! You obviously know how to keep a reader amused.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start
    my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic
    job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how
    you presented it. Too cool!

  5. web hosting

    Excellent web site. Plenty of useful information here.
    I am sending it to several buddies ans also sharing in delicious.
    And of course, thank you on your effort!

  6. gamefly

    I don’t even understand how I finished up here, but I assumed
    this post was once good. I do not recognize who you might be but definitely you are going to
    a famous blogger when you are not already. Cheers! ps4 games 185413490784 ps4 games

  7. ps4 games

    Hey there! I simply wish to offer you a big thumbs up for the excellent info you have got right here on this post.
    I will be coming back to your web site for more soon.

  8. ps4 games

    Hello, its pleasant article on the topic of media print,
    we all understand media is a wonderful source of facts.

  9. http://bit.ly/3r2uZvK

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove people from that service?
    Appreciate it!

  10. web hosting

    Hi, I do think this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I’m going to come back once again since
    I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you
    be rich and continue to guide other people.

  11. web hosting

    When someone writes an article he/she maintains the plan of a user in his/her mind that how a user can know it.

    So that’s why this post is great. Thanks!

  12. 0mniartist

    Hi there! This blog post could not be written much better! Looking through
    this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about
    this. I’ll forward this post to him. Pretty sure he’s going to
    have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing!
    asmr 0mniartist

  13. gamefly there

    Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog stand out.
    Please let me know where you got your design.
    Thanks a lot

  14. but asmr

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post!

    It’s the little changes that make the most significant changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  15. asmr in

    It’s remarkable to go to see this web site and reading the views of all friends regarding this article, while I am also
    eager of getting familiarity.

  16. asmr an

    Hello I am so thrilled I found your web site, I really found you by error,
    while I was researching on Google for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a tremendous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time
    to read through it all at the minute but I have saved it and also included
    your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the awesome b.

  17. gamefly why

    With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has a
    lot of unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web
    without my agreement. Do you know any ways to help stop content from being stolen? I’d certainly
    appreciate it.

  18. that asmr

    Thanks for any other magnificent post. Where else may just anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect means of writing?
    I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at
    the search for such information.

  19. RichardGom

    how to buy cialis online uk ed drugs – buy cialis online cheap
    can i buy cialis online

  20. j.mp

    This is really interesting, You’re an overly skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to in quest of extra of your excellent post.

    Additionally, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks

  21. my asmr

    Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and in depth information you provide.
    It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t
    the same old rehashed material. Fantastic
    read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my
    Google account.

  22. asmr their

    I was recommended this web site by my cousin.
    I am now not certain whether this publish is written via him as nobody else realize such detailed approximately my difficulty.
    You are wonderful! Thanks!

  23. j.mp

    scoliosis
    I’m gone to tell my little brother, that he should also pay a visit this website on regular basis to get updated from hottest
    information. scoliosis

  24. bitly.com

    scoliosis
    Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will revisit yet again since i have book marked
    it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may
    you be rich and continue to help others. scoliosis

  25. http://j.mp/3eVCPos

    scoliosis
    I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back
    in the future. Many thanks scoliosis

  26. https://785days.tumblr.com/

    free dating sites
    Hi there would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re
    working with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.
    Can you suggest a good web hosting provider
    at a fair price? Cheers, I appreciate it! https://785days.tumblr.com/ free dating sites

  27. asmr a

    Great blog here! Also your site loads up very fast!

    What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  28. free dating sites with

    It’s remarkable to go to see this web site and reading the views of all
    colleagues on the topic of this paragraph, while I am also eager of
    getting knowledge.

  29. free dating sites with

    Thanks , I have just been searching for info approximately this topic for ages and yours is the best I’ve discovered so
    far. However, what about the conclusion? Are you certain in regards to the source?

  30. in free dating sites

    I’m not certain the place you’re getting your information, however
    great topic. I must spend some time learning more or working
    out more. Thanks for wonderful info I used to be searching for this information for my mission.

  31. our scoliosis

    Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.

    Look advanced to far added agreeable from you!
    However, how could we communicate?

  32. an dating sites

    It’s the best time to make a few plans for the long run and
    it’s time to be happy. I’ve learn this post and if I
    may just I wish to suggest you some attention-grabbing issues or advice.

    Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read more issues approximately it!

  33. http://tinyurl.com/y4t2bfvx

    I have been surfing online greater than 3 hours today,
    but I by no means discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours.
    It is pretty value sufficient for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made excellent content as you did, the web might be
    much more helpful than ever before.

  34. http://tinyurl.com/y2eyzmnc

    Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying
    to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing
    very good gains. If you know of any please share.
    Thank you!

  35. Charlene

    Quality articles is the important to attract the users to pay a visit the
    web page, that’s what this web site is providing.

  36. MothUrifs

    [url=https://hqd.wiki/]hqd горит лампочка синим[/url]

    электронные сигареты rich

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

The Latest:

  • Originals

    Swan Song

    This is a tough one to write. For those of you who know me, in person, by my writing, or…


  • Originals

    The Fool and the Villain, Part II

    (Warning: In Second Life, pixelated tits and dicks abound. Abandon all hope, all ye who enter this article at work.)…


  • Commentary

    The Edge Of The Ocean

    The problem is to plot the map. My sense of geography is spotted with black holes. There’s the Chinatown and…


  • Originals

    Play Everything

    Play everything. No, I’m serious, play everything. Play that game of hopscotch those kids drew up on the sidewalk with…


  • Commentary

    Genre In Question

    Why are there so few video game comedies? At least twice in the past year I’ve bumped into conversations trying…