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Hey guys! I have an extra special interview here for you today! With help from K Harrison Sweeney I snagged an interview with the biggest badass who ever hit the west! You know him and love him so now it's time to get to know him! Ladies and Gentlemen time to meet Rob Wiethoff voice of the one and only John Marston! So yet again grab a drink and get to know Rob Wiethoff!!
1) Are you yourself a gamer? If so what's your favorite video game?
I have been asked this question several times and I hate to say it, but I am not a gamer. I know that probably doesn't go over well with many readers of this interview, but it's the honest truth.
I used to love to play Nintendo back in the day, but I haven't been into anything to do with gaming since. I do have Red Dead Redemption and Undead Nightmare and I have played them quite a bit. I haven't played any other games, though. I'm afraid to get any other games because, knowing myself, I'd probably end up getting all the games and never really doing anything but play them. Ha!
2) Have you yourself played the game? What do you think about how it ended?
As I mentioned above, I do play RDR and Undead Nightmare. I can't play them as often as I like for a few reasons. Probably the biggest reason now is that my wife and I just had twin boys. I don't have much time outside of doing my part in taking care of them and going to work. The other reason that I didn't play too much before the boys arrived is that my wife couldn't ever be comfortable in our house while I was playing. She would always peek in the room and ask if I was yelling at the TV or if the TV was yelling at me. The funny thing is that it was usually both! Of course, I always told her that it was just the game.
The ending of the game was very strong, I thought. I really can't compare it to other games, obviously, but I do like how people are saying that it had an effect on them. I'm not sure if people look to video games for that kind of entertainment, but it sounds like they're getting it from the ending of this game.
3) How did you get the part?
I got called for an audition one night. It was one of those last minute auditions that you usually have to just drive directly to no matter where you are or what you're doing. Once I made it to the place holding the auditions, I walked into a waiting room full of men dressed in Army gear. It was pretty nuts. I didn't know I was reading for an Army guy, I thought. As it turns out, none of us were. I finally got in the room to audition and was given some direction. The first time I read, I felt pretty good. The session runner told me, too, that I had done a pretty decent job with the first take. He liked the "vibe" about what I had done, but told me that it just wasn't what the director was looking for. After a little bit of working through the changes he had advised, we were ready for take two. Just before he said, "Action", he was called out of the room by one of the other employees at the audition site. Of course, as soon as he got back, he told me that he didn't have time for me to do another take and that the one I had already done would have to be the one. Luckily, that session runner was wrong.
4) What was it like working with Rockstar?
Because I haven't worked on any other video games besides RDR and Undead Nightmare, I don't have anyone in that industry to compare Rockstar Games to. I can tell you with 100% certainty, though, that Rockstar Games is easily the best company I've worked for/with in any capacity. They were all very well educated in and good at what they do. They are all helpful, patient, fun, cool, and a pleasure to be around. I still keep in touch with and genuinely like those people. I feel like they've got it figured out.
5) Do you play multiplayer and if so what character do you play as?
I have never played multiplayer, actually. I have thought about playing that way and seeing if anyone would recognize my voice. It would be fun to see if anyone would notice. At some point, I'll try it out and see what happens.
6) What do you like most about the character John Marston? Is there anything don’t you like about him?
I like a lot about John. If I had to pick what I like the most about him it would be the fact that he is absolutely fearless. I love that about him. A close second would be the way that he cares about his wife and son.
Because the player can make the decision of whether John is a good guy or a bad guy, it's hard to say what is best about him. He can, sort of, be two very different characters. It just depends on who is controlling him. The two things I like the most that are constant no matter how the game is played, though, are his fearlessness and his love for his family.
I don't like that John did so many bad things early in his life. I really don't think that, if he could, John would disagree with me on that. By the time we meet him, it's clear that he learned from his mistakes has tried to be a better man.
7) Is John like you in any way?
The only thing that I can say that John and I share, for sure, is our voice. Ha! We sound exactly alike! --I'm an idiot for saying that. I just thought I was funny for a second.
I like to think that I'm, at least, half the man John Marston is. He may not have liked everything that he was asked to do in order to keep his family life the way he wanted it to be, but he didn't ever quit. He was a man about things.
I had an issue with an adult the other day and I was embarrassed at the way he handled himself. Without getting into what happened, I will just tell you it was pretty gross. This guy lost his cool and acted like a spoiled child.
I went home and told my wife that night that what this guy needed to be aware of is that just because you can no longer call yourself a child, that doesn't mean that you can call yourself a man.
John Marston was always a man. I would hope my friends and family would agree that it's important to me to be looked at in that same light.
8) What’s your favorite mission in the game?
My favorite mission is number 29: The Mexican Wagon Train. I can remember shooting that scene like it was yesterday. The day that we shot it was one of those days when I was having trouble remembering my lines. I don't know if I was tired or if I was over thinking everything, but I wasn't feeling very good about my work. Right before we shot that scene, I was walking around with my script and my headphones trying to get the lines down. Because I would record myself speaking the lines the night before and listen to them while I read the script, I usually had pretty good luck remembering most of them. I could not get the lines from this scene down to save my life, though. I remember feeling like I was going to make everyone upset by holding everything up. I really didn't know what we were going to do. It was terrible.
Anyway, to make a long story short, as soon as Rod called "Action" I ended up knowing the lines more clearly in this scene than any others that I can remember. It was so weird. It was like I was reading them off the page. I had never experienced anything like that before and I haven't since.
I really enjoy the actual mission, as well. I think it's cool that you have to go chase down a guarded wagon, take it over, and release the prisoners when the work is done.
9) What’s your favorite western and why?
My favorite western is Tombstone. I'm not sure if I like it most because I really like the movie that much or if I like the story that much or if it's because I have seen it over fifty times. My college roommate loved that movie so much that he would have it on every single time we were about to head out somewhere or have people over. The funny thing is that if I was somewhere and I realized that Tombstone was on, I would gladly hang out and watch it again.
10) Are you friends with the other voice actors?
I would like to consider the other voice actors as my friends. The only reason I don't just say that I'm friends with them is because I don't know all of them well enough to know if we are actually friends or not. Based off what I know of each of them, I would be happy to hang out with any them. They all seemed to be cool people. I know that if I did get a chance to hang with any of them, I would probably learn a lot. I can't tell you how much I learned by working with such talented people. It was incredible.
11) What are your thoughts are on doing voice overs for animated films vs. video games?
I've often thought about doing voice overs for animated films. I'm not sure if I'd be any good at it or not. Honestly, I don't even know how it works. I would love to give it a shot!
Most of the voice acting that was recorded in RDR and Undead Nightmare was recorded along with the motion capture. We didn't have to synchronize our words to lip movements or anything tricky like that. We just had to say the lines as we naturally would in any other format. It was pretty easy once all the blocking was in place and the scenes were rehearsed a few times.
12) What modern voice actors are you a fan of?
I really wouldn't know outside of what I've worked on. I haven't done any research on any other projects.
If you haven't already done this, listen to K. Harrison Sweeney speak when he's not playing the character "Irish". If he was speaking to you in the grocery store and you didn't already know he was the guy that was Irish, you would never guess it to be him.
K. Harrison and others who use an accent other than their everyday accent while delivering their lines are extremely talented people. Because they are able to pull off something that is so difficult as well as they do, I am absolutely fans of theirs.
13) Did doing RDR change your life in any way?
RDR has changed my life very little, actually. Other than being able to say that I was part of something so special, which is very cool, my life hasn't changed too much. Because nobody recognizes me by appearance when I'm walking down the street like they might if RDR was an actual movie instead of a video game, I haven't experienced much of a change. Once people know that I am the person that played John Marston, they tend to ask me questions about it. Most people have no idea what I really look like, though, I would imagine.
14) Was it weird at first hearing your voice coming from John when you played the game?
Hearing my voice coming from John Marston is as weird as you hearing your voice when you set up your voicemail, probably.
"Do I really sound like that? ...Ugh! I don't really sound like that, do I?" --It was kind of like that.
It's really weird for my family and friends, too, to see my voice coming out of John Marston's mouth. Because I did the motion capture for John, people are freaked out seeing him move and sound like me.
15) When Rockstar approached you about doing Undead Nightmare what was your reaction?
I loved the idea of doing Undead Nightmare. Working with Rockstar Games, as I mentioned above, was a very cool experience. I would work with them right now if they told me they have something for me to do. I wouldn't think twice about it. In fact, I'd be thrilled to work with them again.
16) Was this your first time using motion capture technology when acting? If so was it hard to adapt?
This was my first time working with motion capture and it was a very different way to do things, to say the least. Thankfully, the people at Rockstar Games are extremely patient because I didn't learn how to work with the new "gear" very well right off the bat.
I'm not sure if there is a website to look at or a YouTube video of someone working with motion capture so everyone can see what I'm about to try to explain, but I hope there is. I'm not sure where to start...
I'm not going to get technical and start explaining how everything works because I really have no idea. I can tell you, though, that we all looked like we were wearing full length wet suits with little ping pong balls stuck all over them. On top of that, we had helmets on that held a camera with lights out in front of our faces. This was what was used to capture our facial expressions and eye movements.
It was a little distracting especially when working on a scene when the characters had to be positioned close together. We all kept banging our "faces" off of each other. It was actually pretty funny.
If there is a motion capture class out there, I would recommend to any actor that is serious about the business take it. Having all of the different suits, batteries, helmets, and lights in your face takes some getting used to.
17) Is there anything you know about John and wasn’t revealed in the game that you’d like people to know or wouldn’t mind telling?
John Marston is the character that everyone already knows. What I mean by that is that there really isn't anything about him that wasn't presented to the player.
If you want to know who I thought about most of the time when I was trying to get into character, it would be my brother-in-law. That man lives in Seymour, IN and owns a concrete finishing company. He is the modern day version of John Marston if you play the game as John being a good guy. Actually, my brother-in-law had a much different upbringing than John did and he was never involved with any kind of gang or robbing banks or trains. He's never held anyone for ransom, either. He is, though, the kind of guy that demands respect and gets respect. I thought of him many times while getting into character.
18) Which did you have more fun with Red Dead Redemption or Undead Nightmare?
I'm not sure if I can pick which was more fun. There were a lot of similarities between both of the shoots, and both were a lot of fun in their own ways.
I didn't have to do anything on either of the games that made me feel uncomfortable which I'm very happy about. I did, however, have to pretend to be a zombie several times while shooting Undead Nightmare. I'm not sure why, but I would get so embarrassed every time I had to do that. Ha! Just mentioning it makes me feel embarrassed! It was a lot of fun, but everybody would stare and laugh at me because they could tell it was killing me. Small price to pay for the incredible experience I had, I suppose. I'm just glad that part is over. Laughing that off is hard when you know you're going to have to do it again at some point.
19-23) Tell me about “From the Trailer to the Grave"
I'm not sure what I can say about "From the Trailer to the Grave". I am very excited to get back with some of the guys and get to work on what I feel is an excellent script.
K. Harrison Sweeney is more likely to be open about this film because he is the one who has poured his heart and soul into it for the past couple of years. I would hate to spoil any surprises by saying too much. I will say again, though, that I'm excited to be a part of it.
I think there is a real good chance that it will be seen by a lot more people that K. Harrison Sweeney is anticipating. Either that or he is just being really cool about it when he and I talk.
He's a smart guy. People will love his story. He will eventually run Hollywood because of it. --Ok. I'm getting a little carried away, probably. It's gonna be awesome, though.
24) Where are you from?
I'm from Seymour, IN which is the "Small Town" if you listen to John Mellencamp.
25) Did you always want to be an actor?
I didn't always want to be an actor, actually. I have always wanted to be a pilot or own a construction company.
I flew a plane in Santa Monica, CA with an instructor a couple years ago. It was one of the coolest things I've ever done. I actually flew a plane!! If I were young enough, I would probably go to school and get my pilot license. I would still love that as a career.
I still do construction work from time to time. I love to get into a project and really work hard. It's great to be able to see, each day, exactly what you have accomplished. I love the instant gratification and the good exercise construction work provides.
I became an actor when I moved to LA about 11 years ago. I had no idea what I was getting into, but it seemed like fun so I ran with it. Why not? -You only live once, right?!!
26) What were you doing before being cast in RDR?
I was fortunate enough to have been cast in a number of commercials before being cast in RDR. I, also, was a bartender for about 8 years and worked as a door host at a bar for 3 years before that.
After I had been living in LA for about 3 years, a few of my friends and I went to Vegas for a long weekend. While sitting at a Black Jack table, the dealer asked us what we did for a living. A couple of the guys had regular 9-5 jobs and said what they were, but the rest of us sat there quietly hoping that she would know we were actors. I'm not sure how she would know. None of us had done anything, really, that she would have seen. We just wanted her to know without us telling her, somehow. We were terrible idiots, basically, is what I'm saying.
Anyway, when this dealer heard my friend say, "The rest of us are actors", she, without hesitation asked, "So, which restaurant do you wait tables in?" Ha! I will never forget that moment. She nailed us! We deserved it, too. We thought we were so cool. Good for her.
27) Where did you study?
I never really studied in an acting class in LA. I never did that anywhere for that matter.
There were a couple classes that I started because I had a manager that told me I needed them. I hated them so much, though, that I never went. I always thought the teacher was just collecting and check and not really teaching anything.
I'd like to thank Rob Wiethoff for this awesome opportunity! I got to interview the actor who voiced my favorite video game character! Now if you'll excuse me I have to go cry tears of joy now. Bye!