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INTERVIEW: Ryan Culver – Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale (PART 1)

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Ryan Culver

PART 2 >>>

If you have been to the movies in the past few months you have undoubtedly seen the trailer for Playstation All-Star Battle Royale. The star of that trailer is none other than Nathan Drake of the Uncharted Series, but who is the actor behind the character? His name is Ryan Culver. His name might not ring any bells but if the quality of his work has anything to say about it; that will be changing in the future. I got the chance to pick Ryan’s brain about his roles, career and so much more. Check it out below.Ryan Culver, red shirt low res

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JAMES ARLEDGE: First of all can we talk a bit about your background? How did you get started as an actor?

RYAN CULVER: Actually I started out on stage at 11.   I really like that medium, but the amount of collaboration in filmmaking is really incredible and I have been drawn to that for some time.  I started TV, commercial, and small film work around 2000-2001, and I’m now in Los Angeles doing that, among other things.

JA: How do you get ready for a role or get pumped up before going on set? Does this differ from genre to genre?

RC: Well getting ready is always a matter of doing your homework on the character and their situation.  Each role and each genre is different.  I’ve got a weird thing about the shoes of a character.  To me, shoes (or the lack of them) really affects the way you walk, from running shoes, to sandals, to dress shoes.  I tend to carry myself a little differently in each pair, I feel different in each pair, and for me, what a character (and I) wear really helps me to climb into that world.

Getting “pumped” before a scene does change for me based on genre or particular intention in that scene.  I’m not overly “method,” but I will try to put myself into whatever feeling the character would be in prior to stepping onto the set.  Sometimes that means you isolate yourself, go for a run, yell, laugh, eat a lot, don’t eat at all, etc.  For the action stuff, it’s all high energy, so that means staying loose, stretching, keeping a lot of energy in your breathing, so you start the scene as if you’ve been there, in it for a while.  It’s also important to take it easy between takes, to make sure all your energy is going to the work on camera.  All of that becomes even more important when you’re shooting over long nights, like we did on the PlayStation shoot.

I dig those experiences though.  I feel that the more authentic my experience is, the more that will come across on screen.
JA: What real life experiences have you had that you feel has prepared you for your role as Nathan Drake?

RC: Oh, I’ve been bouncing around the world, having crazy adventures for many years.  I’ve been an action- sport athlete for most of my life, skydiving, BASE jumping, rock climbing, scuba diving, etc.  I’m also a pilot and I own a company that moves small aircraft around the world, so when I’m not on set, I am usually flying planes to remote spots all over the world, landing in crazy places and getting to meet a lot of interesting people.
It’s hard for me to get tied down, and I’m a bit of a thrill-seeker, so you’ll usually find me off in some part of the world getting into some sort of trouble (haha).

JA: What’s it like to adapt and become a character that people already know as opposed to creating an entirely new character?

RC: Man, when I realized how big a deal Drake was to the fans around the world, I was a bit intimidated to start the process of working on him.  I’ve said before that the most important thing to me is “getting it right” for the fans, and I put a lot of pressure on myself when I started, to try and really bring that guy you see in the game to real life on screen.

For something like this, there is already such an awesome groundwork for you to pull from.  Nathan Drake is such a richly complex character and the storyline is amazingly detailed.  While it offers a lot, it can also make it harder, because it may make you feel constricted by what’s already out there and known about Drake.  For me, what’s “out there” is so cool and full of life, that I could inhabit his world without feeling stuck.

I have friends and family who are big gamers, and 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 on how to approach the character.

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What are your thoughts on Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale? What character is your favorite? Which characters would you like to see on the roster? And finally, please discuss what you thought of Ryan’s answers and performance in the commercial in the comments below.

Special thanks to Ryan Culver for answering all my questions.

Follow him on twitter: @Ryan_Culver

Follow me on twitter: @james_arledge