We’ve seen quite a few actors throw in with video games over the past several years: George Takei in Red Alert 3, Snoop whatever-he’s-calling-himself-right-now in True Crime: Streets of L.A., Samuel Jackson in GTA: San Andreas, Aaron Staton in L.A. Noire. Recently the same man who developed Heavy Rain, David Cage, came out with Beyond: Two Souls and with it brought the clout of Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe.
I think it’s really cool that actors are getting into video games because it lends them a legitimacy and depth that the gaming community craves. It’s even cooler when those actors come away with a greater respect themselves for the video game industry.
Willem Dafoe talked with The Big Issue about his experience working on Beyond: Two Souls and his reflections on the movie industry:
“I think film is in crisis…our creative people aren’t in charge anymore. Maybe they never were but it’s more difficult than ever to create. All the energy is on the selling of something rather than the making of something.”
(Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe via Playstation Magazine)
In the article Dafoe talks about how video games are where young creatives are now, and from his comments above it’s probably not too far of a stretch to assume he thinks creativity in video games has surpassed that in films.
“Definitely there was a snobbery because there’s no precedent for actors doing anything other than voicing video games, and my association with games is that they’ve been about killing people and blowing stuff up… until I saw what this was. I thought, ‘Wow’ and found myself approaching it like a film.”
From the reviews I’ve read of Beyond: Two Souls, the writing is terrible and predictable, though most everything else—including the acting—is impressive. It looks like developers may still need some time before they learn how best to put actors to use in a game, and I’m willing to wait. Until then, check out some of Dafoe’s work in the game below: