Uncharted was a game-changer for the world of video games as it put performance capture front and centre to create an experience that was every bit as much a movie as a game.
Star Nolan North was at the forefront of that, and the work he’s done – including in Marvel’s Avengers as Iron Man – is simply groundbreaking. Unfortunately, we’ve not seen the actor really given the opportunity to explore mo-cap work in live-action projects, but Nolan does hope that could change.
When we recently caught up with him to discuss his incredible career, Nolan talked in detail about hoping to follow in the footsteps of his friend Alan Tudyk, and expressed a desire to work alongside Andy Serkis and Tom Hardy…which leads us to wonder why on Earth Sony Pictures didn’t pick up the phone and give him a call to play a symbiote in Venom: Let There Be Carnage!
What Nolan says here is really fascinating and insightful, so make sure you check it out.
As well as starring in video games, animated TV shows, and movies, Nolan also has his own YouTube channel – Retro Replay – so make sure you head over and subscribe (you can check out a couple of his latest videos below). You can also find him on Twitter at @nolan_north and Instagram at @reallynolannorth to keep up to date with that series and his future projects.
You’re a pioneer in terms of how performance capture is used in video games, but where do you see things going next in that realm?
The great thing about it, is that this technology is like doing any sort of on camera job. This technology is what Andy Serkis does. I think he and I have worked on the same stages, but with one, they take the data and put it in a film, and the other, they take the data and put it in a video game. The one thing I’m hoping to do as my career moves along is to further that in the theatrical space. After all the work I’ve done in motion capture and all the accolades they’ve given me, I’ve never auditioned or been up for a film with motion capture!
Another guy on my bucket list [to work with] is Andy Serkis; I’d love to be around and work with him and watch him in that space and his physicality. I’ve had a chance to visit, in the UK, the Imaginarium and see his facility and it would be a dream come true. You’d think with the amount of experience I have, and I joke with my buddy Alan Tudyk about this, because Alan has done a tonne of motion-capture work in films like Rogue One and, earlier, he played Sonny in iRobot. He’s done a bunch of that in that space, and yet he doesn’t do a lot of gaming work and I don’t do a lot of film work. We’ve worked on TV series together, and we’re very close friends and he’s like, ‘I don’t understand why you don’t audition for that stuff or get put up for it.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t either!’
That’s a thing I’m trying to focus on and expand my horizons. Taking on new things and trying new things, it just keeps things interesting. I would never want to be someone who is only in video games his whole career or only in animation his whole career or only a television actor his whole career. I love these different mediums, dipping my toes in other water, and it keeps things interesting and exciting.
Are there any particular television or film franchises you have an eye on?
I don’t necessarily, There are so many I admire. I was a big fan of Preacher. My buddy Graham McTavish was in that, but it’s gone now. The Boys. I think Amazon is doing amazing stuff with The Boys, and I love some of these graphic novel series they have out there, and I just think what The Boys is doing is so interesting and fun. If I’m being greedy, I would love to do a series in the UK even if it’s just a short-term arc. I was such a fan of the Sherlock Holmes with Benedict Cumberbatch. Peaky Blinders.
I would do anything with Tom Hardy if I were given a chance. I think he’s so interesting an actor to watch. There’s just so many! HBO, Barry, and so many interesting things out there. I’m just going to stick with my reps and say, ‘Let’s look for interesting things. It’s not about anything other than finding interesting characters to play.’ I think, as I get older, I think there are more interesting roles that could be available at some point. Who knows? I’m being very, very picky right now when I probably shouldn’t be, but the idea of just going, ‘Who’s the director? Who are the other actors in it? Does it interest me and is it fun?’ I cringe when I say things like this out loud because I’m thinking, ‘Who are you to say, I can pick and choose.’ I can’t pick and choose, but if the question is what I would pick and choose, those are the things that I’d like to do. I’d just like to work on interesting projects and there’s such great material out there.
Through this COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been able to start streaming different shows and there’s so much good work being done out there. Some of them are franchises people don’t know a lot about, but there’s interesting character work people are doing. I love that there’s the new format with streaming, they’re finally giving opportunities to so many great writers and directors out there that may not, in the traditional big network television, may not have ever gotten an opportunity. Now, they’re getting that. There’s a lot of really good stuff to be had out there, so fingers crossed.