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The Real Trevor Speaks

lovely conversation with Steven Ogg, The Voice Of Trevor Phillips From Grand Theft Auto V.


Steven, how’s another day in the life of Trevor Phillips treating you?

I am good, just trying to cross tasks off the list. Like, what the f***? When did this become life? Writing a to do list, and doing it ?

Probably around a year ago!

It’s unbelievable, I think I need something more out of my life than this.

You could always do another videogame? 

F*** videogames! [laughs]

Did you hear about the Grand Theft Auto V next-gen release ?

It's actually funny, yesterday someone tweeted at me asking if I was going to be in L.A. with Rockstar for the release, and I was like ‘What?’ this is just to give you yet another example of how much of an idiot I am ‘Why, what’s going on?’ Then they send me the stuff over and I see the first-person [mode], which looks f***ing incredible, and I’m like ‘Wow, I didn't know about any of that!’

Have you had a chance to play through GTA V

Honestly, I got that little Grand Theft Auto  game… and I never played it. Well, I tried, but it’s just not my cup of tea.

Are you not a big gamer then?

I’m a no gamer. I like to watch movies and read books. I tried, but I watched my son play [ GTA V]. I tried driving for a bit, killed someone… I don’t know, it just wasn't my thing. The last game I was sort of into was  Halo, but I got really frustrated. I don’t like [opening] missions, I like having an actual goal, like ‘You need to go to the battlefield and clear out the enemy, stuff like that that’s what I enjoy.

GTA V is one of the biggest videogames ever made, has that affected your day-to-day life?

You know, I’ve always said it doesn't change the way I drink my coffee or take a piss in the morning, so it hasn't really changed anything.

How was the audition process for GTA V? Was it similar to other auditions you've done in the past?

It’s pretty much the same thing. It’s actually funny, because the four years I spent working on GTA from the get-go it’s cloaked in secrecy I didn't even know what the project was. It was just an audition like any other aside from that there was no script. There was a dummy script, it wasn't the real one that we would shoot, which four years ago I thought was quite bizarre. Whereas now on the other projects I’ve worked on, I just shot HBO’s  Westworld with Interstellar’s Jonathan Nolan, and it was the same thing. GTA has actually been a lovely training ground for what the business is nowadays. People are so protective of their products now, that a lot of time they don’t provide actors with more than what they need to know, because they don’t want things released.

Where did Trevor’s voice come from, or is it just your angry voice?

I think it would be different if Trevor was British, and I was doing a British accent throughout, or some accent, it would have changed it somewhat. This is one of those actor questions ‘Is the character you?’ Well, all I’ve f***ing got is me. I don’t become someone else [laughs]. You don’t change who you are, so obviously, his anger… generally, for instance, if I’m in an elevator and this has happened before and I’m talking to someone about what’s just happened on the streets of New York. You know, ‘I’m f***ing cycling down here, and this F***ING cab just F***ING cut me off,’ and then If I’m getting angry talking like that I’ve had heads turn towards me and go, ‘Holy shit! You’re Trevor right?’ [The voice] comes from me, [and now] if I curse or get angry, there’s an audio recognition now.

GTA V was fully motion captured, Did you find it difficult to play a very physical and violent character when you’re also having to interact with other actors?

It was fun! When you get to be physical, it sort of informs and motivates your character more. One of the first days of shooting GTA was when I had to stamp in Johnny’s head from Lost & Damned. I talked about his girlfriend, discussed some things with him and then brought him close to me and proceeded to smash him with a bottle and stomp on his head. When I’m doing that, it’s like, ‘Oh wow, shit! That’s interesting.’ It’s quite a release when you’re on set and you’re stomping on a head. It’s real interesting.

Were there any scenes that you found uncomfortable to read through or act? 

That’s the way Trevor speaks, the way he communicates, that’s the way this character rolls. It’s my job to do it, so I didn't really… Of course, a lot of times it was very funny. Like, ‘Oh my god, I’ve got to say this?’ funny. There weren't any times I was cringing, thinking I can't say this or I can’t say  that word. That doesn't mean I necessarily agree with [all of] it, but that’s part of the challenge, right? If you’re playing a character that you don’t necessarily agree with, or the way he’s going about things or the way he chooses to say these things, well, it’s my job is to make them believable. He says some funny shit, however crude and inappropriate it is. It is funny.

He is funny we love Trevor and in many ways, he’s a brilliant reflection of our culture…

I think he’s like the id of the game. If you’re going to go into this world which is fantasy and you’re someone who gets to say what he wants to say, f*** with what he wants to, and do what he wants to do! If I was a gamer, that’s the sort of character I would be interested in. If you walk down the street or in a normal situation, who hasn't thought, ‘Man I’d just love to f***ing clock that idiot upside the head,’ but if you do that in real life there are consequences, you can’t do it! But, if you’re going to go into a world of escape and fantasy, shit, that’s pretty fun!

Do you still speak with your co-stars Shawn Fonteno [Franklin Clinton] and Ned Luke [Michael De Santa]?

We do still keep in touch, though I don’t get to see them as much as I would like. But we formed a brotherhood, really. It was three and a half years of working on a project with these guys; you share a lot of ups and downs. It’s part of the beauty of the business really, you can make these intense relationships Ned and Shawn are the salt of the earth. Really, the blessing of the job was meeting all these amazing people, the crew, the director, everyone. It was a really great thing, those boys will always be in my circle.

If the opportunity came up to voice Trevor again, would you? 

I certainly wouldn't turn down the opportunity to revisit that character again, just because it is such a wonderful character. It was so much fun, I think there is a lot can be done with him. It was such a wonderful experience, such a great group of people and Rockstar’s wonderful to work with, so, yeah, I certainly wouldn't discount any opportunity [to return].

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