Interview with Red Dead Redemption 2: the actor behind Dutch reveals everything

VThe roles in video games are often not as rich, complex and charismatic as the Dutch Van Der Linde – the messianic gang leader and final antagonist of last year. Red Dead Redemption 2. For Benjamin Byron Davis, the actor who provided the movement and voice, they do not often come as small.

"I'm six feet and six inches tall," says Davis, explaining that in many of the roles he played, his size was important to his success. This is something he thought he would apply to his casting in the original movie. Red Dead Redemptionalso – until about two years after the start of the second match.

Rockstar's production manager, Rod Edge, told Davis he wanted him to start a scene at a bar in a living room. "I had a look at the screenplay the night before and had that really fun idea of ​​sitting down at the table," explains Davis. "Rod asks me why I want to be sitting at the table and I tell him," So when the other guy comes in, I can get up and really use my size. "And then, Rod says," Oh, [your character is] not as big as you are "and I say" excuse me?

Davis had never considered that his real-world assets were not necessarily relevant in the virtual world. "I'm sure many Rockstar animators are cursing to translate my size and shape into Dutch dudes," laughs Davis. "But they did a perfect job."

Several scenes forced the animators to modify the line of the eyes and the posture of the characters. All the digital characters ended up appearing and moving as they were supposed to do. The creative team, which creates physical decors with which actors have to work during performance capture, has gone the extra mile often using a double body, Brent Werzner, which matched Dutch's exact dimensions, to run simultaneously. the same actions side by side with Davis. .

"One of those colder days was the day we did the [tram] heist, where there is an accident and Dutch is being swept and must crawl through the rubble, "says Davis. "The construction team created the interior of the [tram] on his side to scale in Brent – and on the scale for me. So, Brent does not cross the stage and can not make any sound, and I'm going through [my one] give voice and grunt and pain at everything he's doing. It was the most absurd exercise you have ever encountered.

The intense character of Dutch is stuck to Davis since the original of 2010, but because of his extremely secretive approach, Rockstar absolutely did not know that there was a sequel to be done before his agent checked his job from time to summer 2013. August has arrived, September was, October has passed, and it is only at the end of this year that NDAs have been signed and that the first 100 or so Script pages have arrived with Davis.

"Most of the scenarios are not much longer than that," he says, "and knowing that Dutch was very rich, a lot of monologue pages, I felt like I was in the background. I was at home in Boston with my family, with those pages that I had to hide, so I kept disappearing upstairs to memorize the bigger pieces. "

He still did not know exactly what the game was going to be. Rockstar is so secret, even with its main players, that the actors had to concoct elements as and when. Over the years, however, his routine has become much more familiar. The 100 pages had grown and grown – much bigger than any movie, TV show or play – but he needed at least more chunks of script to be able to practice more at the same time. # 39; advance. Some of his favorite sequences of the game take place during the chapter that takes place in the lively town of Saint-Denis, where the gang meets the head of the Italian mafia, Angelo Bronte.

"I felt very good in this area and it was a joy to play. […] because it was very clear that Bronte was a trigger for Dutch in that Dutch met a man who was what Dutch wanted to be – and yet, Dutch found him so despicable. You know the old expression "show me what you hate, I'll tell you who you are" – I think that's why Dutch sends Bronte to where he sent it. There is no place in the Dutch mind for this type of person. "

For Davis, Dutch's course was sometimes difficult to describe. "For almost a year, I played Dutch at its best. It was so much fun to be the greatest – excuse the expression – bad character. The most charming, the most confident. That's all you want to be. Then, six months later, you play it in decline and it's quite heartbreaking and depressing. Take this guy I fell in love with and make him go by, make him blind to what he's being subjected to and put him in a place where he has lost confidence in himself. "

The actors also had a lot of space to experiment. "I was rarely led in an inch of my life, except when Rod knew I could not find a certain amount of rage or anger. And he would start sneaking at me in an inch of my life, knowing how furious I would be, "says Davis, laughing at". "

One of the areas in which Edge "modulated" Davis was after Dutch and the gang had been ambushed by opposing gang O'Driscoll; Dutch is left exposed and vulnerable after underestimating his opponent. This is the first time the gang leader has lost his sanity. "Me, as an actor who would like to chew landscapes [put on a big performance] every day of the week, so I really attacked it, "says Davis. "It was the first really crazy moment for Dutch. Rod took me aside and he said, "You understand, he's as crazy as now, he'll never get to the first game." "

During idle time, when the Rockstar team was busy developing the game and the actors were back home, Davis was following the world of Red Dead by replaying the original game, while watching similar movies. Davis and his closest cast members – especially Steve J. Palmer, who plays Bill Williamson and Rob Wiethoff, and John Marsto – would also benefit from the time spent together at concerts. "We went into each other and talked to each other to help us deal with the large amount of material we had to go through," he says.

Little by little, the game is built like a puzzle. "There are scenes in this game with an original performance capture that we did in 2014, a booth work we did in 2017 and an extra performance shot that we did in 2016," says Davis, " and because of Rockstar's crazy geniuses, have this extraordinary immediacy even if they are drawn from all kinds of days and weeks, months and years. "

So, would David come back to the character again? "Do you know that the actors have to sing for their supper?", He replies, joking that he would be at least 60 years old, but that he hoped to have done enough tests before playing an 11-year-old Dutchman. And even more seriously: "I can not emphasize enough the importance of Dutch for me and the importance I attach to this opportunity to play against him. The importance of this character – of all these characters – does not escape me. Whether I come back or not […] I will be very proud of the work we have all done for the rest of my life. "

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