This past weekend I was able to attend Games Expo Ireland at the RDS, while I was there I met a lot of enthusiastic cosplayers from groups such as the Guild of Nerds and many more, I got to watch some enjoyable speed runs of Sonic Mania and I also got to interview several notable video game actors. This first interview is with Peter Jessop who many may know as the Vision from Avenger’s: Earths Mightiest Heroes, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect to name but a fraction of his roles. It was a pleasure learning about his decades-long career and I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.
Peter Welcome to Games Expo Ireland
We were talking beforehand about how this isn’t your first time in Ireland as your son goes to Trinity here so what’s it like meeting Irish fans?
It’s been great I have been impressed with how everyone in Dublin is it’s been a wonderful experience.
And you’ve been acting for a long time
Very long time, I’ve been a voice-over actor for over 30 years now
What’s it been like seeing the medium of gaming evolve from back in the 80’s
Oh it’s very different yeah
What’s it been like seeing the evolution of voice acting?
Well in particular as far as games go it has gone from being rudimentary battle sounds, one-liners because you only had three and a half seconds to get it recorded within so it was like “Get in there”! that kind of thing so that was the extent of your dialogue. So by the time we get to say Fallout 4 we’re developing characters who have backgrounds and story arcs and personalities so it’s much more challenging from an acting standpoint because you’ve got something to do.
What’s that like living in those characters because most people would know you as the Vision in Earth’s Mightiest Heroes which personally is one of my favourite iterations of an Avengers cartoon?
So what’s that like because as you said the medium has evolved so much?
Well animation is an entirely different planet because they’ve been doing animation for a long time. I love acting in cartoons, you usually get to record with the cast, everybody’s there, you get the script and you’re working with each other and off each other as well while with video games you’re off by yourself in a booth and you have a director feeding you the line before yours and you’ve to extrapolate from that. Vision was great and was actually one of my favourite Avengers anyway
He’s got such a great storyline
Yeah and the whole I’m a machine trying to find my humanity theme turns out to be something I do quite a lot which is funny because I have a lot of characters who are trying to find their humanity so I’ve always been a fan of the Vision and when they called me and told me I’d gotten the part I thought this is the coolest thing ever.
And it was a fantastic show
They kept the canon
It was incredible how much they kept
It was the first Marvel only production because they had been working with Warner Bros. and then they were working with Disney. Marvel Studios was the only studio involved, Man of Action who are a group of creatives, one of whom is an old friend of mine from college, did some of the writing and directing for the series did it through Marvel because one of them had been Stan Lee’s partner on a number of projects. They knew the canon and they knew the lines so I’m really proud of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. It didn’t last long but we were prepping for the next season when Disney bought Marvel.
Yeah, sadly that seemed to happen to great series like Spectacular Spider-Man and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Are you a gamer yourself Peter?
I am a gamer and I play everything I am in
Do you know when you’re going to pop up in the games you’ve performed in?
I have an idea obviously with Paladin Danse in Fallout 4 as soon as you start with your Brotherhood of Steel stuff you’re going to run into him and that’s fun. It’s hysterical two of my boys are here right now and I used to mess with them because they’d be playing Fallout 4 and I’d come up behind them and start saying the Paladin Danse lines as their playing and they’d be saying “Stop it dad”!
You said your sons are gamers do they ever ask for inside tips or do you know anything about a game they’re excited about?
I see a ring on your finger there
Yep my Superman ring
You got to play him in JLA Adventures so what was that like because you’re clearly a fan?
My boys actually got this for me as a gift after I got the role of Superman. Honestly I play a lot of villains and when I auditioned for JLA I read for Brainiac, Lex Luthor, and Gorilla Grodd and my agent is like they want you to audition for Superman too and I thought really? Okay. So I read for JLA and I got the call that I got the role in Justice League and I was like great! Thinking Lex Luthor alright and then I was told I was Superman and I thought you’re kidding me? So that was a really great experience and the cast was fantastic, Diedrich Bader was Batman, Grey Delisle was Wonder Woman, Jason Marsden was Flash, Dante Basco was Karate Kid so we had our little Avatar: The Last Airbender reunion in the lobby so that was kind of cool.
So finally Peter have you always wanted to be an actor?
Yes I’ve always wanted to be an actor and it was a wonderful accident that I became a voice-over actor. It’s a long story that I won’t go into but I couldn’t do anything on camera for awhile so I thought I better focus on voice over then and it worked out and it’s been great.