Interview: Gideon Emery

This interview was originally posted at SentientOnline on the 23rd November 2009.

I have with me Gideon Emery, a man I have trouble describing as I tend to suddenly turn incredibly shy.  He is a voice actor in many fantastic games (Final Fantasy XII being the most popular), and has turned up in a growing number of TV Shows (such as Moonlight, The Middleman) and movies (Train), and it was a delight to be able to interview him.  When I wasn’t flailing over my keyboard, that is.

It really was a delight.  My fangirling feels complete now and let me assure you all, that he is incredibly lovely.  Read on!

Tell us how you became a voice actor, and what you like and/or hate about it, compared to acting in front of a camera?

When I landed my first agent, they took me to get a voice demo made. I was fortunate that copywriters and producers liked my voice and I started booking work. I love the fact that you just go in and do the work. No faffing around with make-up and wardrobe like on camera. Also, working on camera, you tend to spend a great deal of time sitting and waiting. With VO work, you go in, do the job and leave. Very little down time, which I prefer. And the money’s great.

My dislikes are studios that are very small and stuffy. It can get really hot and uncomfortable. Also, I really hate having to shout in games. It’s okay for a couple of takes, but sometimes there are pages of screaming. Not many people realize that the voice is a muscle. If you ask a sprinter to run flat out non-stop for four hours with a 5 min break, sooner or later he’s gonna pull something. And then he can barely walk. Similarly with VO, if you have a “shoutfest”, sooner or later your voice is gonna blow. And then you can barely talk.

It’s been years now since Final Fantasy XII came out.  Do you still get a lot of attention because of it? Also, have you played the game?

I do still get emails for FFXII, which is flattering. I’m glad it had such a positive impact, because I think it was a beautiful, quality production. I don’t have PS, so haven’t played it, but I have watched the cut scenes a number of times.

What do you think of ’fangirls’, and how do you deal with them, or the thought of them?

I didn’t know the term ‘fangirl’ until FF. If people like what I do, that’s great. If they feel compelled to tell me, even better. Fangirl vids pop up on youtube every now and then and it makes my day.

You say that Balthier seemed like a cross between Han Solo, Bond and Jack Sparrow, which is high praise.  If you had the chance, would you play him again in whatever form (live action, voice, etc) available?

Absolutely yes.

Can you tell us a few background hints or ‘secrets’ you were told to help you become Balthier, that weren’t really revealed in the script/game?

Nothing more than you would have surmised for yourselves. He’s suave, debonaire and anything but self-deprecating. Other than that, he’s the closest character to me I’ve voiced.

Do you think Balthier and Fran were romantically involved? What’s your personal opinion?

Balthier and Fran an item? No. But plenty of flirting. The problem is they’ve known each other for so long that for them to become romantically involved would ruin their relationship. And it’s worth too much to risk. (At least that’s my take) I must admit I did find Fran very cute, though.

Are there any games you would love to work in? How about tv shows or plays?

I’m just happy working. But if there’s an interesting character, even better. I got to play a couple of jesters recently on 2 separate games and created and sang some little songs from scratch, which was a blast. TV-wise, I’d kill to work on Heroes, House and Monk.

You’re currently recording for a new game, and you’re also off to casting sessions.  Could you tell us what you’re currently busy with?

Almost all games are confidential and I don’t talk about on-camera work until I’m cast. But I can say that I did voice some really fun characters for the new season of Clone Wars. You’ll just have to listen closely and try to spot me.

If you could become any of the characters you’ve ever played, out of voice acting and play, TV or movie roles, who would you choose?

I tend to play more baddies than goodies, so I’m happy just playing them. I suppose my croc guy, Matt Collins from Primeval, leads an interesting life. Bit of a wuss at the end, but working with animals on a daily basis would be great. And yeah, if I could be Balthier in real life, well, how could I say no?

If you could do anything for a year without having to work, what would you do? If you could go anywhere, do anything?

1) Study martial arts in China. 2) Live in Russia and really get the language and culture down. 3) Climb a few of the 7 Summits. (Highest free standing mountains on each continent.)

Can you tell us two truths and one lie about yourself, whilst keeping us guessing over which is which?

I started school at the age of 3. I’ve owned 16 different cars. My middle name is Jeremy.

Do you have any last words for us?

Look out for horror movie Train on DVD on 17 November and action flick Takers is in cinemas 19 Feb 2010. Thanks for playing!

Thank you so much, Gideon (Jeremy Emery?), for your  time.

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