MI6 chatted to Greg Ellis, who supplied multiple voices for characters in EA's "Goldeneye Rogue Agent" videogame...

Greg Ellis Interview
6th August 2005

When and where the voice-overs recorded? Was the recording process any different to those of other projects you've work on?
Santa Monica late last year. The process was different in that there were 3 voice actors in the studio at the same time. Myself, Brian George and Simon Templeman.

Are you a fan of the James Bond movies?
I love the old ones. When Timothy Dalton took over I lost all interest. I was always a big fan of Roger Moore as Bond. I know most people prefer Sean Connery, and he was great, but I loved the suave, tongue-in-cheek Moore Bond.

What do you think makes the James Bond series so popular? Do you feel that the Bond games are now becoming interactive movies of their own?
James Bond is the perfect spy. He's the spy we'd all want to be. immaculate taste, handsome, all the latest techno gadgets, beautiful women, deadly, charming, British...as for the games...er...I haven't actually played one (gulp)!

Do you prefer voice recording for a game or that of acting in a movie?
Voice is fun cause you don’t have to spend hours in make up and waiting around. Then I get to take them to my friends house and play the game with his kids. I just got a call yesterday informing me "Greg, I just got past you in Tarzan" - work that one out!

Above: Nintendo DS Cover Art
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Were you provided with any art or in-game footage of the scenes you were creating voice-overs for? Does having the ability to see the role you're providing a voice for improve the quality?
No. It's usually helpful to see images as it gives you more information to shape the voice and character from. Sometimes you'll be videotaped for the artists but not often.

Above: Greg Ellis in 24 as Amador

How do you feel modern technology benefits a voice actor when trying to create believable voices?
I don't think modern technology benefits a voice actor too much, but it greatly enhances the gaming experience - graphics, sound, music, just being able to fit so much more information into a game and do it much quicker is an added bonus.

Because there has been much low quality voice work in the game industry, do you thing the expected standard of voice over in games today is lowered?
I think that's true of the old days but more and more nowadays the gamer has come to expect a high quality of voice in the games out there. A video game producer said to me recently that gamers just don’t care who's voicing the characters but I disagree. I think gamers are smart folk who've come to expect allot from the games they play in terms of overall quality.

Do you feel it is an advantage to have on-screen acting talent when providing voice-overs for scenes in a game?
Yes, but it does depend on the type of game you are voicing. A lot of the WW2 games are easier if you try to transport yourself back in time to the battlefield etc. As there's so much yelling and screaming. I have lost my voice so many times voicing these games - Like Medal Of Honour, Call Of Duty and even games like Lord Of The Rings as it's impossible for me to voice a character at half the intensity.

How do you train to become a voice actor?
People take classes etc. I think the most important ability to have is to be able to completely free-up and be totally uninhibited. Easier said than done when there's a room full of 10 people all talking about what you just said and you can’t hear them!

It has to be one of the best jobs in the world.

Is it a profession that anyone can get started in?
Anyone? Well, I think it's important to know your voice. What work/ games you'd be right for. I'm always experimenting with my vocal chords trying to discover a new voice that I may need to pull out of the bag in a v/o session. I have a cast of voice characters that I’m always trying to add to - the other day I discovered Roger McRoger the Scottish, lisping, slightly effeminate cousin of William Wallace who doesn’t like fighting but has exceptional taste in kilt fabrics. I'll let you know when I get to use that one and in which game/cartoon.

Above: Greg Ellis

00-Seven Questions

How were you involved in the Bond series?
I did voice over for the game "Goldeneye: Rogue Agent"

What was your first ever Bond experience?
Oh I don't remember that. Perhaps it was Scaramanga, or the pyramids in the minibus, or the train fight with Jaws, or the ski-ing opening with Roger Moore in the white outfit!!!

What did you think of the last film, "Die Another Day"?
I didn't enjoy it that much - although I though Toby Stephens was good

What is your favourite Bond film?
Ohh, that's a tough one. Dr. No - great way to start.
Spy Who Loved Me - good Moore.
I think it has to be Goldfinger - great title, Oddjob and Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore - that has to be the best character name in any movie ever!

Who is your favourite Bond?
Oh, it has to be Roger Moore...although Connery is fantastic...I suppose it's the Englishman in me that just finds it hard to accept a Scotsman as Bond. It'd be like an Australian playing William Wallace in Bravehar...oh...scratch that ;-)

Which Bond girl should come back?
All of them. Bond should walk into a bar and they should all be either working there or drinking there

What is your favourite Bond moment from the series?
There's so many...
All the openings to the bond movies are classics. Every time he tosses his hat onto the stand with Moneypenny gazing adoringly at him.

The boat chases spring to mind - especially the one on gondolas and one where the speedboat goes through the wedding. Every time Bond gets new gadgets and/or a new car.
The first meeting with a baddie.
Blofeld's cat.
Oddjob's hat.
Jaws on the train.

When Bond flips over 'the fool' and solitaire says 'you have found yourself'

Many thanks to Greg Ellis.