The late Marlon Brando liked the idea of being a videogame star.
At a February press event for Electronic Arts' upcoming game based on "The Godfather," exec producer David DeMartini recalled speaking with the actor during a recording session for the game. "He was able to project forward and say, 'So if I could do more of these sessions, I could lend my voice and acting skills to a role without having to physically be on set,' " DeMartini said.
You can see how such an arrangement would appeal to the notorious diva.
Lots of elder statesmen are following in Brando's footsteps these days. As more and more classic films get videogame adaptations, more and more stars are coming back to lend the game creators a hand.
In addition to Brando, Robert Duvall and James Caan recording their voices and lending their likenesses to "The Godfather" game, Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery are doing the same for adaptations of "Dirty Harry" for Warner Bros. Interactive and "From Russia With Love" for EA, respectively.
Al Pacino is not participating in "The Godfather" game -- Michael Corleone will appear but will sound and look completely different -- but he is allowing his likeness (though not his voice) to be used in Vivendi Universal Games' "Scarface" adaptation. "Scarface" will have the voices and likenesses of supporting players Robert Loggia and Steven Bauer.
Since game adaptations of films are becoming more sophisticated, they are now really an extension of that world created in the film, says Ed Zobrist, VUG's senior VP of global marketing. So the stars "are much more interested in participating to make sure the way that we capture that essence is properly done."
Pacino had final approval over the selection of vet voice-match actor Andre Sogliuzzo to impersonate his voice in the role of Tony Montana. While games usually have 100 to 150 applicants for such a role, VUG's "Scarface" exec producer John Melchior says 750 thesps tried out to record legendary lines like "Say hello to my little friend!"
By participating in games, the old guard not only gets control over the characters they created, they also bolster their hip cachet. "It makes them more relevant with today's kids," notes Melchior.