Part 55: Behind The Scenes - Voice Actors 2
Behind the Scenes
Since being exiled from the Badlands, CJ has met a bunch of new characters - some minor and some major. Some have only a brief role in GTA:SA, others are there till the end, and each makes some kind of impact on CJ and his family. Now seems as good a time as any take a closer look at some of them, beginning with a surprising coup for Rockstar:
Truth - Peter Fonda
The son of legendary film actor Henry Fonda and an accomplished actor in his own right, Peter Fonda first found fame in The Wild Angels before starring alongside Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson in the classic Easy Rider. Almost 30 years later he would play a completely different type of character in Ulee's Gold, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. Despite some dismal cameo appearances in awful movies throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s (including an aging surfer who surfs a tsunami in "Escape from LA") Fonda is very highly regarded as an actor and writer, and still associated with the 60s counter-culture movement. His penchant for cameos in terrible movies is hardly unique amongst gifted actors - Laurence Olivier once responded to the question of why he appeared in Clash of the Titans with the quip,"For the money, dear boy." - so it's probably no surprise that Fonda accepted the role of Truth in San Andreas, but luckily for us the game was excellent, the production was top notch and he didn't phone in his performance as he easily could have
Woozie - James Yaegashi
James Yaegashi has made few film appearances, perhaps the most notable being as generic "Executive" in The Thomas Crown Affair (the Pierce Brosnan remake) and his upcoming appearance as "Janitor" in "The Collective", a movie about a weird cult. He is also a theatrical actor, with appearances in plays "Take Me Out" and "A Naked Girl on the Appian Way" which are, respectively, about a baseball team's reversal of fortunes threatened by a stupid pitcher and an interracial adopted brother and sister who declare they're in love and want to get married.
Jizzy - Charlie Murphy
Charlie Murphy is - of course - best known for his relationship to famous brother Eddie. He has also achieved fame of his own as a stand-up comedian, particularly for his role on "Chapelle's Show" and an upcoming new show called "We Got To Do Better" that was originally titled "Hot Ghetto Mess". He will also appear in..... in..... Beverly Hills Cop IV, because apparently Part III didn't quite leave a bad enough taste in everyone's mouth.
Charlie does an exceptional job as Jizzy B. in the San Andreas, with his almost sneering, halting way of talking to other characters. Jizzy really comes across as a guy who isn't as smart, successful and important as he thinks he is, and hates anyone who reminds him of this. Charlie Murphy captures perfectly the sleaziness of the pimp, which is either a testament to his skills as a voice actor or a very worrying sign that he's a creepy bastard.
T-Bone Mendez - Frost (Arturo Raymond Molina Jr.)
Perhaps better known as Kid Frost, T-Bone's voice actor is Arturo Raymond Molina Jr. - one of the better known and highly regarded Chicano rappers. He took his name as a kind of tribute to Ice T with whom he'd had "battles" with in the past, though Ice T would later guest on his 97 album - When Hell.A. Freezes Over. Ice T, of course, voices Madd Dogg in San Andreas, and Ryder's voice actor MC Eiht featured on East Side Story, released in 1992 (the same year as San Andreas is set). Frost also contributed "La Raza" to the soundtrack for San Andreas, La Raza was Frost's first big hit and one of the first mainstream singles that specifically addressed Mexican American pride.
In San Andreas, Frost voices T-Bone Mendez, who is an aging strongman for the Loco Syndicate and the head of the San Fierro Rifa - the Latin-American Gang that pretty much runs all of san Fierro except for Chinatown, which is the territory of Woozie's Mountain Cloud Boys. At the time of San Andreas' release, Frost was probably still younger than T-Bone, and at the time San Andreas was set, at least a decade or so. He does an excellent job though, T-Bone sounds like an old soldier who has seen it all and doesn't have any patience for it anymore. He's direct and brutal and blunt and the perfect man to keep the Syndicate's soldiers/workers in line, but he couldn't run the whole thing himself, he needs to work under someone like....
Mike Toreno - James Woods
Oh would you just look at that smarmy motherfucker, don't you just want to punch him in the mouth!
If Samuel L. Jackson has appeared in every movie ever made (or is being made or will be made) then James Woods is making a point of playing the same character in every possible genre of film there is. Whether it's a comedy, drama, action movie, thriller, horror, suspense, foreign language adaptation of a Helleno-Greek comi-tragedy or television series.... Woods plays the same smarmy asshole.... and it never gets old!
He oozes contempt out of every pore, even when being friendly you can't help but think he's looking at the other person and thinking,"I am SOOO much fucking better than you." Woods is also a gamer, he loves playing videogames and has lent his voice to at least three of them - San Andreas and Kingdom Hearts I and II. That's to our benefit, as Woods' previously mentioned smarmy assholishness is picture perfect for Mike Toreno. He brings to life a character who is heartless, cruel, savvy and cold enough to run a massive drug operation and control the volatile elements of Jizzy and T-Bone through sheer force of will. His relationship with Carl is a complicated one, something I really can't go into at this point in the thread, but I like to think of him as the "Anti-Truth", both in terms of character and the fact that you can never trust anything (ANYTHING) that he tells you, even when it is factually correct.
Toreno has his own goals in mind and his motivation isn't financial or power-based, he's one of the few "bad guys" in San Andreas whose motivation isn't based on some form of greed. Again, we'll find out more about him later, but for now let's hear it for James Woods, thank God he comes across as an asshole, because he's great!