Published on January 12th, 2013 | by Mark Gibson, Editor/Community Manager
The Character Behind the Character: We Chat with Ryan Culver, the Real-Life Nathan Drake
Sony’s PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale has been out for a few months, and has been met with a good reception overall. If you’ve had the game since launch, you should be a seasoned veteran at this point. And, if you enjoy what you’ve been playing, then you have probably seen this live action trailer for the game:
You may know Nathan Drake best as Nolan North, who is the voice of Drake in the Uncharted video game series. But North isn’t the only one who has donned the digital adventurer’s mantle.
Meet Ryan Culver, the actor who plays Nathan Drake in the PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale live-action trailer. Once you get over the fact that he actually looks a lot like Drake, you will find that his personal life is even more interesting. Not only is Culver an actor, but he also charters planes around the world with his company, Windward Aviation.
The following is an interview with Ryan Culver, aka, the real-life Nathan Drake:
Has anyone told you that you look strikingly similar to Nathan Drake?
It was actually one of the things that the producers mentioned when I auditioned for the role. Before auditioning, I had never seen Nathan Drake, and I ended up acting like Drake out of natural reaction without thinking about it. Even during shooting, they would come up to me and say ‘I almost have to remember that we are filming something’.
What was it like playing a modern video game icon like Nathan Drake?
I actually didn’t know much about him before this opportunity. I heavily immersed myself into the world of Nathan Drake. It really opened my eyes to what’s going on in the world of gaming. Staying true to the fans was such an important part of the process — to take this character and storyline and just try and become a part of that.
Since you weren’t familiar with Nathan Drake, what kind of things did you do to prepare for the role?
Because of how big the character is, I knew there would be a lot of eyes on this. I spent hours watching game videos on the three Uncharted games and talked to fans. The fans have actually been very supportive in helping me prepare. I asked a lot of my friends, who are gamers, a lot of questions about the character. It’s been a very humbling experience.
What kind of work goes into making something that seems so short?
It was actually three full nights of shooting. There was a lot of footage that wasn’t even used. But we had a blast doing it and I got to work with some really great people.
Are you a gamer yourself? What kind of gamer are you?
I’m actually a terrible gamer. You put the controller in my hand and I really fall apart. But when I was younger I played a lot of video games. I remember pulling a Commodore 64 out of some guy’s trash. I was so stoked to play. But, I have to say, for someone that isn’t an intense gamer, I have such a respect for the people that make these games.
It’s beyond what I could have imagined. It’s pretty incredible to see these worlds that people have built. The world of Nathan Drake in particular is quite impressive, just the detail alone in the landscape and scenery is amazing. I can’t imagine where gaming will be in another 10 years.
Aside from acting, you actually live a life similar to someone like Nathan Drake, traveling all over the world … without getting shot at, of course. What is that like?
It’s funny, I guess, in a way I am a little like Nathan Drake. Before I got to know Nathan Drake, I’m someone who would naturally respond to the crazy things by saying “Aw, crap.” I laughed the first time I saw how much Drake uses that phrase. I also fly planes for an aviation company I own called Windward Aviation. It’s really cool to travel to all these exotic places and meet really cool people. The job is never short of adventure.