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Red Notice just became Netflix’s most watched movie of all time, and since its release on Nov. 24, the Kevin Hart-led miniseries True Story has topped the streamer’s domestic charts. The common thread between these two hit Netflix properties is that Chris Diamantopoulos plays a key antagonist in both. Starting with Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Red Notice, Diamantopoulos’ character, Sotto Voce, is an arms dealer who possesses the second of three priceless (and fictional) eggs that once belonged to Cleopatra. The character was originally written to be South American, but as a Canadian actor of Greek descent, Diamantopoulos felt more comfortable auditioning as a Greek baddie, which Thurber initially embraced. However, Diamantopoulos then had to fight for the role once Ryan Reynolds expressed some concern regarding that creative choice.
“A few weeks before we started, [Rawson Marshall Thurber] called me and said, ‘Ah, I got a call from Ryan Reynolds.’ He had just finished [Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard] where one of the antagonists was a Greek and he didn’t want to go down that road again,” Diamantopoulos tells The Hollywood Reporter. “And Rawson said, ‘In truth, I’ve been wondering if maybe it won’t work. I might have to recast you.’ So in that moment of, ‘No, no, no, I’ve got to save my job,’ I said, ‘No, I was going to call you because I was thinking that the Greek thing is kind of passé, too. I do it all the time, and I’d rather do something different. Why don’t we make him of unknown European origin?’ And then this story just sprang to mind, and Rawson and I kind of bantered it.”
In Eric Newman and Kevin Hart’s latest chart-topping Netflix series, True Story, Diamantopoulos encountered a similar scenario involving his Greek bad guy.
“What was particularly distinctive about this was that they were looking for a Greek character, which doesn’t happen often for me,” Diamantopoulos says. “I made a tape that they liked, but they were like, ‘Nah, we’re going to keep looking.’ And then several weeks went by and my manager said, ‘I think they want to try it again. Do another one.’ So I really went full throttle on the Greek because I had been told he was Greek. And then they were like, ‘No, they want him to be Greek American. So no Greek. He is of Greek lineage, but make him an American.’ So I did another tape and that was enough to have Kevin and Eric want to meet me on Zoom and have a conversation with me. And by virtue of that conversation and the horseshoe up my ass, I got the part.”
In a career-spanning conversation with THR, Diamantopoulos also reflects on his dogged pursuit of what became his scene-stealing role on Silicon Valley. Then he looks back at his early days on The Sopranos and a memorable story involving James Gandolfini in a hospital bed.
Chris Diamantopoulos, how are you?
I’m very well. Man, you say my name like you might be related to me.
Proper pronunciation is my favorite pastime.
(Laughs.) I did a movie with Kurt Russell several years ago, before I’d ever really done anything of any sort of repute. The Three Stooges hadn’t come out yet. While we were shooting the movie, Stooges was coming out. So Kurt and I became really friendly and he was a real chum on set. And he said to me, “Listen, I think you’re a great actor. I love working with you. I think you’ve got a big career ahead of you. You’ve got to change your name.” (Laughs.) He said, “It’s too long. It’s too long.” And I was like, “I know, I know, but I’ve already been acting for 25 years.” He was like, “No, change it to Chris D. Just cut all the rest off and just make it Chris D. Trust me. You’ll have a career.” And I didn’t listen to him, but maybe I should’ve.
It’s funny you say that because I assumed you had a story like this, but I imagined some stereotypical Hollywood producer saying, “How about Chris Diamond? Or Chris Diamante?” So Kurt Russell is a much better messenger.
(Laughs.) I mean, the truth is what he was saying, and I understand what he was saying. If a name is imposing to look at, people aren’t going to necessarily want to go toward it. Although, of course, flash forward to where we are now and thankfully we’re living in a culture where everybody needs to be represented and my name maybe isn’t as imposing as some would think. The truth is, Diamantopoulos is the Smith of Greece. So maybe it’s not very pronounceable, although I think it’s pretty simple. If you can say “Diaman” [Dee-uh-men] and “topolous” [TAH-puh-lus], then you can kind of put it together. Diamantopoulos. But I get it.
So you’re doing something very specific as Sotto Voce in Red Notice. It seems like there’s a little “Most Interesting Man in the World” thing going on, but the voice is something else, too. So who were you drawing from in this case?
(Laughs.) Thanks, first of all. Listen, I love what I do for a living, and I never know what I’m going to be when I wake up in the morning. It’s like, “Oh, what’s it going to be today?” So when Rawson got this script to me, I auditioned for it like I have for many roles, and the character was written as South American. I understand they were courting Antonio Banderas, but I don’t think they had enough money in the budget to support someone like that, so they sort of cast a wider net. But I didn’t feel comfortable playing South American because there are so many terrific South American actors. And I am Greek. I speak fluent Greek; it’s my first language. So when I did the audition, I did it all in Greek, and I changed the character up. And Rawson really liked that, so we were going in that direction, actually. And then a few weeks before we started, he called me and said, “Ah, I got a call from Ryan Reynolds.” He had just finished a movie where one of the antagonists was a Greek and he didn’t want to go down that road again. [Antonio Banderas played the Greek antagonist in Reynolds’ Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.] And Rawson said, “In truth, I’ve been wondering if maybe it won’t work. I might have to recast you.” So in that moment of, “No, no, no, I’ve got to save my job,” I said, “No, I was going to call you because I was thinking that the Greek thing is kind of passé, too. I do it all the time, and I’d rather do something different. Why don’t we make him of unknown European origin?” And even as I said it, I was like, “Ah, that’s lame.” And Rawson said, “Well, what’s his accent?” And I said, “He’s vaguely Baltic.” And he was like, “But where is he from?” And then this story just sprung to mind, and Rawson and I kind of bantered it. And the idea was that he popped onto Interpol when he was 16. His father, who was the main gunrunner and the main baddie, had this room of prized possessions and he told his son, “You’re never to go in there. You’re never to touch them.” And when he was having a party with all the other big baddies visiting, he looked out of the corner of his eye and saw his son in the room touching his one prized possession, his Army Colt revolver. So he stormed into the room, probably fueled on alcohol, and grabbed his son by the throat and started choking him, but not before the gun went off. So Soto killed his father and became the leader of this huge crime ring. But his father had done his damage because Soto’s vocal cords were paralyzed. And thus, we can’t quite place where he’s from, which is funny. So I was thinking about it, and I love what Sean Harris did in the Mission: Impossible movies. It was such a neat and different voice. But I’ve always been a huge fan of big villains, like Claude Rains and Basil Rathbone. So Sotto Voce was kind of an amalgamation. I thought, “Well, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of being able to play with different voices and dialects in my career up to this point. Let’s try something idiosyncratically different.”
So how’s Gal Gadot as a dance partner?
Oh man, as a dance partner, as an acting partner, as a presence on set, she’s just delightful. Look, I only worked with her for a few weeks, so I can only speak from my experience with her, but she genuinely strikes me as someone who enjoys what she does and enjoys her life. She also comes super prepared. I don’t think there was a single time when she needed a line fed to her, and she fully understood where she was in the scene. When we came back from the pandemic, the big sequence that we shot was the ball and this tango sequence. So I had dance rehearsal for weeks. Sadly, I was told that my version of the tango probably wasn’t going to end up in the movie. Let’s be honest, people would rather see DJ [Dwayne Johnson] tango dancing with Gal, although I wanted it for my personal files. (Laughs.) But it was great fun, and she’s a terrific dance partner. Someday, hopefully, I’ll be 80 years old, and I’ll be able to say, “I tango danced with Gal Gadot.”
There’s a tiny sliver of your dance left in there, so I think you’ve got enough for your highlight reel. But what I also found interesting is that you are the second Steve Trevor Gal has danced with on-screen in the last 11 months. [Diamantopoulos voiced Wonder Woman’s great love, Steve Trevor, in Justice Society: World War II.] So I’m thrilled to be one of the 14 people who will make this connection.
Fourteen? Wow, you’re giving humanity a lot of credit there. (Laughs.) Isn’t that funny? Life is funny that way, somehow. I loved that project. I don’t know if you saw it. I don’t know if you’re a cartoon guy. Recently, on the SmartLess podcast, I heard Jason Bateman deride Will Arnett. Will was talking about BoJack [Horseman] and Jason said, “That’s a cartoon. I don’t watch cartoons.” And I know he was joking, of course. But I have to say that Justice Society: World War II is terrific! It’s like they took an old Humphrey Bogart film and superhero-ized it. It was just lovely, and I had a ball doing it. It gave me a chance to sort of play in that realm, which I’ve always loved.
So did Dwayne remember you from Empire State (2013)?
Oh, he sure did. When I saw him on the carpet, we talked about that movie a little bit more. Dito Montiel directed that. Terrific guy, terrific director. And the movie had so much going for it. Fascinating true story, good actors. It just didn’t get into the fourth gear, you know what I mean? It almost got there, and we certainly had a great time making it. Even after all of these decades and with so much evidence of what works and what doesn’t work, making a movie still has that ephemeral quality of, “Is this going to work?” You can have a brilliant screenwriter, a brilliant director, a great actor, a great cinematographer, a great editor, the right composer — and, “Oh, it didn’t fucking work. How come?” I mean, I guess that’s why we keep stepping up at bat.
A lot has changed for Dwayne since that movie was shot in 2012. What did you observe this time around in comparison?
(Laughs.) That’s a really great question and I wish I could tell you that there was some massive shift. When I met him in 2012, I was struck by this penitent quality to the way that he brought himself on set. He was humble, he listened, he was prepared, and he did his work. Yes, there’s more fanfare around him now. He certainly did have a bigger trailer. Several of them, from what I understand. But I saw the same person on set. He’s everywhere and doing everything, but when he was there — and certainly when we were working together and when we were speaking — he was there. And I think that one of the secrets to his appeal and one of the secrets to his success is that he genuinely wants to be doing what he’s doing. I get the feeling that he doesn’t wake up in the morning dragging his feet to go to set. I think there’s an active choice of, “I get to live today,” and that’s certainly what translates. So I didn’t see much of a difference. He is a formidable physical presence, but such a peaceful and gentle emotional presence. He’s just a really nice guy. My wife met him on the carpet for the first time the other day and she said to me, “I just want to hug him.” (Laughs.) And I don’t blame her. I kind of want to hug him, too.
You also got to choke his character in Red Notice, which puts you in exclusive company. So how did it feel to have Dwayne Johnson on the ropes for a brief moment in time?
(Laughs.) Ah, come on. I can take him. You and I both know I can take him. I fight dirty. Pull hair, poke eyes, groin stuff, whatever I gotta do. That’s not my line. That’s George Constanza from Seinfeld, by the way.
I can’t plagiarize that. And that’s probably Larry David, if we’re being honest. [Season seven, episode eight, “The Pool Guy” was written by David Mandel. Season seven was Larry David’s last season as head writer.] So how did choking Dwayne Johnson feel? Well, it felt fabulous. Look, I’ve only wanted to be an actor from as early as I can remember. It comes more from wanting to have my older brother like me, because he wanted to be a director. When we were little kids, he announced, “I want to be a movie director.” And I was like, “Well, I want to be an actor!” Because I hoped he’d then put me in his movies. So it’s all I ever remember wanting to do, and I still love doing it. When I step on a set or on a stage, I feel happy, I feel peaceful, I feel giddy. So getting the opportunity to do this sort of Bond-ian villain in a great, big, fat ’90s-style action comedy — where I get to put DJ on the ropes and put my hand around his neck — just goes back to playing in the sandbox. It felt great. And he’s such a great partner with regard to the physical stuff, and he understands his craft so well. He knows how to make something read based on where the camera is or based on what the lens size is. So it was terrific. And of course, I loved that his character needed to be physically restrained in order for me to pose a threat, but my character was this vicious, lethal figure.
Did he have his traveling gym nearby? I believe he calls it “Iron Paradise.”
He did, indeed. I didn’t enter into the forbidden city, but he had it there. He looked in as great a shape as ever, man. It’s mythical.
As far as Reynolds, did you quickly understand why he has the reputation that he has?
The reputation for just being the funniest, most charismatic man on Earth? Is that what you mean?
Yes, as well as a marketing genius, tireless worker, extremely generous individual …
Yeah, and all of those things are true. I mean, you can just tell. This is a guy who works harder than anybody else, and what’s funny is that with his level of charisma and talent and where he is, he probably wouldn’t even need to work that hard. And yet, he works probably even harder. He’s really handsome in person, too, if I may say. I’ve been a long admirer of his, and he’s been an inspiration for me as a Canadian. He started in television and in comedy, and he’s been able to get to where he is not only as an actor, but as a businessman and as an entrepreneur. He’s incredible. And as you know, he’s so facile with words and with dialogue.
I did a very small, low-budget biopic about Robin Williams many years ago that really taught me a lot, and it was really an homage to my love for that man. Rest his soul. But one of the things that I learned was that Robin, on the Mork & Mindy set — and I would imagine on many of his sets — obviously improvised many lines. And when he’d get a reaction, he would change the line each take, even if the reaction was phenomenal. He would find something new. And that’s something that I found that Ryan did, which was really interesting. He’d hit on something in an improv that was just the funniest fucking thing that anyone had ever heard, and then we would come in for coverage and he’d have 10 versions that were better. And it was just mind-boggling.
Rawson Thurber, the director, was just a joy to work with and so collaborative and so giving. He said, “We’re doing a couple of screenings of the movie and I want you to come to both of them, back to back.” And they were doing them with a real audience at a big theater in Southern California. And I said, “So what are we seeing? Are we seeing a network cut and then your cut?” And he said, “Honestly, I’m doing one where I’m trying out a bunch of the improv stuff that I’m just not sure about. I know it was funny to us. It’s funny to me now. But I want to see how it plays in the theater.” So it was amazing to see the two versions. Obviously, it’s the same movie, but you can really turn the dial in one direction or another with what Reynolds gives you and how far you want to go into that Bugs Bunny, Jack Tripper-esque world.
Aside from some establishing shots, Rawson said that he shot most of the movie on stages in Atlanta due to Covid, and that’s pretty amazing since it still has that globetrotting feel. Were you pleased to see how well it came together in that regard?
That’s so nice of you to say. People are so quick to cast aspersions about a film that didn’t necessarily have the opportunity to go to the locations that it needed to go to by virtue of the fact that there was a pandemic happening. And I agree with you. When I saw the film, I was gobsmacked. I couldn’t believe how big, how global and how exotic it all looked. Rawson did a tremendous job. The movie feels the way it read when I first got the script. All of my stuff was supposed to be shot in Sardinia, and it wasn’t.
Given the recent spotlight on billionaires and their behavior, do you ever wish that Silicon Valley was still on the air so that you, as Russ Hanneman, could riff on all that new material?
That’s so funny. The funny thing about that role is that the character wasn’t supposed to be in more than three episodes, so I really got so fortunate. The writers on that show were about as good as you can get in the business, and they gave me such great material. So I ran with it, and the character really hit a nerve, which was really funny. And I would say to them, “Guys, this is insane.” And they would tell me, “First of all, it’s all real. It’s all drawn from real interviews and real interactions.” And they couldn’t put most of the real stuff in the scripts because no one would believe it. We’re fascinated as a culture with the super-rich, but it can get dry and boring after a certain time. So what made Silicon Valley so special was Mike [Judge], Alec [Berg] and all of the writers. Do I wish that it was still on the air? Fuck yeah. I love playing a character who is unapologetically a douchebag. And here’s the thing, he’s not just the worst person on Earth; he’s the worst person on Earth that somehow, right when he just can’t be any worse, might make you feel a little sorry for him. (Laughs.) So you find yourself as an audience going, “Why the fuck am I feeling sorry for this horrible human being?” (Laughs.) And I love that. I love the 99.999 percent unsympathetic, but wait a minute, there’s that .001 percent. It was so much fun to play. And mostly, if I’m being honest, I loved adding a different color to what the rest of the guys were doing on that show.
Season one was some of the best TV I’d ever seen, so I fought for that role when I went in to read for it. I had to have it. The material that I auditioned with wasn’t the material that they ended up wanting to go with. And my agent hadn’t sent me the updated material, so when I got to the casting office with 12 pages memorized, they said, “Oh shit, you got the wrong material. Why don’t you learn the new material and then come in?” I said, “No, no, no, I can’t. I worked on this.” And they said, “Mike and Alec said that this isn’t the character anymore.” So I was like, “Well, let me just do what I did and we’ll have a conversation.” And they were like, “All right, if you want to.” So I did my version and I didn’t hear anything. And normally, I let it go; I really do. I’ve learned to do that over the years. I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and you learn to let it go and move on. But I couldn’t fucking let this one go. So I called my agent and said, “Did you ever hear anything from Silicon Valley?” And he paused very strangely. He was like, “Um, yeah, I think we can let that one go.” And I said, “Well, what? What?” He said, “I think they’re out to someone else.” I was like, “Oh, OK. Who?” And he said, “I think we can let that one go.” I said, “Is it a client of yours?” He said, “It is.” And I was like, “Fuck, who? I want to know who.” And he said, “Chris, come on.” And I was like, “No, I really love this role. I really think I can do this.” And he said, “You know who they were after? They hadn’t made an offer yet, but they were really looking at Jon Bernthal,” who’s a fucking great actor and I love him. But I was like, “No, he’s not right for this! That’s my role!” And he said, “Well, I think you’ve got to let this one go.” So I hung up with him and called the casting office. I was like, “Let me come back in,” because I looked at the new material. I said, “I think I know what you guys want.” And they were so sweet. They were like, “No, I think they found someone that they want.” I was like, “Let me just come in. I’m going to come in right now.” So I just went in, they put me on tape and then I got the fucking role. I mean, I don’t know what actually happened. Jon was probably busy, but whatever. I got it.
So how are Jason Barone’s knees doing?
(Laughs.) You know, there were two pipes. There was the real lead pipe for when the camera was on Tony [Sirico] and he could hold it in his hand. And then there was the rubber lead pipe for when it was on me. But it got mixed up a couple of times; I’m not kidding. (Laughs.) I remember saying, “What just happened?” So The Sopranos was a really interesting experience for me. I was relatively new to television at the time. I had been working on Broadway for many years before that, but I hadn’t done a heck of a lot on-screen. And I came in at a time where I think they were renegotiating contracts, so it was a really interesting set to be on. I do have to say what a pleasure it was for me to be on set with those huge personalities and those huge talents.
At that point in your career, were those hospital scenes with James Gandolfini just utterly terrifying?
I didn’t work with him very, very much, but what I saw was somebody who really respected what he did for a living. Thus, he respected anyone who respected the craft. He was very engaged in what he was doing, but also very giving as an actor and as a performer. And I think that he could sense that I was relatively new. He didn’t go out of his way to show me the ropes or anything like that, but I got a couple of nice winks and shoulder pats. But Jesus, thank goodness I wasn’t going to be taken out back and whacked. (Laughs.) So it was really, really something special. I remember he asked a PA to go outside and find him a sharp rock, a piece of gravel or a dull piece of broken glass or something. So they brought something back and he was like, “Nah, something a little sharper.” So the PA came back again and he was like, “Yeah, that’ll do. That’ll do.” And then he put it under the blanket on his hospital bed. So I asked him, “Do you mind me asking what you’re doing?” and he pulled the sheet down and showed me. When there were moments in the scene where he has to find the pain, he would just gouge himself with this thing. (Imitates grimacing.) And I was just like, “Wow, that’s fucking awesome.” (Laughs.) I love little things like that.
On Red Notice, you worked with Dwayne and Rawson who made Central Intelligence together. Then, on True Story, you worked with Kevin Hart, who made Central Intelligence with Dwayne and Rawson. And even though I had seen you before, the person who really put your name in my head was the co-screenwriter of Central Intelligence, David Stassen. Anyway, that’s my clumsy and roundabout way of asking about True Story.
(Laughs.) I like that, actually. That was a really neat and roundabout way of getting there. We’ve got to talk more about David Stassen later. Tell him I’m open for hire. Anyway, True Story. So that was all filmed during the pandemic, pre-vaccine. I go through the same crisis every time I finish a job. I’m not sure if other actors do, but I always wonder if I’m ever going to get hired again. And it’s not to be disparaging. I still haven’t learned, after all these fucking years, to find that sanguine place where I can say, “It’ll come.” I just love what I do too much to be cavalier about the notion that I will always be able to do it. I know this sounds corny, but every time I do it, I feel so fucking lucky to be able to do it that I don’t want it to stop. But I know it’s going to stop and then when it stops, there’s this real panic. There’s this fear of, “Fuck, I want to do it more.”
So when the pandemic hit, there were no casting offices. And look, I’m at a lovely point in my career where I’ll get a call for certain things and they’ll be interested in me. But for the most part, I have to fight for the things that I want. I have no problem fighting for them, but I at least need to be given the opportunity to fight for them. And during the pandemic, it was this fucking nebulous place of, “How am I going to fight for this?” I’ve got three children and we were homeschooling because there was no school. So I had to find a way to tape myself, and I couldn’t get another human being to read lines with me. So I had to rig this way to get a virtual reader on a speaker that didn’t sound like they were on a computer. Just trying to get a job in the last 18 months has been such a mind-fuck. So my manager called me and said, “Look, there’s this really great project that Eric Newman is working on.” And I’m such a fan of Narcos so I’ve been tracking all the great stuff that Eric has been working on for a long time. And what was particularly distinctive about this was that they were looking for a Greek character, which doesn’t happen often for me. In this day and age, where ethnicity can and should play a role in certain aspects, I’d like to throw my hat in the ring if they’re looking for a Greek, but I certainly don’t want to take a job from someone when they’re looking for an ethnicity that I’m not. But if they’re looking for an ethnicity that I am, then I really want a shot at it. So I put myself on tape for this, and it was a tough one to put myself on tape for because the character is so physical and says very little. So I’m really pleased with the way that they’ve cut it together. I love this character because I don’t often play someone who’s quiet and only really ignites when it’s time for him to horribly hurt someone. So how do you show that on a Zoom cam when there’s a slight delay? How do you fucking show that? So it was a challenge, but I made a tape that they liked. But they were like, “Nah, we’re going to keep looking.” And then several weeks went by and my manager said, “I think they want to try it again. Do another one.” So I really went full throttle on the Greek because I had been told he was Greek. And then they were like, “No, they want him to be Greek-American. So no Greek. He is of Greek lineage, but make him an American.” So I did another tape and that was enough to have Kevin and Eric want to meet me on Zoom and have a conversation with me. And by virtue of that conversation and the horseshoe up my ass, I got the part.
I had never worked with Kevin before, and I’m such a fan of his comedy. So I was curious to see what he would be like as an actor. The whole mission statement for this project was: “What would this look like if it was done through the lens of a Martin Scorsese?” Or something like that. It’s little bite-sized episodes of Goodfellas and putting Kevin in a world that we’ve seen him in. It’s like an origin story of Kevin Hart, but with some special, fucked-up secret sauce on it. So I was pleasantly surprised by his work ethic and how prepared he was and how genial he was. It’s very much the Kurt Russell school of movie star. Show up, know everybody’s name and have a great attitude. I mean, hell, he was even feeding me lines sometimes, and I’m not just saying that. I would miss a line and he’d say, “Oh no, no, you’re supposed to …” And I was like, “Holy shit, man. It’s not enough that you’re doing what you’re doing in this show, but you’re remembering my stuff.” So he was terrific. And I have to say, I’ve been a Wesley Snipes fan for a long time. Wesley was the subject of when I would play characters as a child. So I had a huge buildup to meeting him. In television and in film, you pick up shots as is appropriate for the schedule. So he wasn’t doing any heavy lifting over the first two days. He did a couple of insert shots, a couple of reaction shots, some stuff over the shoulder. There wasn’t really anything that got us to the meat of Wesley. And so my brother would ask me, “How was Wesley? How was Wesley?” And I was like, “I don’t know yet. I mean, he’s certainly a nice guy. He certainly knows what he’s doing. I don’t know. I just haven’t seen anything yet.” And then on the third day, it was just a simple scene where the camera was on him, and I think I fucked one of the takes up because I went, “Oh my God.” He was just so good, man, and there’s so much in his eyes. He’s done so much living that he knows how to access it right into his face. And I was like, “Wesley, man, that was just so much fun to watch.” And what I loved about him was that there was no faux humility. He just smiled and winked at me, because he knows! He knows he’s good at what he does. He’s done it for a long time and he’s a master. So it was a real treat.
Since Rian Johnson and David Cronenberg just shot in Greece, it seems like production is being incentivized there at the moment. So have you had the chance to shoot there yet?
Never. And it blows my mind, too. I like to think of myself as a changeling, as a chameleon. If I can add value to a part, I’ll find a way to make that happen. And I can’t imagine that there hasn’t been an opportunity for me to shoot something in Greece. So open your ears, Hollywood. I’m ready. I want to shoot something in Greece.
You’re also a prolific voice actor too, and Invincible was one of your many shows that took off recently. What does VO provide you that live-action may not? Can you take certain risks that live-action may not allow?
I don’t shy away from taking risks, live-action or VO. Whether I get away with the stuff or not, that’s another conversation. My heroes growing up were guys like Danny Kaye who did everything but the kitchen sink. With on-camera, what people want to cast is who someone really is or at least maybe just a slightly augmented version of who someone really is. That never really interested me. As much as I, by God, adore Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant, I always had a better time in my mind playing completely against type. And I don’t even know what my type is. I’m just a 46-year-old father of three who’s lucky enough to be married to Becki [Newton]. So I want to create a character. I want to go far away from what I am so that I can entertain myself and maybe learn something. So in the voice acting world, I’m doing Beavis and Butt-Head this year and I’m doing Pantheon for AMC. Those couldn’t be more diametrically opposed. In Pantheon, I’m playing this terrific, cerebral, quiet villain, but there’s no sauce on the voice. There’s no affectation. It’s a lethal intelligence. And for Beavis and Butt-Head, I’m doing various characters, but I’m just saying that sort of as an example of what it gives me a chance to do. My on-camera career is at a certain point right now where the material that’s coming my way excites me for various reasons, but I’m not necessarily yet at the place where I’m getting the big swing character material in super high-profile projects. So I want to play these completely divergent characters, and in the VO world, I get to be Mickey Mouse. I get to sing and use my Broadway chops. On Harper House for Paramount+, I get to do my best sort of Patrick Stewart and Matt McConaughey. And in Blood of Zeus, I get to be Poseidon, this mythical figure. So it’s like my 2021 rep theater, but in animation. I get to play all of these characters and it keeps me creatively engaged.
Red Notice and True Story are now streaming on Netflix.
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