Fans of “Entourage” know William Fichtner as TV network executive Phil Yagoda. The actor has made a career of standing out in big films from Blackhawk Down to The Dark Knight and portraying memorable TV characters in shows like “Prison Break” and “Invasion.”
Now Fichtner returns to the video game space bringing Sandman to life in Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. The actor talks about his work on the blockbuster new game and what Call of Duty XP was like in this exclusive interview.
Did you grow up playing video games at all?
I kind of missed all of that. I’m a little bit old for that. My thing when I got to college was just looking for the good pinball machine in the bar. You could give it a little bit of a knock without tilting it right of the bat, because you want to get a rhythm on it. And then Atari started coming in the ‘80s and that was like, “Whoa.”
At the time, that was exciting stuff, you know? My wife’s a few years younger than me. If we walk by like some place and they have a Pac-Man game, forget about where you’re going because the next hour is gone. She’s on it.
Do you play any games today?
I play Wii Golf with my son. He’s 9 and I love that game. That’s my extent of gaming.
What was it like bringing Sandman to life in Modern Warfare 3?
It was a wild experience and I had a great time working on it. I don’t know the other games that came before this, but I hear that this one really takes it to a whole new level and it’s great to be a part of it.
I was really grateful that I was asked to do this, especially because of the nature of it. I have real strong feelings about our troops and support them. It’s really an honor all the way around to be a part of it.
What do you think of the big Hollywood names Call of Duty has attracted over the years?
This is my sense of it. I just finished a movie down in San Diego called Phantom, loosely based on a true story about a Russian submarine and an event that happened in 1958. I did the film with Ed Harris, who is such a great guy and I’m his biggest fan.
Ed did Call of Duty: Black Ops. And the line-up of guys that are in Modern Warfare 3…Timothy Olyphant, Bruce Greenwood, Billy Murray…it’s pretty amazing. And you know what, the game’s worthy of it.
You should go for who you think might be the best person to play these characters because the bottom line is these games are successful. If I was making a game, I would want to walk away knowing I just put my best foot forward. And I felt that every step of the way making this.
Having done all of this work, will you be playing Modern Warfare 3 this fall?
I think I’m going to have to. I think when I get home for the holidays my nephews are going to wrangle me.
And having played the character and working on this game, will you have any advantages when you pick up the controller?
No, these kids are geniuses at this. Are you kidding me? I’ll get them on an old Atari and throw them all over the room, but this stuff, these kids know this. They’re good. They’re really good.
What was it like going to Call of Duty XP in Los Angeles this year?
It’s huge when you pull up outside, there were these massive banners hanging off the building and 6,000-plus people that were just completely into this game.
That’s what I find amazing about Modern Warfare. Not really being a gamer myself, the fan base for these games are true blue. When they get a fan, they don’t lose them. And so many people are excited about this next incarnation of what it’s going to be.
What did you do at Call of Duty XP?
There was a lot of amazing stuff going on there. We did a panel with the fans that were there. that wanted to attend it and you know because Keith Stuart was directing this game and he’s just amazing. He’s everybody’s eyes and ears of where the character’s at and you need that. You need to know what’s going on.