Would you say Duke is your favorite gaming role? We'd assume so.
Absolutely, oh my God! Duke is the coolest role any voice actor in video games could ever hope to
have. Other voice actors at panels often say to me “God, I wish I'd had that part. You're so lucky!” I tell them I know, I'm really lucky. Not only is the character so cool and what every guy wants to be, but because of the fans that come along with it. Duke Nukem fans are awesome and act like I'm some kind of a god! I'm just a douchebag who records a voiceover. God bless 'em! I just love having fans! I'm so lucky! It's so cool.
Were you allowed to write any of Duke's lines or ad lib them? How involved were you with the writing process?
I actually did ad lib and made a couple of suggestions that may have possibly been used in the game. I'm not sure if they were or not. But no, for the most part it's all pre-written. All of the script for Duke Nukem Forever was written by a couple of women, by the way, including lines like “I'll rip out your eyeballs and piss on your brain.” Kristen Haglund wrote that line! Two women wrote the script! I think it's so outrageous. Including women who are offended by the game, and there are a number of them out there. I've had mothers come up to me saying “You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Jon St. John, for voicing that kind of character. You're destroying the fiber of our youngsters, blah blah blah...” And I'm like “You know what? I'm only recording a voice for it. I didn't write it. In fact, a couple of women wrote it!” And that shuts them down and the conversation's over. “Hey, a couple of chicks wrote Duke Nukem Forever and don't you forget it!”
Recently you were Sweet Tooth in the latest Twisted Metal. Was it a departure for you to play
someone so twisted and evil instead of your typical “badass?”
Sweet Tooth was one of my favorite roles because I like being a bad guy! Duke is one of my favorite
roles but he's generally a good guy, at least in the Duke Nukem games. When I get to be a maniacal, evil character? I love that. Like when I got to be Hans Gruber – or I think they changed his name to Simon Gruber in the Die Hard trilogy, and I really enjoyed doing that. I liked being the bad guy. There's a simple, easy motivation. I guess I dredge up an evil demon I'm channeling from hell. But it's really easy for me to play the bad guy, so I really like doing it. And the voice quality for the bad guy, I love doing snooty English bad guys. Love doing characters like that. They're so maniacal! Everyone says I'm a nice guy, but I'm able to channel up some evil at times. But it's fun.
Have you thought about translating that into a film or camera role?
You know, I have a dream that someday, some producer or director in Hollywood goes “You know
what? We need the next action hero for the next action movie. How about Duke Nukem?” And with
today's technology it can be a totally CG movie. They don't have to find an actor that looks like Duke.
They can make him look however they want. They can have any type of storyline. Personally, I would love to see an R-rated CG movie, the first of the genre, with Duke as the main character. I think that would be awesome and I would love to do the voice for it obviously. Would you pay $12 to see Duke Nukem 3D in 3D? If we can get everyone in the world to do that, then we'd be in business.
If you could play any of the male video game protagonists out there, who would you choose?
Wow. Now, I can tell you that I love the way Mark Hamill played the Joker in the Batman games, and
I understand he is not going to be doing that any longer. I would absolutely love a shot at that. That would be a great role for me. As I said, I love the evil characters and I know I could do a great Joker voice that's very close to what Mark Hamill did. That's a role I could get into. Any evil character out there – that's what I want to play!
What do you think comprises Duke Nukem's appeal? Is it in his personality? His guns? What do you think?
I think it's because when you're playing a Duke Nukem game, you are Duke. So – you're a guy. You're a 20-year-old guy hopped up on Red Bull, ready to play a video game. You want to kill something, but not necessarily humans, because that's not cool, but ALIENS, that's something else! And you wanna save babes and have them do favors for you! Duke looks like a badass, he sounds like a badass, you know? He may not have the arsenal of weapons he had at one time, but you know he's the baddest ass in the game, so you know when you're playing Duke you're one bad mo-fo! I think that's the appeal.
Do you ever act like him in every day life?
No, but every once in a while my girlfriend will say, “do the voice.” And I oblige, of course.
Do you think we'll see any more Duke Nukem games in the future?
You know, I hope so. I'm fairly certain there's going to be more downloadable content available for
Duke Nukem Forever, but as far as future games, everything I know I can tell you right now: nothing. I haven't heard from anyone at Gearbox or 2K Games since the game was released. In the meantime, there are other games out there. I don't know that I'll ever land another part that is as famous or as much of a pop icon as Duke because the timing was so good with the release of Duke Nukem 3D. I hope they do something in the future. I keep my fingers crossed. It's possible!
The Ventrilo Harassment videos are hilarious. Branching from that, what's the coolest fan made art, video or creation that you've been given or have seen on the internet?
I LOVE the Ventrilo videos. Love 'em. And I was a big fan of the Doug Huggem video the Mega64
guys did. They're in the area in Southern California about 30 miles from where I live and they asked
me if I would be involved. They said “We want to do a parody of Duke, but a kindler, gentler Duke!
He's called Doug Huggem and he wants to give Christian side-hugs and tell people to recycle!” They said it'd be really funny, so I thought “Well, you say that, but how funny are you?” They sent me to their website and I thought they were hilarious. So I went down to their studio and recorded some stuff for them. They recorded a really great parody of them.