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Ken Jeong Discusses His Voice Work For Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

May 23, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

Actor Ken Jeong spoke with CS.net about his work on the new Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare voice pack. The highlights are below:

On how he got involved in the project: “I asked myself the same question! It’s so funny! To your point, I had heard about the word that Method Man and Snoop were doing it for Call of Duty and I got to see clips of that. I really love what they did with this and as an actor who does a lot of voiceover on animated projects like, I’ve done stuff on Despicable Me, and Bob’s Burgers and all these other things. For me as an actor I was like, this is pretty sweet. What was so fun about this project was having a sense of humor. For the Call of Duty people to have a sense of humor about themselves – some of the games that I was introducing, not only were made allowable for improv for me to do my own thing, but it was also having a sense of even satire about some of the games. And that was even encouraged. It just shows how established Call of Duty is and how they’re so dominant in their genre. They’re so secure about themselves that it was ripe for parody. And to me, that was the most enjoyable aspect of all of this. You know, there were at times, when appropriate, a meta aspect to all of this, which was really unexpected. [laughs] Because there were some games, and these aren’t the real games, but say there was a game called “Stop This.” [In a deep movie trailer announcer voice] “Stop this! This is a game where you… stop… this!” They would allow me to do stuff like that. It was so much fun, everyone having a sense of humor about all this and I think that’s kind of important in life.”

On how it’s different from the other voiceover work that he’s done: “I think it was definitely challenging because of the sheer volume of lines, in terms of different games, you know? I give the director a lot of credit, because I was really eager to do this and she wanted to kind of make sure she paced out my energy. We did it over a few days. I love doing voiceover so much, and I don’t mind doing five-hour days, which is kind of a lot for voiceover. I don’t mind doing a long day, where it’s just me in the sound booth, just boom, boom, boom, hundreds and hundreds of lines, and doing each line over and over again. It’s like thousands of takes. I don’t mind that because I like to work, but she definitely helped kind of pace me out. Like, okay, you might be excited now, but by hour four – just pace it out. She did a good job of coaching me through the process and she was just right there. A lot of times it was just subtle notes of, just, now, really convey that urgency a little bit more. She was just a great voice director. She has been with the game since day one and she knew where to go artistically. It was great. It was a great collaboration.”

On if there are Community or Hangover references in the game dialogue: “I tried not to do that, to be honest. I didn’t want it to get too, how do I say, too overt in anything. I just wanted to get into the spirit. I didn’t want to shoehorn a toodaloo reference. [laughs] The way I played it is just like the way I do any other voiceover project. To me, I just wanted to serve the story of the game versus hey guys, I really think this calls for a Señor Chang moment. [laughs] I know Ken, but we’re on break right now. Okay, I’ll just stand down or whatever. I mean, I really tried not to do it. I think I have inflections that will remind people of that, but they’re not that, if that makes sense. If it calls for something, I just kind of do it the Ken Jeong way. But it’s not like I transform into a Chow hologram or anything. [laughs] Which could be the title of the next game!”

On wanting to do more dramatic work: “Yes! I do. There is a film I produced that went to Sundance called Advantageous and that was kind of a – it was one of the coolest projects I’ve ever been involved in. It was an indie film that I ultimately helped to kind of finance, parts of the post-production. It was set in the future and it’s almost like a blend of subtle sci-fi with the sacrifices that an Asian-American mother makes for her daughter to get into private school. It was based on the short film at Tribeca and it instantly put me and my wife to tears. It’s such an amazing, deep dramatic film and they offered me a small dramatic part in it, and I just had to do it. It’s on Netflix now and I think it sold the film rights to Netflix and it was just such – for me, that was one of my happiest accomplishments in my career, to get this movie that is a big departure from what I did, and then just a completely dramatic performance. Yeah, I want to do that. I just finished filming a small role in this movie called Departures, although my role in this is more comic relief, I really just wanted to do the movie because of the script. It features Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones and Asa Butterfield, who was the lead in Hugo. It’s about a teenage girl having a terminal illness and kind of – it’s really moving. The script really moved me and I just play a sympathetic cop to her character and Asa’s character. I’m definitely drawn to – I want to do more things to your point, more dark and dramatic for sure, and I think that’s definitely where I’d like to go on any level. If I’m the comic relief on it, great, but if it’s just the subject, I find myself attracted more to that. Absolutely.”