'Game of Thrones' Star Will Never Play Video Games, but He'll Make Them
The film, TV, and stage credits of English actor Charles Dance are staggering, with hits like HBO’s Game of Thrones, Netflix’s The Crown, and the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters, out in theaters this spring.
Yet in the “Video Games” section of the actor’s IMDB and Wikipedia pages, there’s only two credits: The Witcher 3 from 2015, and the most recent installment of the Call of Duty franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
The former was a bit part, but the latter was a far more involving role for the Royal Shakespeare Company alum, which the actor says has opened him up to the world of gaming. Just don’t expect him to pick up a controller anytime soon.
“It’s extraordinary,” Dance tells Inverse, reflecting on his role in Black Ops 4. “I had a ball, principally because it’s incredibly well-written. I expected it to be a load of old tosh, but the quality of the writing is astonishing.”
Best known to mainstream audiences for playing the ruthless Tywin Lannister for four seasons on the HBO series Game of Thrones, Dance voices one of four playable characters in “Dead of the Night,” the story-driven, star-studded multiplayer mode of Black Ops 4.
In the game, Dance plays Godfrey, the butler of a lavish estate that becomes overrun by zombies, werewolves, and vampires. Kiefer Sutherland, Helena Bonham Carter, and Brian Blessed (The Black Adder) also star.
“He doesn’t know whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy,” Dance says of Godfrey. “He doesn’t know if he’s being controlled or a controller.”
Although it’s far more common today for actors to star in video games — the Call of Duty series especially has regularly featured actors, such as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ron Perlman, Jeff Goldblum, Katee Sackhoff, Michael Keaton, and Kit Harrington (also from Game of Thrones) — Black Ops 4’s “Dead of the Night” was a transformative one for Dance, who had never played video games before. Ever.
“I have no relationship with that medium at all!” he says. “I know from my grown-up children that Call of Duty is huge. I told my daughter, and she said ‘Oh dad, it’s huge.’ I said, ‘Is it really?’ I don’t know anything about them! All aspects were new to me. I wouldn’t know how to play one. I’ve never played one before, I doubt very much I will.”
It’s not entirely for a lack of interest. Dance says he’s simply to busy to sit down and play a video game (someone should tell him a Fortnite match only takes 15 minutes), but what appeals to him the most is the technology used to bring real actors into the virtual world of Call of Duty.
“The fact that they take a 3D image of your face and make you do about 200 expressions so that they be used in the animation, it’s a whole different ball game for me,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun.”
While Dance earned recognition for his time on Game of Thrones, it was Call of Duty that opened him up to a new audience. The actor remembers going on a recent errand run, mere hours after he was formally announced to star in the game, and already being approached by gamers.
“I went into a local office supply shop to buy stuff, and the guy on the till said, ‘Friend of mine tells me you’re doing the next Call of Duty!’ I said, ‘How’d you know that?’ He said, ‘It’s all over the web.’ I am beginning to be aware of how huge this industry is.”
So does that mean gamers can expect Dance to show up in their blockbuster, triple-A titles in the future?
“Yeah. absolutely,” Dance says. “If it’s well written as this, certainly.”