January 15, 2004 - If you're a fan of Quentin Tarantino'sReservoir Dogs, and I know there are more than a few of you out there, you know Michael Madsen. As Mr. Blonde, he became famous as the gangster who turned a cop into Van Gogh. Since then, he's been in Thelma & Louise and dozens of projects after that. Most recently, he paired up with Tarantino again to be in Kill Bill: Vol. 1. He's also the voice of Tanner, the main character in Atari's upcoming, DRIV3R.
We caught up to Madsen at the DRIV3R press event and asked him a few questions. We have the full video of the interview and you can check it out here on Insider . The sound is a little muddy thanks to the DJs pumping the bass in the background, but you can still hear most of the dialogue. Otherwise, feel free to check out the whole transcribed interview right here.
IGNPS2: Hello, Michael, glad to meet you. I'm a big fan of your work, seen a lot of your movies. How did they approach you for DRIV3R?
Michael Madsen: Well, I've been trying to get involved in the voice-over thing for a while. I did a voice for Vice City, but it was only like 10 lines, 12 lines, and I wanted to find something that I could do that was a little more involved and I did True Crime because I wanted to would with Christopher Walken and Gary Oldman. When Atari asked me to do DRIV3R, I wasn't gonna be the guy who gets thrown out the window or the guy who gets f***ed and run over by a truck. I get to play the hero and that greatly appealed to me. I was in London at the time and I recorded the whole thing in London.
IGNPS2: When was the first time you met Michelle? At work?
Michael Madsen: This morning.
IGNPS2:So everything was done separately?
Michael Madsen: Yeah.
IGNPS2: How much of the dialogue was improvised?
Michael Madsen: I try to put my personality in it as much as I can. I try to bring a little humor to the character with just an inflection of the voice. You know, without overdoing it so it's not just, like, one-dimensional. You know, "Get over here, I'll kick your ass. I'm taking over." You gotta have a little more, you know...
IGNPS2: A little more flavor?
Michael Madsen: Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was well written and I had a good director. The guys in London were very collaborative. We had a nice session, you know. We did the whole thing in the better part of a day.
IGNPS2: Obviously, you were in a small part in Vice City, so what really drew you to the roles in video games?
Michael Madsen: It's more of the voice-over thing that I'm interested in. I like the narration idea of things. When you do the narration for something you don't have to shave [laughs]. You don't have the pressure of being on camera, you know what I mean? All you gotta do is sit there and talk. And I kinda like that. It's a nice way to spend the day.
IGNPS2: Have you been branching out into other voice-acting work besides video games?
Michael Madsen:Well, I do the voice for a show called Animal Precinct which is in New York. I've done that for three years and I'd like to do more stuff, but I don't get called upon that often to do it. God knows why.
IGNPS2: Naturally the talents of acting cross over into voice-acting. Are there any other voice-actors or actors who have done work in video games that you admire?
Michael Madsen: Well, Mickey Rourke, who worked on DRIV3R, Ving Rhames, and I think they're both really talented guys. Mickey's done some really memorable films and I've always wanted to work with Ving. And I think it's starting to become a thing where actors are doing the voice-over stuff.
IGNPS2: One last question. Do you play any games yourself and if so is there a favorite of yours?
Michael Madsen: Well, no, my sons do. My sons play a lot of games. I'm not a big video game guy, you know.
-- Ed Lewis