I’m pretty sure that Will Arnett is a “legit gamer” because this was the second time I’ve interviewed him about a video game. The Arrested Development and Bojack Horseman star recently chatted with the press at a venue in downtown LA before a charitable bout of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, and before that, years ago, he did the same in Microsoft’s small event space in Venice Beach, only it was Titanfall we discussed then.
I know it’s tacky and weird to comment about who’s a “legit gamer” and who isn’t. I only bring it up because Arnett is a pretty big celebrity, at least to people who love good TV, and big celebrities who get trotted out by big video game companies (Rainbow Six was put out by Assassin’s Creed developer Ubisoft) are usually full of shit. I’m pretty sure Arnett isn’t that—by which I mean I think he legitimately does enjoy video games, which makes it extra cool to talk to him.
(For the record I’d have the same concern if I was interviewing Bryan Cranston about laundry detergent or talking with Shaq about expensive hair gel. I guess I’m naturally mistrustful of spokespersonship.)
At the event Arnett faced off with Ben Schwartz (you probably know him as Aziz Ansari’s friend Jean-Ralphio on Parks and Rec) in four rounds of Siege, a game in which players take the role of special counter-terrorist operatives and compete to shoot one another and accomplish various objectives. Arnett’s team won overall, earning $10,000 for Extra Life, a charity that helps children. I chatted with him before the competition.
Normally when you do these celebrity interviews there’s a publicist or agent hovering around making sure things don’t get too weird, but that person must have been distracted this time, because there was no one stopping me from giving Arnett the questions from Playboy’s iconic Playmate Questionnaire.
Amy Schumer did it, so why not?
With that essential tell-all out of the way I had a couple of minutes left to ask the comedian about Bojack Horseman season 3, the inevitable return of Arrested Development, his new show Flaked, and, of course, video games.
Playboy: It looks like I have a minute and a half left so I’ll ask you about what we’re actually here for—Rainbow Six Siege. I know you like games because I interviewed you a couple of years ago about Titanfall in Venice Beach.
I got some really good photos of you with your game face staring at a Titan, like you were really having a moment with it.
Have you had any similar experiences with Rainbow Six so far?
Not yet but I plan on [it]. I feel like I’m going to dominate tonight. I feel like I’m in a good space gamer-wise.
Have you played against Ben before?
I’m not scared of Ben. I know what I’m up against.
Why do you say that?
I feel like I’m going to beat him roundly. By the way, I keep saying this, and he’s going to beat me, and I’m going to feel so humiliated.
I heard actually that he’s nervous.
Is he? He should be.
Someone told me he was really excited and then he got here and saw that big stage—
So we have to play on the stage, right? I mean that’s nuts.
It’s a lot of pressure.
I’m going to let the pressure be on him. Meanwhile I freeze up. No, I play with Ben a lot. His first cousin and I play a lot together too, so I feel like if I start to lose I’ll just threaten his cousin.
Who’s his cousin?
Mark [Chappell], who’s over there, who works with me. I’m excited though. It’s a great game. I’ve played other Ubisoft games; we played Far Cry last year, we did a whole thing on that actually out of the Xbox Lounge, and this is exactly my kind of game, first-person shooter games. And I just played for a little bit and it’s pretty great. I sat next to one of the people from Ubisoft and she kind of walked me through it, and I was like, “What do I have?” and she was showing me. It’s like great, great, and within 30 seconds I’m like “OK I got it.”
Yeah, which is the best thing you can say about a game, really. It’s the highest compliment you can pay it.
I wanted to ask about Bojack Horseman but I couldn’t think of anything specific to ask. I guess I just wanted to tell you how much I love Bojack Horseman.
Oh you do? Oh good! Well we’re just finishing up recording our third season, and it’s getting great, it’s been a great season and the scripts have been really good, really strong and kind of taken the story in a great direction. It’s been really fun working on it. I’ve been doing that and I’ve been working on my show Flaked—we’re just editing that up now. I’ve been doing both those at the same time. So I’m excited for next year for both those shows.
Have you heard anything on more Arrested Development?
Yeah, Arrested—we’re actively trying to figure out how we’re going to do it. Mitch [Hurwitz, the show’s creator] is working on material right now, and you know, we’ll see if it comes together, but everybody’s very optimistic that it will.
Of all your characters, who do you relate to the most? And don’t just say “Bojack because I’m hung like a horse”.
[laughing] You know, I always try to—even as absurd as they get, even GOB on Arrested—I always try to find something to kind of identify with them. Bojack certainly, even though he’s a horse, he is an actor, and although he’s a pretty depressed dude and some of those record sessions get pretty bleak to be honest, when you’re working on it and we do the table reads—the records can get kind of heavy. And of course, you know, this show that I just wrote, Flaked, this character Chip, there are a lot of elements in there that I can relate to that I wrote into the script and it’s a lot bleaker and darker than people are probably expecting.
Where will that live?
It starts streaming at the end of February on Netflix. We just shot out in Venice, California, the whole show, on location, and I think it’s going to be—I think people are not expecting it to be what it’s going to be, which I’m really excited about.
Could have said the same thing about Bojack, so—
Yeah. And Raphael [Bob-Waksberg], who created Bojack, actually when my partner Mark Chappell and I started writing, came in and consulted the first few weeks when we were just kind of getting going and really encouraged me to like, based on Bojack, that you can write a comedy but you can have other elements in it and really go for it. So I’m excited. We got great music—Stephen Malkmus is our composer (from [the band] Pavement), and the list of bands that have contributed songs is going to blow people’s minds I think. Yeah!
Thanks again to Will Arnett for being a good sport when I asked him to “take a sexy selfie” on my phone. Flaked premieres on Netflix in February 2016, and hopefully we’ll learn more about Bojack and Arrested soon as well.
Mike Rougeau is Playboy.com’s Gaming Editor, in charge of all things video games, including self-aware celebrity spokesperson interviews. He lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend and two dogs. Follow him on Twitter @RogueCheddar.
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This article was updated to reflect that players in Rainbow Six Siege do not control terrorists.