It’s one of the most hotly awaited and now bestselling games ever, setting six Guinness World Records since its release. Kevin Klein and Andrea Lowell of the Playboy Morning Show sat down with the stars of Grand Theft Auto V, Shawn “Solo” Fonteno (Franklin), Ned Luke (Michael) and Steven Ogg (Trevor).
Klein: Congratulations on being the most successful game in the world; you guys essentially said, “Fuck you, Tetris!”
Fonteno: Fuck it!
Klein: Have you been a part of all of them? Is this the first one?
Luke: No, this is the first one we’ve done; they tend to go with different guys for each franchise. There were some that blend over, though.
Fonteno: I was a voice in San Andreas—different voice, just a background character—so I’m stepping out to the big leagues!
Klein: So how do
you find out, is it as corporate as you having agents and auditions or is it
more loose, like someone sees or hears you?
Ogg: Same thing as any acting gig, you just go.
Luke: Solo was in L.A., so it was a little different for him than it was for Steven and I, but we had what they call an act-off, which was kind of wild. It was us two and two other guys—
Ogg: Better than just the tip, it was balls deep in the act-off!
Luke: And we mixed and matched. So I went into the booth with another Trevor and he went into a booth with another Michael and then together last. And as soon as I walked in the room with this guy, I knew that it was done because it was just crazy, the connection was awesome. And then we met Solo on set. [laughs]
Fonteno: My situation was totally different; I had to go up with a bunch of well-known rappers, a lot of street thugs that came into the auditions with guns; me being from the streets myself I blended right in and ended up landing the gig.
Lowell: They picked you over [big-]name rappers; what was it about you that they just fell in love with?
Fonteno: I guess it was what they were looking for, because Franklin, his story was pretty much my story too. So I don’t know if they did research and found me, but it worked out cool for me.
Klein: Are you guys getting recognized now? Because I see people all the time and think, “That guy looks like fucking Mario from Mario Bros.” but I know it’s not him, but in your case it might be.
Ogg: If I was here last week you would’ve thought the same, I had the mustache!
Fontena: Yeah, everywhere we go. I get ran up from people all the time. I don’t know if I can say names, but TMZ and other people are coming at me when I’m coming or going to clubs, so they recognize me big-time.
Ogg: I don’t get recognized as much; these guys get more recognition, but I’m getting these e-mails now from women, so it’s interesting to see what kind of women would be interested in this kind of guy.
Luke: Yeah, because he’s used to getting them from guys!
Ogg: But I had last week this big mustache and one of the more flattering fan things last week was, “I want a mustache ride,” which I don’t even know what that is.
Klein: Andrea, what’s a mustache ride?
Lowell: It’s when someone jumps on your face!
Klein: So let me ask you this: you find out the game makes a billion dollars. What does that mean for you personally?
Klein: What’s pride worth these days? So it doesn’t do anything for you?
Luke: It’s pride, man, you’re part of the biggest thing in history. This is the biggest thing in entertainment history! Who cares about what money is or anything like that, that’s our business…
Ogg: We’re true artists; we don’t care about the money.
Klein: I’ve heard that some of you have never actually played the game yet; is that true?
Luke: Ogg doesn’t play video games.
Klein: So you wouldn’t even know what to do? You’d be the guy that backs over themselves in traffic?
Ogg: Correct. In the beginning of the three years of shooting this, the director basically said, “Do you have any idea what this is? These video games?” And I said no, I’m a Pac-Man guy in my head. So we went in the back room and played one of the GTA games and it was incredible but I was just bumping into the wall. I was just like, fuck this; I wanted to break the console, Hulky smashy! So I basically left the thing. Three years later we tried the thing. “All right, Steve, three years later! Let’s try the thing.” Same thing: bump into the wall, bump into the wall.
Luke: Yeah, but you play with yourself so you don’t even really need to play with the games.
Ogg: Yeah, with my own little joystick.
Fonteno: But me, man, I’m playing it and I love my character, I love everybody’s character, and I’ve been playing it nonstop. I’m close to the ending.
Klein: What’s the best thing that’s happened in the game for you?
Fontena: Man, the
success in the game that a guy like my character Franklin comes from nothing
and becomes a whole lot of something, so that is the best thing for me is to
see the progress of the guy. To leave the hood and then come to living looking
over the water. He’s balling now!