David Hayter, a living legend in the gaming and comic movie world. Instead of sweeping girls off their feet, he sweeps nerds off of theirs. From stopping Metal Gears to helping bring the Watchmen and X-Men films to life, David’s got quite a resume under his belt. I had a chance to chat with the man behind the legend about Metal Gear, Watchmen, X-Men, Guyver, internet imposters (or clones, see what I did there?), future projects, and hurting Quinton Flynn’s feelings.
Before you read the interview, here’s a personal message from the man, himself!
NERDSociety (NS): One of your first live action works was Guyver 2: Dark Hero as Guyver. What was it like starring in the movie and how was it like dressing up in a suit?
David Hayter: Starring in that movie was one of the greatest events of my life. I had always wanted to be Batman, and that film brought me pretty close to that goal. It was hard work, but a total blast, and I loved every minute of it. I did not, however, ever get to wear the full suit. I am six foot one, and they wanted to make all the monsters look much bigger than the Guyver, so all of the “Guyver” stunt people were much shorter than me.
If you look at the publicity photos of me standing next to the armor, you can see how much shorter his forearms are than mine, and the Guyver is also standing on a box. That’s movie magic for you. Although, I did wear the helmet to be yanked off me, in the scene when I reveal to Cory who I really am. I also got hoisted up on a flying rig for the jump off the cliff. Kick-ass.
NS: You’ve done quite a few voice work in your life, are there any roles that sticks out in particular?
David: I did do this one character… Solid Snake? That’s been memorable. I also got to sing for a guest shot on an episode of the anime series, BLACKJACK. And I am very fond of my performances as Lupin in THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO, and Tamahome in the FUSHIGI YUUGI series.
NS: Most of your fans know you from the Metal Gear series as Solid Snake. Did you know coming in the project that this game would be such a huge success?
David: Not at first. I had never heard of the series prior to getting cast, but I did get a sense from the artwork, and the cut-scenes, that we were working on something big. I also felt that the voice I had hit upon would have an impact on people. It just felt cool.
NS: Also, how do you feel about people associating you with Solid Snake?
David: Excellent. At least I’m not Raiden. (Just kidding, Q.)
NS: Ah, poor ol’ Quinton. Anyway, as you can see in the video above, fans love to be Snake. Have you ever or considered dressing up as Solid Snake for Halloween? Maybe even hiding inside a cardboard box?
David: Actually, last year for Halloween, I borrowed the electronic eye-patch, from my “Celebrity Moralist” segment in MGS4, colored my hair and mustache white and took my daughter out trick or treating as Old Snake. So… yes.
Also, I am hiding in a cardboard box right now. But it is for an unrelated gangster problem.
NS: It has come to a point where certain individuals would even emulate you on social networking sites like Facebook or Myspace. What is your take on these posers?
David: Bunch of cowards! Posers! Lying, non-Hayter impersonators!
NS: Can you tell us about the Quinton Flynn incident with a David Hayter imposter and how you resolved the situation?
David: Quinton Flynn, who is my friend, despite the fact that he is starring in MGS5 (Thief! Jackanape!), found me on Facebook, and sent me a note. Apparently, I replied, “Is this Quinton Flynn, who played Raiden?”
He replied, “Yeah, it’s me! What’s going on Dave?”
And then, I allegedly replied, “You’re a little bitch! You’re a little girly man, bitch!”
And Quinton replied, “Geez Dave, I didn’t know you took this stuff so seriously.” And then, smelling a rat, he called Kris Zimmerman (the brilliant English voice director for every Metal Gear to date) and asked her if I was, indeed, a creepy lunatic.
She replied that that did not sound like me at all, and gave him my cell number. We discussed it, and I told him that I was not on Facebook, for exactly those reasons, and he informed me that this jerk was also hitting on all the Metal Gear actresses, claiming to be me. I had my office track him down and turn him in. I believe he is still in Internet Jail.
On a side note, I am still not talking to Kris because she gave out my cell number.
NS: Can you really blame people for wanting to be like David Hayter?
Actually… no. It’s a pretty nice life, and I do get to use the real Snake voice whenever I want. I am just not sure what happens when the girls these imposters pick up arrive at their houses to find that they’re not me.
NS: Ok, even though Metal Gear was a success, it wasn’t until the first X-Men movie that your Hollywood career really took off. Did you feel like all your hard work has paid off?
David: Monetarily. You know, you put years of effort into this business, and for those years it feels like nobody cares, and nobody ever will. Then, something breaks for you, and your whole life changes. It is truly the last bastion of the true American Dream.
NS: Did you write the line, “What happens to a toad when it gets struck by lightning?” in X-Men?
David: No, that line was written by Joss Whedon, though I did elect to keep it in the movie. If you loved it, it was Joss’s. If you hated it, it was my fault. I did write the line “Well, this certainly is a big… round… room,” which still makes me laugh.
NS: Let’s talk about Watchmen. Did you feel the movie connected to mainstream audiences? Would you have done anything differently if given the chance?
David: Well, we could have made more at the box office, and though I was convinced that many people would want to see the movie again, to grasp its full complexity, I think that because the ending is so dark, and somewhat ambiguous, that kept repeat viewers from returning. That said, I am immensely proud of the film, and I, personally, would not have done anything differently.
Better to have a truly original film that makes less, than to have a crusty piece of retread feces that makes more.
NS: Now you’re preparing for your future directorial debut with a werewolf movie called Slaughter’s Road, and Demonology. Can you tell us about these projects and what viewers should be looking forward to when it comes out?
David: SLAUGHTER’S ROAD is scheduled to start filming in the spring of 2010, and I am still finishing the script for DEMONOLOGY. I cannot really tell you much more than that, as I don’t want to spoil the surprises.
NS: Aside from being busy on all these projects, do you have any nerdy hobbies?
David: I picked up the guitar about two years ago, and am now fully obsessed. That said, I own some pretty badass electric guitars, including a Gibson Les Paul Classic USA with a sunburst fade, so I don’t know if that can count as Nerdy. Maybe the way I play it does. I also enjoy videogames.
NS: Last thing, if you were offered a chance to direct or write a Metal Gear movie, which Metal Gear game would you choose to adapt?
David: Can’t tell you that. Although I would probably start at the beginning….
NS: Thanks for this interview, we really appreciate it!
David: No, I really appreciate it. Nerds ahoy!