I recently got the chance to talk to Chriss Anglin, about his role as John F. Kennedy in ‘Call Of Duty: Black Ops’ and about his acting career. Here, Chriss talks about his views on the film and TV industries, ‘Black Ops’, and about his work on various film shorts….
Hey Chriss,. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me! People can currently hear your gifted voice in ‘Call Of Duty: Black Ops’, where you play the character of legendary President, John F. Kennedy. I best start off with the most obvious question – have you had the chance to play the game yet? What do you think of the end result?
You know Matt, I’m not a gamer. I honestly have not played the game or even seen my part in the game. But, I do have a lot of friends who are gamers, and they absolutely love it. I also have two teenage daughters, and since doing ‘Black Ops’, I’m the coolest dad at their school.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I got involved in the project simply by auditioning for the project. In LA there are several actor websites where we can receive casting calls for different projects. Since I’m always looking out for new projects, I pursue them regularly. I saw the casting call for an “Untitled Video Game Project”, seeking an actor to play the role of JFK. I had never worked on a video game before and was really interested in it. So, I submitted myself to the project. The casting director Ivy Isenberg called me in for an audition. She ran me through the scene over and over again until she had a take that she liked. Whatever we did must have worked, because a couple of days later she called and let me know the producers wanted to hire me for the role.
Why do you think the game is popular?
I think the game is so popular because it’s part of a great franchise, and it takes place in a recent time of our history that most people don’t know a lot about. And, what’s not cool about Presidents killing zombies.
What has the fan reception been like for you? Do people go up to you and say – “Hey, you played JFK!”
The fan reception has been great. It’s funny. I have people come up to me all the time saying “Hey. You played JFK.” And, I always end up doing the voice for them.
You’ve played the role of John F Kennedy before, haven’t you, in another film? And you’ve just recently played the role of Bill Clinton in “Naked Run” – do you have a keen interest in American history? What has it been like to play these such iconic figures in history?
‘Black Ops’ was actually the third time I’ve portrayed JFK. The first was for the great David Zucker of ‘Airplane’ and ‘Naked Gun’ fame in “Big Fat Important Movie” (known as ‘An American Carol’ in the States). I had been told over and over again that I look like JFK, so I started playing with the voice as a joke (I sounded more like Mayor Quimby from the Simpsons than a Kennedy). When I went into the audition for David’s movie, I knew nothing about it. All I knew was, it was David Zucker, which meant comedy, so I just hammed it up, and he liked it. I worked with a voice coach to refine what I was already doing, watched every piece of video I could find of JFK to get the cadence and mannerisms down and read numerous biographies to learn what made the man tick. David idolizes JFK, and he told me from the beginning that even though the movie was a political parody, JFK was not a parody. He wanted me to be as true to the man as possible. It was the most research I had ever put into a character. My next portrayal was for a Finnish metals company for a promotional video and then of course ’Black Ops’. As for portraying Bill Clinton, I seem to have a gift for voices and he was one I always had fun impersonating. Impersonating such an iconic figure and making people laugh in the process is great. I do have a keen interest in history. Not just American history, but world and political and especially military history. I’m always reading about different periods in time and different military conflicts. One of my favorite authors is the English military historian John Keegan. What I find amazing about history is that mankind never seems to learn anything from their mistakes, and so keeps making the same mistakes over and over again. It was a fantastic experience to be able to portray these iconic figures. And, it’s really eye-opening too when I’m researching them to learn there’s so much more to them than the scandalous tidbits the media feeds us on a daily basis.