- Axel TWD is responsible for this interview, conducted on January 4, 2013.
TWD Wiki: How did you get the role of Kenny in The Walking Dead Video Game?
I received the audition from my agent and read for several of the male roles, which is generally what we as voice actors do for game casting. Kenny's script (or 'sides') had a picture of him and a few scenes from episode 1. There was a pretty huge emotional range in it and I just sorta went for it. We didn't hear anything back for a month at least and some roles had multiple rounds of auditions. I hadn't worked on many Telltale games, so I'd pretty much written it off and then they booked me! I was thrilled, probably more so than I'd been for any game prior.
TWD Wiki: Did you watch the TV show or read the graphic novel prior to getting a role in the Game? And if so, do you have a favorite character?
I'd read the first two trades and watched the first season of the show, so I was familiar with the story and tone of it. With that limited experience, I like Rick best probably, especially Kirkman's Rick in the book.
TWD Wiki: What was it like to work with Dave Fennoy and all the other amazing voice actors in the Game?
Well, I never actually worked WITH Mr Fennoy, but I certainly knew his work and respected him massively. We record our parts in isolation and it all gets assembled later. I had the honor of meeting Dave in person after we finished episode 5 and he is one of the most decent, supportive human beings I've met and we've totally absorbed him into our San Francisco VO family. Most of the rest of the cast are good friends of mine, especially Melissa Hutchison, Nicki Rapp, Owen Thomas, Roger Jackson, Adam Harrington, Cissy Jones, Nic Vigil and Brian Sommer. And I've worked with recordist Jory Prum and director Julian Kwasneski for years on other games.
TWD Wiki: In what ways are you similar to, as well as different from your character Kenny?
Well, I'm a husband and father, so I can relate to the need to protect them and the devastation that losing them would bring. Aside from that, I like fishing and have been to Florida...
TWD Wiki: Do you have any interesting or funny stories to tell that occurred in the process of making the Game?
Honestly it's been such an honor and a trip to work on this game which just kept getting and doing better and better. One of my favorite moments was when a bunch of us threw a surprise party for Melissa after she won the Spike TV Female Performance of the Year. We had about 30 cast, crew and friends and we totally got her, it was great.
TWD Wiki: What was it difficult to show such a huge range of emotion that Kenny goes through during the journey to Savannah?
Kenny covered a lot of emotional ground, and I figured going in that something bad would happen to Kat, Duck or Kenny. Being a close family, it didn't look good for them to all make it back. And Julian and writer Mark Darin warned me going into episode 3 that it was gonna be heavy. I had no idea how heavy. It was certainly the hardest, most emotional performance I've had to give, but the script and the story are so strong, my job was just to make it believable, which hopefully I did.
TWD Wiki: What was your favorite scene to record?
Unloading on Ben in ep 4. It's not the kind of fury I tap into... well, ever, so it was pretty exciting to let loose like that. Either that or the alley. That was pretty zen and felt sort of complete after Kenny's long, sometimes quite crappy journey.
Kenny yelling at Ben.
TWD Wiki: What was your reaction to hearing that The Walking Dead had won the Game of the Year award at Spike VGAs as well as the huge success of the Game in general? Did you ever expect it to become so successful?
No, sir, I did not. Not because it wasn't a great story and a clever, innovative, emotionally invested game with so many talented people working on it. But, because it's a 'puzzle game', an episodic 'story game', not a blockbuster action game with Nolan North and Jennifer Hale and a celebrity cast. I'm thrilled to have played a small part in such a fantastic success that didn't really play by the rules.
TWD Wiki: Since Kenny's fate is never explicitly revealed at the end of the game, would you return to voice him or other characters in Season 2 of the Game?
In a heartbeat. I'd love to and hopefully I will get the chance to play a part in season 2. I'll look forward to that audition packet!
TWD Wiki: Did the cast and crew do anything special after the Game was finished?
Julian and Jory and most of the cast went and had Thai food when Dave was up for his last recording session. And Telltale threw an awesome wrap party a few weeks later. Then we threw that surprise party for Melissa... Seems like we're still celebrating!
TWD Wiki: Do you know of any roles or stories in the Game that were eventually changed or removed altogether? For example, a character that was meant to die but was postponed or otherwise changed.
Kenny saying goodbye to Lee.
Well, I know that when I first recorded ep 5, it was extremely clear that Kenny died in that alley. Like, suffering, screaming, gurgling dead. But in a pick up session (a shorter follow up recording session to fix changes or revisions) the alley scene was more somber, Kenny was more resigned and none of that gurgling death audio was included. There were lots of other revisions throughout the process, but none that I can recall that were as dramatic. There was talk of Lily showing up in Kenny's RV, but that didn't seem to work out.
TWD Wiki: Are you currently working on any other projects?
I've been cast in Telltale's Fables and I have a couple of minor roles in Tomb Raider and Dead Space 3 coming up. I'm also the voice of Furby and do some commercial voice over and audiobooks as well. I love my job and feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to work on different types of projects.
TWD Wiki: Thank you again on behalf of the entire wiki! We appreciate it very much. Congratulations on being part of what is surely one of the best video games of all time!
Thanks so much, Axel. It's been my pleasure!