You might have seen Nick Tarabay starring in your favorite space drama, but putting on a mo-cap suit? That’s new. He will soon be stepping into the world of Anthem™ as Haluk, your mechanic and a member of your crew.
Haluk has some unknown history with the player, which we're all eager to learn more about. We caught up with Nick at PAX West 2018 to learn what working on Anthem is like and discover a little more about his mysterious character.
You play Haluk, the mechanic who keeps the player’s strider working. What do you like most about him?
You say he’s a mechanic; he’s more than that. He’s definitely a fixer [and] he’s pretty handy. But he’s more than that. One of the things I absolutely love about Haluk is there’s a lot of depth to his story. He has a big heart; he’s emotional. He’s after something that’s really good. He’s kind of old school, too, which is kind of like me, and he’s very loud. He’s definitely the biggest character there.
When he walks into a room he makes waves. He’s got big personality. But more than a mechanic – you’ll find out. You’ll find out there’s a lot to Haluk, and really in-depth history in the character.
What drew you to Anthem when you first learned about it and made you want to take on the role?
So, I get this audition. I didn’t even know what the game was. This is my first game, [and] it’s very hush-hush, more than film and television. All I know is there was this character, it’s a video game, there’s motion capture. You don’t even get a whole script, you just read sides, and then you start creating this world around them.
So, I get this [side], and I’m looking at the character. I don’t know why I got this instinct, I felt like he should be shirtless, and he should eat. Without even knowing what the character was. So, I went to my buddies at studio and said, “Let’s do this.” Took the shirt off, and I’m eating and doing the audition, and it sounds like a fun guy, but I don’t know yet.
I said goodbye, and a bit later on, they were like, “Okay, so, you got the role.” We started at the end of 2016.
Players are really excited to learn more about your character. Can you describe him in your own words?
He gets grumpy about certain things. He’s very passionate, and passionate people – they can go up, and they can go down. But it doesn’t come from a place of malice or anything like that. He comes from a good place. There’s no in-between with Haluk. There’s either this extreme, or that extreme.
The times when you see him kind of quiet is because something had happened, and this is abnormal. This is not where his element is, he’s not a quiet guy.
What have you enjoyed most about working on Anthem?
It’s definitely a different experience. It’s very fun, fun, fun, just a lot of fun. And working with the actors – we became very good friends. So, it was a very tight group for such a massive game.
Everybody I talk to, my nieces and nephews – they’re super excited. They still can’t believe I’m in it. Until the video game actually comes out, they still won’t believe I'm in [it].
I absolutely enjoy working with video games, I’d absolutely love to continue working in video games. And I love them, I’m enjoying them. It just keeps me young.
How does playing a character in a video game compare to playing a character in a show?
I approach it as not any different than any other movie or television show. But what I love so much about it is, it was very close to theater. I started with theater. You have to overdo it a little bit, because between your performance and when it goes to the world of electronics, you lose about 15% of your performance.
You have to project a little bit more, you have to be a little bit bigger for lack of a better word. It’s fun, I feel like a kid when I’m doing video games. That’s why I got into acting to begin with; I have a wild imagination. They put you in this field, and say, “Imagine this is happening,” so it’s a lot of imagination. So, you can’t really help but feel like a kid. Which I love. Any chance I get to be that kid again, I’m all for it.
Being in a video game – it’s a delightful, playful field. In comparison to film and television, which most times is really more serious. The shows I’ve been in, or the movies I’ve been in – I’m not saying that they’re not fun, but they tend to be more serious. There’s a lot of workers, a lot of actors, a lot of cameras, and a lot of people are around you. But in the video game world, there’s distance. They let you do whatever you want.
What was it like doing the mo-cap for Haluk and seeing a digital representation of yourself on screen?
The mo-cap for Haluk was tight. You wear this tight suit and this is when you know, “Holy s***, I need to either work out more, I need lose weight, or whatever,” because everything’s super tight.
But doing the mo-cap was fun! In the beginning it takes a little getting used to, because there’s even the gloves, so after hours and hours of working – you’re eating, and you have dots all over your face – at some point you forget you have dots and you start having a conversation with normal people . . .
The first time I saw [Haluk], I thought, “Wow, that does not look like me at all.” And then I found out it’s apparently based on a model. But the eyes, the movement, everything is me. So you start seeing my manners, even the face a little bit – but I think I’m way better looking.
Everything is me. Every single movement. Everything I do. It really is becoming the soul of the character, the body of the character, the voice of the character, and after a while . . . you start seeing almost me in it. I use my hands a lot, and I move a lot, and they loved it in the game. They started actually, towards the end of the game, they started writing it into the character.
When he gets angry, when he gets happy, you’ll see me. He dances a lot, there’s a lot of dancing in his body.
Which of the Javelins is your favorite? Which do you think you’ll play the most yourself when Anthem comes out?
My favorite javelin is the red one, the Colossus. I always gravitated toward it. I have a poster of [it], and I made every single person sign it.
What is the most important thing you want people to know about Anthem?
I remember the last day we were filming, we all got emotional. The journey of each character, the history between the characters, the history between the goals they’re going after and the cost of getting there. We definitely felt it.
Sometimes when you see heroes like Superman for instance, he’s so good it’s kind of boring. In this one you’ll see character flaws. Even though they’re good people, you’ll see them making mistakes, and you’ll see how these mistakes cost them and what it does to their relationships – which is something that happens in everyday life between people. We have the best intentions and sometimes we do things that negatively affect other people, because we’re humans, and that’s what I love about this.
Especially Haluk, because he’s just an amazing – he’s a wonderful guy.
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Anthem launches February 22, 2019 for Xbox One, PlayStation® 4, and PC. Early Access begins on February 15 for Origin Access and EA Access members.**
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