MY QUANTIC EXPERIENCE – DAVID GANT
My Quantic Experience is the story of those who lend their face and voice to our beloved characters. In this episode, meet David Gant, the face and voice of The Dark Sorcerer (2013), a fan-favourite Quantic Dream character featured in the epic and crazy short movie, which debuted during the PlayStation E3 2013 keynote!
I ended up working on The Dark Sorcerer with a casting in London, 2013, and was eventually asked to do it, so I said yes. It came at an exciting time for me: around the time I was involved in a stage production called ‘The Mother, an Unsavoury Play in Two Acts and an Epilogue’. The play was a translation of a Polish play; I played the Mother and it was performed on an installation at The Tate Modern museum in London. At the same time, I recorded an album of Christmas songs, ‘Father Christmas Sings Everybody’s Favourite Christmas Songs’, which reached number 20 in the charts, I was doing fashion modeling in Italy and Hong Kong… I had also been filming in Barcelona before all this, and after the film wrapped, I performed a one man show at La Farinera del Clot Theatre in Barcelona. (editor’s note: now that’s a busy life!!!)
Anyway, I was not familiar with Quantic Dream’s works though, but the first time I read the script for The Dark Sorcerer, I wanted to play it. I enjoyed the darkness of the script, and the humour, and how it jumped between The Dark Sorcerer and me, playing me! The idea of performance capture was also very new to me back then, it appealed to me enormously. A completely new involvement, the unknown (which I like); I had no idea what to expect. In the studio there were about 50 to 60 cameras all around, which is very liberating, not just one camera pointing at me, but 50 or 60 all around me. It was akin to being on stage, I could move around, and whatever I did, and wherever I moved was caught on camera.
There were two and a half days for the shoot: Thursday, Friday and part of Saturday. Thursday was for a rehearsal, Friday was the shoot day, and part of Saturday was set aside if required. The rehearsal, for me, on the Thursday was a disaster. I experienced what every actor dreads, and fears more than anything else: I could not remember any of my lines!!! I knew my lines of course, I had worked on them and memorised them at home in London, reading them every day, and thinking about the character. Then came the rehearsal on Thursday. On ‘ACTION’ from David Cage, nothing came out making any sense. It continued like this the whole day. After I left the studio exhausted and in despair, I returned to my hotel, read the script several times, then went out for dinner. Returned to my hotel, read the script yet again then slept (not well).
Arrived on Friday, prepared wardrobe for performance capture, got into position in front of the table, David called ‘ACTION’, I opened my mouth, and it happened. I remembered the lines, every single line. So, Friday was the most wonderful, liberating day. I think the whole experience encapsulated what is known as…’That’s showbusiness’! You hit the lows (Thursday) and you hit the highs (Friday).
As for the dialogues, they were (as far as I can remember) already locked, so telling you what I bring to the character, is difficult. I never think about what I bring to any character I am playing. I work on instinct, what I get from the script, and what I feel, and what happens on the day. The short answer is that I don’t know! I was essentially playing two characters – myself, playing myself, and The Dark Sorcerer. I always go by the writing, and I liked David’s script very much. I thought there was a Shakespearian element to The Dark Sorcerer. Perhaps subconsciously I brought that to the character.
Overall, I have some special memory about this experience: the support and togetherness on the days, given by the cast, by David, and by the crew PLUS the memory of the fabulous party afterwards. I love jive dancing and had a wonderful partner who could jive up a storm. It was a great night – and I wore my Scottish kilt. Also, the shoot was in Paris, a city I love. I always travel to Paris to celebrate my Birthday in November each year.
AFTER THE RELEASE
Something special had been shot, and it served two purposes: first, as a tech demo and secondly, as a wonderful short film with a beginning, middle and end, incorporating drama and comedy. I thought it was fantastic, wonderful, and an eye opener to see it all together with the effects, etc. A story was being told of a man who had wandered the bowels of the Earth for over a thousand years and sought revenge. I still watch the film, I watch it often; I would love to play The Dark Sorcerer again, to revisit him. I am so glad that I said yes to the offer.
What I’ve learned during this experience is to go for the unknown – risk it, it’s worth it. You may fail, or you may succeed, but at least you tried. Trust your instinct…and a superb French vin rouge always helps!
I am so happy that you enjoyed The Dark Sorcerer as much as I enjoyed playing him. Filming on the day was exciting and fun, and I hope this came across in the performance. It was huge fun to shoot.
Thank you so much David! One more thing: we know actors sometimes want to promote organizations or charities, so is there something you’d like to share here?
I work for MediCinema, a charity that aims to put cinemas in hospitals. It already has 7 or 8 cinemas in hospitals in this country – state of the art, screening the new releases and old classic movies. I am a Patient Ambassador for MediCinema and can talk from my own experience: I was in hospital for three months, seriously ill in 2017, with an infection in my lower spine, and with it came enormous pain. I lost my ability to walk, I lost the power in my legs, I had to learn to walk all over again. For the first 12 days in hospital, everything had to be done for me, I was on my back the whole time. My weight dropped dramatically, and any muscle and definition I had gained at the gym soon disappeared. I never looked at myself in the mirror during this time.
There was a cinema in the hospital (Chelsea & Westminster Hospital), it became a life saver. I could not walk or sit because of the pain, so I was wheeled into the cinema for three months in my bed (there was room for 4 beds and wheelchairs as well as normal cinema seating). Even before the film started, I was in a cinema, it felt good, then the lights went down and the film started – it was magic, the joy of watching the films was instant. The visits to the cinema and the first-class attention from the doctors and nursing staff put me back on my feet again; I am now back to feeling my old self. HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!