A sibling rivalry, a master assassin, a storyline with an excuse to sneak around and assassinate characters in an absolute picturesque historical setting. The Assassin’s Creed series beloved by many, including myself – received a very refreshing surprise in 2015, the Frye twins.
It is the narrative and the characters of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate that made this game an absolute joy to play. Quite honestly from the start, I found myself mesmerized by Jacob Frye – the quick wit, rakish charm and rebellious attitude.
So left to no surprise that last Sunday, rather excited at the news that I was going to have the opportunity to catch up with Paul Amos -the talent behind Jacob Frye himself, and discuss all things Assassin’s Creed.
So let’s not wait any longer.
Q: What do you think of Jacob and his personality? Was it difficult to prepare for the role?
A: About his personality. *laughs* It wasn’t difficult to prep for the role for sure. I had just come off of doing Lost Girls for 6 years and I was playing a role “Vex” and Vex in some ways was the real shit-disturber on the show, so there was a little bleeding of the character that I was playing prior to into that particular role, and of course we threw Victoria Atkin into the mix and then immediately I got into taking the piss out of Victoria in real life and that moved into the game pretty quickly. So in terms of our brotherly sisterly relationship that characteristic of Jacob was pretty easy. He’s got a twin sister that is pretty methodical and very ordered and Jacob is the other half of that, the “yin and yang”. Jacob countered that with chaos, the fire, unpredictably and that “joie de vivre” of life – where anything kinda goes. Me, myself in life I definitely have elements of that, the funny thing is I have elements of both those characters. In some ways, I can be quite cautious and methodical and in other ways, I can be pretty free, open and chaotic and quite mad. In terms of all of those identifying characteristics, ya it wasn’t difficult.
Q: After transitioning and finishing a role, do you ever find yourself left with lingering characteristics and traits of the characters/roles you’ve prepared for?
A: Absolutely, I think that the difficult thing for actors is that it is hard to differentiate between real life and the work that you do. Subconsciously, the subconscious mind takes everything in anyways and it doesn’t know what is real and what isn’t real, so a lot of your thinking and going intensely into one of these characters and as a result, I think you definitely carry certain traits of these characters around with you. Sometimes you turn up at conventions or Comic Cons and people still want an essence of that character, so you end up giving them a little bit of that and so then that is kind of bleeding into your real life as well. There is certain online social media persona that you present to the world and that has traits and elements of the characters you play and that as well bleeds into your life.
Q: Have you had a chance to play Assassin’s Creed Origins? If so what do you think of the gameplay changes?
A: No, I’m not going to play someone else game! I’m not playing it – I’m only playing mine.
Q: Who is your favorite assassin?
A: Do I have a favorite assassin? Ya, It’s Evie Frye. The readers can note how much sincerity is in that.
Q: Did you find any similarities preparing for your roles in theatre to preparing for the role of Jacob Frye?
A: Yeah, the big one I’ve always said about motion capture itself – (which is its own beast) is that your heart is in theatre, but your head is in film. You need the physicality and the imagination that theatre requires and demands. Usually, you’re on a stage and you need to imagine where you are and there is a certain physicality that comes with it and a certain dynamic and energy that is required to make theatre. Whereas in film its a lot more refined and technical to a degree and its distilled but you need that too in motion capture because it’s quite cinematic in its presentation but in its creation, it’s actually pretty theatrical. So for me, it was like a perfect marriage. When I first came out of drama school, I did 10 years of drama – in theatre across the UK and then I came here. I only did TV and film for 10 years and then I found myself in motion capture on that game and it was the perfect marriage, those 20 years previously I had been working and being able to utilize all my skills.
Q: What is it about Shakespeare that drew you in?
A: Oh what dragged me into that! Well, I was from Wales, we had a great tradition of Welsh actors Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins, Michael Sheen, Christian Bale and then there were people like Kenneth Branagh that I really sort of admired. Kenneth did a lot of Shakespeare and with the young proponent of Shakespeare he really took the grips in that particular material and made it his own and then his own company- and still for me, he’s the pinnacle in that material and that’s what really drew me into Shakespeare. I’ve always been drawn to that material and it is really nice to end back up there after 10 years off the stage. It’s in a much smaller space and a little bit more indie than I’ve done before but it’s a really nice place to dust off the cobwebs.
Q: What is a current Broadway show you would like to tackle?
A: Any particular parts. Ya, actually a few of us have been looking at doing Macbeth. There is Greg Bryk, who is actually a good friend of mine – who is going to be playing Joseph Seed in Far Cry 5 and we’ve been looking at producing Macbeth. Kris Holden-Ried who was in Assassin’s Creed as Crawford Starrick, and a few other popular actors from some other tv shows we’ve been looking at Macbeth and possibly putting that together in the next year or two as a show here in Toronto, which would be great. We all have our assigned roles but me in particular, as the main role I’m not sure I’d like to continue with Shakespeare again. At some point – it’s material I really love and I think a really good dramatic role would be a good role for me moving forward at some point. The character/role I think he has got all the cunning, humor and darkness that I tend to gravitate to in my roles – so I think that will be a good start for me and physically a good challenge for me to try and present that.
Q: Do you have any plans for any appearances for Comic-Con in the U.S.? If so which ones?
A: Yeah, I’ve got a few this year. I know I’m going to the UK and doing one in Edinburgh. We might be doing one in Salt Lake City, might be one in Atlanta, possibly Kentucky, possibly Florida, I know there is San Antonio and they sometimes book up throughout the year as well. I am going to Timmins, Ontario at the end of April with Kris, and I’m actually doing one near our cottage – up in Orillia. Yeah, there is definitely a few, and there is going to be a big “Lost Girl” Reunion at one of them, all of us are going, ten members of the cast and it is a big Comic-Con too, so that will be fun. There are lots in there.
Q: We know you love to prank co-workers, do you prank during your theatre roles as well? How is it different?
A: Pranking you can do, it’s difficult at a particular stage. Once you get into the run of the show is generally when you stop pranking but I definitely like and try to make people laugh on stage. It is something I generally like to do and it’s usually in the moments you hope that the audience can’t really see. We actually do this thing at the back; in this play when we open the show and we are kind of like these shadows moving, and the girl next to me – sometimes I’m moving and all of a sudden I’ll move my hand to the middle finger and just point it at her, all in that slow-motion shadow acting. You can’t take life too seriously.
Q: What is next for you?
A: I’ve got a meeting this week for an IP, a pretty decent big IP, so we’ll see. I wanted to take some time off from making games, as that was a full year. I’ve gone off and done some other stuff, some other movies, a digital series, some episodes and now I’m ready to get back into gaming. I actually have my first meeting for a game since I finished Assassins Creed tomorrow. So we will see how that goes and hopefully I’ll be there leading another IP soon.
Check out Paul currently starring in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Citadel in Toronto – you can purchase tickets here. The show runs through until March 11!
On a midsummers night, young lovers and workmen plunge into a world where spirits abound. Vows melt, bodies transform, seasons alter, the moon stills its a world turned upside down and nothing is what it seems.
CAST: Paul Amos, Zachary Counsil, Christina Fox, Natasha Greenblatt, Michael Man, Jesse Nerenberg, Rena Polley, Elizabeth Saunders