Interrogate the L.A. Noire Detectives Part Two: Your Questions Answered About Motion Capture, Prop Souvenirs, Disturbing Sequences & More

Posted on October 17 2011, 10:30am | Author: R* Q | Filed Under: Games

Presenting part two in our special Interrogate the L.A. Noire Detectives series, with your questions (as submitted over the summer via Twitter, Facebook, mouthoff, and of course here at the Newswire in comments) answered directly by the detective cast of the game. Thanks again to the game’s stars, Aaron Staton (Cole Phelps), Sean McGowan (Stefan Bekowsky), Keith Szarabajka (Herschel Biggs), Michael McGrady (Rusty Galloway) and Adam Harrington (Roy Earle) for not bristling under questioning and giving us all some great candid answers. Today’s questions cover a range of topics from the acting experience of performing for the game, insights on the motion-capture process, thoughts on what prop the actors wish they took home with them and much more. Look for part 3 to hit soon which will be comprised of one-on-one questions asked to specific actors about their individual characters and experiences, including a special battery of questioning for the game’s lead, Aaron Staton.

MrTLJennings (@TLJennings18 on Twitter) asks:
This is to all the actors. They’ve each come from Film/TV acting and the main thing I wanted to know was: What was the most different thing, for you, [about] performing for L.A. Noire?

Aaron Staton:
Night and day. It was the difference between 2 cameras [on TV] and 32 [with MotionScan]. Every acting experience is a different one depending on many factors: the script, the character, the medium, etc. I’m sure that acting in Avatar was quite different than acting in a movie without any special effects. And the same goes for videogames, I’m sure. But I can say the scripts are much, much longer in videogames. The script for L.A. Noire was about as long as two seasons of a network drama or four seasons of a cable drama.

Sean McGowan:
As an actor, I’d say the one thing that connects all forms of acting, i.e. movies, theatre and now games, is that you want your audience to believe you. To really buy into what you are saying. So on a basic level, as actors, essentially our job is to make you believe what we’re saying. Dramas or comedies, if you don’t buy the actor you’ll never buy into the story. With L.A. Noire it was a bit tricky to figure out the perfect balance of how much is too much. Am I standing too still? Am I moving too much? Am I overacting because I feel like I have to push? In the end, I’m not sure if I ever really got it! Haha… I hope I did.

Keith Szarabajka:
That it was a film noir type piece, with lots of tough cops and tough guys and dames you couldn’t trust. I had a ball doing it.

heycheri (@heycheri on Twitter) asks:
How would you describe your experience playing this role in comparison to other roles you've played? Has this been more fun, interesting, different, etc?

Sean McGowan:
My experience with this role was nothing shy of amazing. I had never done anything like this before. In fact NO ONE had. It was brilliant to be involved with something so new and challenging.

Michael McGrady:
It was much like doing a play. We had no real props or stage furniture per se. Everything was bare bones as the atmosphere, much like green screen, was put in place via computer. We had to do the scenes over and over several times. Memorization wasn't easy either. We had to show up with lines memorized. There were thousands of pages of script to cover all of the different scenarios. It was a lot of fun but grueling work too, long hours over several months. [The game’s writer and director] Brendan McNamara was fantastic. He kept it light and fun to work on, allowing us moments of zaniness to get through the day.

faithashw (@faithashw on Twitter) asks:
How much of the action that happens in the game is Mo-Cap? E.g. When Cole is running / climbing over walls, or when everyone is in a gun battle, was this all Mo-Cap?

Adam Harrington:
That would be a technical question. I do know that we shot every scene with all the action, running, climbing, fighting, and with Roy, lighting and smoking all those cigarettes (although for the shoot and the good of my lungs, they were hollow paper tubes).

Sean McGowan:
We mo-capped a ton of stuff. All the cinematic scenes where you don’t control Cole were motion capture. Also other stuff, like us running, walking and waiting around were mo-capped because Rockstar wanted the characters to BE us. When Bekowsky runs into a gunfight with his gun drawn: mo-cap.

Detectives Galloway (Michael McGrady) and Phelps (Aaron Staton) in mo-cap; and the in-game finished product, rowing along the tar pits looking for clues.

OtokoNoShufu (@otokonoshufu on Twitter) asks:
You often hear about how after a large movie production wraps, actors will sometimes take a prop or other item as a souvenir. If the same rule could have applied to L.A. Noire, what would you have taken off set as a memento? Evidence props, costumes, etc.

Michael McGrady:
I took a Styrofoam ball home as a memento and one of the orange T-shirts we had to wear in the facial recognition (Motionscan) portion of the shoot.

Adam Harrington:
Well, I'd be an idiot if I didn’t walk with Roy's Coat or tie… other than that I think I would've asked for his lighter!

Love him or hate him. L.A. Noire’s Roy Earle as brought to life by Adam Harrington and the wonders of MotionScan.

@jiggyteddy asks:
Were there any particular scenes that any of you found difficult or perhaps even disturbing that really tested your nerves?

Keith Szarabajka:
When they find the family burned in the house, that was pretty rough stuff. But, you know, they’re just lines. And I just say them as I see them. Sorry to be realistic.

Adam Harrington:
LA Noire was set during a very corrupt and racist period in LA's history, and I had to accept that in order to commit to Roy's attitude and dialogue at times.

In one of the more harrowing cases in L.A. Noire, Phelps and Biggs arrive at the tragic scene of a family burned to death in their own home, while working the Arson desk.

PhuahEJ91 asks:
Would you ever consider an alternative career as a detective?

Sean McGowan:
I think anyone who fights crime for a living and keeps the world safe is a very special breed of human. Those people are amazing. So to answer your question, no. I would be a horrible real detective because I would say things like, “What do you mean I can’t shoot him?” and would also probably be the worst back seat driver that my partner ever had.

Stay tuned for part 3 in our this special continuing series, which will pick up with questions specifically asked to individual detective’s actors – including Michael McGrady’s opinions of the sarcastic Detective Galloway, Sean McGowan’s musings on the psychology of Bekowsky and Phelp’s brotherly relationship, Aaron Staton’s experiences reuniting with his Mad Men castmates and much more.

Interrogate the L.A. Noire Detectives: Your Questions Answered – Part One

  • Emanuel_Bergeron October 20 2011, 11:30amReplyFlag
    @R* A Sie beherrschen auch die Sprache Deutsch? - Bitte um Antwort

    @Gamefun1996 Ich versteh dich und R* auch, Ja L.A. Noire ist eines der besten Spiele die ich je gespielt habe, natürlich sind auch alle anderen R* Titel EXTREM cool und Meisterwerke - gut hier auch ein paar Kommentare in Deutsch zu lesen XD

    • R* Aon October 19 2011, 1:48pmReplyFlag
      @faithashw Yup, McGowan's got some great answers in these. Hopefully we'll have part 3 soon for you guys.

      @Darknitepulse Not sure what you mean, but just shoot us a mail at with your concerns. Thanks.

      @Gamefun1996 Danke!
      • Darknitepulseon October 19 2011, 7:18amReplyFlag
        Rockstar i seriously doubt Your advertisemnt are going to work.
        • Darknitepulseon October 19 2011, 7:17amReplyFlag

          Nice sentiment .very surprising rockstar explaing reasons to pc gamers.
          • 16290057on October 18 2011, 8:53pmReplyFlag
            HEy Marney is that the Ecuador flag?
            • faithashwon October 18 2011, 4:54pmReplyFlag
              Jortan - I was thinking the same too, his car was pretty fly!!

              I loved Sean McGowan's answer to the last question LOL - it's funny that he has said that and Aaron Staton in another interview has said he is the worst interrogator ever hehehe
              • Mergimofficialon October 18 2011, 4:12pmReplyFlag
                Ja, LA Noire ist schon ein tolles Spiel. Wer mich versteht den grüße ich.
                • R* Yon October 18 2011, 11:42amReplyFlag
                  @faithashw @jimbom101 @nash4m @PhuahEJ91 Glad you guys enjoyed the Q&A, part 3 is coming in the next few weeks...

                  @Jortan Ha

                  @yousif300 Should have a bit more coverage on L.A. Noire for PC before the game hits in early November, stay tuned
                  • PhuahEJ91on October 18 2011, 11:28amReplyFlag
                    Yey~!! Glad to see one of my questions being answered, hope to see more of it.. Anyway have thoroughly enjoyed Part 1 and Part 2, cant wait for the next and LA Noire PC
                    • yousif300on October 18 2011, 6:52amReplyFlag
                      nice . waiting for part 3

                      and I cant wait for l.a.noire for pc

                      u are the best rockstar
                      • nash4mon October 18 2011, 5:22amReplyFlag
                        very nice
                        • jimbom101on October 18 2011, 5:02amReplyFlag
                          • Jortanon October 18 2011, 2:54amReplyFlag
                            I would have taken Roy's car!
                            • faithashwon October 18 2011, 1:31amReplyFlag
                              Thoroughly enjoyed this one, looking forward to Part 3 :)

                              The memento question was GOLD!!

                              And yes I concur with the others who have already said it, more behind-the-scenes/mocap shots please!!
                              • R* Yon October 17 2011, 4:17pmReplyFlag
                                @scareface1970 @IWIHooligan Thanks guys

                                @Bruciesautos The screenshot is from the case 'A Walk in Elysian Fields'

                                @peterfoxx Yep you need newspapers for 100%, check out the features on the Social Club that allow you to track all of your progress:

                                @art1373 No worries - we'll be watching the Newswire for spoilers as well and removing them, and giving any repeat offenders a timeout if needed

                                @emmi18176860 Remember we don't pre-announce artwork releases here on the Newswire, best advice is to check the Newswire periodically to see if we've updated with new desktops for a game
                                • IWIHooliganon October 17 2011, 3:49pmReplyFlag
                                  Very nice, just like part one. Sounds like everyone involved had a very unique experience working on L.A. Noire. It's very interesting to hear them talk about motion capture. Sounds like the actors really embraced the technology and gave their all to make sure their performances came through as legit. I personally played through all of the LA Noire content and I can say for sure that the actors nailed it. L.A. Noire is much more than a game its an interactive Noire movie. It's great to hear from those involved with such a special project.
                                  • Emanuel_Bergeron October 17 2011, 3:43pmReplyFlag
                                    @R* love this new GTA III artwork promoted at NYCC, we gonna see this in HD too?

                                    • scareface1970on October 17 2011, 2:56pmReplyFlag
                                      I really like to read the Q&A'S part two. Can't wait to read part three let it come R* LA. Noire is a awesome game.

                                      THNX to ***Rockstar*** and Team Bondi
                                      • DarkMythHunteron October 17 2011, 1:34pmReplyFlag
                                        Haha, you guys you're amazing!! Again, R.I.P. Team Bondi :(

                                        L.A. Noire one of the best games I've played, but nothing will reach Red Dead Redemption.. only another new GTA or Red Dead!

                                        • Bruciesautoson October 17 2011, 1:03pmReplyFlag
                                          I've never saw the house in the last screenshot.. was it a pre-release / unreleased?
                                          LOAD ALL COMMENTS

                                          Leave a Comment

                                          Rockstar Warehouse

                                          Rockstar on Instagram

                                          Follow us on Instagram (rockstargames) to see original photos including events, sneak peeks of collectibles and much more.