Movies, TV shows, and the stage have long been the domain of actors—but add video games to that list, as Kevin Spacey is doing in the upcoming Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Spacey—who has "never played a [video] game in my life," he tells the New York Times—plays villain Jonathan Irons in the Activision game out tomorrow, a job that required him to wear performance capture technology that recorded his voice and body movements. It's the same process that allowed Andy Serkis to play Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies, but in this case Spacey's likeness is also being preserved. "It's really odd," Spacey says of the motion capture experience. "No makeup, no hair, nothing. They put dots on your face. Then you get into a kind of jumpsuit, which is exceedingly unattractive. A bunch of rubber-dot things all over that. They make you go into a room, and you have to do all kinds of physical things," all while surrounded by tiny cameras.
Actors have long provided voices for video games, but often the physical actions of the character were captured using someone else. That's starting to change, and the Times calls Spacey's role one of the "most sophisticated examples" of the new process yet. Other actors who've played similar roles include Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe in Beyond: Two Souls, Jack Black in Brutal Legend and Peter Jackson’s King Kong, and Sigourney Weaver in Alien: Isolation. As for why Spacey did it, he tells the Guardian that Activision wanted "to advance gaming. They wanted to begin to try to focus on really creating a character and storytelling that you would follow." Plus, he adds, "People thought I was crazy when I decided to move to London 11 years ago to start a new theater company at the Old Vic, when I could have stayed over here and made movie after movie after movie. Or when I decided to do a drama series with an online streaming company that had never done original content before. This is an opportunity to do something that nobody had done, and also frankly to reach a new audience." (Click to read about 7 other celebrities who voiced video game characters.)