David Hayter is a Canadian-American voice and screen actor and screenwriter. His works as a screenwriter include X-Men, X2: X-Men United, and Watchmen. He is also known for being the English voice actor for Solid Snake, and his genetic predecessor Naked Snake, throughout many titles in the Metal Gear video game series.
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On Twitter: @DavidBHayter
My directorial debut, WOLVES, is now on VOD and out this Friday in select theaters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txMEBTuRXws&feature=youtu.be
Hello David and thank you for doing the AMA
Do you think love can bloom even on a battlefield?
The bigger issue is when love blooms on your genitals.
Are you currently in a box, Y/N?
(I just… feel more comfortable in here.)
… Metal Gear!?
What is your single favourite line from the entire metal gear solid series?
Does it get annoying people asking you to do the Snake voice in public and which Metal Gear game is your favorite?
Never gets annoying. It's a great gift to be able to make people happy by using the Snake voice. I think Metal Gear 3 is my favorite.
Hey David, big fan of your work in the Metal Gear Solid games. Do you ever break out the Snake voice in public to see who reacts?
Occisionally, I'll grumble near someone wearing a MGS shirt.
Any writing tips for up and comers?
How did you find out you landed the role of Snake for Metal Gear Solid, and how did you feel after finding out?
P.S. I adore your work, you rock!
I auditioned for the job, and a few days later, I got a call from my very dear friend Jennifer Hale, who said, "Guess who's going to make some money?" And I said, "Is it me!?"
I was sitting outside on the patio, as the Counting Crows were recording their third album, "This Desert Life" at the time.
I'll never forget it.
If you could voice any character in gaming/cartoon/whatever history, who would you pick?
Batman, and to a lesser extent -- Bruce Wayne.
Playing Wolverine would be kind of nostalgic as well.
I loved Watchmen and the first two X-men movies. Any chance of you writing more superhero movies in the future?
I am in discussions on that now.
I was wondering if you could share any of your favourite moments from meeting Mr. Kojima? We fans have all heard of his crazy antics from his staff and I'm curious as to whether you have any experiences of your own?
Kojima-San was always pretty subdued whenever we met. But he did seem excited about showing me the upcoming technology for whatever game we were working on at the time.
How long were you waiting to use this one?
… All my life.
Why'd you keep us waiting huh?! ;)
Did you ever get to keep anything cool from doing Guyver 2?
I have a Japanese release poster, given to me by Steve Wang, which is pretty cool.
So, who is David Hayer? Accomplished actor; screen writer; voice of a generation; citizen of the world; ripped from the comfortable childhood in Canada; thrown into the turbulent waters of adolescence in Kobe, Japan. How did you stay afloat?
“Let your dreams drive you.” A message of hope to today’s young people from David Hayter.
I really, never actually said that.
Were you surprised when Konami decided to use another actor for the voice of Snake in the upcoming games of Metal Gear? How did it make you feel during the moment you got the news?
I can only speak for myself and many others that were extremely upset. Your work in Peace Walker is spot on! You made that character come alive, you gave him humour and the extra noises and pauses made it so perfect! Im so sad to see that your not part of the upcoming games!
Honestly? I wasn't overly thrilled.
Hi David! Thank you for offering your time for this.
What voice preparation techniques do you implement prior to a day in a recording studio?
I do a lot of humming, singing Green Day, and growling way down deep in my throat.
I'm imagining that you just all call Christopher Randolph "Otacon" no matter what.
That is absolutely true.
I'd like to hear how you feel about Kiefer Sutherland playing Snake for MGS5. Were you approached at all about the project? Did you turn it down?
I did not, no.
I would have had Solid shoot himself in the cemetery.
Hey David thanks for doing the AMA, just wanted to say thanks for some of the work you've done over the years. I started playing metal gear when I was around 4 so I think I can say I'm a life long fan so I just felt I really needed to say thank you for all the work you did over the years.
Anyway my question for you is what do you think was the funniest line you ever had to say when doing Snake?
Super Smash Brothers
Hi David! Firstly I’d just like to say that I’m a huge Metal Gear fan, and want to thank you for being the voice to much of my childhood. The nostalgia and memories you bring back as Snake has probably been greater than any movie or TV show I could name.
But my question is this; do you have any advice in reconciling your career ambitions and your hobbies? Can you make them cross over? What kind of attitude should a person have to make their dreams a reality?
Let your dreams drive you.
(I never actually said that.)
Dude, when Kevin Conroy retires I would totally do a letter writing campaign to get you as Batman.
Unless we invent technology to perfect an AI mimicking Kevin Conroy's voice. Then you're fucked. Sorry, but nobody can out-Batman Batman.
Unless you're on Boy Meets World. Then you might have a chance.
Have you ever high fived Otocon in real life and then hugged it out?
Do you put on the snake voice to moisten the ladies?
That's a phrase that will haunt my dreams.
I just picture living, female towelettes.
In my head, I like to think you and Quinton Flynn are best buddies and hang out all the time. Is this true? And are you friends with anyone in the Metal Gear cast?
I just had drinks with Quentin the other day -- He came to a WOLVES screening in LA. I am very close to Jennifer Hale, Mei Ling, Debi Mae West and Paul Eiding. And Otacon.
I read once that you played all the metal gear games, is this true and if so will you be playing these last two?
I have played all the Metal Gear games, yes.
I am not familiar with these "last two" to which you mysteriously refer.
Will you be a voice in Fallout 4? Half-Life 3? Elder Scrolls VI? Grand Theft Auto VI - Detroit?
All they need to do is ask.
Personally I'm interested as to what got you into acting. Was it a family member, an experience?
EDIT: Holy smokes! This is likely the most liked comment I've received in quite a while.
My mother used to do community theatre, and she suggested I try out for a play when I was nine. After that, I was hooked.
David? Davidddd? Davidddddddddddddddddddddddd........?
What? Wahtttt? Whaaaaaaaattttttttttt….!?
Hi David, thanks for doing this AMA
As a player, What is your favorite Metal Gear Solid moment?
And who is your favorite Boss Battle?
(don't keep us waiting)
I loved The End sniper battle in Snake eater.
Is it true that you used your Guyver character's name as a pseudonym on some copies of MGS? Also when will you be starring in a sequel to the Guyver?
The pseudonym Sean Barker -- my character in The Guyver was used for a number of vo jobs I did in the past.
As for another Guyver, I have talked with Steve Wagn about it, but it's up to the rights holders to make it happen.
I'll jump off that cliff when I come to it.
That was Joss Whedon.
He explains his thinking behind it and why he thinks it didn't work in the film here http://www.avclub.com/article/joss-whedon-13730
"O: It's funny that the only lines I really remember from that movie are that one and Storm's toad comment.
JW: Okay, which was also mine, and that's the interesting thing. Everybody remembers that as the worst line ever written, but the thing about that is, it was supposed to be delivered as completely offhand. [Adopts casual, bored tone.] "You know what happens when a toad gets hit by lightning?" Then, after he gets electrocuted, "Ahhh, pretty much the same thing that happens to anything else." But Halle Berry said it like she was Desdemona. [Strident, ringing voice.] "The same thing that happens to everything eeelse!" That's the thing that makes you go crazy. At least "You're a dick" got delivered right. The worst thing about these things is that, when the actors say it wrong, it makes the writer look stupid. People assume that the line... I listened to half the dialogue in Alien 4, and I'm like, "That's idiotic," because of the way it was said. And nobody knows that. Nobody ever gets that. They say, "That was a stupid script," which is the worst pain in the world. I have a great long boring story about that, but I can tell you the very short version. In Alien 4, the director changed something so that it didn't make any sense. He wanted someone to go and get a gun and get killed by the alien, so I wrote that in and tried to make it work, but he directed it in a way that it made no sense whatsoever. And I was sitting there in the editing room, trying to come up with looplines to explain what's going on, to make the scene make sense, and I asked the director, "Can you just explain to me why he's doing this? Why is he going for this gun?" And the editor, who was French, turned to me and said, with a little leer on his face, [adopts gravelly, smarmy, French-accented voice] "Because eet's een the screept." And I actually went and dented the bathroom stall with my puddly little fist. I have never been angrier. But it's the classic, "When something goes wrong, you assume the writer's a dork." And that's painful."
I agree with JW's sentiments exactly. Although, I thought Halle delivered it fine.
Do we have you to blame for the unintentionally hilarious "toads hit by lightning" quip?
First of all, I like that line. And it is intentionally hilarious. It was written by Joss Whedon, who also wrote the best line in the film "You're a dick." But it was my responsibility to cut or leave it, it so I suppose I can take the "blame".
But HAVE you ever seen a toad get hit by lightning?
As true today as it was when it was written.
Big fan here. Any chance you'll be doing more voice acting for shows or other game series in the near future?
I know you're involved with République but I was wondering for larger scale games.
Thanks for doing this AMA!
I have The Long Dark coming up, and I amy, or may not, have just done some top-secret work on Marvel Universe.
(Don't tell anyone.)
Thanks for doing an AMA, David! Currently playing my way through all the Metal Gear games and loving it.
How many times do you get asked to say "METAL GEAR?!" or any other one liner from the games.
More than I am able to count.
(which is up to 37.)
"Sean Barker" rearranged is "Snake Bearr". Coincidence!?
How about 'Snake Barer?'
How do you feel about CGI?
Very effective for backgrounds, metal, stone, etc…
For living beings, much trickier.
Do you find yourself critiquing your own voice when you play the MGS games?
Oh yes. Very much.
There are times when I love it, or I hit something in just the right, most unique way, and others where I'm like, "How could they use that take? That suuuuucked."
Thanks so much for doing this AMA! I've been excited about it since I heard the announcement last week.
I mostly just wanted to say thank you for all your work over the years. Your animation VA credits read like a list of my favorite things;'They Were Eleven' is such a unique little piece of anime history and Spiderman was my jam growing up. I am a huge fan of the X-Men films and talk about those movies often as the "turning point" when superhero movies started to become cool again. I was quite the giddy fangirl when X-2 came out and I finally got to see Nightcrawler on the big screen.
Took me a while to narrow down my question from superpowers and all the places love can bloom- but Il'l bring it back to X-Men and ask which characters were the most challenging (or most fun) to write during your time on those projects?
Well, Nightcrawler required me to translate lines into German, so that was fun. I guess Wolverine is obviously the most kick-ass to write, but getting to write dialogue that is then spoken by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan is a gift beyond rubies.
Hey David, huge fan. How is your favorite villain from MGS?
I'm pretty sure he's dead now.
David, Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, I am a huge fan and am glad you did Metal Gear.
My question is: If you could continue doing Metal Gears, but at the cost of your movies, would you?
I do love doing Metal Gear, but making movies is my lifelong dream. So, no.
How much creative input did you have when voicing snake in the metal gear solid games? Did you just show up and voice pre-written lines, or did they want you to shape his personality a little bit?
I have no input over the dialogue, but the personality is my department.
Did you ever get a chance to play Metal Gear Online?
I dont' play anything online, as I find myself yelling at twelve-year olds.
thank you for all your hard work and doing this AMA. my question, is there any chance you can sign my MGS2 poster? it is my favorite game from the series. thank you LIQUIIDDD!!!!!!
Hey David, giant fan of your work.
Do you think Snake would win in a cook off with Jason Bourne? What do you he'd make?
He would most likely dine on a tree frog.
What's your favorite food?
All Japanese food. Particularly ramen.
What would have to happen to get you to appear on Metal Gear Scanlon? (From http://www.giantbomb.com/)
I would need to know what that is.
Hi David, thanks for doing this AMA! I discovered Guyver and MGS in the same year, and when I found out you're also a screenwriter it blew my mind. Thank you for being a part of my favorite franchises and just being an awesome person!
My question is this: did you ever have a really terrible job that you had to take while trying to make it in the entertainment industry? If so, what was it, and what did you learn from it?
My first job in Hollywood was working as a bar-back in the valley. I had to clean toilets, cut limes (not in that order, hopefully) and help expedite drinks. It taught me humility and how to handle a rush of drunken maniacs. Very handy in Hollywood.
Hey David big fan.
My question is through out all your movies and performances has there been something that made you super uncomfortable in doing? Something like a scene or stunt?
In Guyver, for the scene where the armor is attaching itself to me -- I had to stand for about three hours in the freezing cold in my underwear, coated in sticky alien goo, as they pulled the pieces off of me, and then reversed the film. That pretty much sucked.
do you feel like you have a responsibility to the source material?
Absolutely. if the piece doesn't feel like the source material, then you've failed imo.
A guy at Giant Bomb is playing the series from scratch, having never experienced it before, and filming the whole thing. His buddy, who loves the games, is along for the ride as assistance. They just hit MGS2, the series is super popular, and they have mentioned that they'd love to have you as a guest. :-)
Oh, then they'd just need to contact me. Possibly by Twitter.
I thought you were fantastic in The Castle of Cagliostro. Would you voice Lupin again if given the chance?
(Also huge MGS fan, but I'm sure all the good questions for that one are taken. :) )
I would love to voice LUPIN again, and it would be particularly nice if Miyazaki-San would come out of retirement to direct it for me.
Please call him.
How much would I have to pay you to sit over my shoulder and read Big Boss's lines when MGS V comes out?
A truly ugly amount.
What have you had for breakfast?
(I'm doing a damn AMA.)
The Metal Gear Solid franchise owes you a lot for what you've brought to the character. My question is: other than voice acting, did you ever make suggestions to Hideo Kojima regarding the storyline?
I ask because you're also a screenwriter and a huge MGS fan.
Bonus question: have you ever been to Belgium?
I did not discuss the Metal Gear story with Kojima, no.
But I have been to Belgium. Quite beautiful.
Hello Mr. Hayter, and thanks a lot for doing this AmA!
I'm a massive fan of the metal gear series, so I've been eagerly waiting for this!
I've always wondered, which codec conversation is your favorite? There's so many of them in the games that I'm not sure if I've even heard them all, but I think my favorite is the one between SIGINT and snake about the cardboard box... I think it's hilarious.
P.S. I think /r/metalgearsolid would be really excited if you popped in for a visit :)
I love all the movie stuff with Paramedic. Among others.