Normally as an actor, you have many tools to help you get into character. Wardrobe, props, and the set can all help you step into the mind and personality of the character you're trying to play. Imagine, then, being asked to step into character with none of these helpful tools - and to perform while wearing an uncomfortable, ridiculous looking, form-fitting suit that tracks your every move.
That's the challenge that Willem Defoe and Ellen Page accepted when Beyond: Two Souls director David Cage approached them about appearing in the game. They'll be the first two well-known Hollywood stars to appear in character in a video game. Up until now, actors were merely tagged for their voices, with the on-screen characters being created by animators. CGI technology, however, makes it possible for actors to actually appear in-character. But, it isn't easy.
Recording 20 minutes of film for a CGI video-game sequence can take an entire day, and takes place on a sound stage. The actors must be able to completely put themselves into the mind of their character with no props, costume, or set, because that would get in the way of the motion-capture. However, the interactive storytelling that video games allow is exactly what likely drew such big-name actors to the project.
Beyond: Two Souls releases for PS3 on October 8, 2013.