Hearing is believing | Paul Eiding

Mainly distinguished by his voice over work for video games like Metal Gear Solid and God of War, actor Paul Eiding has also lent his voice to Pixar blockbusters Wall-E, Up and Monsters Inc, and appeared in shows like Grey’s Anatomy and CSI Miami. He speaks to us ahead of his visit to the Malta Comics and Pop Culture Expo. 

Paul Eiding
Paul Eiding

What is the key difference between doing voice-over work and performing film and on the stage?

Working on film or television is great fun, but an actor is often limited by their appearance. It’s often said that film is a director’s medium, television a producer’s, and stage, the actor’s. Voiceover, to me, is a true collaboration. Writer, producer, actor and animator. Another great thing about voiceover is, you’re only limited by your talent. My age and appearance doesn’t matter. I can be anything. Troll, wizard, hero, villain, big dumb oaf, 6’4” Marine, or 90 year old mage. Incredibly freeing!

Performing on stage is probably my favorite. I began as a stage actor and continue to this day. The ‘live theatre’ experience is a shared event, which only happens once. You may perform in a show for weeks, but each performance, with each different audience, is unique.

What was it like performing as part of the US military in Germany? How does creativity manifest itself and filter out in those surroundings?

While in the military, I was incredibly lucky to land in a group called, The Marne Glee Club.  We were with the 3rd Infantry Division, stationed in Wurzburg, Germany. I was one of the youngest GIs in the group, but because of my music background, I soon became the director. About half the group were professional musicians and actors. I was blessed to work with these amazing soldiers.  We were not unlike a ‘Bob Hope’ sort of entertainment group. We performed across Germany, Belgium, Denmark and northern France, for soldiers and civilian populations, as well. To be honest, my time in the military helped me decide to become an actor, as I was surrounded by so many talented pros.

Between work for feature films, television, animation, theatre and video games, it seems as though you’re always kept busy. Would you say that your career path is in some ways the polar opposite of the perception we have of more mainstream Hollywood actors?

Michael Caine, when asked how he crafted such an amazing career, said simply... “I took what was offered.” Similarly, aside from turning down jobs that took me away from home, while our daughters were young, I’ve taken what’s been offered.

What do you think makes Metal Gear Solid such an enduring and beloved property among fans?

Metal Gear Solid changed the face of video games. I feel so very lucky to have been a small part of the game. The game play is wonderful, the cinematic quality, the characters and the story are all reasons, in my opinion, why MGS has not just lasted, but increased in popularity. Gamers are so incredibly loyal to the games and to we lucky ones, who get to voice the characters. I absolutely love attending cons, so I can meet fans of the games and thank them. Without them, we actors are nothing. I love the passion folks have for their favourites, be they characters from anime, cartoons, games or film and television. Passion for something, (caveat – as long as its legal and not hurting anyone) is something we all need to embrace.

The Malta Comics and Pop Culture Expo will take place at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta on October 31, November 1 and 2. For more information log on to http://www.maltacomicsexpo.com/