American actor & filmmaker, Jonny Cruz who is best known as the voice of Lúcio from Overwatch, was included in the amazing line-up of Pop Con 2019 at Mid Valley Exhibition Centre last weekend.
Cruz arrived in Malaysia for the first time to meet with the local Overwatch community and expanded his culinary taste by diving deep into diverse Malaysian dishes.
MyGameOn got an opportunity to talk with Cruz about his inaugural visit to Malaysia, landing the role of a beatboxing healer, Lúcio, and becoming the representation of a dark-skinned Brazilian hero in one of the biggest games in the world.
MyGameOn: How do you like Malaysia so far?
Jonny Cruz: Malaysia is incredible. The culture is so different but everybody speaks English and it kind of matches up so I don’t get a lot of culture shocks. That’s really nice that I can actually communicate with people here. It’s been phenomenal.
MGO: How many Malaysian cuisines have you tried and what’s your favourite meal?
JC: I tried so much and everything is so delicious. I like nasi lemak and nasi bojari but there’s this one I like but I forgot the name. It translates to ‘a single man’s meal’. (pauses) Oh, it’s nasi bujang (picture shown below). I like that one a lot! I also love cendol too. I love sweets but I have to stay away from it because I want to get ripped (laughs).
But, right here I just let it all go and embrace a lot of the food. All the differences and areas of food around here like the Indian and Chinese cuisines, all the good stuff, has been a delight.
MGO: Let’s go straight to Overwatch. So, how did you get involved with Blizzard and auditioning for Lúcio? Tell us the experience.
JC: Sure. Usually, for voice actors, you have an agent. They sent you sides, which sides is the part of the voice acting script. You’ll get a character’s descriptions and a couple of lines. I get some sides from my agent and I looked them over, it was like a small Latino-looking boy with a hat and a skateboard and there was Lúcio. It had five different lines. That was it!
So, I went through it. I gave my best possible representation of what the sides would be like — he’s young, hip and fun older-brother-type. And it’s very encouraging and I said to myself, “I can do that!”, you know. I also put pieces of myself into it, my altruistic pieces, my encouraging and fun sides – ready to hang out, to do anything with sporty sides.
A couple months later, I got an email from my agent saying, “Blizzard wants you to be part of the new game, Overwatch.” I didn’t know I did an audition for that game because it was under a different name before. This is me, trying to piece it all up together. I got Blizzard, Overwatch, and I was like, “Wait a minute. Is that the game that my friends talk about?” and it became like, “Wait a minute. This might be something people really like!” Now, people really do love it.
MGO: How does it feel to be part of a huge gaming community and what is your reaction to the Overwatch fans here?
JC: I mean, it feels like a dream. I never thought my career would take this turn in voiceover and why people would know me. To be recognized and to be appreciated for the talent and the work that I did in the game, it was very surprising. And how connected the people were with it opened up my eyes in new ways of acting media and interactive media. I’m embracing the love and I love to give more love.
MGO: Lúcio is one of the non-white characters in Overwatch. How does it feel to represent Lúcio from Brazil on a huge platform?
JC: It’s incredible to be a dark-skinned hero nowadays because people actually need it. We want it. All the darker skin kids are now seeing dark-skinned heroes and saying, “I could be that, I can become that.” And that’s important. The fact that I’m representing it, all I can do is trying to be right there with them.
I’m not Brazilian but I make sure my Portuguese lines were the best as possible as I could be because I’m representing them. Despite the differences, the different shade of our skins, we’re wanting to be seen and be in a positive light so let’s continue to do that.
MGO: In Overwatch, you’re a singer who spreads positive vibes and heal characters with your songs. If you can only choose one song to heal everybody here, what song would you pick?
JC: Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror. I choose that song because we all start with ourselves. We hear that and take representations of ourselves. Then, we could see other people out there.
MGO: How much of Lúcio embodies you and how much do you embody Lúcio? Can you give a percentage?
JC: I put all of my altruistic, fun-loving, positive sides into Lucio. I think that’s 50-50 percent of being good and bad. He’s mostly all the good sides (laughs) as much as I can fit in.
MGO: Have you ever ad-libbed your own lines or improv the voice lines that made into the game?
JC: Yeah, I did some beat-boxing. I’m so glad they kept it. Just little lines here and there that they can make into the game but I don’t remember the lines.
MGO: There’s this one burning question from the Overwatch community. Since Lúcio wears these huge rollerblades, people are wondering, is that his actual legs or it’s just prosthetic legs?
JC: There’s a LOT of speculations. I personally think Lúcio has real legs but in mechanical parts, which I think it’s part of the technology to boost his legs (laughs). But I guess we’ll see.
Special thanks to the organizers of Pop Con 2019 for this interview.