Jon St. John (Duke Nukem) – Interview

So, we’ve spoken to Scott Miller and Ken Silverman, let’s complete the trinity and introduce Jon St. John, Duke Nukem himself!


How exactly did you first become a voice-artist and what was your first job within the games industry?

I was a radio broadcaster for many years prior to becoming a voice actor. I met a wonderful casting director by the name of Lani Minella while working at a radio station in San Diego, CA and she asked me if I would be interested in voice acting for video games. Among the first auditions she brought me was the Duke Nukem 3D game. The rest is history.


Absolutely. How does it make you feel to be involved in one of the most famous and popular game series of all time?

Very special! I didn’t even know for the first few years after the release of that game that there was even a following. After being invited to my first con appearance back in 2003, I quickly learned that Duke Nukem was a very popular game and that I actually had fans!


What was your inspiration when voicing Duke and was the character heavily based on the 80’s all-action hero?

I don’t recall who the creators of Duke had in mind, but my inspiration came from the director, Lani Minella, to make the voice similar to Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry”, but in a lower pitch. When I read the audition lines in that voice, they immediately knew that’s the one they wanted.


Do you have a favourite Duke Nukem catch phrase? (Mine has got to be “It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum… and I’m all outta gum”)

Yes… My favorite is naughtier, from Duke Nukem: Forever – “I had eggs for breakfast….your mom had sausage”. Makes me laugh every time I say it.


You have worked on many other video games apart from Duke Nukem. Do you have a personal favourite video game role away from voicing Duke?

I’m very pleased with my roles in Both Guild Wars 2 and DoTA 2 as they keep creating DLC and I continue to record for both games. Currently my favorite is DUSTY from Rad Rodgers. I play an old game console with an attitude, and a foul mouth. The game looks so good, and my character is so obnoxious…it’s my current favorite.


Can you briefly explain a typical day’s work as a voice over artist and what tips can you provide for anyone looking to get into this part of the industry?

A typical day is all about auditioning, that’s the job of a voice actor. You don’t book any jobs if you don’t audition for as many as possible. So each morning begins with a cup of coffee while reading through emails of auditions to sort out the jobs that are appropriate for my vocal range, then recording the voice and emailing the audition in.

Tips for beginners: Don’t quit your day job!! This career is NOT going to happen overnight. It usually takes many years to get to a point where you can rely on voice acting to earn a living, but if you truly have a passion for it, never give up.


Many recent top video game creators are hiring Hollywood stars to voice their game characters and move away more established voice actors. What are your views on this growing trend and do you feel it could be damaging for the video game industry in the future?

IT PISSES ME OFF!!! Just like Hollywood A-listers getting all of the roles in CG films. It’s all about ticket sales, or game sales based on the popularity of the actor, not the actual game, or performance of the actor. Screen actors don’t even have the same set of skills as voice actors, and I don’t think they do as good a job as voice actors would. Also – not fair! Screen actors don’t need this type of work to make a living…voice actors do! Voice actors are not stealing jobs from screen actors because we don’t have their fabulous looks, so I think they should leave the voice jobs to voice actors!


Are you a gamer yourself, and if so, do you have a personal favourite video game and console?

Not so much anymore. I used to play video games regularly, but now I spend my time trying to find work and traveling to con appearances. When I did play, I liked driving, flying, racing games such as Need for Speed or Twisted Metal. Of course I played each of the games I had a role in…because of curiosity.


If you met Duke Nukem in real life do you think you would get along with him, and would there any be anything you would love to ask him?

I think he and I would get along famously! We do have a few things in common, though I’m not the misogynist he is.

I would ask him if he had any gum.


There have been strong rumours of a Duke Nukem movie, do you know if this is ever likely to happen and would you be looking to play the lead role?

I would only have the lead role if the film was CG…which I am hoping for, if it does ever happen. Imagine an R rated CG action hero film! That would be AWESOME!! I am not aware of any plans to make a Duke Nukem movie, but I do know that Duke will appear in a film next year, but he has no spoken lines. Sorry I can’t say more…I do not have that clearance (awwww – Ed).


If you could share a few drinks with a video game character who would you choose and why?

Duke, Grayson, Handsome Jack….and Tequila, baby! Why? Because they are bad ass!



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