Neil Newborn–the voice behind blood-sucking Baldur’s Gate 3 origin character Astarion Ancunín–says he nearly quit acting before stumbling into the world of voiceover work.
“When I found games I was broke, I was on my knees, I actually was actually very close to quitting the industry,” Newborn said during his acceptance speech after winning Best Supporting Performer at the 2023 Golden Joystick awards, where Baldur’s Gate 3 also snagged the awards for Best Storytelling, Best Visual Design, Best Game Community, PC Game Of The Year, and and Ultimate Game Of The Year.
In recent comments made to PC Gamer, Newborn elaborated on his struggles in the acting industry.
“I was very close to quitting acting, full stop,” Newborn told the publication. “It was about 2008/9… I wasn’t earning much, so I was doing a lot of part-time work to make ends meet. I was also becoming a bit disillusioned with myself as an actor. I got to the point where I was just feeling very, very downtrodden. I was in the pain of rejection, the pain of struggling and trying to go after your dream, and just not getting any closer. I was just facing that reality of ‘I’m one of those people who it just doesn’t work out for, and I have to give up.'”
But after deciding to take the plunge into voice acting, Newborn found the work to be just as satisfying as his work on the screen and stage–and far less frustrating. He also holds a special place in his heart for motion-capture performance.
“[Mo-cap work] gave my acting career a whole new life,” Newborn explained.
He found voiceover work especially freeing in part because it allowed him to try out for roles he otherwise might not be able to secure due Hollywood’s emphasis on physical appearance when it comes to casting.
“That was so amazingly freeing,” Newborn said of the voiceover casting process. “It meant I could play anything that was appropriate to my ethnic background in casting… that was so liberating. But also, people really embraced me. I’m very humbled and grateful. So yeah, I got saved by games.”
Baldur’s Gate 3 was recently nominated for several accolades at 2023’s The Game Awards, which will air December 7, when a release date for the Xbox version of the game will also be announced. In addition to nominations for Game of the Year, Best Game Direction, Best Narrative, Best Score and Music, Best Community Support, Best RPG, and Best Multiplayer Game, Newborn’s stellar vocal performance as Astarion has earned the game an additional nomination for Best Performance.
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