Richard Divizio is best known for his portrayal of Kano in the original Mortal Kombat. He has also portrayed a number of other kombatants across a number of titles, including Baraka, Kabal and Quan Chi.
14 September 2009
Kamidogu: Do you keep up-to-date with the Mortal Kombat franchise?
Richard Divizio: I keep in touch with Carlos, Pesina that is, aka Raiden. Carlos and I go way back to about 13 years old, and Carlos is now the Lead Animation Director at Midway for all things Mortal Kombat, so when we talk, I usually get all the updates on what’s next in line for the franchise.
Kamidogu: Which newer characters are your favourites, and why?
RD: Honestly, I don’t follow it, meaning, I’ll know that a new MK game is coming out because I’ll talk with Carlos, but as far as who the new characters are once another release comes out, I don’t keep up with it. After MK4 many things in my life changed and have not really been able to follow the games after that.
Kamidogu: If you could have been any character in any game, who would it have been?
RD: I would not be anyone else but who I played. The characters I played were perfect for me, for my face, for my look, etc.
Kamidogu: How did it feel the very first time you saw yourself digitised in a video game?
RD: I felt like I was a part of something big that was going to change video game history. We all knew it once we saw ourselves captured on screen. In fact, each of us guys as martial artists had our own flavour and we brought that to the screen personality wise.
Kamidogu: Do you still keep in touch with Ed Boon and John Tobias? If so, are there any plans to work with them on future Mortal Kombat projects?
RD: No plans as of yet, but occasionally we will talk through phone, email or Facebook.
Kamidogu: What’s Ed Boon like in real life? Is he good to work with?
RD: Ed Boon is such a pleasure to work with. Ed can have you rolling on the floor in tears he is so funny. Even now as I write this I’m laughing. The times we had making the game behind the scenes I will cherish those forever. When we did the game, John and Ed did have a list of moves written down, things we had to do so that the game would be playable. Along with carrying out these requests from Ed or John, sometimes things just got silly and out poured the laughs as we would try out different moves, or someone would say, “How about doing this as a Fatality?” and we would all have a laugh as the request would be something that would just be way overboard.
Kamidogu: Were there any specials moves you filmed during production that didn’t make it into the final games?
RD: Whoa, that’s so long ago to remember, but I can tell you this: I was the one that came up with the Scorpion Fatality where he takes off his mask, with the skeleton face, shoots the fire and burns you to a crisp. I’ve loved skeletons ever since I saw Jason and the Argonauts, and all of us were in the room trying to think of something cool for Dan Pesina to do, because he was Scorpion, and I was at his filming that day. I quickly told John, “How about he pulls off his mask and it’s a skull face, and then he breathes fire onto the opponent and burns him to a crisp?” They all thought cool, let’s do that then. Danny also loved the Chinese Rope Dart weapon, and so that is how Scorpion started using that, but once again, in the room with ideas flying, I shouted, “When you stick the other guy with the dart you have to say GET OVER HERE!” I’m not sure if Dan Forden used my original voice or if he just said it himself in the recording session.
Kamidogu: If you never came across Midway in your career, which other company would you have had most liked to have worked with?
RD: Well, I never planned or set out to be in a video game so I never really sought out other companies I’d want to act for.
Kamidogu: Out of all the Mortal Kombat characters you’ve had the pleasure of portraying, who was your all time favourite to play and why?
RD: Quan Chi was my favourite because I was able to do some acting and my whole face was now being shown. Kano was second because I think I fit that villain role look. You have to be comfortable with yourself and use the look God gave you. Baraka is third. Just too hot of a mask to wear during filming.
Kamidogu: How did you get into this particular field of work? Was it something you’ve always wanted to do, or did it just come to you?
RD: Being a part of MK just happened by chance. Ho Sung Pak, Dan Pesina and myself were all friends since we were younger, going back to about 1982, and in 1992 the three of us were in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II movie. When we finally got home from filming, my phone rang and it was John Tobias. John and I go back to about 1987 and have mutual friends. Being friends, John knew we all did martial arts, so he asked me if I could round up the guys and come in to do a video test. John said he wanted to try something out, but was not sure if it was going to work, so we went into Midway a few days later, and history was about to be made.
Kamidogu: What made you decide to visit our Mortal Kombat community?
RD: I just like to touch base with the fans. I enjoy it. I guess it’s like giving back. I’ll be honest as anyone would be, sure, it’s cool to be recognised or for people to be in awe of meeting you. I like giving that feeling to people. I guess I like it because I have met many high profile people in my life and when you meet them, it’s a weird feeling because they are people just like you and me. The thing is that some people’s stardom or popularity can happen overnight, but they are still just your friend or neighbour, someone you went to high school with, etc. I always will say, you have to remember where you came from, and not forget those that got you there.
Kamidogu: What are some hobbies you enjoy outside of work?
RD: Model railroading, collecting die-cast cars from the Cars film.
Kamidogu: What are some of your favourite TV shows and movies?
RD: Everybody Loves Raymond, Star Wars, Close Encounters of The Third Kind, The Thing, Tombstone, Swingers, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Indiana Jones films, anything PIXAR.
Kamidogu: Do you have any famous last words?
RD: Earth, Wind, Water and Fire. With your mastery of the Elements, you have an advantage that no other human has, and that is the ability to defeat the Elements. I have foreseen this!