In a couple of weeks, Sega’s iconic blue speedster will be racing onto theater screens in Sonic the Hedgehog and he will be sporting a brand new look. This is, of course, following the backlash to the character’s initial cinematic design, which was equal parts hilarious and terrifying. But if you thought Sonic looked silly before the redesign, check out lead actor Ben Schwartz with dots all over his face.
I’m sure Jean Ralphio would have something to say about all of this. Sonic is a competitive daredevil, laid back and effortlessly cool. But as you can see in the video above from jbwebtv, becoming one of the coolest video game characters ever required that actor Ben Schwartz look decidedly uncool.
To have Ben Schwartz’s acting performance and his mannerisms really come through onscreen as Sonic, the production needed to capture his facial expressions while he was doing voiceover work. This required him having dots all over his face and a camera on his head. There’s no two ways about it, he looks absolutely ridiculous.
Ironically, part of the process of turning into a hedgehog required Ben Schwartz to basically look as though he was either about to sprout hedgehog quills all over his face or had just gotten a face full of them. It’s definitely silly looking, but hey, at least he doesn’t have any weird teeth stuff going on like the original Sonic design did.
Still, this isn't the first time we’ve seen this kind of thing. Part of being an actor is being comfortable in an uncomfortable situation, and with the advent of motion/performance capture and CGI-driven movies populated by CGI characters, more actors are being put in these kinds of silly situations.
Actors often have to wear uncomfortable suits and crazy contraptions, as well as have dots all over their faces to make their characters come to life. They can’t be afraid to look silly because while it might seem embarrassing, it’s ultimately necessary. Nobody ever said that making movie magic was a glamorous process.
But it seems like Ben Schwartz, who has played plenty of silly characters in front of the camera, had no problem with it all. He's spoken about what an honor playing Sonic was and it seems he really enjoyed the process of working on Sonic the Hedgehog, including the sillier stuff. Take a look:
Lucky for him, Ben Schwartz didn’t have to work with the camera and dots on his face for the entire production. He just had to perform this way for the sessions at the beginning of the production so that they could capture all of his facial expressions that were needed. After that, he was unshackled and able to really have some fun with his voiceover work.
All that hard work looks like it could pay off too. First of all, Sonic’s redesign in Sonic the Hedgehog has been met with widespread approval from the fanbase, so Ben Schwartz is bringing to life a Sonic that people are excited to see. That is also reflected in the film’s increasingly optimistic opening weekend prospects.
Sonic the Hedgehog speeds into theaters on February 14. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see all of the movies you can look forward to this year.
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Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.