MORTAL KOMBAT: BATTLE OF THE REALMS Interview: Patrick Seitz On His Latest Return As Scorpion (Exclusive)

Patrick Seitz has played Scorpion in games and Warner Bros. Animation's movies, and he talks to us about jumping between those worlds and what to expect from Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms.

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Picking up shortly after the explosive finale of Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's RevengeMortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms follows a team of heroes who are besieged by the enemy forces of Shao Kahn. Raiden and his group of warriors are forced into a deal to compete in a final Mortal Kombat that will determine the fate of the realms; Scorpion, meanwhile, must find the ancient Kamidogu before it's used to resurrect the One Being to avert the destruction of all things.

The movie boasts an incredible cast, but for many fans of this franchise, the fact that Patrick Seitz will reprise the role of Scorpion is the biggest draw. The actor obviously lent his voice to the character in the previous movie, but also in games like Mortal Kombat X and Injustice: Gods Among Us

It goes without saying we were excited to sit down for a conversation with Patrick earlier this week, and here, he discusses everything from how he approaches this role to Scorpion's new dynamic with Sub-Zero, and the secrets of perfecting his fighting skills in the confines of a recording booth.

He also weighs in on the pressure that comes with playing a character as iconic as this one, and for those of you who always root for Scorpion...well, you'll find a lot to enjoy throughout this interview!

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms arrives August 31 on 4K/Blu-ray & Digital!
 


Hey Patrick. I had an awesome time with this movie, so can only imagine that it must be a lot of fun for you to finally be talking about it? 

It is! I finally had a chance to watch it top to bottom last night, so it is fresh in my brain! 

Oh, perfect. Well, it seems like you’ve become the go-to voice for Scorpion in recent years which must be an amazing feeling, but what about exploring this character in an animated feature most excited you?

Honestly, if they call and say, ‘Hey, we want you to voice Scorpion again,’ whether I get to explore the character as I did in the first movie and again in this one or I’m just going to be antagonistic for 90-minutes just murdering people without undergoing any character growth, I’d also be excited for that! When the Scorpion phone rings, I am always happy to answer it. That said, I’m impressed that with as much ground as they covered with Scorpion’s character, his motivations, and that entire arc in the first movie, and even though he’s not in the Mortal Kombat tournament at all in the second one, he has all this stuff happen tangentially to the tournament itself, but it’s still important. It still ties in and comes together, and I’m in awe of how much they’re able to cover in a single movie’s worth of content. He goes immediately from chasing his vengeance to being on the other side of that fence as someone else has revenge they’re trying to enact upon him (and rightfully so because, you know, I did some murdering). It’s a really interesting switcheroo, but I think they handle it well with the pacing and writing. It feels justified and earned. It’s super exciting as an actor to throw yourself into the other side of that coming out of the first film. 

Does your approach to Scorpion differ at all when you’re jumping between games and movies like these or is it easy to bring him from one format to the other and back again based on what’s in front of you in the script?

It’s a little bit of both. I feel like the luxury of getting to play the same character over time means I’ve got that foundation or core that, short of being told big changes are happening to the character or something is going to happen that creates a major sea change, you’ve got that base Scorpion. It means I can go into these sessions for different projects with that confidence and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to explore and play and he’s going to go through some stuff.’ At the heart of it, though, I know who this dude is. In the video games, you get Story Mode, so you get to tell portions of a sequential story that way, but a lot of times, we’re just doing the noises for the fights or the intros with the smack talk heading into the individual matches. When you get into something like this, for the course of the entirety of the movie, you are getting to tell a sequential top to bottom story, sometimes getting to play with other actors in the scene. 

I got to do that with Bayardo, the actor who plays Sub-Zero. I had the luxury of having him in the session with me, so during our scenes, we actually got to respond off one another which is so great. So much of what we do is us by ourselves, sometimes getting to read with somebody, but not usually from the horse’s mouth and the other actor. That was a definite boon to the process because we were recording this and it was so much fun. In that Mortal Kombat world, it really does go in every direction, and there’s so much more to explore, and it’s so ambitious and there are so many opportunities that whenever I get to go in and play Scorpion, it’s a matter of saying, ‘What shenanigans are we getting up to this time?’ Really, there is no cap on what could be happening. They’ve set up a sandbox that is so far-reaching in its scope. We can go anywhere, do anything, and fight anyone. It’s great. I love it. 

Talking of Sub-Zero, things have really changed between him and Scorpion in this film as they go from fighting each other to teaming up. What about that did you most enjoy exploring after the first movie?

It’s really enjoyable to have this tension. You’ve got these characters who are fighting and Sub-Zero is literally trying to murder Scorpion. He’s not pulling his attacks at all. Scorpion is trying to fight back enough to stay alive, but not enough to incapacitate or kill him. In the midst of this fighting, he’s also trying to make logical points to get through to him. He’s saying, ‘I was you. I know. Vengeance is appealing. These were extenuating circumstances and what you want to do is justified, but maybe you can put killing me on the back burner for a minute or two so we can do this other thing that’s going to have greater ramifications for people.’ It’s an interesting tension and they’re not just sitting down and talking things over over a latte, they’re actively engaged in not the Mortal Kombat tournament, but in lower stakes mortal combat with Scorpion trying to get through to him. That’s a real fun thing to play as an actor. Like I said, getting to play with that going back and forth with the other person...that feels like dessert [Laughs].
 


As an actor, do you prefer to play Scorpion in a more heroic light or is it more fun to take him to some darker places?

They’re both gratifying in different ways. In real life, I’m very chilled, I’m very laid back, and I have a lot of feelings. I cry in movies and love videos of little kittens. Getting to play someone so badass and focused and evil sometimes in his actions is super fun because that’s not my day to day at all! But, I think the fact he has that side to him, but also the noble side, or dare I say the heroic, principled side of him, he’d be fun as one or the other. The fact he can be both is just a testament to the character that they have created and built on over the years. It’s so fun getting to play that. One or the other would be great, but doing both [Laughs] makes it feel like you’ve really lucked out. That’s nuance and gives you somewhere to go. 

I think some would argue that Scorpion is up there as perhaps the most iconic Mortal Kombat character, so does that sense of pressure still follow you into the recording booth or are you comfortable stepping into his shoes now? 

Oh, I feel...I try to look at the precedent of me playing him and use that to hold back at least unwarranted anxiety. There’s definitely always pressure. Because you’re being handed this thing, and the character isn’t yours, but you are the steward for this character for as long and as thoroughly as they intend to let you do that, there is definitely that sense of, ‘Hey, this character has been around for a hot minute and means a lot to a lot of people, so you better bring your A-game.’ I hope that I will always feel that. I never want to go into something going, ‘Oh, I’ve got this. I’ve got this on lock.’ If I ever reach that day, that’s the day I need to take a long vacation and get an attitude adjustment [Laughs].

When I’ve been doing these interviews this week, something I’ve been asking everyone is about the physicality in the recording booth and the enjoyment and challenges that come with it. From your perspective, what is it like tapping into that? Is it still a big challenge or have you found your groove with those? 

I feel like with how much I’ve done them, it’s definitely one of those where if they’ve got an idea of what’s going on with the blocking and physicality, that the more information the actor can be given, the more you can do to make your exertion and physicality sound specific to that. Sometimes, it’s just having a basic animatic to go off, but others, depending on the project, and the scheduling, they can show us something a little more detailed. With those, I’ve done so much yelling and fighting and kicking over the course of games that I try not to worry about that. It’s less worry and more strategy, and it’s a case of saying, ‘Okay, how much of this are we doing, how big does it start, where does it go, where are the lulls, where is the crescendo, and where does it double down and then go back up?’

In the first movie, he’s got this run where he just murders tonnes of people in a row, and in a moment like that, you’re saying, ‘Okay, he’s in a rage.’ He’s doing the killing and all of these have weight, but it can’t just be the top of your voice for 150 seconds or it’s going to get really boring for the person watching. So, it’s a real tightrope act, on a real technical level, finding how to sell maximum intent but also mix up the audio dynamics so that you don’t get lulled into anything dull watching it. Getting to do that stuff with another person is wonderful. The only thing you have to watch out for when you’re getting into it with some of the fighting exerts is that you don’t accidentally do one when the other person is. You’ll make sure you’re each doing your fighting, get those beats in there, and maybe in the final product they’ll shuffle it so it’s over each other or back to back, but as you get into it, it can be hard not to jump the gun and do your stuff too close to the other person’s stuff [Laughs]. 

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