Dean Erickson played Garbiel in the second part of the Gabriel Knight series and was so kind to answer us some question about his person and thoughts about his career. So here's the interview:
A-T: "Hi Dean, beside your diary reports on your webpage, fans haven't heard anything of you for a long time. Could you tell us what your daily shedule looks like? What other jobs did you do during the last years? What do you make living of?"
Dean: "I had made my living as a personal trainer during the past few years until I hurt my back. I'm currently getting my real estate license in California and will pursue that livelihood unless an artistic endeavor pays off financially. I write pretty much every day and currently have a screenplay under consideration at a production company. As an actor, I've played Hamlet and Macbeth since playing Gabriel Knight, but haven't pursued the business rigorously enough to make a career difference. I have recently gotten back into acting class and back on stage (Macbeth) and am putting more energy into acting than I've done in years. Unfortunately, I hardly ever get to audition, but I'll keep trying."
A-T: "Full-Motion-Video (FMV) games like Gabriel Knight 2 seem to had their best time already. However, there are still some independent studios that try to produce such type of adventure games like the recently released "Zelenhgorm" from Sweden or "Darkstar" with the crew of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Do you sometimes still follow that developments? Can you image, that this genre could come back to life another time?"
Dean: "Anything can happen, but I don't hold my breath that it will. Businesses generally go in cycles, and the cycle now is geared toward computer generated effects. At some point, there may be a backlash as human beings go back to caring about other human beings, rather than animated characters."
A-T: "On your webpage you write that making GK3 a 3D instead of a 2D FMV game was a mistake. Can you still rememeber when you got to know that a third GK part would be without you?"
Dean: "I don't remember saying that it was a mistake. If I did, I was wrong. It's not my place to say such a thing. Obviously, I would have preferred to be in GK3, so I was hoping for live action. These decisions are business decisions and not up to me. If someone wants to hire me as an actor, then I have a business decision to make whether I want to do their project or not."
A-T: "Computer companies claim that producing Full-Motion-Video games with real actors is just too expensive in this business. Do you think, this is true?"
Dean: "I don't really know the economics of FMV versus animation, but I believe they can be done FMV with the right budget. Ultimately, it's up to the consumer, because if they'll buy it, someone will put up the money to produce it. It's the law of supply and demand."
A-T: "The Sierra Story is a very sad story at the end. As owner Ken Williams sold it, the quality of the products decreased immediatly under the new managment. Do you have any opinions about the Sierra Studios during the GK2-time and what happened to them after 1996?"
Dean: "I don't know any of the people at Sierra and don't really know what happened. I was just a hired gun for GK2, like most of the people that worked on GK2. I did my job the best I could, as I always do. I know that corporate decisions aren't always geared to create the highest product quality, but also have to balance profit and other considerations. Sometimes, people are just wrong. They make mistakes. Don't know what the case was with Sierra. At least, they're still in business. Aren't they?"
A-T: "Have you been in contact with "GK creator" Jane Jensen during the last time? Do you personally think there is a chance for another GK part?"
Dean: "I hear from Jane once in a great while, when there's something GK related to attend to. IMO, although I did a good job as GK, I doubt I'll get another chance. But, you never know."
A-T: "Do you still have any contacts with other members of the GK2 crew?"
Dean: "I'm still in touch with Will Binder. He reads my scripts and gives me very helpful, scathing criticism. He has high standards and it helps me keep my work honest. I read his scripts and return the favor."
A-T: "What was the work with Will Binder, the director of GK2, like?"
Dean: "We had a good rapport. He had the worst job in the world and did a great job. Directing is very difficult. I didn't envy him. I just tried to be prepared every day and do my job well. He'd let me know when he needed something specific in a scene and I'd try to do it. Mostly I just did what an actor is supposed to do. He seemed happy with my work."
A-T: "Does your work as a writer of screenplays make any devlopments? Did you already have success in publishing something written?"
Dean: "I have a script out now that is garnering interest. Whether it will get made into a movie and bring me income remains to be seen, but every day that I write, I get better and that's a positive development. Sometimes, the steps in life are tiny and not obvious."
A-T: "We know you’re not a great gamer, but do you know any character in a computer game you would like to play in a film?"
Dean: "I don't know any games. Sorry. Just GK, I guess."
A-T: "Have you ever been to Germany, perhaps even to Munich and the castle “Neuschwanstein” in “real life”?"
Dean: "Never been. I'd love to."
A-T: "How much influence did “The Beast Within” have on your popularity in the film business and in general?"
Dean: "None. Other than a cover photo and story in the LA Times Calendar section, no one noticed. I lost my agent half way through the GK shoot and my career never really recovered. It's disappointing, but things can happen quickly in each direction. Good and bad. I'm ready for a good career development. Any suggestions?"
A-T: "Actually the character you played in “The Beast Within” was totally different to the Gabriel Knight from the first part of the series. What do you think made Jane Jensen choosing YOU for the Schattenjäger? And did she change the role a bit for you?"
Dean: "She didn't change the role that I know of. I was cast primarily through Dan Parada, the casting director, and Will Binder, the director. I was flown up to Oakhurst, CA to meet Jane to get her final approval. She was deservedly protective of her GK creation and needed to make sure I had the ingredients to play the role as she wrote it. I read for her and I don't think she wasn't impressed until we read an emotional scene and I scared the crap out of her. Then I had her respect and the part."
A-T: "There are rumours that there were some brutal scenes filmed for “The Beast Within” which “got lost” in the final game. Do you remember any brutal scenes in the dressing room of the opera?"
Dean: "I don't remember any brutality or anything unusual."
A-T: "GK2 was censored in some countries including Great Britain. Scenes like the werewolf scenes have been cut out of the game and replaced with censored still images. People of Great Britain were forced to import the game from the US in order to get the uncensored version. What do you think about censorship of this kind - escpecially in actually non-violent and more intellectual genres like adventures (compared to shooter games)?"
Dean: "Hmm, haven't thought about censorship much. Censorship implies the government cut certain scenes. I'd be surprised if they did, because I'm sure Brits can take whatever gore anyone else can take. If it was the company that catered to the British market for some reason, that's just a business decision. Whether it was right or wrong, I don't know."
A-T: "Will you ever play Gabriel Knight 2 till the end?"
A-T: "One thing which fascinated players in "The Beast Within" were the dialogues. If you start a dialogue in the game, you have several subject-options for the conversation. This means, that every subject could be the first being started by the player, but could also be the last one, and the film scenes, but especially the actors have to look or behave like that. Do you remember Jane, Will or anybody else, giving you special advice for behaving in these dialogue scenes?"
Dean: "I don't really remember. I think you just couldn't be so outrageous, or so leaden, in a particular dialogue that it wouldn't "match" with another. There had to be some consistency."
A-T: "What was the first day on the set of "The Beast Within" like?"
Dean: "Hmm, it was so long ago. Just getting the feel of the set, the people, the way Will Binder worked, the pace of the shoot. It was all good."
A-T: "Did you ever see the “Wolf getting Gabriel in the woods” scene from GK2 in the final version?"
Dean: "Never got that far. I couldn't make it out of the farmhouse."
A-T: "Did you have any prejudices when you first heard of this FMV thing like: “Oh, these computer freaks!” Come on, be honest! ;)"
Dean: "I was just happy to have an audition. An assistant at my agency at the time had played GK1 and thought I was perfect for GK. Wonder if he's head of a studio now?"
A-T: "Jane Jensen is working on a new game design script. Did you already hear or do you know anything about it?"
Dean: "Don't know anything about it."
A-T: "If you think back to the days of GK2 - is there anything during that time you could tell that was the best or most exciting experience?"
Dean: "It was all good. Oakhurst, CA is a great town, I was put up in a great cabin overlooking Bass Lake, I worked every day doing something I loved with people I liked and I got paid well to do it. What's not to love?"
A-T: "How long did the work on “The Beast Within” take for you?"
Dean: "I worked three and half months, five days a week, eight to ten hours a day. It was a great schedule, especially because I was pretty much in every scene, so I didn't have a lot of waiting around time. I stayed busy the whole time."
A-T: "Is there any movie genre or movie character in general you like the most? Or would love to play someday?"
Dean: "I like to play good guys with a rough edge, some dangerous flaw. Basically, your everyday movie hero."
A-T: "And Finally: Is there anything you want to tell the adventure - and Gabriel Knight - fans out there?"
Dean: "It was a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone that has expressed interest in my career and offered their thanks and support. I wish you all well."
A-T: "Dean, to you, too. Thanks a lot for your time."