Craig Fairbass’ IMBD bio opens with the following; “At six feet three and with a screen presence that commands attention, Craig Fairbrass is a versatile and experienced actor whose film and TV career has gone from strength to strength.” I couldn’t have put it any better myself. Craig’s physical statue, coupled with a good old fashioned cockney accent, makes him an Expendable in the making, a tough guy on the surface with an established acting talent that has seen him conquer the world of movies and now, the world of videogames.
Craig is one of the stalwarts of Infinity Ward’s acclaimed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare franchise and although each game sees his return as a different character, Craig’s distinctive tone and presence is unmistakable. We caught up with Craig between filming of his latest blockbuster film and the latest blockbuster Call of Duty title to talk about his flourishing acting career, landing his first voice over job on Call of Duty and why he’s thrilled to be back in Modern Warfare 3.
TGL: Hey Craig. It’s great to finally speak with you. How are things?
Craig Fairbass: I’m good mate. It’s great to finally talk to you too. The videogame world has been very good to me so I like talking about it.
TGL: Well why don’t we push videogames aside for a second? Please tell us a little about yourself to start off…
CF: I was born in East London and I grew up there. Even from an early age I always wanted to be an actor. I was fascinated with movies and I used to watch countless films back then. My first ever job on a film was opposite Denzel Washington in a film called ‘For Queen and Country’ back in 1987.
TGL: Not a bad way to start your career…
CF: Yeah, it was a thriller and I was really bitten by the actor bug after that. I always wanted to stay with film but it can be difficult in England so I moved on to TV.
TGL: So you quickly found yourself in everything from London’s Burning to Emmerdale and even Prime Suspect….
CF: Well that was very early in my career. I don’t even know how you know about some of those jobs because they’re not even on my résumé anymore! Those jobs were like back in the day when you’re just out of drama school and someone says “you want to earn £60 for the day”? Just like a bit of extras work, you know? But now things are really good for me here, especially since ‘Rise of the Foot Soldier’. A lot of things have changed for me here. I’m currently shooting the lead in ‘St. George’s Day’ which is like a big crime thriller set in London, Amsterdam and Berlin. Then I’m off to L.A.
TGL: So you’re a busy guy….
CF: Yeah, now I have to go finish Modern Warfare 3 and then I’m in Louisiana with Matt Dillon and Randy Couture on the action film ‘Hijacked’.
CF: Well, you know what? It’s funny you should say that. I was only thinking to myself last night, how lucky am I? Even after all these years, I’m still doing what I love and I’m really grateful for that.
TGL: So since you’ve worked really hard to establish yourself as an actor, I take it that voice acting and breaking out into other acting related mediums was a natural thing for you to do next?
CF: Well actually, the Call of Duty thing came around purely by mistake. I went through a rough time when I came out of Eastenders. It was tough because I played a high profile character (Dan Sullivan) and I was supposed to go from that straight into a film. However, the film fell through. It was a body blow. I didn’t work after that for about eight or nine months. So I decided that I needn’t to somehow reinvent myself. So I thought the only way to do that would be to jump back on a plane to the States, get a new work visa and try and get some work. That’s when I did ‘White Noise 2: The Light’. I landed that about four days after I got off the plane. So I knew then that I was always meant to be here. Then, right out of the blue, my manager at the time said to me that I should hook up with a voice over agent over here. So I went with VOX who are quite a big company. Then they sent me in for the Call of Duty job for Gaz in the first Modern Warfare and obviously they gave me the part. At the time, I didn’t really know what I was now a part of. I just thought it was another job. And then the game came out and it was huge.
TGL: So how does it feel to be a part of something so incredibly huge like the Modern Warfare franchise and to be returning in the highly anticipated third game?
CF: It’s great. Everyone involved in making the game has been very kind to me. I think they were pleased with what I did and I take pride in every job I do and do the best job I possibly can. But it didn’t really dawn on me just how huge and how successful the whole thing was until I went to the premier of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in Leicester Square in London. I only realised then that I was a part of this really huge game.
TGL: So obviously now you’re back for the third game and that promises to be even bigger than the two that preceded it…
CF: I’m really glad to be back doing it again. It’s one of the best franchises on the planet. The first few trailers that have come out look incredible. They took me to Infinity Ward recently as a guest and they took me around and showed me how everything works from the starting points right the way through to the end. It’s like a special hub of creative activity with everyone working so hard there. That place is incredible. They took me in and showed me what I was going to be voicing in the ‘Mind The Gap’ trailer and the docklands clip and it was just incredible. Everyone’s been very kind to me over there at Infinity Ward. I really care about what I do and they’re obviously pleased. It’s always nice to be asked back.
CF: I’ve done one session early in the year and I’ve got a second session coming up that will be a much bigger session. I play the character of ‘Wallcroft’ this time around. It’s all gearing up now. It’s getting nearer and nearer to November.
TGL: So do you ever think you’d like to branch out and do some voice work for some other games other than Call of Duty?
CF: Yes, I think I would. But to be honest, I’m not fully sure how it all works. I’m an actor first and foremost and the voice over work is just something I do on the side but it’s become something I never thought it would become. If Call of Duty is the only game I ever get to work on in my career, then I’m more than happy. I’m lucky now to be involved in three of them. I only ever thought I’d be in one.
TGL: So what’s next for you now? You’ll be heading out Stateside to finish Modern Warfare 3 and make movies with Matt Dillon in the next couple of months, but what’s lined up after that?
CF: Well I’m just finishing up on ‘St. George’s Day’. I’m off to Malaysia later to shoot a Viking film in Stereoscopic 3D called ‘Vikingdom’ which I’m really looking forward to. I’m also looking at a few offers that are coming in for me now while at the same time producing my own film that I wrote. Things couldn’t be better for me at the moment. I’m really grateful.