With Supanova 2018 just around the corner, we had an opportunity to catch up with Johnny Cruz the voice actor for Lucio from the game Overwatch. Needless to say, Johnny is as cool and relaxed as Lucio in game and we had a great time chating about his life, events and the good ol overwatch.
To kick it off Jonny, tell us alittle about yourself?
Jonny : I grew up in El Paso Texas and kinda moved around from place to place, Germany being one. I got into acting classes around grade 7 and I continued to do acting classes all the way up to my senior years. I found myself surrounded by teachers that were always encouraging of my skill and kept telling me that I had to pursue this. From there I went to college at UTA in Texas and continued to pursue theatre but was also when I started to make my own videos and directing. Dallas was a grounds for me to use to expand my talents as a director, actor and as a improviser as I do a lot of improv’s and got my feet wet in a lot of dvd action movies with stars like Kevin Sorbo which were great fun.
Then I moved out to LA with my feet alittle wet and that was about the time, I first got into Voice overs. It was interesting because I never really thought about it and I just kinda got into it and got a Voice over agent which led me to my first voice over gig for prototype. I learnt the ropes of doing voices like getting your head ripped off, your arms ripped off or simply falling to your death which I found to be super fun because I love making the weirdest noises!
From there I continued to pursue on camera opportunities and got the opportunity to work on series with one of my heroes, Robert Rodriguez. Unfortunately, it only worked out for one season and at that point I thought to myself, I’m trying all these different things and nothing kind of landed so I took this opportunity to chill and enjoy my life and not worry about the future. This was about the time Overwatch came down the pipe and I auditioned for it. A few months later, Blizzard came back to me saying they really liked my audition and wanted to hire me as Lucio. At this point, I started to get into a lot more work video game related opportunities and voice over’s became a more prominent thing which I never thought it would be.
Maybe that is alittle too much information but there you go haha!
What would you say, are the parts that you look forward to most, when attending events such as Supanova? I think its safe to assume, doing interviews isn’t at the top of the list!
Jonny : The travel, the people, the culture and the learning experience from going to different places. What I am most excited about is learning what you guys do here! What is fun for you guys and what do you eat? I will definitely be eating whatever I can on this trip haha but yea… getting deep into the culture. I was really fortunate to live in Germany and learn new perspectives. It allowed me to learn new things, meet new people which is great fun. In particular to the conventions, I love doing the panels which gives me an opportunity to be such a ham as I love to play around with the audience! Two things that really make it great is that I get to interact with the fans and share inspiration to people listening to find what they want which is a big thing for my panels, “Yo you can do it, we all can” so yea.. that is what I am super looking forward to!
Now I am a big fan of overwatch but I promised myself I wouldn’t spend all this time asking you questions about overwatch only. Are you working on any other video games at the moment?
Jonny : Just do it man, I am use to overwatch questions haha! Well yes.. There is one that is coming up but I can’t mention it… I would love to tell you guys but there are a few I’m working on that I am excited about but if you haven’t killed me in Hitman, I am Jordan Cross in that game, get in there and murder your boy, haha, but nah.. its super fun and a wonderful character that I really adored which was a terrible person but, one you felt sorry after hearing his story. It was a performance that I considered a challenge which I ate up and loved it! That one is abit under the radar as you can just kill Jordan Cross in a second but if you follow the story, it will have a deep and compelling story behind it all.
Vien : I played Hitman and I am pretty sure, I just walked up and put your character into the dirt in a few seconds haha.
Jonny : How dare you dude, how can you do that to me haha!
So let’s get into it shall we? How did your friends first react when they found out you were Lucio from Overwatch?
Jonny : Ahh well… its funny because the reaction I got from my roommate who is a big fan of Blizzard when I told him I got a new role for a new blizzard game called Overwatch was funny! He did the most dramatic head turn to me and said… “noooo…… way!!!” haha. It was the look of “Shut your mouth!” and I said to him, “what is wrong with you dude?” and he responded to me by saying this game is going to be huge. Now every time someone found out that I was Lucio in Overwatch, they would give me that same dramatic head turn and be like “nooo….. way!”. When that started happening frequently, I knew this game was popping off and a friend of mine which has been aware of my acting career said “I never cared about anything you’ve done but Overwatch… I freaken love it” haha!
Vien : From zero to hero for your friend right? Haha.
Jonny : Haha, it has definitely been an adventure for me and I think it’s fun because I’ve done a lot of stuff, smaller things in regards to time on the grand scheme of things but Overwatch, has been one of the biggest things I’ve been apart of that has just changed my entire life you know what I mean. I am very grateful for the fans and the support I’ve received. I love the character, the game and the performance and to see all the love I have received for this, it really does mean the world to me.
Vien: I for one, play Overwatch as much as I can and to give you some insight, Lucio is probably the least complained about hero in the game. So you got that going for you haha.
Jonny : I’ll take that dude haha, I’ll take that!
The BlizzCon video of you walking around and getting everybody to say their lines was amazing. The Overwatch storyline suggests that the crew were pretty tight in the beginning. How are the voice actors like in real life? Do you guys chill and hang out or is it strictly business?
Jonny :The experience of Overwatch was a big moment in all of our lives. I think that particular the video you mentioned around BlizzCon showed something to the viewers that we were probably not aware of. I’ve always been the guy that takes these kind of videos but I thought hey, lets go ahead and take this video with me going around annoying everybody “hey lets make a fun video!”. I tweeted it out and I literally only had 500 followers on twitter but the next day, I had 20 thousand followers. It was on every social media outlet and I thought to myself, “What is happening!”.
Throughout that, we all experienced a kind of a shot to the forefront as voice actors which I have never seen where a voice actor becomes prominent figures and that’s what it became. I would literally be walking down the street and people would come up to me asking for photos and say “Hey you are Lucio right?” . I thought to myself, hey man, I’m a voice actor whats going on? Haha. I think it came down to social media and how everybody was excited to know the people that were behind this game.
We shared this experience, this phenomenon and it has bonded us together in a way I would never have expected. I travel with these people around the world, I have hung out with them, We go to each other birthdays and the majority of us are actually hanging out tomorrow night! They have become people in my life that I adore. Maybe this experience has been so great because we were not mega movie stars, we didn’t have egos, we were all open and said “hey lets experience this together” so this crew, they are a part of my family now which is wild!
Vien : Close in game and close in real life. That’s great to know!
For those who have not seen the video. Check out the twitter post below.
— Jonny Cruz (@JonnyCruzzz) November 8, 2016
Finally, If you were to play Overwatch right now, who would you pick and why? (You can’t pick Lucio!)
Jonny : You know a part of my personality is absolutely out of his mind so Junkrat because I like to blow sh*t up haha. I like to be wild and I’m actually going down there as well, why not choose an aussie my man haha!
Vien: Fine choice mate, haha.
That closes off the interview we had with Jonny Cruz and while it was short, it was a wealth of knowledge of the ride it has been for the Overwatch voice actors and the humble beginnings they all had. Like what you read? You can follow Jonny on twitter here.