We Spoke To The Actor Of Grand Theft Auto V’s Franklin About His Role In One Of The Biggest Games Of All Time


One particular of the weirdest encounters you can at any time have is conducting an real conversation with a character from a video recreation. That isfar more or considerably lessthe offer when you’re chatting with Shawn “Solo” Fonteno, aka Franklin from Grand Theft Vehicle V.

To coincide with the launch of both GTA V on latest gen and Shawn’s memoir, Sport Changer, I took some time to shoot the shit with the man himself. This was a entire reversal of what I’ve carried out for triple-digit hours considering the fact that 2013: use him, in-activity, to shoot shit.

What adopted was a fascinating speak with an OG who was concurrently the nicest (but technically also scariest) San Andrean I’ve ever had the enjoyment of meeting…

Straight off the bat, I’m loving your memoir, Recreation Changer. Gripping, inspirational stuff which is challenging to set down. How would you quantify it in your individual words?

Shawn Fonteno: So the e-book is my tale, guy. It took me about two-and-a-50 % yrs to finish. My existence wasn’t constantly a fairly picture, so writing Match Changer was like bringing back again previous recollections I did not want to permit out.

A ton of individuals all around the entire world have been by some of the points I’ve penned about, if not far more. [It’s my hope] that they will get my perspective and know that you can make it by means of pretty much just about anything, if you get enable. 

THE Lowest priced Duplicate OF GTA V ON PS5 – $53 ON AMAZON

I managed to get some, you know. I got a god-fearing spouse and childrenmy spouse, my young childrenand that is the initially point. The following: some of us have acquired too a great deal pleasure to arrive at out and request for assistance, which was my problem. I was also addicted to ache supplements, seeking to consider away anything that wasn’t a actual physical soreness. It was a agony of likely as a result of the moments described in my bookthe abuse I’d been by way of as a kid. 

Receiving conquer 3, four moments a week by my move-father taught me to damn close to hate, you know. Afterwards in lifetime, it even prompted me to ponder suicide. 

The good thing is, I poured out almost everything I was working with to my spouse who served me make some modifications. To reset. And I assure you, guy, not even 5 months right after that, I bought the phone to function for Rockstar. They took me from the streets and gave me a 2nd prospect at lifetime.

Recreation Changer also has a ton of fascinating GTA information. For case in point, I experienced no idea your cousin played CJ in GTA San Andreas, and you experienced little bit areas in there, way too. How did your family’s 1st make contact with with Rockstar Games come about?

SF: My relationship to it was by way of a person named DJ Pooh, a marketing consultant who’s labored with Rockstar for many, lots of years. He termed me simply because I’m an ex-gang member and GTA San Andreas was based around quite a great deal what goes on in my city.

They also called a host of other guys that have been notable ex-gang associates and some that had been even now gang customers to occur lend our voices [to San Andreas]. As for my cousin Maylay, person, I did not even know he was CJ when we have been accomplishing our stuff. We all have been less than NDA. He did not explain to me absolutely nothing, even even though we hung out, like, two or 3 moments a 7 days.

Then, when GTA V came about, Pooh gave me a get in touch with and I essentially didn’t want to do it at 1st. Rockstar is magic formula with things, personthe identify he advised me wasn’t GTA. He did not say it was for Rockstar, either. The [gig was for something] known as ‘Paradise’. So I was like,”what the hell is that?”

So, in a nutshell you transitioned from a tough upbringing to starring in a 160-million-copies marketing, cultural phenomenon which, now it is out on PS5 and Xbox Collection X spans three gens of gaming. Did you have any feeling of the enormity of this role when you approved it?

SF: I did not at initial, when I was working with it. What I was on the lookout to do was reset my existence, so it was just fantastic for me to get out of LA and absent from sure folks. And it was a occupation, you know.

The name of it for at the very least a 12 months in was not GTA V, but I realized it was via Rockstar simply because we have been doing work in their facilities. When we discovered out, of program I knew how significant it was going to be. That said, I was established again in my seat by how huge it [actually] went and how extensive it went.

It is amazing that you went in as a somewhat inexperienced actor, to co-star in a manufacturing with a 3500-web page script. The normal element movie does not go beyond 114, so that’s pretty the deep end. How did you acclimate to anything like that?

SF: At Rockstar, the director was real fantastic. The staff, too—they make you feel welcome. It was a tradition shock to me, person, with all these pages of script. But I also experienced Ned [Luke] and Steven [Ogg] aiding me, plus the other solid, much too. And anyone that was coming on the established, I was inquiring things—like, how do you try to remember your traces, male?

I was the only a person there that was not an actor. The couple items I had finished, they have been roles wherever I was just me getting me. Remaining a thug. Becoming a knucklehead.

Rockstar’s director was real tight on his shit, way too, male. If we experienced 3 web page traces to run, you could not mess up. If you forgot the past line, it’d be like: “cut, let’s go again to the major!” Working with Rockstar absolutely taught me to be a fluent actor and to be much more comfy accomplishing it.

There are parallels among your self and Franklin. Clearly the broader stuff, like a youthful male elevated on the streets with hopes of more, but also far more intimate strokes, like your shared love of bikes. Are these coincidences?

SF: Those people [similarities] ended up stunning. I was sitting down again, like, guy did they do investigate on me or a thing? And heading again the other way, there ended up things there that I helped them with on setlike—showing the [mocap] established builders which facet you’d place a kickstand for a motorcycle on.

But yeah, they obtained very shut to my life-style. The writers, they was on that, and I’m glad. It felt like I could mainly just be me in a video sport. Not accomplish way too significantly out of my component.

In the video game, an pretty much father-son bond develops between Franklin and Michael, performed by Ned Luke. Your reserve opens with an anecdote in which Ned seems to be anything similar—a skilled mentor. Is that a reasonable interpretation?

SF: Quite good. Me and him created the connection true brief. He started off becoming overprotective of me, since me and him applied to sit off to the side to operate strains.

He genuinely aided. But then he could be a ache occasionally, much too. Simply because he imagine he know way too a great deal *laughs*. I nevertheless had to do Franklin my way, however. I couldn’t be “Franklin de Santa”, you know?

And then you obtained to reprise your part in The Deal, an enlargement to GTA V’s ongoing On-line element. What was it like stepping again into the sneakers of Franklin just after this sort of a long, 8 yr hiatus? 

SF: I was, like, shocked delighted. But I realized I however had my rough details, since in that eight decades I did not do any acting. I probably ought to have been going out to castings and carrying out little aspect movies to sharpen my tools, but I didn’t. It absolutely took a working day or two to get into the groove all over again.

Is it legitimate that you only located out you ended up likely to do the job with Dre when you rolled up on the established, initially day? That will have to have blown your mind.

SF: Oh, man, I could not consider it. Who could? Specially when I located out I was gonna be actively playing a boss in [the storyline of the DLC]. I was, like, I really don’t even know how to be a manager, simply because I’m working with all these bosses. The director kept me on my toes, however.

Functioning with Dre, DJ Amazing, Jimmy – I indicate, it was a desire come legitimate.

Speaking of brushes with fame, have you at any time imagined about doing a little bit of that by yourself? Ever log into GTA On the web, bust out a bit of Franklin and make some gamer’s year?

SF: *Laughs* I have attempted it, gentleman. But most of the time I just get sniped from much absent. Other periods, a ton of people just never think it is you—even while my voice is pretty perfectly-recognised. I nevertheless enjoy GTA On the web some.

Of course, I can’t have a discussion with you and not talk about the phenomenon that is Web memes. It should be a strange encounter to see your efficiency go viral. To mutate thousands of occasions in more and more weirder techniques?

SF: Oh, person. I woke up one particular day, and it was just crazy. Whoever commenced all that, I thank you. I owe you, gentleman, since it just place me back in the limelight. And when you go viral, you know you possibly did something messed up or you did very good. So yeah, it was like getting evidence that me and Slink [Johnson, aka Lamar] did some thing superior. I was extremely satisfied.

Solo, it’s been a pleasure. Thanks for your time.

Grand Theft Automobile V is out now on PS5/Xbox Collection X. The most affordable actual physical copy is currently $53 on Amazon. 


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By Kelli