“Cloud Atlas” is an ambitious, 3-hour epic based on the novel by British author David Mitchel. In the film audiences follow the lives of several characters across different lifetimes as their souls attempt to fulfill their destiny. Hollywood veteran Keith David takes on four different personas as Kupaka, Joe Napier, An-kor Apis and Prescient as part of a larger narrative that will leave you questioning your own existence.
“I was jumping out of my seat to do [a movie like this],” David told TheUrbanDaily.com. “Every reason you want to be an actor is in this movie. I get to watch great actors do their thing and I get to participate and be in great company. It’s massively entertaining, wonderfully thought provoking and visually stunning.”
Keith David has been a staple in Hollywood for more than two decades lending his acting and voice talents to live action films, cartoons and video games. TheUrbanDaily.com took a few minutes to speak with one of the most distinct voices in entertainment about everything from what scares him the most to the reincarnation of Snoop Dogg.
TheUrbanDaily: Do you believe in reincarnation?
Keith David: Absolutely. I have felt since I was a child that I’d been here before and that this wasn’t my first time on the planet. I’m a student of philosophy and used to want to be a minister. I’ve looked at many belief systems and throughout my explorations I believe that souls evolve.
Of the four incarnations you take on in “Cloud Atlas” which do you think you relate to most?
I guess Joe Napier in a way in the 1970s. That was in my post formative years, when I was an active young adult. The cars and the clothes put a smile on my face. I used to wear a lot of turtlenecks back then.
You’ve voiced everything from a cat in “Coraline” to Captain David Anderson in the “Mass Effect 3″ video game. How do you prepare for each gig?
I just try to keep myself warmed up. I approach a voice character the same way I would a live action character. You find what’s unique about them and try to do that. The director and I try to find a voice that is befitting the character. Not every cat is the same.
Do you play any of the games you voice?
I have played “Mass Effect” a little bit. I don’t obligate myself to go to level 15, blah, blah. I play for fun. I don’t stay up til 3 am to beat somebody that has beaten me.
You do some singing as Shadow Man in “Princess & The Frog” and performed a tribute to Nat King Cole. Where is your recording career now?
I’m still working on it and bolstering it, going into the studio every now and then. Between now and next year you will have a CD you can put in your pocket.
You’ve also acted alongside a few rappers in “Lottery Ticket” and “Barbershop.” Do you listen to much rap?
I listen to some. I listen to Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg. It’s not my everyday listening, but I listen to some.
Did you hear about him changing his name to Snoop Lion?
No I hadn’t heard that. Snoop Lion huh? (lets out best laugh ever for 8 seconds). I’m not mad at him.
Did you see the remake of “The Thing?”
I have not seen it yet. It’s on my movie to do list. I’ve heard good things about it and I’ve heard mixed things about it.
What scares Keith David?
Not working for too long periods of time. Thinking about Mitt Romney as President.
Who had the scarier voice, you or Vincent Price?
I would say Vincent Price because he did more work in that genre. He is a master of the macabre and I learned from him, shucks. I could still hear his voice in “Thriller…”
Could you see yourself doing that monologue in “Thriller”?
Oh of course. Yeah I could, but I didn’t. But maybe someone will come up with another kind of “Thriller” can hire me to do that. That’d be nice. If anyone listening out there has that kind of gig I like to work. [laughs]. The “Thriller” of the future.
Keith David stars in Cloud Atlas in theaters this Friday October 27th. Watch Tom Hanks and Halle Berry talk about their roles in Moviefone’s Unscripted.