Call of Duty: Cold War is taking the video game universe by storm as the latest entry in the hit Call of Duty franchise. While gamers around the world have been playing it, they’ve gotten to know Reggie Watkins, who stars as Sgt. Lawrence Sims.
That’s because not only does Reggie provide the voice for Sims, but he lends his likeness to the character as well, so he’s truly part of the game. He dropped by shortly after Call of Duty: Cold War‘s release to discuss landing the role and seeing himself on-screen. Also, we discuss his new nonprofit organization The Valley of Change.
Brittany Frederick: The Call of Duty franchise is massively popular, so now that Call of Duty: Cold War is out, what’s the reaction you’ve been getting?
Reggie Watkins: I feel really cool right now. It’s amazing. My friends and family are so excited that they get to play with me in the game, and I have family members who play the game. They’re telling all their friends. It’s really dope. My mom’s still the boss though. Don’t get too cool. (laughs) But yeah, it’s going really well. I’m really enjoying it.
BF: You don’t just voice Sims, but he looks like you as well, so is it surreal for you to play the game? Do you feel strange whenever something happens to him?
RW: A little part of me dies every time I die, but it’s just surreal to watch and see yourself moving in a game and being a part of these ventures. I dreamed about this as a child, about being in a video game. Then here I am in one of the biggest video game franchises of all time, and as myself, basically. It’s really crazy and cool.
BF: How did you get involved with Call of Duty in the first place? Was it just that childhood ambition that made you want to take the part, or were there other things too?
RW: It didn’t come to me as “Hey, do you want to do this?” I had to audition for it. I got the audition and I knew it was some kind of covert thing that they couldn’t really talk about. Any time I get an audition offer, I think of it as a win and a chance to just keep living my dream.
I got this opportunity and I went in prepared and was so excited about it and eventually booked it. I didn’t know until I booked the job that it was Call of Duty. It was just amazing. Then I started hearing [that] actually, my face was going to be a character and then my voice, and it was just amazing.
BF: You’ve played some tough characters in your live-action roles such as Bosch and Justified. Was there anything from those credits that you brought to Sims in Call of Duty: Cold War?
RW: Whenever you move from set to set and project to project, you take a piece of what you’ve learned. I think as human beings we take pieces of everything we learn every day to everything we do. When you’re shooting a video game, you’ve really got to learn the stillness and how to be in your body. Also, you remember continuity and using your voice the way that you want to use it. So I took everything I’ve learned from every project and watching and stealing from people.
You mentioned Justified. Timothy Olyphant is one of my favorite actors of all time. [When] I was on set, all I did was watch him, and I got to work with the Harris brothers, Steve and Wood Harris. I watched them on Justified. Then you jump on This Is Us and you’re watching Sterling Brown. It’s just phenomenal, man, to watch the people and then get to take it all in, and then you bring it to a project like this. I was able to channel a lot of that. The main thing was just being myself, and being free to play Sims the way that I wanted to play him, and make sure that it came across as authentically me.
BF: Your career started in comedy, which is all about versatility and being able to adapt. Has that helped you going forward in other kinds of projects?
RW: [In] comedy, you use your face. You’re up there by yourself and you’re living with work that you created. You’re basically presenting your one-man play for five to ten, 20 or 30 minutes, depending on how much time you’re getting, on a nightly basis. That really helped me, to be up there and be willing to bare it all and not be afraid of what people think.
Not everybody is going to laugh at your jokes. I’ve bombed before and I’ve had great sets when I was up there doing comedy. It definitely just helped prepare me for being able to live in my own skin and not be worried about people’s thoughts or what they expect. You present something and you let the work do what it does.
BF: On a more serious note, you recently launched your non-profit The Valley of Change. Can you talk about what the organization does and the meaning behind it, and are there ways people can help you?
RW: My non-profit is The Valley of Change, and it was started during the civil unrest that was going on in the country after the murders of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor. It started as a protest organization. I met my co-founder Latora Green at the corner of Sepulveda at Sherman Oaks Galleria, which is a big deal out here in Los Angeles in the Valley. We were there just like-minded people standing up for change and trying to bring awareness to some of the ills of society, especially things that go on in the Black community.
From there, we just turned this into a nonprofit organization. I wanted to keep pushing the envelope forward and getting people in the community involved with knowing black lives matter and seeing black people in their community do things that push the culture forward. That’s been my goal. Latora has actually been out there on the corner with the protest sign, meeting people, and talking to people for 107 straight days. I come and go because I’m always out of town, but we’ve just had our fourth Feed our Friends in Need event. We fed over 700 people who needed meals and are homeless in the L.A. Valley.
You can get involved by going to our website or our Instagram. From there, you can stay involved. You don’t have to stand on the corner with them. You can push the culture forward by using your social media and just reposting or liking or commenting. Sharing information that gets people to know about different cultures and different ideas that maybe they wouldn’t have been privy to.
You can definitely donate too, to Venmo at The Valley of Change, PayPal, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Cash App at The Valley of Change. Anything helps and there’s no amount of time or money that doesn’t help. We appreciate everything. We just want to keep letting people know that we’re here for change and we’re going to keep fighting and hopefully we get there someday.
Call of Duty: Cold War is now available on video game platforms everywhere. Photo Credit: Courtesy of ICON PR.
Article content is (c)2020-2021 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr, on Instagram at @BFTVGram.