Top Scots actors voice Bannockburn

22 Jan 2014

Scottish actors James Cosmo and David Hayman are taking on the roles of two of Scotland’s legendary historical figures – King Robert the Bruce and Sir James Douglas, for the cutting-edge Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre. It is the first time that the actors have lent their vocal talents to 3D characters.

Better known for their roles on the small and big screen, particularly as Jeor Mormont in Game of Thrones and DCSI Michael Walker in Trial and Retribution, the pair will ‘play’ two of the key figures in the dramatic 3D presentations that will fill the centre .

Painstaking research and attention to detail is going into recreating the events at Bannockburn for the new centre - an Academic Advisory Panel featuring some of the UK’s top historians are advising interpretation designers Bright White Ltd every step of the way.

The panel has overseen all elements of production from storyboards, scripts, character descriptions and voice artist specifications to ensure that Bannockburn’s 3D characters are as historically accurate as possible in their physical, verbal and psychological states.

Working with expert modellers at the Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation (CDDV), a partnership between The Glasgow School of Art's Digital Design Studio (DDS) and Historic Scotland, the characters have then been developed in 3D using the motion capture technique.

The voiceover sessions for both James Cosmo and David Hayman took place at the CCDV’s studios in Glasgow. Both actors really got into character for the sessions and were recorded as they moved, held and swung weapons and got their battle faces on. Their captured movements have now been incorporated into the final 3D characters of King Robert and ‘The Black Douglas’ in the Centre.

The characters faces were developed through detailed processes. Robert the Bruce in 3D was based on the iconic equestrian statue at the Bannockburn heritage site for which sculptor Pilkington Jackson used measurements of the King’s skull following the re-discovery of his remains at Dunfermline Abbey.

Upon being cast as the voice of King Robert the Bruce in 3D, actor James Cosmo said: "It is a great pleasure to voice Robert the Bruce, one of Scotland's most iconic leaders.”

Meanwhile, Sir James Douglas was one of Bruce’s most trusted lieutenants. Famous for his personal vendetta against Edward I, responsible for the death of his father and taking ownership of his lands, Douglas sought revenge in a particularly gruesome way, leaving a trail of death and destruction in his path and making him one of the most feared nobles in the land.

Actor David Hayman said: “I am thrilled to be voicing the character of Sir James Douglas for the new Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre. An iconic villain in Scottish history, he was the Darth Vadar of his time. Parents said to their children: ‘if you don’t behave, The Black Douglas will get you’. I’ll be queuing up when the centre opens in 2014 hoping my interpretation of The Black Douglas will frighten a new generation of children…”

Douglas was one of six of the Centre’s characters selected by the project in late 2012 after a call to the public was made to find real people from the areas that formed the armies across the UK to become 3D characters. Philip Wilson, 35 from Edinburgh, had his face laser scanned to be transformed into Sir James Douglas. A preview of the Visitor Centre’s new character stations will be revealed in early 2014.

Other actors voicing Bannockburn characters include: Jimmy Chisholm; Nadege Druzowski; Suzanne Teed; Barrie Frame; Donald Pirie; Francois Menard Noens; Oliver Graham; Fenella Kerr; Aled Pugh and David Walker.

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