Our new podcast The Fourth Wall is designed to break through the imagined barrier that separates performers and other artists from their audience to bring you closer to the TV shows, movies, comics, and games that you love. Our first podcast guest is Haley Joel Osment who most people associate with the “I see dead people” cultural touchstone of his childhood role in The Sixth Sense, but the actor has taken on more comedic roles recently including that of Stu Camillo, a key character in Future Man season 2 which Hulu released on January 11, 2019. And he has built his legacy as the voice of Sora in the Kingdom Hearts video game series, including the recently released Kingdom Hearts 3.
Osment’s portrayal of Stu as an earnest believer in the importance of his position in the world of Future Man season 2 may have surprised some viewers. “For every character, as it is in pretty much everybody’s life in their own heads, you’re definitely the protagonist of your own story and the hero of the story, so anything that a character does that most of us on the outside might see as being immoral or wrong is justifiable to them,” explained Osment. “And Stu is an extreme example of that throughout the entire series where he’s willing to do a lot of immoral things because he thinks it’s good for people, and he often doesn’t think that people know what’s good for themselves.”
Much of the humor of Osment’s portrayal of Stu comes paradoxically from how serious the character is about his desire to determine the fate of humanity; he doesn’t even seem to realize how manipulative his supposed benevolent rule is. But the comedy also has its roots in how much fun Osment and the other actors have had now that they’re more familiar with and confident in their roles.
“It was a very fun set!” Osment said. “It was a grueling season just because whenever you deal with clones and holograms and stuff like that, you have to shoot scenes a lot of times in a lot of different angles… but it was made easy by the fact that it’s a great team, and we were all coming back after working with each other in the previous season… So in all these things when you’re reading it, and it’s absurd and very silly in certain ways, when you’re playing it just totally straight, that’s the reality of the character. I think that’s where we got a lot of the comedy out of it.”
Osment also spoke to us about reprising his role as Sora in Kingdom Hearts 3, a character he has been voicing since 2002, just a year after playing David in Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence. “[Kingdom Hearts] is such an incredible journey,” Osment told us. “Video games have really become such a giant global community because people from all walks of life play that game and look forward to the installments that come out. Just being on the creation side of that series and seeing all of the incredible artwork and design as it’s built when we’re doing voiceover and everything, it’s definitely one of my favorite jobs to do. So that’ll definitely be fun when that comes out at the end of the month.”
Obviously, the “end of the month” Osment was referring to has already arrived since Kingdom Hearts 3 arrived on January 29, 2019 to great acclaim. To hear more of our interview with Haley Joel Osment, be sure to subscribe to the newest podcast in our line-up, The Fourth Wall, or simply listen below. More interviews will be coming your way twice a month on the feed.
Michael Ahr is a writer, reviewer, and podcaster here at Den of Geek; you can check out his work here or follow him on Twitter (@mikescifi). He co-hosts our Sci Fi Fidelity podcast and voices much of our video content.