For Nadji Jeter, he steps back into the role of Miles Morales for Insomniac’s Spider Man 2 was a chance to learn some new skills – outside the realm of web swinging. Among them was studying American Sign Language, which Miles uses to communicate with street artist Hailey Cooper in the game, which has been praised for its deaf representation.
“We had great teachers on set. I’ve always embraced it because I feel like we touch a lot of communities,” says Jeter The Hollywood News reporter. “There are many people who sometimes feel like they are being left out. But in Spider Man 2everyone is connected to this game.”
In Spider Man 2Jeter also formed a relationship with genre legend Tony Todd, who plays Venom in the game.
“That’s my uncle, man! Uncle Tony,” says Jeter. “The day he was on the motion capture set, it was like the president was there.
Nadji’s previous episode, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, was critically and commercially well received, selling over 6.5 million copies. He also voiced the character Spider-Man on Disney XD, and in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. His latest game, Spider Man 2has broken records time and again, becoming the fastest-selling PlayStation game in the company’s history, with 2.5 million copies sold in the first 24 hours.
In a conversation with THRJeter also talks about his love for comic misadventures, and personal belief that Miles’ Spider-Man journey is relatable to everyone.
When Spider-Man: Miles Morales first came out, we were in the middle of a global pandemic. What is the reception for? Spider Man 2 been for you now that you can go to conferences and enjoy them?
I was waiting for this opportunity to cash in on what we had actually missed, because Spider-Man: Miles Morales dropped in the middle of a pandemic. I’m making up for the time we lost because I definitely wanted to go there. I wanted to do so many interviews. I wanted to reach the world. But we were told no, because everything was just completely shut down.
In the Insomniac Spider-Man franchise, we’ve seen Miles’ journey evolve into his own full-fledged Spider-Man. Has your own life changed during this run?
I definitely earned some cool points with my nieces, nephews and cousins. You know, my uncle finally told me he was proud of me.
(Laughs.) I started Miles when I was 17 or 18 years old and played him as a 13 year old on (Disney XD’s) Spider-Man. So I grew up with Miles, but I ended up getting into games because PlayStation called me there because they knew I was connected to Naughty Dog (Nadji spoke to Sam The last of us). I didn’t know it was just going to be a success, but when they scanned my face, I thought, “These are going to be some big shoes to fill.”
What do you enjoy most about playing the character in this game?
When you start playing Miles and you’re on the mocap set, you can just have fun… you become a big kid again. Honestly, you can use that imagination you had as a kid when it comes to playing hide and seek or any of those creative things we did as kids.
What was your relationship like with Peter Parker actor Yuri Lowenthal while playing this latest game? He has said how much he has enjoyed your friendship over the years.
Yuri and I have a bond both on and off camera. He taught me a lot industry-wise when it comes to the effects of what we put out there, and telling me about comedic downsides. He’s a great, great guy. When we’re on stage, we definitely feed off each other. You know, we met years ago, on Disney XD (where Yuri voiced Curt Conners). Spider-Man).
You also got to work with Tony Todd. What was that like for you?
That’s my uncle, man! Uncle Toon! I heard he got the part and we were all ecstatic – no one else could play this role better. His cadence, the voice, everything. The day he was on the motion capture set, it was as if the president was there. We met in the locker rooms, I think he was just done for the day and I was starting my day so we crossed paths. We both just hugged each other.
I was like, “Man, I’m a huge fan!” Then we had our San Diego Comic-Con trip and we bonded from there. He took me under his wing – I love Tony to death.
I had the chance to talk to the creative team about Peter and Miles’ different journeys, and the human side behind the mask. How have you dealt with that on a personal level?
You know, with a lot of communities where I come from, we grew up fatherless. Miles also has a great loss in his life with his father. So just growing up with that and then being mixed race with that background and having the challenges of finding your identity in both communities, you know, is definitely something very unique.
My mother is Jamaican and my father is African American, but he was not in my life. So, walking in those shoes and being connected to Miles… it shows all these things that we’re going through. The challenges and trials we all face, with family disorders or even just different family backgrounds – how we all come together as one is the main message conveyed in Miles and Peter’s story.
Miles’ relationship has also grown with his mother, Rio Morales (Jacqueline Pinol), best friend/tech guru, Ganke Lee (Griffin Puatu), and especially local artist celebrity, Hailey Cooper (Natasha Ofili). What was that experience like in this game and learning sign language?
These are fun because you always want to learn something new when you are working on character development. I definitely also came away with a lot of lessons in ASL (American Sign Language), and the New Yorker/Puerto Rician aspect of Spanish and man, we had a blast. We’ve had a lot of discussions about how natural we can be with what we bring to this game, and especially about Hailey’s relationship.
It was definitely my first time learning ASL. And I pray that we did a good job with what we projected. We had great teachers on set. I’ve always embraced it because I feel like we touch a lot of communities and a lot of people who sometimes feel like they’re left out. But in Spider Man 2, everyone is connected to this game. Everyone can come together, and that’s the main thing we wanted.
There are a ton of new suits and classic favorites in Spider-Man 2. What’s your personal favorite?
My go-to is the 2020 suit (from Spider-Man: Miles Morales). I haven’t seen all 65 packs yet, but I hear there are some good choices.
If you could look into the future, who would you like to see Miles work with besides Pete?
Probably Blade of The Punisher. The Punisher was just one man, and I always looked up to Blade. That’s my childhood, you know? And Cyclops. But without rules about the universe? I would like to see a team with Static Shock.
The last of us is now a live-action show. If there is a live action Spider-Verse movie, would you want to play the Miles variant for the Insomniac Studios character?
When they call, they call, man! I’ll be at the gym. (Laughs.) I had a great ride, man. You know, I’ve been doing Miles since he was a freshman in high school, and now he’s in college. It was a crazy, crazy journey. They call and make it happen? We will do it again.