When I saw “Moneyball” back in September my curiosity was piqued when I recognized the man playing the owner of the beleaguered Oakland A’s opposite Brad Pitt: it was Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision, who I’d photographed three years prior for Fortune. I didn’t know he acted —I thought he was busy making games like “Call of Duty”— so of course I was happy to shoot him again for LA Magazine in October so he could tell me about his (businessman playing a businessman) cameo.
When I saw Bobby I was floored: he’d lost around 50 pounds since the last time I saw him. I asked if the weight-loss was in pursuit of stardom on the silver screen. Apparently not. The role came about because Bobby is buddies with director Bennet Miller, and as Bobby put it, “Bennet needed someone to play a businessman who says ‘no.’ It was perfect for the role for me.” Apparently Bobby is now buddies with Brad Pitt. I joked that Brad should watch his back.
Conversation on the shoot quickly turned to Activision’s new game, Skylander. And unlike what you might expect from a CEO, Bobby is an intricate part of the game development process, and was totally excited to play the game with an employee’s son for our shoot. His enthusiasm for Skylander impressed me, and I think the idea of the system is great. The characters you play on screen are actually represented by small plastic figurines embedded with an RFID chip. You choose the character you’ll play by putting the figurine on a little stage that communicates with the game system. And boom — that character appears onscreen. The chip in the figurine saves all of your play settings, the points you earn, and your play history, so if you take your figure to a friend’s house, your character in the game comes with you. I think it’s very cool — and I don’t even play video games.
Here’s a few outtakes from our game session, and the final page layout that’s out in now in LA Magazine.