Haley Joel Osment has actually spent the much better part the his life as Sora, the spiky-haired keyblade wielding confront of last Fantasy and also Disney crossover bliss.

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Osment"s improbable, almost-lifelong journey together the star that Disney and Square Enix"s ambitious RPG series Kingdom Hearts mirrors what we"ve come to expect through television reflects with lengthy lifespans. Prefer the Stark youngsters growing up on Game the Thrones, or Tony Soprano"s youngsters on The Sopranos. In real-time what once were fresh-faced youngsters grow right into young adults. Choose all those kids, Osment"s grown increase too—heck, he"s 30 now. And also the leap native Kingdom Hearts come its deeper-voiced Sora sequel no much longer seems for this reason shocking.

"It is distinctive in the way," Osment speak me end the phone simply weeks the end from the release of the long-anticipated Kingdom understanding 3. "I gain that sometimes in live-action projects civilization get come play a character over a large number that years, yet with this, girlfriend know, the fact that it"s animated. Ns mean, an initial off there"s technological considerations because for specifically early on Sora didn"t age very much. I think he"s a small bit older currently 보다 he remained in Kingdom mind 1 and also 2. But early on, friend know, I started this when I was 12, and my voice had started to readjust and everything. Therefore learning just how to manipulate that and keep the voice sound young if still maintaining the selection of emotions the Sora had; that was a distinct challenge."

it all began on Destiny Islands. | Square Enix/Disney

A to win Trifecta

Ask everyone born in the early 1990s or late 1980s, and also Kingdom mind was most likely some part of your childhood. It hit in ~ the prime time for Disneymania and Final Fantasy fervor. Last Fantasy had wowed our parents (or youngsters themselves, if we were old enough) on PlayStation and also SNES, while we dropped in love v Aladdin, The little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and also other animated movies from the Disney Renaissance. The two mashed with each other were an unlikely pairing, however a welcome one, as soon as Kingdom understanding was introduced in 2002.

Osment, too, was among the biggest child actors of the era. It started with Forrest Gump, where he play Tom Hanks" son in a little role. Then come M. Night Shyamalan"s The sixth Sense (of i m sorry Osment landed an Academy award nomination) and also Steven Spielberg"s A.I. Man-made Intelligence (once to it is in produced and directed under the so late Stanley Kubrick)—an impressive lineup of movies for an actor who hadn"t however hit puberty. And at the peak of this moment, Osment was cast in the an initial Kingdom Hearts, only the beginning of what would come to be a monstrous emotion of a video clip game series.

"With the very first one, i think I began that best after i finished shoot A.I. with Steven Spielberg, so that was definitely a big pivotal moment in my life. I had started 7th grade, ns think. That"s a huge transitional period for me," Osment says. "And then because that Kingdom understanding 2, the was like my junior and senior year that high school, you know, which is sort of the finish of adolescence and everything. So over there have constantly been sort of large life transitions behind the major chapters and also in the Kingdom understanding story."

Over the previous nearly-17 years of Kingdom Hearts" debut, Osment"s Sora (and to a much lesser level the personality Vanitas, who he additionally voices) has remained something of one eternal teenager. All throughout the series, Osment"s power of Sora has actually never wavered; you think a child adorned with 500 zippers could constantly be this pleasant, no issue what life throws at him. Because that the kind of hero who always has a laugh on his face and also a willingness to take on any kind of favor someone asks him come do, Osment portrays the forever-teenager through exuberance. Sora might not it is in the most gruff or tough video clip game hero, yet he"s the most earnest. He"s motivated by love and friendship and, y"know, saving the universe from the dark powers that be. End the years, Osment hasn"t let go one overlapping shoe"s step of Kingdom Hearts" impassioned beat.

As that late, it"s to be a busy time because that the actor. This month, season 2 of the Hulu present Future Man will certainly premiere, on i m sorry he has actually a recurring role. In just a few weeks, Osment"s turn off to Sundance film Festival come debut the movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which stars gibbs Zac Efron as serial killer Ted Bundy. In the middle of his busy expert life in the past year, he"s still somehow uncovered time come guest on some renowned podcasts in the comedy space too.

Comedy, in particular, has become a massive component of Osment"s life and also career as of late. It began with a duty on the IFC present The Spoils the Babylon, which starred Kristen Wiig and Tobey Maguire. From there, Osment was on the TV version of podcast Comedy Bang Bang, another IFC show, indigenous 2014 to 2016. "I think there"s a lot an ext variety in the comedy in this version of Kingdom Hearts," Osment says. "Sora"s constantly been an upbeat and positive character yet they absolutely found some brand-new shade for him in this one the make points pretty interesting. And also it"s simply really beneficial to have that suffer and, girlfriend know, through podcasts and also being top top those mirrors with a lot of of people who room really talented at improv and also everything."

Just last year, he also appeared in NBA 2K19, the recent in 2K Games" basketball sim. He notes that in spite of the substantial difference between the experience—as NBA 2K19 was movement captured, his first experience v it come boot—he found similarities in between the two; namely, in the secrecy behind both projects. Wherein Kingdom hearts is cagey about its story and new worlds, NBA 2K19"s studio was hush-hush concerning the certain technology it was utilizing for the motion and facial capture. "We felt prefer it to be weird energy in the room since of just all the technology that to be humming in ~ the very same time. For this reason it"s absolutely a tiny bit simpler to be in a vocal studio through you know a cup of hot tea just doing the lines."

The hectic time, by extension, caused a much different recording process for Kingdom hearts 3 than Osment was used to in the past seven games he"s showed up in the series, even if the procedure was simply as lengthy in stretching about a year. All throughout 2018, Osment recorded almost everywhere North America depending on where his work took him, in Los Angeles, brand-new York, and also Canada. At one point, Osment practically had to number out a method to document in southern Africa, together he to be filming a collection down there. Yet luckily, the schedule didn"t end up conflicting.

A Poster that Plot

Kingdom hearts is a series that needs knowledge, as if every player should have actually a Wikipedia web page memorized around Nobodies, Heartless, the organization XIII, grasp Xehanort, and also so on. For the fans that don"t dwell in forums devouring every tidbit the news, the series feels a bit inscrutable. Come Osment, it"s an aspect of the collection that"s constantly been prominent, also near the really beginning of as soon as it all began to unravel.

"I remember when we walk in to begin Kingdom mind 2, the producers had actually a big, like, poster board mirroring the plot flow and also everything, because you recognize there"s various dimensions and time travel and all that stuff," Osment says. "So it to be fun moving a character forward favor that v all those changes and also everything."

Winnie the Pooh"s world is one of the few returning people in Kingdom understanding 3. | Square Enix/Disney

In the almost-17 years because its debut, Kingdom hearts has cultivated a fandom uneven most. For as long as I can remember on the internet, Kingdom Hearts-centered fan areas have persisted; enlivened by fanfiction and any details on Kingdom mind 3, by storage of grinding for the Ultima keyblade and gearing up because that the mystery bosses of Sephiroth. It"s a neighborhood that"s not only passionate, but is alive and also well, never faltering—even with lengthy gaps between mainline releases and also its next releases. The many recent, if it"s to it is in counted, is Kingdom mind 0.2: bear By Sleep - A Fragmentary i from 2017, a brief adventure starring Aqua from birth By Sleep the was bundled within the Kingdom hearts 2.8 HD last Chapter Prologue bundle featuring various other late collection games.

Kingdom mind 3 may arrive just two year after the chapter, yet it"s additionally a solid 7 years because the last major title: the Nintendo 3DS video game Dream fall Distance. Long prior to that Kingdom hearts 2, the critical numbered entry, released ago in 2005. While quiet spinoffs, Kingdom understanding differentiates chin from most games with many, many different non-numbered entries: everything"s canon, so whatever is pretty lot essential. That"s difficult for any kind of player.

" I certainly feel the have to refresh myself, especially since so plenty of years walk by between installments and also everything, and also I don"t play video games as much as i did as soon as I to be a teenager. Ns wish i could, yet they"re too, they"re too lot fun now, and also it calls for a lot of hrs of your time," claims Osment v a laugh. Though, he tells me, the did uncover some free time due to a bout of the flu over the summer wherein he played v a Legend that Zelda game on the Nintendo 64, however he didn"t specify i beg your pardon one. (My guess is the obvious: Ocarina the Time.)

"I think due to the fact that the method we record, occasionally not everything has to be revealed come us," he says. "There room things that are an enig and we, you know, with anything you"re recording points out the order. For this reason we piece it together as us go along, but the directors the are always there through me leading the vocal sessions are really excellent and also we constantly know at least in every scene what the beats are, what the emotions are, and what"s come before there. And we"re always on the phone at the same time with Japan so the the entire an innovative team is advising united state on decisions and also everything."

Looking ago on his time through the Kingdom mind series, one details memory rises over his late high school-era recordings for Kingdom mind 2. It"s a memory the doesn"t sound choose a complete surprise as soon as considering Osment"s admiration because that improv—because it"s the many improv-friendly point a strictly-animated video clip game deserve to muster. The is, record the game"s action sounds.

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Recording activity sounds is one of Osment"s favourite memories from voice Sora end the years. | Square Enix/Disney

"There"s practically an whole day that"s dedicated to simply the hit sounds and also everything," the says. "That"s a little bit much more streamlined now. But the an initial time we did that, earlier in choose 2002, that was prefer the culminating session for that and they had actually all the producers and also Nomura-san to be there. And also that to be a pretty memorable session, the very first time i was prefer doing this action thing in the studio. <...> We"re lucky since we have footage indigenous the video game playing in front of me, and it"s therefore expressive and the acting is specific. And there"s therefore much. It feels favor dozens, if no hundreds of various sounds because that each that the things that you need to hit. But I"ve to be an action movie and video clip game pan for many of mine life so it"s the 9-year-old in you. It"s not an overwhelming for the to come out as soon as it"s time to to fill in those action sounds."

While Kingdom understanding 3 is perceived to be the end, at the very least of the Xehanort Saga together Nomura defines it, it is an end of sorts to at the very least the Kingdom hearts that us know and also love. Ever due to the fact that the end teaser for Kingdom hearts 2, in spite of the finality the its very first ending, fans have actually been clamoring for every little thing Kingdom hearts 3 would at some point bring. In just a pair weeks" time, it will certainly be here, with acquainted Haley Joel Osment still voice Sora, augmenting his voice come fit the teenager. Wrapping up Kingdom understanding 3 to be an emotional time because that him, closing out an additional chapter top top Osment"s own life v his bustling career together a working adult now, a long ways far from a 12-year-old kid gaining excited about making fighting sounds through an military of directors observing.

"It was heavy," he says. "I typical with few of the directors and also producers, we"ve to be working with each other for almost 20 years now. For this reason it"s, it"s sad to end up it now however I think v this collection there"s definitely always the hope the there will certainly be miscellaneous else. And, girlfriend know, it"s just such a giant world. I"m hoping this isn"t the last time the I gain to have actually a go around with Sora."