Attention, Black Ops fanatics. "The Replacer" is back, and once again, he's fully prepared to step into your shoes.
After a three-year absence, actor Peter Stormare returns with a vengeance as the dark-suited tough-guy who replaces average Janes and Joes in their daily routines, allowing them to jones on the latest installment of Activison's first-person shooter, part of its iconic Call of Duty franchise.
The DLC pack for Black Ops 3: Awakening drops next week. Stormare shows up in this new four-minute romp from 72andSunny and director Jason Woliner, quipping in his patented gravelly tones and replacing folks left and right.
"I take care of those pesky day-to-day distractions that come between you and your Call of Duty duties," he explains with an edgy, I'd-just-as-soon-kill-you delivery that has come to define his character in three previous amusing online films.
Thanks to the Replacer's skills, an ambulance driver, a dog walker, some dude meeting his girlfriend's parents for first time, and a dad in the middle of a "birds-and-bees" talk with his son are among those who get time off to play Black Ops. During the discussion about sex, well, Stormare fires up some porn on a tablet and assures his young charge, "This all you'll need to know." While walking the dogs, our hero relieves himself against a tree and asks passersby if they'd like to buy one of his pooches.
"With Black Ops 3 and the return of the Black Ops sub-franchise, we realized there was a lot of nostalgia and great memories for us to tap into," says Todd Harvey, svp of global consumer marketing at Activision. "The Replacer is one of the most-beloved characters in all of Call of Duty marketing. It felt natural for us to revisit him."
Back then, the Replacer idea "was new, entertaining and actually made a statement beyond the Black Ops and the DLC pack," Frank Hahn, group creative director at 72andSunny, tells Adweek. "It was a testimony to what it's like playing Call Of Duty." It was also easier to invent schtick for Stormare's character this time around, Hahn said, "because we were leaning into an old concept. But we had to beat the original."
Whether the team succeeded is, of course, a matter of opinion. Stormare certainly performs with the trademark intensity that made him a scene-stealer in Fargo and other films. Also, his adventures remain amusingly varied, with some cool surprises along the way. In the best bit, he replaces a certain taciturn NFL star (hint: It's not Tom Brady) at a press conference, pointedly ignoring questions from the media as he snacks from a candy bowl.
"When we contacted Peter to ask him to continue the Replacer series, he was so excited that he announced his comeback on his own social channel with a short video," says Hahn. Stormare's high spirits, and hijinks, continued on set, notably during the scene where he replaces a Teppanyaki chef. "He burned his hand on the hot plate, and he ate raw meat," Hahn recalls. "On the other stories—I'll remain silent."
Ah, the joys of an actor's method ... and madness!
As far as Hahn is concerned, Stormare will always have a role to play if the series continues. No matter what twists and turns future episodes may take, "You cannot replace Peter; he is unique."
Chief Executive Officer of Activision Publishing: Eric Hirshberg
Chief Marketing Officer: Tim Ellis
SVP, Global Consumer Marketing: Todd Harvey
Consumer Marketing Director: David Blaser
Consumer Marketing Manager: Andrew Drake
Chief Creative Officer: Glenn Cole
Group Creative Director: Frank Hahn
Creative Director: Tim Wolfe
Lead Writer: Jc Abruzzi
Lead Designer: Warren Frost
Junior Writer: Matt Meszaros
Group Brand Director: Mike Parseghian
Brand Director: Simon Hall
Brand Manager: Brian Kim
Brand Coordinator: Will Nader
Senior Art Producer: Sabrina Bajaj
Senior Art Producer: Kacey VanDenBosch
Chief Strategy Officer: Matt Jarvis
Group Strategy Director: John Graham
Strategy Director: Daniel Teng
Strategist: Jake Watt
Business Affairs Director: Jana Nauman
Business Affairs Manager: Kelly Ventrelli
Jr. Business Affairs Manager: Ashley Pesses
Senior Producer: Dave Stephenson
Production Coordinator: Ian Donnelly
Director: Jason Woliner
Executive Producer: Michael Sagol
Executive Producer: Jasper Thomlinson
Executive Producer: Darren Foldes
Head of Production: Kelly Bowen
Producer: Eric Escott