Imagine being so rich you could pay Gemma Atkinson to wear outfits of your choosing and stand in Trafalgar Square on a rainy October night, shouting things you'd told her to shout. Well, that's what life is like for lucky old Electronic Arts. They hired the former Hollyoaks star to appear in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, and to promote the game at their recent Be the One event.
Naturally, Eurogamer went along to have a chat with Gemma about her role in Red Alert 3, her personal gaming preferences and, well, what it's like to know half the world's population would like to have sex with you. Watch the video below to check out what she had to say, and what she was wearing.
Don't worry ladies, there's a treat in store for you too! Red Alert 3 also features Tim Curry, star of cult musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show and object of my own personal affections since 1992. He lives in America so our interview had to be done over the phone, unfortunately for me but not for him. Read on after the Gemma video to find out whether he thinks games are art, why the baddies in Hollywood movies are always English and more.
(And do be sure to check out our Command & Conquer 3: Red Alert PC review, where it turns out manic dolphin-ramming cut-scene clutching chaos really works, especially if you make sure the entire campaign mode is playable with a friend. Look out for the Xbox 360 version on 14th November, and EA confirmed yesterday that a PS3 version is also in development, although you will have to wait until some time next year to get your thumbs on it. But we digress. In order to stop the text wrapping over the video.)
Eurogamer TV would like to thank guest cameraman and Ellie's best mate Jake Yapp for his assistance in the above monumental piece of video journalism. Now, settle down again and let's talk to Tim Curry.
Eurogamer: Hello, Tim Curry. I have been in love with you for over a decade.
Tim Curry: Hahahahaha! How very nice. That's made my morning, thank you.
Eurogamer: Don't worry, I'm not a mad stalker. Anyway, I suppose we should talk about Red Alert 3.
Tim Curry: Yes, I guess we should.
Eurogamer: Can you tell us about your character in the game?
Tim Curry: He's called Premier Cherdenko and he's a big cheese in Soviet Russia, though not quite as big as he wants to be. There's a huge war going on and it looks like the Soviet Union is going to lose. He's been working on a time travel project which he puts into action, and he eliminates Albert Einstein so the allies will not have nuclear capability.
When he comes back to real time he discovers he's now the Premier, but a new enemy has arisen - the Empire of the Rising Sun. While there aren't any nuclear weapons technology has gone in a new direction, and these amazing sci-fi weapons have been created, like armoured bears and hyper-intelligent dolphins.
So the game is really the story of the power struggle between the Allies, the Soviets and the Empire of the Rising Sun. And I behave very badly.
Eurogamer: How did you prepare for the role? Did you use method techniques, you know, going to Russia, travelling back in time, hanging out with hyper-intelligent dolphins...
Tim Curry: I did all of that, yes. I dove with dolphins in the Caspian Sea... No, I showed up, put on the uniform and had a great time. It's so much fun to do this stuff. There was also this army of amazing geeks with computers doing extraordinary things while we were doing our stuff. So it was like a trip into the 21st century, it was very exciting.
Eurogamer: Are you much of a gamer yourself?
Tim Curry: Oh, I'm useless. I've only just got email together, I'm a Luddite of the first order. But now I've gotten into email and I can actually find websites, I'm hooked. It's taken a long time, though.
Eurogamer: Obviously, Red Alert 3 is likely to be your legacy, the work you're best remembered for...
Tim Curry: I expect so.
Eurogamer: But previously you've been best known for your performance in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is still hugely popular more than 30 years on. Are you tired of talking about it yet?
Tim Curry: No. I accepted a long time ago that I'd be talking about it probably for the rest of my life, because it is an extraordinary phenomenon. It's the longest-running movie ever. That's a very weird legacy, but I'm really proud of it. I mean, it was my first film. Who knew?
Eurogamer: What for you has been the best role of your career, the one you're most proud of or just enjoyed doing the most?
Tim Curry: Well, there are a few. Mozart in Amadeus, which I opened on Broadway, and The Pirates of Penzance, which I did in Drury Lane. I loved doing Spamalot. And Frank N. Furter was a pretty powerful character to play.
Eurogamer: Personally, I'm a big fan of the butler in Clue...
Tim Curry: I love Clue. The strange thing is, the same people who do the live action Rocky Horror in front of the screen have now started doing Clue. It started in Los Angeles and apparently it's beginning to spread.
Another favourite was It, the Stephen King mini-series where I played this insane, murderous clown from outer space. That was pretty fun.
Eurogamer: Again, a lot of method research involved there, I'd imagine...
Tim Curry: A lot of method research. I did a lot of terrifying children.
Eurogamer: You've played quite a lot of villains in your time, and it does seem a lot of the baddies in Hollywood movies are played by British actors. Why do you think that is?
Tim Curry: I think it goes back to black hat and white hat in the old cowboy movies. I had a very interesting dinner one night with Billy Wilder, Helmut Newton and the guy who directed Mad Max, George Miller, and we were all having this Chinese dinner next to the Chateau Marmont. Oh, and David Hockney was there too. It was one of those extraordinary evenings you can only have in LA. I was an also-ran, mind you.
Billy Wilder said he thought Hollywood had gone downhill. When he started making movies, he and the rest of Hollywood relied a great deal on European actors. He said that now they were just brought in to play dazzling villains, then sent home.
I thought that was very interesting. It's true, and you have to be very careful you don't just play villains, because you can get horribly stuck.
Eurogamer: How do you think videogames and movies compare in terms of artistic value? There's a lot of debate about whether games are an art form; people like Roger Ebert have said they could never be considered as such. Having been involved in both, what's your opinion?
Tim Curry: Oh, I think they're definitely an art form. And they're moving forward all the time, because they're hugely successful - I don't know what the budget for Red Alert 3 was, but it must have been pretty thorough.
If you think how long it took movies to develop, I think videogames are developing enormously. But I they're still essentially popcorn, and that's why they're fun. I don't know that videogames are ever going to be, you know, Schindler's List. Nor would anyone want them to be, I should think.
Eurogamer: I'm not sure that would make for a great Saturday night in.
Tim Curry: Well, exactly. I don't really see a future for Holocaust: The Videogame.
Eurogamer: What about Rocky Horror Picture Show: The Videogame? Is that something you'd like to be involved with?
Tim Curry: Oh, you know, I'm 103 now. It would be very silly for me to be doing it. They're actually remaking it for MTV, and I wish them... [Pause]
Tim Curry: Well... [Naughty giggle that turns into a cackle and finishes up a big, deep, trademark Tim Curry laugh]... Pause.
Red Alert 3: Command & Conquer is out now on PC, with the Xbox 360 version to follow on 14th November.