Meet The Actor Who Played Gareth Walker In FIFA's 'The Journey' Mode
He will go down as one of the most controversial characters in gaming history.
Known by many as Alex Hunter's childhood best friend from South London, millions of FIFA fans followed the journey of Gareth Walker; a kid who went from winning a cup final on Clapham Common to going head-to-head with his old friend at Wembley stadium.
In two editions of 'The Journey Mode' series, we watched a young Walker go from innocent friend to the ultimate rival. He memorably became a cocky, arrogant and, at times, unbearable character in the storyline - unlike the man who played him in real life.
Lewis Reeves, now 32, still gets recognised as the face of Walker; three years on from his last appearance in FIFA 18. In fact, after one of his stage plays in Bath last summer, a kid waited for him at the stage door just so he could fire a snake comment his way.
After becoming a recognised face in 'The Journey Mode' series, Reeves has gone on to forge a respectable career in acting.
He is about to feature in the fourth season of popular British Crime drama Unforgotten and in the coming weeks, you'll be able to spot him playing a role in BBC series Death In Paradise; a show that averaged 8.14 million viewers last year.
But three years on from playing the controversial Walker, he is still reminded of that role.
"I still find it funny when people pop up online with my other work on TV and someone will screenshot my face with whatever I'm doing." Reeves tells SPORTbible.
"It's generally along the lines of 'WTF is Gareth Walker doing as a police officer' or 'who let this snake on my Netflix account?' I always find it funny and love the banter to be fair."
Lewis, who admits he doesn't get spotted as much as he used to, was initially surprised by the sheer amount of people who did notice his face in the early days.
Every now and then though, the odd meme will pop up of his face on a snake's body.
"I've got this image of me being in my 50's, doing a play and still being met at the stage door being called a snake." says Reeves.
"I think it means I did a good job if people always have to tell me how much they wanted to break my legs in the cup final."
The man who played Walker in the series has rarely spoken about his experience playing the fictional character but he has recently opened up about those "great" times in an interview with SPORTbible.
Some of the deadliest snakes in the world. pic.twitter.com/rSfyU4V06B
- FootballFunnys (@FootballFunnnys) October 5, 2016
In his very first casting audition, he didn't even know which character he was trying out for, although things became clear when he started to pester those behind the scenes.
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"I think I read for a different part in the audition which was very secretive. I didn't even know what I was auditioning for," Reeves says.
"But as soon as they showed us footage in the room I was like "Oi this is for FIFA, right?" to which they got very awkward and said they couldn't say much.
"I wouldn't let it go and when the subject moved on I would be like 'yeah but this is FIFA?'
"I think they thought this guy is a bit of a dick - he'd be perfect as Gareth Walker!"
The process in terms of getting the part was exactly the same as any other job. "You learn and rehearse as much as you can yourself - and you keep as open as possible when you come to the shoot." he explains.
The 'Journey Mode' cast would film in Canada, where the EA Sports HQ is based; a building tucked away in the mountains among football pitches stamped with the giant EA logo.
"The snacks were also fantastic." he recalls. "I put on about a stone in chocolate."
There was always the possibility of a superstar visiting the headquarters and Lewis was close to doing a scene with a former Manchester United player, but it didn't materialise.
"Ade [Hunter] got to meet loads of them including Cristiano Ronaldo. I was meant to do a scene with Rio Ferdinand but he couldn't get into the country. I was gutted to say the least.
"But it was a dream gig and I got to live out a boyhood fantasy so to be honest...I can handle the occasional snake remark!"
It was a dream job for Reeves, who has been a fan of the games for years, although filming for the character did have its challenges.
"Wearing the motion capture suit was tough and on top of that, there was a camera an inch from your face. Me and Ade [Hunter] would get hyped up in a scene and we'd end up head butting and breaking cameras.
"It's probably why Gareth got written out!"
It's clear that the actor wouldn't change his experience for the world; even if he still gets a bit of stick from the fans.
The 32-year-old, who is originally from Doncaster, is now making a real name for himself in the acting world.
He has featured in Michaela Coles' new drama for HBO called 'January 22nd' and he's also written and starred in his own own short film called 'Lola', which was supposed to have its world premiere in March.
"There's plenty of things to keep my mind busy in this shitty time were all going through." Reeves says, before sending a message to those who played the 'Journey Mode' series.
"I do hope everyone is safe and well - and always remember; Walker is much better than Hunter. And Danny Williams is a joke."
Featured Image Credit: EA Sports/Lewis Reeves-Twitter
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