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Ned Luke in GTA 5: The actor behind Michael De Santa

Picture credits: GRANDOS, YouTube
Picture credits: GRANDOS, YouTube
Rahul Bhushan
Modified 22 Jul 2020, 13:12 IST

Michael De Santa, or Michael Townley as he was previously known, is one of the most interesting characters in GTA history. He wasn't just a cookie-cutter criminal with ambitions of a grand life, but much more layered and complex than that.

Michael is a retired master thief, looking to live out the rest of his civilian life in complete misery as he reminisces his glory days of sipping whiskey poolside. However, he still reacts to violence and anger, and is quickly thrust back into the world of crime, the only place he is most comfortable in.

Ageing, miserable and out-of-shape, Michael is truly one of the most unique characters in not just GTA history, but video games as a whole. The actor who brought him to life, Ned Luke, was instrumental in crafting a deeply layered character like Michael.

Ned Luke: The actor who played Michael de Santa in GTA 5

Luke, coming from an extensive background in feature films and TV shows, was quite the prolific actor with several roles on TV. GTA 5 was his first video game role, and he absolutely knocked it out of the park.

When his agent came to him with the role of Michael in GTA 5, he was initially very reluctant and did not want to take a role in a videogame. However, after reading the script, he realised that the role was far more nuanced than he expected.

GTA 5 went on to become the giant it was destined to be, and Luke had delivered a knockout performance as Michael de Santa.

A lot of Michael's mannerisms, such as the now-iconic neck crank, were the contributions of Luke, and he lended several of his own mannerisms to the character.


Luke brought a unique edge to the character of Michael, and showcased a whole range of emotions as well.

He regularly engages with his fans on Twitter, and is beloved by GTA fans. His iconic turn as Michael de Santa in GTA 5 will always hold a special place in not only the memories of the franchise's fans, but also those of great acting performances in games.

Published 22 Jul 2020, 13:12 IST
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