Shawn Fonteno talks returning to Franklin role for GTA Online: The Contract

The man behind Franklin talks about life during Grand Theft Auto 5 and the stealthy way Rockstar gets things done.


Grand Theft Auto 5 remains one of the best video games of the last decade. From its gripping story to its ever-expanding online world, the game has captured the minds of gamers everywhere. To celebrate the new GTA Online expansion, The Contract, Shacknews had the privilege of chatting with Shawn Fonteno, the man who plays Franklin, about his time with the title, what it’s like returning to the shoes of the now big time boss, and how the popularity of GTA 5 has affected his life. Check it out!

In case you’ve been living under a rock since 2013 (or have forgotten), Franklin is one of the main characters in Grand Theft Auto 5. The story follows his journey from humble beginnings to a big time money-making boss. And now, thanks to The Contract, Franklin has returned.

We asked Fonteno what it was like stepping back into the role of Franklin for this new adventure and whether or not he had an idea it was happening. “It’s crazy man. I didn’t have any idea I was going to be back. I did hear about it, but you know, Rockstar is sneaky, man. You know, Rockstar does stuff in a stealth mode,” said Fonteno. He also expanded on that, saying that he just tried to make sure he stayed healthy and present and even “tried to keep up a little bit of my look to still carry on Franklin.”

Part of carrying on a character like Franklin can often mean tapping into a part of yourself that isn’t normally there, but for Fonteno that wasn’t a problem. According to Fonteno, he and Franklin share a lot of similarities, “I don’t have to dig nowhere to find Franklin. I can pretty much just be myself.”

Shawn Fonteno also touched on the relationship between Franklin and Lemar, how the two love each other like brothers, no matter how big Franklin gets. He also spoke about his desire to dive headfirst into the movie business. Be sure to check out the whole interview, as it’s a fantastic insight into what it takes to make a video game like Grand Theft Auto 5, with its almost decade-spanning releases and updates. For more interviews with the people who make video games possible, head over to the GamerHubTV YouTube channel. You can also check out the Shacknews YouTube channel for a wealth of gameplay videos and other exclusives!

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can message him on X: @SamuelChandler 

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