Living in LA, celebrities don’t impress me too much. I tend to see them everywhere, so there are few that still wow me every time. Will Arnett, starring in the upcoming The Secret World of Arrietty from Disney and Studio Ghibli, brings the major WOW factor for me.
Will has been appearing in several TV shows and movies since the 90′s including Sex and the City (totally remember that! He was Miranda’s dude), Law and Order, The Sopranos, Boston Public, Will and Grace and many more. However, he is best known for his role as Gob, in the critically acclaimed “Arrested Development.” I myself was a HUGE Arrested Development fan, and Gob was possibly my favorite character (cue *final countdown*).
So I was beside myself when recently, I got the chance to speak with Will on his role as “Pod” in “Arrietty.”
In Arrietty, Will gets to show off a side of him we haven’t really had a chance to see in his other roles. As Pod, Will is more of a stern, loving, protector type. In fact, you could see his dad side come out in full bloom. A big contrast to the roles we are used to seeing him in which are usually more comical, and eccentric. During the interview, Will touched on the fact about how becoming a parent changes “your world view” and how it helped him with understanding the perspective of Pod more from his own experiences as a father.
Will also talked about the process that the actors go through during the filming of an animation film, how it is such an individual process and the actors rarely interact with each other. He felt he had an advantage that his wife (Amy Poehler) and he got to talk a little about it during the taping, so they got to feed each other a little bit. That was pretty cool to learn especially when reflecting on the film and the fact that he had not read the Borrowers, Pod was pretty much a creation of his own.
Check out some of the interview highlights below, including my question about Arrested Development and it’s future (yea, I had to!).
You’re best known for your comedy work. I’m curious to know how you came to be the stern but loving Pod in this film? It’s a little different from what you’re mostly known for.
Will: Well it’s one of those things where the people who were involved in making the film, Disney first came to my wife and me and asked us to be part of it. And I was excited that they thought of me, especially for me to do something that is a little bit outside of what maybe people are used to seeing me in. But you know at the same time for many years have been a voice over guy and have done a lot of Voice over work and have been a part of many different films in the animation world for the last 10 years so I think they thought of all that work as sort of an entree that would allow me to do something like this which is a little more serious. I know a lot of people think of Pod as sort of stern or whatever, but I think of him as the steady hand in this story. I was just happy they thought of me in this way and I was excited to something a little out of my comfort zone.
What is the process of working on a film like this? Is it mostly individual work? Did you get to read it as a cast to get a feel for the other characters? How did you record?
Will: It is individual. For the most part in animation you are on your own. In terms of when you record. It’s just the way it’s set up. Of course I had the luxury of knowing some of my castmates pretty well. For example my wife. So we were able to kind of talk about it a little bit, but you generally don’t really have that luxury.
Were you originally drawn to the character, Pod, because you’re a father as well and he’s a father so he’s a character that you can relate to?
Will: I wouldn’t say I was drawn to the character necessarily, I would say once I started working on this film my performance was colored by it. What you don’t understand before your a parent is what it means to be a parent and what it means to have a child and that definitely changes your entire world view forever the moment your child is born. I wouldn’t have had the same perspective had I not been a parent when I started making this film. It definitely had an impact on me being a parent.
I know this doesn’t have anything to do with Arrietty, but we’ve heard for years that there is going to be an Arrested Development movie…Do you know anything about that? Can we hope?
Will: There is going to be a movie. We’re making a mini-series first some time this year and then we’ll have a mini series leading up to the film.
There was a lot of depth to the story and visually it was beautiful. What is the message you hope the audience will take away from the film?
Will: I think it has a really nice message of tolerance. I guess you can also say it’s kind of about friendship. By the end of the film the friendship is preserved and ultimately I think that is an important message.
After you learned more about the movie, what made you really want to become a part of it?
Will: I didn’t really know much about the books or stories. But once I was brought into the process and they told me this was coming from Studio Ghibli, that is what initially got me. Once I started working on the film and saw the Japanese version I just loved the story. I think it’s great. It has such a universal theme and a touching story. I was just very excited to be a part of it.
What other projects do you have and what can we expect to see you in, in the upcoming months?
Will: Other than the mini-series and the movie? I work on the NBC series Up All Night and it takes up the bulk of my time. Then I go right form that into the Arrested Development mini-series and movie. It’s kind of a crazy time.
I had a great time talking to Will and hearing all about what went into his role as Pod. Watch for my review tomorrow and be sure to check out The Secret Life of Arrietty, coming to theaters on February 17.
Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. I participated in a group phone interview as media. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own….and yes, Will Arnett rocks!