WRECK-IT RALPH Press Day With SARAH SILVERMAN
With WRECK-IT RALPH about to smash into theaters (November 2nd), I got to sit down with the super funny Sarah Silverman (voice of “Vanellope von Schweetz”) in a round table at the Beverly Hilton Hotel (Beverly Hills, CA). We talk video games, Disney princesses, and which comedies Sarah liked to watch in her youth.
From Walt Disney Animation Studios and Emmy®-winning director Rich Moore comes “Wreck-It Ralph,” a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping adventure. For decades, Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) has been overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, Jr. (voice of Jack McBrayer), the good-guy star of their game who always gets to save the day. Tired of playing the role of a bad guy, Ralph takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a journey across the arcade through multiple generations of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero.
On his quest, Ralph meets tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty, and feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, who may just be his first real friend. But everything changes when a deadly enemy is unleashed, threatening the entire arcade and Vanellope herself. Ralph finally gets his chance to save the day—but can he do it in time? “Wreck-It Ralph” crashes onto the big screen on November 2, 2012, in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.
Check out our round table discussion with Sarah Silverman here:
So, when you first saw Vanellope, how much time did you spend saying “Aww”?
SS: A lot of… Yeah. A lot of the time. 40 percent of the time.
She is adorable, isn’t she?
SS: Yeah. (Moan of delight) (Laughter from table)
How on did you have to be when you were recording the voices. She always seems like she’s perky and on!
SS: Yeah. It’s a lot of energy. You know, it’s a lot of movement. I mean, it’s just my voice but you can’t do that without moving your whole body. I mean, just even if you’re talking on the phone aren’t you walking around and doing this (wild arm gestures).
Is there a little… I think I saw a little Punky Brewster in Vanellope…
SS: Aww! Yes! Sure. She’s very Punky.
Did you get to do much improve with your lines on this, or was it strictly written? It seems like a lot of it is your sense of humor.
SS: They definitely… uh. The script was perfect, but I was surprised. They really let us improvise. We got to record together, John and I… and look into each other’s eyes… and overlap… and really play the scene… and improvise. I think it gives it that extra special sauce that you wouldn’t get if we were all alone in a booth.
How did you feel when you saw the final film?
SS: I couldn’t believe it! I mean, I knew it was gonna be great, but it’s so… Disney makes great movies, so it shouldn’t be surprising. It’s just so special.
How did you land on just the right tone? Cause she’s got that speed, and that energy, and that little kid-ness? Did you fiddle around with a lot of different sounds, or did you know right away?
SS: It was… I mean, like a minute or two we found it. You know, I just (in Vanellope’s voice) “brought my voice over here, and” she’s scrappy, so I just kind of “added, like, a permanent cold” (laughs).
What were your favorite kids movies, either growing up, or even still, now?
SS: Ohhh… I mean, I loved “Finding Nemo”. Things that came out when I was an adult. Growing up, I always loved Disney movies, but I grew up… The first movie I remember seeing is “Sleepers”. (Laughs) So, I wasn’t really big into children’s movies.
What are your favorite comedies then?
SS: Oh my gosh! I was just thinking about this. “Defending Your Life”, “Broadway Danny Rose”… I mean, “Annie Hall” and “Manhattan”, “Real Life”. “Bridesmaids” is up there. Oh! “Borat”! “Borat” is maybe one of my top favorite comedies. Um, “Where’s Poppa?” blows my mind. Check it out, the blank faces I see… Brilliant Ruth Gordan, George Segal… So ahead of its time! Or, maybe not ahead of its time. I think it’s… There are so many older movies that, now… We’re living in such a conservative time compared to the 70′s. There’s a movie called “The One And Only” that Carl Reiner directed by Steve (Gordon). The guy who went on to write “Arthur”. I loved it. It’s one of my favorites.
Can you talk about the two movies you have coming up? You have two coming out. One with… oh, I can’t remember. It’s in the notes. But, a dramady with…
SS: The Sarah Pauley one?
Yes, that one.
SS: Oh, that came out.
Oh, did it?
SS: Thanks for seeing it. (In a drawn out, snarky tone). (Laughs)
“Take This Waltz”
SS: “Take This Waltz”. It was on VOD. It came out very limited. It’s a very small movie. It was good. I mean, the other movie out it this one. (Laughs).
This is such an original concept for a movie. Going in, I hadn’t seen anything so I didn’t know what to expect. How was this idea originally pitched to you? Life inside cords of arcade games…
SS: As simple as that. I mean, yeah… Video games, you know… an arcade after closing hours when all the video games you see… the characters come to life. It’s such a no-brainer in that way. It’s crazy that it hasn’t been done before. I feel like it’s this latent fantasy that’s probably been in all of us that makes us go “Oh yeah! I wanna see that!”. It’s so satiating, and what’s interesting is that we respond to things that are familiar. It’s why we respond to things that we can relate to… “That’s like me!” It’s interesting because this is a movie that is filled for people of all ages… except for maybe the veerrryy old. (Laughs). You see characters you know from your childhood. You see these characters that were a part of your life at a key time. Some video games are 30 years old, which in technological years is, like, 100 because it develops so fast. So, there’s a real history there and you see all of these familiar faces. Even in, like, Sugar Rush the candy spans from old-timey candy to new candy. (Laughs) You see all of these things that you know from your life, and that are familiar. Yet the movie is totally unique, and not done before.
How steeped into video games where you when you were a kid? Were you really into them, or just kind of casual?
SS: I would say REALLY into them. We had Atari. I guess all those things developed. I remember “Pong”, but then I remember…
SS: Come on! You said that because you know I love Joust! (Laughs). Cause nobody knows Joust! There was “Joust” in our Dairy Queen, in New Hampshire, and I mastered it. I spent so much time with that Joust. I loved it! And, all you’re doing is flapping this weird bird… this really long, odd bird with really tiny wings, and you’re like (hitting the table) “This flaps the wings”. But yeah, “Frogger”, “Astroids”, “Centipede”… On Atari there’s the regular joy stick, but then there’s the new joy stick with the dial that you could play “Kaboom!” with. Then, this game “Pitfall!” came out, that, for the time, the graphics were incredible! Now, you would laugh, but I was blown away by “Pitfall!”. When I moved out here, and was actually an adult in my early 20′s, we had gotten a Nintendo 64 at “Mr. Show”. The show “Mr. Show”. Whenever anyone wasn’t shooting they were playing “Goldeneye 007″. There were four windows on this giant tv, and it became my world! (Laughs) Like, I dreamt about it.
Have you seen the new “Pittfall!” for iPhone?
SS: NO! (Laughs)
It’s like a 3D game for iPhone.
SS: I don’t believe that! Wait. But with the vines, and the quicksand?
Yeah. It has all the stuff.
SS: Oh my gosh.
You’ll have to go to the app store and check it out. Have you read “Ready Player One”?
That’s another book that came out a year or two ago, and it’s all about 80′s video games.
SS: ”Ready Player One” (laughs). Well, in New Hampshire is Funspot, where “The King of Kong”… yeah.
Because animation takes so long, how many days did you actually record vocals for the movie?
SS: I don’t know. You know, cause it was over a couple of years. Every few weeks I’d get a call “They want you to come in” and “Okay!”, and we’d do a 4 hour session.
Did the movie change a lot from the last few years? Cause, when I talked to Rich yesterday, he said that the second act was suppose to feature you, Felix, and Ralph. Then they changed it a little bit.
SS: Yeah. It definitely changed from the read-through. I mean, I think that’s what makes Disney movies and Pixar movies always so good. They take time and they’re constantly honing, and tweaking, and rejiggering things, and taking influences from every cog… including myself, that can help. Any place where there can be inspiration. They make every moment very layered, and very rich.
I’m curious… What’s the most surprising part of being in “Wreck-It Ralph” for you?
SS: Ughhhhh. (Laughs) I don’t know. I’m curious what possible answers you’re thinking I could say. I don’t know. What’s the most surprising part? I guess the immense amount of press junket. (Laughs). Totally overwhelming amount of press junket.
Is it not fun for you?
SS: This is fun, and the truth is I love talking, and I love people. So, technically I do love it. It’s just when you’re sitting in a chair and every five minutes a new person comes in and asks the same three questions you have to smile and make it fresh. You start honing (laughs) your answers, and, like, I have the routine down. I feel that if it went one more day I would… something bad would happen.
Were you always a comedy nerd? From the time you were a little kid, did you knew the writers of the certain comedy things you loved were? When did you kind of key into that?
SS: Yeah! Well, I was raised by television, so I remember… I don’t know if I was “into it” but I knew that “All In The Family” was Norman Lear because you saw… I could picture the font in my head of Norman Lear. Just like this kids watching “The Simpsons” know “Oh, that’s Al Jean and Mike Reiss cause I can see their names”. I was really into comedy. I listened to all kinds of comedy, because my parents were (into comedy). My mom was. She had “Woody Allen: Double Album”. She had a lot of musicals as well. We watched everything, like “Taxi”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “Rhoda”, “Barney Miller”, “M.A.S.H.”. It was my growing up years. Every night “Happy Days”… I don’t know what was reruns and what was new. Cause, kids today watch “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”… it’s new. There’s a French “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” channel. (Laughs).
Were you ever a Disney Princess? Did you ever go through that phase?
SS: Yeah, well I was Minnie Mouse every year when I was little for Halloween. (Laughs) Then, I had the Cinderella night-gown when I was really little that I BEGGED my mother to let me wear to school. Also, I was Snow White a lot because I could be the… you know… like you (points to the woman across the table) could be Mulan every year, right? (Laughs) I could be Snow White, cause I’ve got the white skin and the black hair…
I’ll see you on Halloween. (Laughs)
SS: It’s on… It’s on. (Laughs)
As an 80′s kid, just real quick… if you had to be stuck in a video game over, and over, and over again, would you pick an 80′s or would you pick one of the new, crazy 3-Dimensional games?
SS: Well, I’d probably want to be as many pixels as possible, but not a scary war game. Although, those are the most fun. The killing games are the most fun to play, and most of my dreams are action-adventure, I will say. I’d probably wanna be someplace safe, like “Golf”. (Laughs). “Golf” is a fun game! In video… I could measure the wind.
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WRECK-IT RALPH smashes into theaters everywhere on November 2nd