Friday, October 9, 2009

Interviews with Kristen Bell

As we close in on the release of the Astro Boy movie this month, we're getting plenty of articles, information, and interviews with the principal players. I'm going to do my best to keep up with them all.

Here's a video interview with Kristen Bell. Thanks to Will for bringing this to my attention.



Next is a text based interview with Kristen Bell from IESB. Here's a little slice:

Q: Did they tell you how Cora got off of Metro City and down to the Surface?

Kristen: We never really went into too many specifics about that. I think that Cora probably ran away, as a little girl, out of the rebellion that most young teenagers would have, when you're fighting with your parents and you think they don't want you, and got caught up with the wrong crowd. But, I think she was a good enough person that she realized she missed that sense of community and that sense of family, which is why she's the Peter Pan character to all these other little kids and gives them a sense of family and makes them a family, in their own right. When you're a kid, as much as you hate your parents, you still secretly want approval from them and everyone else. You just want to be loved and accepted.
You can read "Kristen Bell Heads for the Stars with ASTRO BOY" on IESB or by clicking the link below for an archived version.

Interview: Kristen Bell Heads for the Stars with ASTRO BOY
Written by Christina Radish

Set in the future, Astro Boy is a classic superhero origin story of a young robot with incredible powers and his adventure-filled journey in search of his destiny.

In the world of Metro City, a gleaming metropolis in the sky, the brilliant scientist Dr. Tenma (Nicolas Cage) creates Astro Boy to replace the son he lost, programming his creation with the best human characteristics and values, as well as giving him with extraordinary super-powers. Cast out when he cannot meet the grieving father's expectations, Astro crashes to the surface of the Earth, where he meets a group of children who have banded together to form their own family.

As Cora, the oldest of the kids on the surface who Astro befriends, Kristen Bell was excited to play a character that was entirely new to the world of Astro Boy. At the film's press day, she talked about the luxury of getting to go to work every day, doing voice-overs in her pajamas.

Q: What got you involved doing voice-over work for Astro Boy?

Kristen: I have always loved animation, and I always knew that I wanted to be a part of an animated movie, and I read Astro Boy and liked it so much. I had always known the name in my head and knew that it was a character from somewhere, but didn't really understand how iconic it was overseas and how influential this character had been, in so many people's lives, with the television show in the ‘50's and the ‘80's. It was all just a learning experience for me about what a cool cat he was and how timeless the story was. They wanted to remake it because it's just a very relatable, attainable story for everyone.

Q: Have you ever needed or found a surrogate family like he finds with the kids on the surface?

Kristen: Oh, yeah. I have a surrogate family in L.A., for sure. I have a couple of surrogate families. I think the idea of community that Astro finds on the surface of the Earth is so vital to my way of living. I had a lot of roommates for a while. We all lived in the same house and it was very much like a functioning commune. It was totally normal. I always say that to people and they're like, "Oh...?!" I find that my friends out here are definitely like a surrogate family, and I think that's just very important to my sanity and well being.

Q: Are they comprised of industry people?

Kristen: Some, and some not. Most of the people work in the industry, in some way or another, whether they're lawyers, hair stylists, make-up artists or producers.

Q: You said that you were a big fan of animation. What were some of your favorite animated films or cartoons, growing up?

Kristen: I was obsessed with Aladdin and The Little Mermaid. I loved all those Disney movies and was very much on board with any of them. I was born in 1980, so the late ‘80's was my prime, and I really liked DuckTales, Darkwing Duck and TaleSpin. I don't know why so many of them involved ducks, but I did like each and every one of those.

Q: So, you were really a Disney gal then?

Kristen: Yeah. I did like the Disney movies a lot.

Q: Does that explain why you've got two Disney movies coming up?

Kristen: Maybe. With When In Rome, I was lucky enough that Disney allowed me to put it on my shoulders when I had never really carried a role like that. We'll see how it does in January, but it was a great experience and they were very good to me, and gave me every reason to work with them again on You Again.

Q: Did that experience of growing up with these musical animated films feed your secret desire to want to do that, as a kid?

Kristen: I don't think there were any secrets about that. I definitely remember, and this is going to sound weird, watching The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, and so many others, but those were definitely my two favorites, and deciding, "I've got to get me singing some of these songs on audio tape." I felt like that was so necessary. I didn't know what I wanted to do with them, but there are tapes that exist somewhere of me with my tiny boom box, when I was probably 10 or 11, next to the television, singing along into the recorder. I just felt like I should have those on file, in case I ever needed them. I hope they never surface. I hope my mother has misplaced them forever. But, I definitely did that.

Q: Now that we've seen how important Cora and the Surface kids are to Astro Boy figuring out who he is, it's hard to imagine this story without them. Can you talk about what it adds to the mythology that came from the manga and anime?

Kristen: I can to a certain extent, but I'm not that familiar with the original, with the manga or the anime. I purposefully didn't familiarize myself with it because I was playing a new character and I didn't want to know too much about Astro, in particular, going in. For me, the story, from my perspective, is about Cora and Astro getting to know each other. But, I do feel like it provides a little bit more of a female perspective in the film, and a little bit more estrogen, if you will. And, it's a great way to show a friendship that Astro builds, and this betrayal that happens in that friendship, if you can even call it that, and the rocky road that eventually leads them to realize that they're true friends, in the end.

Q: Did they tell you how Cora got off of Metro City and down to the Surface?

Kristen: We never really went into too many specifics about that. I think that Cora probably ran away, as a little girl, out of the rebellion that most young teenagers would have, when you're fighting with your parents and you think they don't want you, and got caught up with the wrong crowd. But, I think she was a good enough person that she realized she missed that sense of community and that sense of family, which is why she's the Peter Pan character to all these other little kids and gives them a sense of family and makes them a family, in their own right. When you're a kid, as much as you hate your parents, you still secretly want approval from them and everyone else. You just want to be loved and accepted.

Q: Being a big dog lover, with rescues of your own, what was your impression of Trash Can? Can you see any of your own dogs in that character?

Kristen: I'm such a child because, every time Trash Can comes on the screen, I smile. I have the comedic capabilities of a three-year-old. It definitely makes me happy. I have a dog, who's more like a warlock, but she is a Trash Can. She ate a tin can last week, and that is not a joke. I'm not kidding you. I walked out into the yard and I saw a flattened, edgy thing that looked like a tiny spaceship. I picked it up and it looked like a Transformer had squashed it, but she had eaten it. So, I'm very familiar with a dog that is similar to a trash can.

Q: What was your work process, in doing the voicing for this film? Did you get to work with Freddie Highmore at all, or were you totally solo?

Kristen: I did it totally solo, and I relied a lot on David [Bowers], our director, who had such a great take on the film. It was his heart and soul, and he put so much effort into it. I think he created a beautiful movie, and also seamlessly integrated all of us into this movie, acting as though we were having real conversations, when we, in fact, recorded separately. I recorded once with Freddie, for a very short time, and the rest of it is due to David's brilliance, in allowing us to play around, but also getting all the different levels he needed and then matching the conversations up perfectly, so that it seemed as though we were doing it together.

Q: When you're recording by yourself, do they shoot your face and expressions? And, when you saw the final product, did you ever feel like, "Oh that's my face and that's my behavior"?

Kristen: There were a few moments that I caught. It's different because Cora has dark hair, so it's more difficult for me to envision than if she was a blonde. I don't know why. But, I think one thing that I loved is that I was actually able to take myself out of it and watch it, as an audience member, which I think speaks to how good the film is.

I can only speak for myself, but I imagine any actor that watches themselves is usually de-constructing their performance, as I am, and criticizing themselves, or just saying, "I always sound so stupid," or whatever. But, I was really able to take a step back and enjoy the film. I even cried at the end, even though I knew what was going to happen. I didn't go through an entire box of Kleenex. This isn't The Last King of Scotland. But, I did get a little bit emotional. David and (producer) Maryann [Garger] just did a really good job of making it a movie that is an adventure, but also really heartfelt with a lot of great themes.

Q: Has Astro Boy ever had a team behind him before?

Kristen: I don't know. Not that I know of. As far as I know, these characters that he gets to know on the Surface of the Earth, it is the first time he has these friendship relationships.

Q: Given your great desire to do a cartoon musical, did you ever ask David or anybody to put in the original theme song from the old ‘50's and ‘60's TV show, and let you sing it?

Kristen: It's funny because, since I'm not familiar with it, it didn't seem to be missing for me. I think that was definitely something that David took into consideration, knowing that he was making a film about a character that had influenced a lot of people's lives, from the time they were five. He had to decide what he should put in, what he should honor and what he should change, and he chose to add Cora, which I'm very grateful for. But, that was his call, and I just hope that, even without hearing the theme song, people will still like it.

Q: Behind the scenes featurettes are so important on Blu-Ray DVD now. When they film you in the booth, do they tell you ahead of time, or do they just film you all that time?

Kristen: I shouldn't be giving this away, but yes, you do know when the cameras are going to be there because, when the cameras aren't there, I'm in my jammies. Even if I shoot it at five in the afternoon, based on principle, I'll change back into my pajamas.

Q: What are some of your favorite recent animated films?

Kristen: I really liked Wall-E, and I was amazed at how much I liked it, with there being so little dialogue. There's almost no dialogue. But, it reminded me so much of Number Five in Short Circuit, and Short Circuit was one of my favorite movies, growing up. I loved it so much. I think that's why I loved it.

Q: What movies or television shows have you really gotten into lately?

Kristen: I just finished watching Season 1 of Damages. Holy smokes! I really, really liked it. I remember when we were shooting When In Rome, we were at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, where they shoot Damages, and one of the creators has a little dog named Uncle Ralph, who I used to go up and visit on my lunch breaks. And then, he had said, "Oh, here's the DVDs of the show. Check it out one day." And, I watched it over the last two weeks, when we were on our press tour in Bora Bora and Australia for Couples Retreat, and I thought it was fantastic. I can't wait to start Season 2. I like watching them on DVD, once they come out. I also really like Mad Men and Friday Night Lights. I think that's one of the most under-rated shows on television, in just the way it's shot and the acting. I think it's some of the best out there.

Movie wise, I loved District 9 so much. I really liked the audacity of that director and those producers to make a documentary, and then, all of a sudden, abandon the documentary, but still keep audiences so invested. Anything that is delivered with such a sense of reality, that has these fantastical imaginary elements, like aliens or spaceships or magic, is always appealing to me, if you can do it with still a sense of reality, and I feel like that was. I was definitely on board for District 9.

Q: When you become a fan of TV shows, is it something where you want a role on there, or would that take you out of being a fan of it?

Kristen: It wouldn't take me away from being a fan of it. I don't know because I haven't been offered roles on these shows yet. I feel like my love for the show isn't layered in with my desire to be on the show. It's more that I'm enamored with how brilliantly a show is put together and how small it can stay on the radar of Americans. I don't know that many people that watch Damages, and I think it was one of the most interesting first seasons I've ever seen. I don't know any other shows that are that much of a thriller. It's the Arrested Development syndrome. It's fascinating.

Q: Since you got your start in television, are you looking for something to lure you back to do a series?

Kristen: Oh, absolutely! I'm always on the hunt for good material, period. A frequent question that I get is, "Why have you chosen so many genre projects?," and it's not that I'm out to just do sci-fi stuff, or fan-boy stuff. It's that that's the best material I've run across. I've done a few more mainstream movies this year that will be released, and hopefully my fan-boy fans will still like them, whether it's their cup of tea or not. But, I'm just constantly looking for good material and good people. Whether that takes me to film or TV, I really don't care.

Q: Would you like to do more voice-overs, so that you can work in your pajamas?

Kristen: Absolutely!

ASTRO BOY opens on October 23rd

1 comments:

Nora said...

Your Welcome babe :D anytime ya need meh

Will