An Interview with the Cast of the Animated Film Ratchet and Clank
Some of the Ratchet and Clank cast was at Wondercon last weekend and Jay Snook was able to chat with them
Video games being adapted for the big screen is nothing new. It has been attempted a number of times like with Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. Most of the time the result is the same with the movie being slammed by critics and fans, in addition to doing poorly at the box office. Well, Hollywood tries again, as next month Ratchet and Clank the movie will be released. James Arnold Taylor (Ratchet), David Kaye (Clank), Bella Thorne (Cora), Kevin Munroe (Director) and Brad Foxhoven (Producer) were in attendance at this years Wondercon to talk about their role in the film.
What was the first step in getting the Ratchet and Clank film started?
Kevin Munroe: Well, first you have to convince Sony that it is a good idea. Then you have to convince Insomniac Games that it is a good idea. They have been used to a lot of bad ideas that have come through with films that may not have been the best adaptations. They are very apprehensive and for them to see this process through, you have to prove to them this is worth it. The first test was an animation test where they gave us some assets, dialogue, the characters and not all of them matched. They took it from different pieces and said make it work. It was all a crazy challenge.
Were there any defining moments in production where you knew this film is going to be a hit?
Kevin Monroe: I think there was a lot of confidence even on day one. The animation is funny because just as you get sick of one phase you thankfully get to move on to the next phase where you find new excitement about it. Just as you have written it so many times and you are like oh man I can’t write this again. Then all of a sudden you start doing the storyboards, and soon you find yourself getting sick of that. But then you move on to the previews and find out it is in 3D where you see the camera and you feel the movement. It was really those moments that I remember going forward with production. Not only do you want to pat yourself on the back but you realize that it is kind of working.
Brad Foxhoven: That teaser trailer was really a big moment for me because you know we had no press, there was no one out there marketing it. We just released it and said IGN could you look at this a little bit and some of these guys over here. It just picked up and flew from there.Then you go okay it is out there but what it the reaction? We started getting reactions of love it, love it, love it and we were like wow. We could have a chance because we had nothing behind it and it go so much love.
Were there any moments when you were surprised by some of the stars you got for this film?
Kevin: I loved every voice recording we did. A lot of times especially in animation casts you don’t get to meet these people until the day of shooting and may have some small conversations at best. The best part was that everybody just showed up on the first day ready to go.
Brad: By being in the base during production we had to be nimble too. So you had a chance to have one of these actors to be a part of it but you had to be quick to get them. All of their careers were starting to go up on another level. All of these people had a window of a week here and we were like we’ll take it. We moved things over here or there because we wanted them in it but to have them you had to be flexible.
Where did you get your motivation for this character to make it work?
Bella Thorne: Nothing. I went online and I am literally researching this. My brother played it growing up but, to be honest, he did like playing the bloody, violent games more so that is all I really watched more than Ratchet and Clank. Then I went online and read about all of the fandoms and this was crazy and cool and I thought where is my character?!? Like does nobody like my character? It was then that I realized that she is a completely new character, she wasn’t in it at all. I was like oh my god, this is so much more pressure now because now I am going in completely new with these people who are amazing at what they do. They do that specifically, I am just a chick, a girl. It was a lot of pressure but it was pretty easy to play the character because she is pretty similar to me. I got to use my super manly voice which was awesome, they even told me to go deeper sometimes. And I was like deeper, like really, are you sure? Either at least when people are watching it they will think wow it is really cool they had some man play that character or they’re thinking wow that is a bad ass bitch right there (laughs). So I am really happy about that.
Is the character Cora all rough around the edges or does she have a softer side?
Bella: I think you see her softer side closer to the end. I think you can be real rough around the edges but yet you can still be likable. You don’t have to be at the end of the day sobbing in your bed. You don’t have to have this soft cushy center. I think some of the best characters are them throughout the entire movie and they are never different.Some of them are always the same and you know people are like that. It is good to have heart but it is also good to stay the same. My character does give Ratchet a lot of sh** and then at the end, she is a little more buddy, buddy with him. She respects him because at first she thinks this immature kid walking in doesn’t know what he is doing, he just wants to shoot guns and shoot people. By the end of the film, she really respects him as one of her fellow Galactic Rangers.
What was the toughest thing about voicing these characters?
David Kaye: Yeah, doing a feature film sometimes when nobody is there because we are brought in separately and there is no one else there except the director. You are redoing some lines and you have to create that emotion, recreate that feel as if someone was in the room with you. That is challenging but that is what we do, that is why we are professionals. I love that challenge of bringing emotion when no one is there when you are just by yourself. But I much prefer having him there because it just creates that person there.
James: You know it is as a voice actor you get so much time being isolated in a padded room talking to yourself when you spend all this time doing that you have to learn to hear the voices in your head. It is great when you don’t have to. There are actually some touching, really nice moments. You have the story of this Lombax, he is the only one you know. There are some really neat moments where it is crucial to have us in the room together.
David: It is a really human story.
James: It is, even though there are no humans in it (laughs). I wouldn’t count Qwark as a human (laughs).
So what is your hope for the younger generation when they see this movie?
David: I guess in this business it being relevant. I think Bella Thorne being involved is going to reach a whole new audience that may not have grown up with the game as well as expose them. She is a wonderful talent, brings a fresh perspective to the game. So those things and starting at the very beginning with how they met hopefully creates that where two people can experience something fresh.
James: Yea I think that one of the coolest things and also one of the toughest things for my ego is when people go I grew up with this and you go oh, thank you. I feel so old (laughs).
Ratchet and Clank is coming to theaters April 29, 2016.
Check out the trailer below: