Will Ferrell has come a long way since he appeared as a regular on Saturday Night Live, going on to make such successful movies as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Stranger Than Fiction, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and most recently The Good Guys.
One genre he’s not known for is animation, but he rectifies that with is new movie Megamind, in which he voices the title role. The most brilliant super-villain the world has known, he is also the least successful. Every attempt he makes to take over Metro City, is valiantly repelled by Metro Man (Brad Pitt). That is, until the day he defeats Metro Man, and when a new villain arrives in town, the big question is, can the world’s biggest ‘mind’ actually be the one to save the day?
Can you talk a little about your character of Megamind?
Megamind is trying his best to be tough and evil, and he really wants to be taken seriously. But at the end of the day, no one is really that afraid of him. Maybe it’s because he’s blue… it’s just not that scary a color.
What does it mean to you to be front and center of an animated movie?
[He turns around to look at the film’s poster behind him where his character Megamind is actually “front and center”]. It’s very exciting. Well, I don’t consider myself front and center of this fine cast. But I guess I’m front and center. I haven’t done a lot of this stuff before. I love the premise which I felt was so original and to be in a film with this cast is kind of the most exciting part for me.
What are the likes and dislikes of a voice actor role versus live action?
There is a great amount of freedom in terms of getting to come up with something on the spot, improvising. What is lost on these projects, from my perspective, is how hard it is to articulate any sort of emotional gearshift just with your voice. Those were the hardest parts for me. Playing the comedy is one thing but I think it’s a real skill for any of these actors who can consistently do that. That was the hardest part for me.
I wanted to ask you about your accent in this. It seems like you adopted a bit of a British accent. Is that because Brits are traditionally cast as villains?
It’s so disappointing, and it’s not your fault, but I was actually doing a Lithuanian accent so it just shows how bad a mimic I am! But no, it’s just the accent of someone who thinks they’re important. When working with [Director] Tom [McGrath], we just landed on that and felt like it would be appropriate to this guy who is really, when you get down to it, completely insecure. Someone who speaks like that but is insecure is a great combination.
How much have your children been an influence in you making this movie and do they recognize any of the character in you?
This was a decision based on wanting to do another animated movie and getting the chance to work with Tom and DreamWorks. My children were not consulted nor are they ever consulted… about anything.
They’ve seen some of the ads and trailers and they’re intrigued by the fact that I do the voice of this guy with the blue head, yeah.
What did you think the first time you saw Megamind in action?
You’ve been listening to your voice, you’ve been doing these recording sessions, and then to finally see it all synched up with the animation, to the movement, the expression. It takes awhile, but within the first couple of minutes, you forget that it’s your voice. You’re actually watching a living, breathing character, and that’s what was exciting for me to see.
They say that animators usually bring some of the mannerisms and the look of the actor voicing it to the actual character. I thin they did an astounding job, they really captured my forehead, but I think I’m actually a little more on the teal side. But the blue works too! I wish I had his waistline though. It’s hard to keep the weight off when you get older.
Metro Man has it all but wants to go back into obscurity. Do you ever feel that way? Some people see you as having it all.
I don’t really think about those things but that would be a great question for Brad Pitt.
Would you consider doing this sort of role again?
I really enjoyed working with Tom. I’ve only had one other experience and that was on Curious George. I haven’t done a ton of this type of work but this experience was so gratifying that it would be fun to do another one for sure.
The other thing, I didn’t show up in t-shirts and sweats. I had a three piece suit on. I did full hair and make-up for every recording session because I view myself as a professional [he laughs].