Along with Will Ferrell, Tina Fey became known for her weekly participation on Saturday Night Live, returning to the show a couple of years ago to do an immaculate impersonation of Sarah Palin.
She left the show to make her mark in movies with such box office hits as Mean Girls, Date Night and Baby Mama. She is the executive producer, head writer and star of NBC’s three time Emmy Award-winning comedy series 30 Rock.
Fey is starring alongside of Ferrell again in the new animated movie Megamind. In it she voices the role of Roxanne Ritchi, a sassy and smart reporter who is always covering the villainous Megamind’s (Ferrell) attempts to take over Metro City from Metro Man (Brad Pitt).
Was it hard to get used to only using your voice in the recording process?
I found the recording sessions very freeing because you can try things. If you’re improvising on film, you’re wasting film and cameraman’s time but when you’re recording the voice first, it doesn’t matter. You can try it and stop. It doesn’t matter how you look while you’re doing it. There’s a complete absence of vanity while you’re doing it. I found it really fun.
What did you think when you first heard you voice coming out of Roxanne?
When I first saw Roxanne drawn, I really liked her. But then, to see her animated, I just loved her, especially her short hair. I think so many animated women are just all about their long, flowing hair. Even though I actually have long flowing hair, I think it’s nice to challenge myself as a performer, really trying to capture the short hair-ed-ness of Roxanne! I’m quite pleased with the results.
What do you like about Roxanne?
I think she’s strong, but still warm. I like that she’s not really scared of anything. And, of course, I like all the attention – she, she likes all the attention!
Improvisation has played a huge role in your career. Was that able to play a role in what you did in the booth?
Tom (McGrath, the movie’s director) really encouraged us to improvise and Will and I were lucky enough that we got to do sessions together. Tom was very welcoming of it.
Let’s say we live in a world where Megamind and Metro Man are real people. Which one would Tina go for and why?
I think I would go for Megamind because he’s very smart and I really do find the purple undertones of his blue skin very attractive. I really do. He’s got beautiful, beautiful skin and he’s smaller than me and I like that. I could physically dominate him.
Did you have a nemesis who helped forge your character and made you a better person?
I don’t really have a nemesis but I have a series of hundreds of small enemies. Everyone I meet, I assume, is out to get me and that fuels my fire on a daily basis.
You play a reporter and you have an extensive track record with the SNL skit, Weekend Update. Is it hard to shake the reporter thing or is it something you are just so good at, it keeps coming your way?
I am one of America’s foremost fake reporters. I’m going to have a fake show on CNN. No, it was fun to step into this archetypal Lois Lane type of character and I really like that, in this story, she is a modern version of that. She’s active and intelligent and she looks like the young Sharon Osbourne.
Is the Sarah Palin ghost still chasing you in any way?
She’s a ghost? That would be terrifying! No, I think it was one of the luckiest things that ever happened to me and I’m going to milk that dry. I’m going to be doing that, God willing, when I’m 70 years old. I’ll be doing that at an auto show if things go right.
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 think I will be escorted back to obscurity pretty soon. I don’t think it will be a retreat. It’ll be a police escort.
Have you recovered from the live performance of 30 Rock last week? How do you think it went and will you ever do it again?
I have recovered. We were all very tired the next day because when you do SNL, you wake up the next day and feel like someone hit you with a piece of luggage.
It was a very big challenge and I think it went well. I don’t know if we’ll do it again. It weirdly, costs a lot of money to do so it’ll be up to NBC if we ever do it again but it was certainly a positive experience on my end. It was exciting.
You are about to receive the Mark Twain award, the third woman in the history of the award. How do you feel about that, do you feel a connection with Twain?
Honestly, I’m very, very honored almost to the point of embarrassment. I’m looking forward to the ceremony in a couple of weeks. Yeah, Mark Twain is the great American humorist. He’s taught in schools. It’s a big deal. I hope someday Hal Holbrook (who does a one-man show of Mark Twain) has a one man show about me. I would be honored. I can’t quite understand why it’s happening. I’m just taking it as it comes.