As promised in my first Gulliver’s Travels post, I give you…[drumroll]…interviews with Jack Black, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt!
The actors star in Gulliver’s Travels, FOX’s new 3-D movie that opens on December 25, 2010.
See the bottom of this post for a chance to win an autographed movie poster!
Jack Black was more serious than I expected. This was his first interview of the day and he was probably in press mode, but I like to think he surmounted the “all comedy all the time” hurdle that many comedians and actors face. Could it be…maturity? Or maybe his two sons, aged 2 and 4, are receiving all of his extra energy, songs and jokes.
Are your kids going to see Gulliver’s Travels?
I think I’ll wait until later to bring Sammy, my four year old. I don’t want to bring him to the premier. It’s going to be too intense. He doesn’t really know that I’m famous yet, know what I mean? He might freak out if he realizes he’s sharing me. He’s starting to notice for instance, the other day he said, “Does everyone know you?” And I was like, “A lot of people know me, yeah.” And he said, “Does everyone know me?” I said, “No. But, you know, people know you.”
The film includes potty humor. How do you deal with that at your house?
I think it’s just in the DNA. It’s accepted. I’m not going to say it’s encouraged, you know? We didn’t introduce [our boys] to the concept of potty humor. Kids naturally think its funny stuff, you know–poop, and pee and farts, it’s all just very funny. And I think it’s good, because it gets them over their issues with going to the bathroom by themselves and similar situations…there’s tons of potty humor in the book. We didn’t create those ideas just for our film.
There’s a theme throughout the movie of getting over your fear of failure. It was an adult character, but you could relate to it as a kid as well.
That’s a theme that we thought would be great [but it’s] not really in the book. But, since it deals with a giant and tiny people, we thought it would be cool to have that insecurity theme about being a small person in a big man’s world and being insecure about being lost in the shuffle. I think that ties in really well with kids’ insecurities about being the little guys and wanting so desperately to be big, famous heroes. In a nutshell it’s basically you don’t have to pretend to be the president or you don’t have to be a big shot. You just have to have a big heart and be kind to your loved ones. That’s what it comes down to.
Do you think that doing modern versions of the classics makes people more interested in reading and literature, or do you think they’re like, “I don’t need to read the Swift book. I saw Jack Black’s movie.”
No, I think it’s a helpful bridge to actual literature. I think a lot of kids that see this will later on read the book. It’s not really a book for eight year olds. It’s a tough nut to crack for a kid. I think [the book is] definitely for teens. The film is great for…a younger audience.
What to say about Jason Segel? The guy is as nice as his “Marshall” character on How I Met Your Mother. He also plays a really sweet, innocent guy as “Horatio” in Gulliver’s Travels.
How hard was it, in this movie, to play a little person–since in real life you’re so tall?
See, I viewed it the opposite. We were normal-sized, and Jack was huge. We were to scale of all the buildings around us. We were just acting regular. Jack did most of the green screen.
What did you do, as a kid, to lead to your acting success now?
I was a weird kid. You don’t want your kids to be like me. I wore a Superman cape under my clothes until I was 12 years old. Yep, every day until my older brother stepped in. He’s five years older, and was a super jock. And I would go to his basketball games and watch.
And at one point, they were down by three points with two minutes left. I thought, “This is the moment.” I took my shirt off, under which there’s a Superman outfit, and I’m cheering, “Come on, Adam. Come on.” And I just see him on the court going, “Can you stop that? Stop it now.” He never let me wear the Superman cape again.
Did your mom just kind of give up after a few years of fighting with you about wearing the Superman outfit?
You know what? They never told me not to wear it. That’s the opposite of my parents.I was really into puppets as well. I was the only Jewish kid at an all-Christian school. And I was also six-four since I was 12. The kids didn’t really like me that much. I was very shy. Very, very, very shy. My parents sent me to the local, Community Theater to take acting class just to help get me out of my shell. They figured I would make some friends. So, I went there and I really got into it. And I really liked having friends.
You’re becoming a kid’s idol…with Gulliver’s Travels and your Muppets project.
Well, I have really amazing parents. One of the things they taught me is the most important thing is to be nice. Not to be rich or famous or anything like that. There’s something real nice about making a kid smile.
One of the points in the movie is that a valiant act of bravery can transcend the limitations of class structure. In today’s day and age, what are valiant acts of bravery that we can do as opposed to Lilliput?
There are worldwide charities that are incredibly important and all that. But, there is so much you can do in your local environment in terms of–sending kids to school, you know, is something that I’m kind of involved in. But, it comes back to kids again for me. Like, I think the more you can educate kids, especially in your own community–it brings the whole community up. Education is a big one. It’s important to take care of people around you.
Emily claims she was a tomboy growing up, but she sure grew up to be beautiful. She seemed pretty spunky and down-to-earth, too. I bet she’d be a fun person to travel with. Her David Meister dress was A-DORABLE.
Did you enjoy wearing the very feminine costumes in Gulliver’s Travels?
I did, actually. I think it’s nice to dress up. It’s nice to feel a part of a spectacle sometimes, because you can so often fall into what feels familiar, you know? And I think that that’s the joy of acting, that you get have these experiences, and that you get to discover a different side to you.
Jason was talking about how he worked on his accent. How do you think he did? By the way, he calls it Lilliputian. So you can’t say there’s anything wrong.
Yes. Oh, it’s a Lilliputian accent? That makes sense. Definitely makes more sense than a British accent, though I think he did really well. And when he didn’t, I told him.
How did you like working on a children’s film?
I really enjoyed it. I’ve never done a family movie before. It’s a whole different genre. There’s a charm to it and a kind of sweetness and a lightheartedness. I think it’s really important to do make those movies, because people want an escape. Gulliver’s Travels is the perfect Christmas movie.
Was it fun playing a princess role? But you did it with an edge. She’s confident.
I think it’s a good message for women that you’ve got to follow your heart. I think that side of the character was really cool, because you see her have an arc. At the beginning, she conforms and she’s very obedient and she’s kind of whimsical and silly. And then, Gulliver really encourages her to be a modern woman and think for herself and not necessarily follow orders. And I think that’s a good message, to a point.
What was your favorite scene to do in the movie?
Some of my favorite scenes were with Chris O’Dowd who played the general. The guy is so funny it’s weird. It was really impossible to do a scene with him, because I would keep laughing. His hair. Everything is ludicrous. And his voice and the whole thing. He plays evil at the same time being so funny, which is quite hard to do. The scene where he comes in and I finally tell him that I don’t want to be wooed anymore, and we have a big argument–I don’t know how we got through that scene.
Release Date: December 25, 2010
Starring: Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly
Screenplay By: Joe Stillman and Nicholas Stoller, based on the book by Jonathan Swift
Directed By: Rob Letterman
Produced By: Executive Producers: JACK BLACK BENJAMIN COOLEY. Produced by JOHN DAVIS GREGORY GOODMAN
Plot Outline: In a modern, 3D family comedy take on the classic tale, Jack Black (star of “Kung Fu Panda” and “School of Rock”) is Lemuel Gulliver, a lowly mailroom clerk at a New York newspaper. After Gulliver bluffs his way into an assignment writing about the Bermuda Triangle, he goes there only to be transported to an undiscovered land, Lilliput. In this fantastical new world, Gulliver is, at last, a bigger-than-life figure — in size and ego – especially after he starts telling tall tales, taking credit for his world’s greatest inventions, and placing himself at the center of its most historic events. Gulliver’s position is enhanced even further when he leads his new friends in a daring battle against their longtime enemies. But when Gulliver loses it all and puts the Lilliputians in peril, he must find a way to undo the damage. Ultimately, Gulliver becomes a true giant among men only when he learns that it’s how big you are on the inside that counts.
Win An Autographed Poster!
You can win an autographed one-sheet (image above of Jack Black tied down) signed by Jack Black, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt!
How to enter:
1.) Leave a comment saying what you wanted to be, as a child, when you grew up.
2.) Go see FOX’s Gulliver’s Travels and then leave another comment saying what your favorite part of the movie is.
3.) Link to this post on Facebook and then leave a comment saying you did so.
The drawing will take place on December 30, 2010.