In "The Angry Birds Movie," Gad plays Chuck, the fast-talking, fast-walking bird who's working on more than of few his issues. Survey says: This bird will probably be the favorite of the group.
Gad sat down with Moviefone to talk about why he decided to do another animated movie, his biggest concern about it, and what it means tackle the iconic role of LeFou in "Beauty and the Beast."
Moviefone: What attracted you to the role of Chuck?
Josh Gad: To be honest, I was kind of hesitant to do another animated movie so soon after "Frozen." Can I make him distinct enough? Does he have a very different perspective on life [than Olaf]? Then the producer did this 20 minute pitch where he showed me all of the storyboards and all of the characters and, within a minute, I was sold. It was such a rich and hysterical world with this insane cast, and the most compelling thing was that Chuck was a 180 from Olaf. Olaf is very sweet and sort of naive, and Chuck is "say it first, think about it later." He thinks faster than he speaks, and he moves faster than he thinks, so there's this lovely rhythm to him that I thought would be really fun to play with and that's ultimately why I said yes.
You have a very recognizable voice; are you worried kids are going to be wondering what the heck Olaf is doing in this movie?
I'm so concerned about it. In fact, when I recently told my daughter that I was Chuck in the movie, she looked at me and she was like: "But I thought you were Olaf?" And I said, "No, I am Olaf, but I'm also Chuck." She was just really confused that daddy can be two animated characters. So it is something that I am genuinely concerned about, but at the same time I'm like "it is what it is."
How good are you at the Angry Birds games in real life?
"Angry Birds Star Wars" I'm exceptional at. I played it a lot on the set of "Wedding Ringer," actually, that's when it was introduced to me. I became obsessed with it, and the director would call for me and I'd be in my trailer or somewhere on set immersed in this game.
What do you think kids worldwide are going to love about "Angry Birds"?
I think the characters are instantly relatable, and, even though they're "angry," they're lovable in many ways. For me, what works so well about the movie is that it's this great origin story. We've sort of taken for granted that there are birds that we shoot into green pigs. That's a basis for a game. And the creators of this movie have found an ingenious way to introduce that story and when you build up to that moment and you see how a bird came to boomerang, or a bird came to explode, or a bird came to use it's speed, it contextualizes something that has always been in our subconscious but we've never asked.
How much were you able to improv?
A lot. I mean, when you put a cast like this together and assemble this group of people you're sort of paying for that. It would be weird to say to them "Everybody read the lines verbatim." So, I think it's a testament to the creative team. They were very collaborative throughout the process and, for me, so many of the moments are formed by that exploration and that playfulness.
What do you love most about doing animated movies?
Animation is so liberating because you're just left to your own voice and there's nothing else you can fall back on. The sky is literally the limit and you're playing in a sandbox. I liken it to being five again and having G.I. Joes and playing with them and creating all these different voices. Animation is the closest thing to that pure innocence and playfulness that we have as children, and then kind of prevent ourselves from going all the way with [it] as we get older. So every time I'm in a booth, I get to get in touch with my five-year-old self again.
You have "Beauty and the Beast" coming out next year. Was it overwhelming taking over a character that's a big piece of everyone's childhood?
It's funny because, before I signed on, I sat down with the director, Bill Condon, and was like: "I want to pay homage to the character that came before, but I want him to be distinct in some way." And I feel like we found some interesting wrinkles that are hopefully going to be a little surprising. You're playing a three-dimensional version of a two-dimensional character, so you've gotta bring something more to it. And, having seen a cut of it, I think it works incredibly well and the film is just exceptional.
Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle's enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast's hideous exterior, allowing her to recognize the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside. Read More