Tomorrow the film Epic comes to theaters across the country. Earlier today I shared an interview I participate in with the film’s Director, Chris Wedge, as well as two of the stars from the film, Amanda Seyfried (MK) and Colin Farrell (Ronin). You can find that interview here.
Prior to their interview my group had the opportunity to interview two other voice actors from the film, Chris O’Dowd and Aziz Ansari.
I have participated in many interviews in the post, both in group settings and one-on-one. I have to say that this was one of the funniest interviews I have ever participated in. Chris and Aziz had us in stitches the whole time. We could have easily chatted with them all day.
Chris O’Dowd is probably best known from the hit film Bridesmaids. He played the part of Officer Rhodes. Chris has also appeared in 3,2,1…Frankie Go Boom, Gulliver’s Travels and This is 40. Chris was born and raised in Ireland and has a really nice accent (I love accents!).
Chris is a tall man with a very “laid back” quality about him. He’s also very funny and has a quick wit. He is just naturally a funny guy.
Chris voices the character of Grub.
Aziz Ansari is best known for being the voice of Squint in all of the Ice Age movies. He also plays the part of Tom Haverford in the series Parks and Recreation. Aziz also used to be a stand up comedian. He started stand up comedy when he was only 18 years old.
Even though Aziz was dressed up in a nice suit, he had a very cool and relaxed vibe about him. Just like Chris, Aziz is a very funny man, able to quickly come back at Chris with humorous remarks.
Aziz voices the part of smooth talking, but slimy, Mub the slug.
Chris and Aziz have incredible chemistry together, both in the film and in person.
I’m not 100% certain but I believe Amanda said that Chris and Aziz were sharing a hotel room together. Seeing how these two are together I’m sure that laughter was echoing from the room all night long.
Here is our interview with Chris O’Dowd (Grub) and Aziz Ansari (Mub).
I left some of the bantering back and forth between Chris and Aziz because I thought it highlighted just how well these two play off each other and why they have such fabulous chemistry both on and off screen. Humm… maybe there will be a Mub and Grub spin-off? LOL!
Q: What was your favorite movie as a kid?
Aziz Ansari: That is a good question. That might be the first good question I’ve heard ever in my history of doing interviews.
Chris O’Dowd: I’m trying to think what I loved.
Aziz Ansari: Did they have kids movies in Ireland?
Chris O’Dowd: Yes, we had movies. What did I love? Jaws? Does that count?
Aziz Ansari: Jaws?
Chris O’Dowd: It’s not a kids movie.
Blogger: A child friendly movie.
Chris O’Dowd: A child friendly movie. Well, ET – loved ET.
Aziz Ansari: ET I think was the first movie I saw in the theaters. I’d just been born when ET came out, and I think my mom and dad took me to ET.
ET is great. What else did I see?
I watched Flight of the Navigator. Do you guys remember that?
That was good. You know what I’m talking about. What else did I love? Terminator 2 – I watched that a lot as a kid.
Chris O’Dowd: Was Fast and the Furious out then?
Aziz Ansari: That was when I was just born. Fast 1 had just come out when I was born.
Chris O’Dowd: Yes, Vin Diesel had hair.
Q: Did it take any convincing at all for you guys to decide that you wanted to be a part of this movie, or was it a pretty quick decision, you were like, oh, my gosh, this is going to be great, this is going to be huge?
Aziz Ansari: I’d worked with some of the same team before on a little film called Ice Age 4: Continental Drift. And so, I knew it was that team, and we had a lot of fun working together on that. And it just seemed like a cool idea to do an animated film set in this universe. So, I signed up pretty quickly and was on board.
Chris O’Dowd: Yes, I wasn’t 100 percent sure, to be honest, because I hadn’t done it before. And I thought, I don’t know if I’ll enjoy it. But, I realized Chris [Director Chris Wedge], and he was so enthusiastic, and he brought me into this room where they had started doing a lot of the early drawings for it, and it just looked so magical. So, that was very, very tempting. And then, I really wanted to work with Aziz.
Q: When you ran over the script and everything, was it kind of right in the front of your mind that you thought, wow, this is a great environmental message, this is something I want to be a part of?
Chris O’Dowd: That was it. That was a big selling point that they were even selling to me at the time, I remember, which it is. And there isn’t anything really like that out there at the moment. I know The Lorax I guess was kind of like that. I didn’t see it, but I know it had a message in that kind of area. But, it’s great. It is great because forests are nice, aren’t they?
Aziz Ansari: This was actually a struggle for me because I really into deforestation, and I don’t agree with the message of the film, but I could always separate my personal views from my creative work. No, I’m for the environment. I’m pro environment, just to be clear.
Q: How much of what you guys did in the film was improv? You have such a good rapport together.
Aziz Ansari: There are a few things here or there, but generally, what you see is a scripted.
Chris O’Dowd: Yes. You’re a tiny piece of this massive thing. People are drawing it just for so long, they don’t draw it any more probably. But I think by the time it gets down to it, you kind of just do your bit, which is mostly scripted.
Q: Were you together when you did the voices?
Aziz Ansari: This is something people are very interested about. We’ve been asked this a few times.
Chris O’Dowd: Yes, and what we were wearing.
Aziz Ansari: No, you went to the stock questions.
We did our first big session together, which was where we did like a lot of the stuff, and then he was shooting a film in Ireland, I believe.
Chris O’Dowd: That’s right.
Aziz Ansari: And I was filming in Los Angeles, so we were not in the same area. But, we were lucky enough to do the one major big session together, which was fun.
Chris O’Dowd: Yes, it was really good. And that kind of gave us the idea of what the chemistry would be and what the dynamic would be and all that kind of stuff. So, it was good but, I had to go back to Ireland and shoot something, and it was great. And Chris was kind of enough to of come over and record some of my stuff there, which was fun.
Q: I have a question about the process. Is it hard? Because when you’re acting you’re face-to-face. So, how is it with animation? Are you seeing it on the screen as you’re doing the voices so you can get the feel of it?
Aziz Ansari: Well, early on, they just show you kind of drawings of the characters and stuff and just kind of sketches and things like that and the concept art. And then, as you go along, it gets more and more animated but, you don’t really see the finished thing until maybe the last couple of sessions, if there’s a couple of things you need to fix, some audio tweaks they need to make, then you see it.
But, generally, for most of it, you’re just kind of doing it into the microphone and you don’t see anything. And so, by the time you finally see it, it’s really cool to see how it all kind of comes together.
Chris O’Dowd: I had a framed headshot of Aziz’s, and we’d just pretend that he was there.
Aziz Ansari: I had an actual snail that I just pretended was Chris, and I would look down at him for inspiration.
Q: Do they base the characters on you guys at all?
Chris O’Dowd: Just physically, yes.
Aziz Ansari: Well, you look at our faces. I look like a slug, of course.
Chris O’Dowd: I don’t know actually if in terms of what little mannerisms or things they kind of bring into it, but maybe a touch.
Aziz Ansari: Yes. I mean, there aren’t any dots on our faces when we’re in the booth or anything.
I think they do film us when we’re recording, for our mouth movements and stuff like that. So, I’m sure they draw on some of that stuff for the physicality of the animation.
Q: Are you proud of your helmet?
Chris O’Dowd: Excuse me?
Blogger: At the end when he gives you the helmet?
Chris O’Dowd: Oh, yes, that was great. Yes, I’m very proud of my helmet. I like the idea of that kind of character who, all he wants to do is be a hero, and he just doesn’t have that ability. So, it was nice.
Blogger: Kids can really relate to that.
Chris O’Dowd: Yes.
Blogger: It’s such a wonderful message in so many different ways.
Q: Do you find doing animation easy or hard, compared to filming live?
Aziz Ansari: Definitely easier.
All you do is you just do this, you’re done. Look out.
Q: Are you doing that much prep work? You could just read your lines compared to memorize them, right?
Aziz Ansari: Pretty much.
Chris O’Dowd: That’s very little.
Aiz Ansari: Acting is very easy. For very brief amounts of time, you’re just pretending, and then it’s done. It’s a good gig.
Chris O’Dowd: Let’s blow this joint.
Aziz Ansari: No, but it’s really fun and the animation, it’s really fun and relaxed, and everyone on the team that worked on this, they’re all easy to work with, and they make it really fun. So, I have a good time doing them.
Q: Do you think you would do another film, since it’s your first one, will you do another animation?
Chris O’Dowd: I think so. It is fun. It’s a different kind of skill, but I really enjoyed it. So, yes, hopefully something where I’m more attractive would be good.
Aziz Ansari: Not another snail part? You don’t want to get typecast as a snail in every part.
Chris O’Dowd: Well, that’s the thing – I’m just going to get a lot of mucous based characters.
Aziz Ansari: Well, Chris, we don’t have any snail based characters in this one, but maybe the next one.
Chris O’Dowd: Yes, I hope so. I’d like to.
Q: Did you have a favorite scene?
Aziz Ansari: I enjoyed the scenes where Mub was hitting on MK. That was fun. I like the idea of a slug that’s that confident in himself to where he thinks he can get it going with a human being – very ambitious.
Chris O’Dowd: I liked meeting Beyonce.
Aziz Ansari: Yes.
In real life when we tried to meet Beyonce, her security came and escorted us away – we’re Mub and Grub. Sure, guys.
Chris O’Dowd: I’m a snail, I’m a snail.
Q: So, are you guys hoping that all of our kids dress up as snails and slugs for Halloween, then?
Aziz Ansari: Oh, my gosh.
Chris O’Dowd: That would be crazy. That would be amazing.
Aziz Ansari: Mub and Grub Halloween costumes?
Chris O’Dowd: I love the idea that we’ve given mothers so much work to do. That’s a tough costume. That’s going to be big. Oh, I’m so sorry.
Q: What about seeing yourselves merchandised? Maybe you’ll be stuffed animals.
Chris O’Dowd: Wow, yes.
Aziz Ansari: Whoa.
Seems like they’d be pretty cuddly.
Blogger: With a voice chip.
Aziz Ansari: Oh, my gosh.
Chris O’Dowd: That would be really cute.
Aziz Ansari: As long as we get a cut, of course.
Chris O’Dowd: Yes, yes.
Aziz Ansari: That would be very cute.
Chris O’Dowd: That’s such a lovely idea.
Q: Do you guys have some Energy Star appliances and electronics and things at home? Do you look for that little Energy Star label? Is that something that you really take note of when you’re shopping?
Aziz Ansari: Do they have that in Ireland?
Chris O’Dowd: No, I don’t know what that is.
Aziz Ansari: So, when you buy a fridge here, sometimes, the fridge has a little star on it, and that means, hey, we’re doing stuff to help save energy.
Chris O’Dowd: Oh, okay.
Blogger: So, do they have anything like that in Ireland?
Chris O’Dowd: I know the kind of thing you mean. Yes, energy saving tick or something.
Blogger: To help you reduce your energy.
Aziz Ansari: I’m really into home appliances.
Blogger: Well, it sounds like you might be really into energy saving.
Aziz Ansari: I think if you’re a consumer, and you think, oh, well, this company’s going out of the way to make sure it’s an environmentally conscious product, why not support that?
Chris O’Dowd: I still keep all my meat and food just in a small salt pit, you know?
Aziz Ansari: So, you’re really saving a lot of energy.
Chris O’Dowd: Yes, I’m trying to.
Aziz Ansari: You don’t have a fridge.
Chris O’Dowd: I don’t use a fridge. I like things lukewarm.
Blogger: I like this movie because the message is definitely obviously pro-environment.
Chris O’Dowd: Yes.
Blogger: I sometimes think that sometimes environmentalists can kind of turn people off because they just sort of are like, well, are you doing this, are you doing that?
Chris O’Dowd: That Ed Begley, Jr., right?
Aziz Ansari: What did he do?
Blogger: He’s a little extreme?
Aziz Ansari: Really?
Chris O’Dowd: Oh, he’s so great, yes.
Aziz Ansari: What does he do? I don’t know anything about it.
Chris O’Dowd: He’s terrific.
Blogger: He lives in a tree house.
Aziz Ansari: Whoa. All right. I wasn’t aware. I’ll have to look into it.
Chris O’Dowd: No, I know what you mean. I think it’s a very welcoming message in a movie. I think it’s nice. You just don’t know if people are going to take onto that kind of thing, and hopefully, kids will. It’d be great.
Q: What did you think when you first found out? Did they just say, would you like to play a snail, or would you like to play a slug, or did you kind of sign up for the film and then find out?
Chris O’Dowd: Well, I auditioned for the part of Queen Tara, and it wasn’t until a couple of weeks in that they recast, got Beyonce and decided to go a different direction.
Aziz Ansari: Sorry, Chris, they’re going in a slightly different direction.
Chris O’Dowd: Yes.
I thought it was kind of a cool idea to play a snail because there aren’t enough on screen, you know?
Aziz Ansari: Snails are very under-represented.
Chris O’Dowd: Which is snailist, frankly.
Aziz Ansari: Yes.
Chris O’Dowd: Don’t be snailist, yes.
Aziz Ansari: I mean, I watched Iron Man 3 the other day and there’s not one snail.
Chris O’Dowd: Not one, not one.
Aziz Ansari: Not one snail or slug in this world.
Chris O’Dowd: It’s a pretty snailist movie.
Aziz Ansari: You’ve just got to focus on the human characters. Star Trek – same thing–.
Chris O’Dowd: Nothing, yes.
Aziz Ansari: It’s really a little discriminatory. That’s why it’s good EPIC gives snails and slugs a fair shake.
Chris O’Dowd: And you watch the way that the landscape will change. There’s going to be a lot of mucous based things.
Aziz Ansari: Iron Man 4, one of the characters is gonna be a snail, yes.
Chris O’Dowd: That’s right.
Q: Are you opposed to escargot?
Chris O’Dowd: Yes. Well, anywhere that we get mentioned, I don’t mind, even if it’s being eaten. That’s fine. I just want to get out there.
Aziz Ansari: A lot of pressure.
Chris O’Dowd: Nobody can stand up to the heat.
Q: Could you give any advice for someone that was either inspiring to be a comedian? Because, I’m sure, obviously, it’s very hard to get into that business.
Chris O’Dowd: Just write and write as much as you can, write down any funny things that you have and just send them to me and don’t tell anybody that you’ve done it. And then, I can just use them.
Aziz Ansari: Yes, I think, as soon as you can, just start working on whatever it is, whether it’s standup or improv or whatever.
Blogger: That’s how you started, right, standup?
Aziz Ansari: I started off doing standup in New York, and I also took classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. I think you can just do your research and try to go to these places like the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and start taking classes or whatever.
But, I think it’s always good to just start as soon as you can. I started when I was fairly young, at 18, 19 years old. But, man, I wish I’d started even younger. I feel like the more time you put into something, the better you get at it. And I think just go for it and see what happens. Good luck.
As you can see these two have a great rapport with one another. That carries over into the film. Mub and Grub add a lot of humor into the movie. I could easily see them being turned into plush stuffed figures (minus the slim of course ).
If you would like to check out Mub and Grub in action go see the film Epic which opens in theaters across the country tomorrow (May 24, 2013).
If you would like to learn more about the film check out the film’s official website, www.EpictheMovie.com. You can also check them out on the film’s social media outlets.
Like Epic on Facebook
Follow @EpicTheMovie on Twitter #EpicTheMovie
Watch Epic videos on YouTube
Follow Epic on Instagram
*I was not compensated for this post. I am sharing this for the enjoyment of my site readers. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.