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Interview: Sarah Silverman Talks Wreck-It Ralph

Posted by bsimon On October - 31 - 2012 0 Comment

Actress, author, stand-up comedian and Emmy-winning writer and performer — Sarah Silverman is such a jack-of-all-trades comedienne that it’s hard to believe she hasn’t yet laid claim to a huge animated movie character, given the highly recognizable sing-song sardonicism of her voice. That all changes with this weekend’s arrival of “Wreck-It Ralph,” a fresh and funny romp that stands poised to introduce a new collection of soon-to-be-beloved characters to family film audiences and animation fans alike.

The movie centers around the title character (voiced by John C. Reilly), the bad guy from an old 1980s-style arcade game, who’s fed up with his role of the unloved villain. When he leaves his videogame’s world and travels to others in search of a medal that will confer hero status upon him — crossing paths with some classic 8-, 16- and 64-bit characters along the way — Ralph gets caught up in a wild adventure that has implications for the survival of the entire arcade. Silverman co-stars as Vanellope von Schweetz, a rambunctious, rogue-code ”glitch” in the candy-colored, cart-racing “Sugar Rush.” With Ralph’s help, she finally stands poised at getting a shot at winning her own race, before things go a bit haywire.

For Silverman, a longtime videogame fan who grew spending quarters on Joust at the local Dairy Queen in her native New Hampshire, it was a match made in heaven. The original pitch, she explains, was “such a no-brainer that you say, ‘I’m surprised it hasn’t been done before.’ I feel like it’s this latent fantasy that’s probably been in all of us — like, ‘Oh yeah, I want to see that!’ It’s so satiating. We respond to things that are familiar, and it’s interesting because this is a movie that for people of all ages, except maybe the very old, you get to see characters you know from your childhood — these characters that were part of your life at a key time. And even in ‘Sugar Rush,’ the candy spans from old-timey candy to new candy, and yet the movie is so totally unique.”

Part of that uniqueness lies in the slavish devotion on the part of director Rich Moore, executive producer John Lasseter and others — to work the story and screenplay into its top possible shape. “The script really was perfect,” says Silverman, tugging on the sleeve of her blue, elbow-length T-shirt, but ”it definitely changed from the read-through. I think that’s what always makes Disney and Pixar movies so good. It takes time, and they’re always honing and tweaking and re-jiggering things and taking influences from every cog, including myself, that can help — anyplace where there can be inspiration. They make every moment very layered and rich.”

They also allowed Reilly and Silverman to run their lines together, which creates a special rapport that comes through on the screen. “We got to look into each others eyes and overlap dialogue and really play the scene and improvise,” Silverman notes. “I think it gives [the movie] that extra special sauce that you wouldn’t get if we were just all alone in a booth.” Meanwhile, though it may sound like she would have to rely on a lot of Red Bulls to achieve Vanellope’s high-energy feistiness, Silverman’s inspiration was a little bit Punky Brewster and a little bit Scrappy-Doo. “It was within a minute or two that we found the voice,” she says with a laugh. “I brought my voice up here {to a higher register}, but she’s scrappy too, so I kind of added a permanent cold.”

When Silverman first moved to Los Angeles as a young adult, she was a hardcore videogamer. “We got Nintendo 64 at ‘Mr. Show’ when I was there,” she recalls, “and whenever anyone wasn’t shooting they were playing ‘Goldeneye.’ We had these four windows on this giant TV, and it became my world — like, I dreamt about it.” Now, years later, she’s ironically giving voice to a character who will be spun off into videogame properties, and likely inspire dreams in a whole other generation of gaming kids.

Written by: Brent Simon

Wreck It Ralph Sarah Silverman Interview: Sarah Silverman Talks Wreck It Ralph

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