Arnett who is mostly known for his roles in popular TV shows like Arrested Development and is currently starring in the hit TV comedy Up All Night (with Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph), but he has also done voice work for pretty much his entire career.
With his classically rough and grainy voice, Arnett kindly answered every question thrown his way about his role as “Pod” in the upcoming Studio Ghibli film The Secret World of Arrietty.
One of the things I was surprised to learn right off the bat was that Will had not read the series of books “The Borrowers” by Mary Norton that the film The Secret World of Arrietty was based on or had much previous knowledge of the story prior to being cast. He was however, very excited to work on a Studio Ghibli film. (Who can blame him!!)
Arnett: Studio Ghibli is know for pretty iconic films. Whether it’s Spirited Away – of course amazing, or Ponyo- incredible. I know that they’ve made 15-20 movies, I think, I haven’t seen them all, but definitely Ponyo was the one that was most recent. You know, Spirited Away I think everyone can agree with was so cool, at the time it was–I think it was the first of their films that I saw and I thought it was just so amazing. When they asked me to be a part of this movie I jumped at it because I was such a fan.
Arnett may not have been familiar with this particular story, he isn’t exactly a stranger to voice over work either.
Arnett: I have been a voice over guy. I have done countless narration and commercial work, I’ve also been a part of a lot of different films in the animation world over the last 10 years. So I think they [The people at Disney] saw that as an entree and they would allow me to do something like this which is a little more serious. I think this character Pod is more the steady hand in this story … and I was excited to do something that was a little outside of my comfort zone.
Of course in addition to all his years of experience with voice work, he did have another pretty awesome bonus going for him in the fact that while most of the voice work is usually done individually, his wife Amy Pohler is the voice of his wife in the movie as well.
Arnett: (On recording the voice of Pod and getting a feel for his character.) For the most part it is individual and done all on your own in terms of how you go in and record. Of course, I had the luxury of knowing some of my cast mates pretty well… ie my wife (laughter)… SO we were able to talk about it a little bit.
As I watched the movie The Secret World of Arrietty, I couldn’t help but wonder why Arnett chose to do this particular film.
Clearly, I wasn’t the only person to wonder this either. His character Pod is a very obvious departure from other characters and voice roles he has played in the past in the fact that it is a more serious role. I wondered if perhaps it was his role as a parent in real life that made him want to take this role.
Arnett: I don’t know that I would say I was drawn to him necessarily, I would say that once I started working on this film my performance was probably colored by it. What you don’t understand before you’re a parent is what it means to be a parent, and what it means to have a child and that definitely changes your entire world view forever the moment your child is born. And I don’t think that I would have been able to play this – I wouldn’t have had the same perspective had I not been a parent when I because a part of this film. It definitely had an impact on me being a parent.
Arnett mentioned that he doesn’t tend to have a favorite role, but rather really loves his current projects as they all have a “certain thing about them” that he is able to attach onto while creating and sharing his work. For this particular film it was the message of tolerance and friendship that Arnett hopes his fans will walk away with at the end of the movie.
So what is next for Arnett? Hold on to those seats Arrested Development fans! Arnett confirmed that they will be filming a mini series followed by a feature film to be seen in 2013!
The Secret World of Arrietty steals into theaters February 17th, 2012. It is certainly a family film that everyone will enjoy. Be sure check out my full The Secret World of Arrietty Review for more details and an exclusive clip from the movie. And don’t forget to ‘Like’ THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY on Facebook.
Disney/DreamWorks provided me with an all expenses paid trip to LA for an advance screening of The Secret World of Arrietty. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. I am in no way obligated to provide positive reviews.
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