Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph" opens wide this weekend, just in time to squash any cynics out there that think Hollywood has lost its creative edge. In this whimsical and imaginative animated movie, John C. Reilly voices the character of Ralph, who for the last thirty years has been the bad guy in an 8-bit arcade game called Fix-It Felix Jr. In the throes of a mid-life crisis, Ralph decides he's had enough, so he jumps games in search of more heroic endeavors. With Reilly being joined by such comedic talents as Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, and Jane Lynch, we all know "Wreck-It Ralph" will get a high score, but here are five facts about the film you might not know.
A First Time for Everything
1. Even though he's got one of the most distinctive tones around, Reilly had never before voiced an animated character in a feature film. Reilly had his doubts about the process, which he initially expressed to director Rich Moore. "I told him, 'I've been offered a lot of animated stuff over the years, and I've never done it because it just seems really sterile, and you just sit in your little booth by yourself, and you read lines,'" Reilly said to me recently. But Moore assured the Oscar nominated actor they didn't have to stick to the normal way of doing things. So, unlike many animated films, the actors spent a lot of time recording together in the same room, a collaborative process which allowed the deft comedians to add juiced-up levels of spontaneity, energy, and nuance to their performances. You can see how it paid off in the clip above.
2. Fans of old-school arcade games will see lots of familiar faces in this film, and they may just recognize some old-school voices as well. When the action moves to Game Central Station, you'll see characters from video games like Q*Bert, Pac-Man, Frogger, Joust and many more. To add further nostalgia, the filmmakers also used some familiar voices from video games of yore, including Roger Craig Smith, the voice of Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog, and Ky Hebert, the voice of Ryu in Street Fighter. And just to show they're totally retro, the filmmakers also included an original song produced by Buckner & Garcia, the maestros who gave us the top-ten hit "Pac-Man Fever" back in 1982.
The Right Stuff
3. Jane Lynch plays Sergeant Calhoun, the tougher-than-leather leader of men in Hero's Duty, a first-person shooter game that Ralph accidentally stumbles upon. Though Lynch is obviously the right woman for the job, the part wasn't initially supposed to be for a woman at all. "Jane's character started as a man, so it was going to be a male sergeant from a military game. But the problem we ran into was that it seemed like we'd seen this character before," Moore told Moviefone. At that point, Moore and writer Phil Johnston started thinking about how they could retain the character, but make it something wholly original. And that's when Jane Lynch came to mind.
[Related: See premiere photos from 'Wreck-It Ralph']
4. Sarah Silverman is best known for her jaw-dropping R-rated humor, so it might seem like a bit of a jump to find her in a Disney movie. However, according to Moore, no one at Disney ever recommended going with a more wholesome option. Of course, Silverman isn't the first raunchy comedian to make the leap to kid's fare; remember Eddie Murphy's standup before he became a talking donkey? So how does Silverman feel about becoming a Disneyland attraction? "I'd rather have kids approaching me much more than 50-year-old guys -- no offense," Silverman recently told LA.Com. Check out Silverman as Vanellope von Schweetz in the clip above.
5. The vocal cast signed on while Moore and Johnston were still developing the script. Because of that, the characters took on many of the actor's characteristics. As each new draft was finished, the characters sounded more and more like the actors, which certainly made Lynch and McBrayer's job easier. "I'm a one-trick pony," Lynch jokingly admitted to PopSugar. "The writers too, they knew what we could do as performers, so they tailor made a lot of this stuff for us, which was a huge asset for us. So when we were able to improvise, it was just a piece of cake," added McBrayer.
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