"It was really fun. I had no idea just how much fun it was going to be," said Schwartzman, describing his experience doing voice work on the family-friendly film at the LA press day. "It kept getting better, actually, and it was such an odd thing. It's weird. I almost have amnesia about the making of this movie because it was made in such an unorthodox style. [voices were recorded together] It was such a fun and bizarre experience going on location to do an animated movie. We literally did scenes, like if a scene called for us to be outside, if a scene took place outside, we'd go outside. If a scene needed us to be digging, we would just start digging in the ground. If a scene had George Clooney eating, he would really just start eating a bunch of toast or something. The sounds you're hearing are the real live sounds from those recordings, not added in later like in a foley booth or something. There are so many mistakes and weird breaths and people cutting each other off and odd pauses. All of that is real."
Schwartzman said voicing the rebellious teenage son of Clooney and Streep didn't require him to get into the mindset of a fox. "In terms of me pretending to be this character, I actually never had time to imagine myself being a little fox. I just thought I'm playing a 12 year old misfit who's grumpy and feels like he can't get the girl he likes, wishes he was a better athlete and his father loved him more, and just kind of tapping into a lot of the things that I in fact felt when I was 12 and 13."
Asked if Anderson's unorthodox style of capturing the voice work helped him get into the character more, Schwartzman replied, "In these cases, there's a scene in the film for instance when we all get washed through this storm drain. We can't find Kristofferson and me at first. He's saying, 'Kristofferson? Ash?' I go, 'I'm over here.' 'Where?' 'Over here.' [George] says, 'Where's Kristofferson?' 'I lost him. We went to get your tail.' We have this very kind of quick but awkward and intense exchange. That whole scene was done in a house where we both started off, George and I both started off on the floor. I was in the bathroom and he was in the bedroom. 'Ash!' 'I'm over here!' 'Where?' We were really yelling to one another from two different rooms. Then I came running in and he put his hands on me, 'Are you okay?' I'm really acting with George Clooney and looking at him."
"It was highly intense and I think it definitely helped me get into the character much more. Yeah, I think that had I done it in a booth alone, I would have been pretending to be a fox. I would have been imagining it more to help me, but doing it with the real actors, it never once occurred to me that we were going to become animals."
Looking Into the Future - Scott Pilgrim vs. the WorldSchwartzman wasn't about to spoil anything for fans who've been waiting for the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World movie, but what he did say about his character, Gideon Graves, and the film was pretty interesting. "I play the nemesis, Michael Cera's nemesis, the king nemesis, the end-all be-all nemesis."
Asked how he got in touch with playing a super-villain, Schwartzman said, "I read all the Scott Pilgrim books and talked at great length multiple times with Bryan Lee O'Malley who wrote the books. He gave me all kinds of insight to the character. But what’s also interesting is he’s still writing more of these books, so he was hoping that I would give him some insight. So it was nice to kind of just hash things out and talk about things a bit," explained Schwartzman.
"The way that I got my superhero thing on is, well, I didn't want him to be - he obviously has to fulfill the role of the bad guy. He has to come in at the end and be the bad guy. But I was trying to make him somewhat, likable is too strong of a word, but not just completely a jerk. Like there’s two kinds of jerks, like jerks that you just want to run from and then there’s jerks that you don't mind inviting him to the party just because you know something crazy's going to happen. You kind of want to witness it. I wanted to play the latter. I kept saying to [writer/director Edgar Wright], 'But I want to make him really lovable.' Like, 'You are the bad guy. You have to go with that.' So I just tried to make him a bad guy that if you got on his good side would be a great guy to be around, which most bad guys I think are."
Schwartzman added, "To me, my favorite of all villains is Lex Luthor, Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor. His whole character and the whole world he lives in, I just love him in the Superman movies. So that was part of my influence. I did a lot of sword-fighting training because I have huge battle sequences. That's one way to get your superhero on is just to learn how to fight."
"I had an idea in mind of what he would look like and how he would be. I found that I couldn't get into the character unless I chewed gum, so my character's constantly chewing gum. It's so cocky and I found myself becoming cockier while I was up there working on the movie. I was just a real cocky person."
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Fantastic Mr. Fox hits theaters in limited release on November 13, 2009 and wide release on November 25th.