in conversation with Alan Tudyk


The great Alan Tudyk chats with us about his character’s death in Serenity, the many ways that he killed his wife in Premature (which is available on VOD now), the way Stephen Colbert radiated genius on the set of Strangers with Candy , working on Dollhouse and the teamwork that goes into motion capture performances.

Listen to the podcast for the whole glorious interview, but if you’re a slacker or further in need of convincing, check out these excerpts from our exclusive interview with Alan Tudyk.

Alan Tudyk on the appeal of working on Premature:

I was in the process of shooting 42 when I got this script and I was in the middle of… I think it was right around the time when we were shooting all of the scenes where I’m cussing at Jackie Robinson and calling him every racial epithet in the book. So, I got the script and it was so funny and ridiculous and it was exactly what I wanted to do as a contrast to what I was currently doing. It also gave me an opportunity to cry, which I felt like doing a lot when I was doing 42. Only because, being involved with hate speech on a daily basis and playing such an asshole really starts to get to you. It really affects you.

On whether he took on a mentor role with the young cast of Premature:

I don’t know if I was a mentor to them, I certainly didn’t try. I mean, I suggested that I take John Karna out to a strip club to show him what it was like to see ladies and what women were all about but he said he already knew and called me a perv. We never made it.

Described as both a sex comedy and and something inspired by Groundhog Day, we asked Tudyk whether it was a challenge to sum Premature up with a bite sized description:

I think it always is, and the easier it is the worse off you are. Usually. Well, maybe not… well, maybe so. But, I think it is a nice surprise for people who go in expecting it only to be one thing and then they get the surprise of it actually being a sweet movie that has premature ejaculation at the center of it. It’s an accomplishment, for sure. (Laughs) So many negative feelings surround premature ejaculation, and to have a sort of a kind warm feeling is a nice change.

[…] I know my mom saw it and she’s not somebody who likes raunchy comedies — and she saw it because I was in it — but she was pleasantly surprised by the end of it. She was the one who I first heard call it “sweet”. Which was shocking and nice. Nice to hear.

Tudyk on whether he tried to beg or bribe Joss Whedon to not kill his character in Serenity:

No, I didn’t. Maybe I should have. I think he would have been happy to have not killed me now. Just because, he said that. That’s why I think it. When we did the 10 year anniversary at Comic Con, he mentioned that if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn’t have killed anybody, as far as on the crew — since there are a couple of people who die in the movie — and I think that’s because he didn’t anticipate that it would have such a following still to this day. You know, it’s still very popular. People are still finding it and watching it for the first time. I meet a lot of young teenagers whose parents loved it, who then shared it with them and now they love it with the same passion. So I think that’s why he made that comment — that he would change the fate of Book and Wash if he could.

Tudyk (who did the motion capture performance for Sonny in I, Robot) talks about motion capture and the conversation about who is responsible for these performances — the actor, the animators or both:

I thought about this a lot after doing I,Robot and it is… I feel like, if somebody wants to give a motion capture actor an award or they are moved by their performance, to consider them for an award those people who are considering them and voting on them should watch the movie without the animation added and you will get their performance. But once the animation is added, it is no longer solely that person’s interpretation of the role. It’s an interpretation of their interpretation. And they take license — because they can and because they have to to make it the best movie — with your performance.

There are limits to the digital animation, there are benefits to the digital animation. Either way, it’s not the performer. If they move your eyeballs from left to right, to help in a scene because they want to push focus there in the scene, because it helps the edit, it’s no longer your performance. It’s not you. It’s somebody else, they’re moving you like a puppet. And it doesn’t mean that the brilliant performance can’t lie at the core of The Planet of the Apes. Andy Serkis is amazing, he’s an amazing motion capture actor. And, I feel like I hear his name most of all. He’s like the one guy that everybody knows because he’s really been exposed — his work behind the animation — like, you’ve seen pieces of him working. And if people were able to see the whole performance, then I think some awards should be given out. I hope. But if you wanted to give an award based on what you see in the final product, it has to be a shared award between the motion capture actor and the thousand people who worked on it. Because it’s an army of people. You know, you aren’t even there for some of it. Because that’s… not because they’re cutting you out, but because they’re making the best movie that they can and it’s technology that doesn’t always need the actor.

For more about improv on the set of Premature, the worth of Hoban Washburne’s death, how Firefly would fare if it were on the air now and working on both Dollhouse and Strangers with Candy listen to the above podcast… because that’s why it’s there.

If you’d like to check out Premature, go to your VOD provider of choice and order it now. It’s pretty damn good.