This was such a fun interview. Bella came in acting like her character. James Arnold Taylor did too. He tried to hug Kevin and take out the Ratchet Poster in the process. It was fun. Let’s get on to the first question!
Is there a difference in your approach between voicing, or recording for video games, and recording for films?
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Well I’ve been very blessed to be able to do quite a bit of both. And they are extremely different from each other. Videogames, you’re isolated, you’re all alone; you’re recording in your little padded room, talking to yourself just a director feeding you lines. And in the film, we got to work together. I work with David. Bella and I didn’t, but that’s because of the restraining order. (laughs) The one JAT had against her. (He was kidding) LOL
But Jim Ward, who plays Captain Qwark, and of course David Kaye, doing a wonderful job as Clank – we all got to work together; and Kevin giving us direction – that was fun. Totally different than a videogame. Animated series, you work like that. But that’s pretty uncalled – unspoken, in a film. So it was wonderful that we got to do it that way.
Bella: You guys literally made history without me!
I enjoyed your livestream on Thursday. Where you were talking about really encouraging people to follow their dreams. I noticed that that was a theme in Ratchet and Clank a lot, too.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Oh, thanks. Yeah
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: I think so, too. I think it’s pretty awesome, you know – it’s this wonderful thing of the underdog. And I kind of look at myself like that too, as I’ve always wanted to do these things. It’s been my dream to be a voice actor. Since I was four years old. And here we are now with this. And I get to have my name on a poster with Bella Thorne. That’s pretty darn cool. So – dream achieved. So yeah, I think it’s really important. And I think it’s a wonderful theme that kids, and families can go together and see this movie. And they can see that sometimes your heroes aren’t exactly what they thought, and you can still pursue your dreams, and be the good guy, and save the day. Yeah, pretty cool.
Ratchet and Clank is such a playful project, that I was wondering what the most fun part of doing these voices was for you.
BELLA THORNE: The snacks. The snacks. It’s very fun.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: What kind of snacks did you – you had better snacks than I did, though. So –
BELLA THORNE: You didn’t like it.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Yeah.
BELLA THORNE: The hardest part about playing the character, is that what you said?
Question: The most fun.
BELLA THORNE: Oh, the most fun. The most fun about playing it was probably playing like a bad ass female Jake was super cool. When I walked in you guys were just like, “No, yeah, you can just use your dark voice, your…”
KEVIN MUNROE: She was like, “Are you sure you don’t want me to sound more girly? ”Like, “No. No.”
BELLA THORNE: He was, “No, no, no, no.”
KEVIN MUNROE: No. Please.
BELLA THORNE: “Yeah, you can even go deeper.” And I was like – no.
KEVIN MUNROE: I will say when it’s too far. Trust me.
BELLA THORNE: Yeah. No, no, no, I sound like a man, guys. We don’t want to think that a man is actually Cora. The most fun part was yeah, was probably getting to stress my personality to its limits, just because I wasn’t playing like, so different of a character from me.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Yeah, and she does an amazing job at it. It’s so fun. It’d be – I was just telling her, we were walking down the hall, it was like – I’m afraid of her character, in every way. Because – and it is great to be able to do that. That’s the funnest thing for me, is very similarly, you know, being the character of Ratchet is my regular voice. And that’s kind of a first for me. I’ve been, you know, Fred Flintstone, and nobody expects Fred to come out of me, or Obi-Wan Kenobi, or Johnny [PH] Tatstu’s an 11 year old kid and totally awesome and all that, you know, and that’s cool. But – or if I’m doing, you know, Christopher Walken when he can’t do it – I come in, I go, you know, it’s great. Or Jay [PH] Burshell, or Michael J. Fox – well, wait a second; this is heavy. So I’m just, basically just trying to impress you all with voices. But Ratchet –
And it was working. We were so impressed with his voices!
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: I get to be me. And so it’s very cool to get to do that, and get to work with these people. And get to work with Kevin again.
KEVIN MUNROE: Yeah.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: We worked together on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So it’s just been a blast to see this transition.
Question for James and Bella. How do you identify with your
BELLA THORNE: Thank you. Well, pretty much in almost every aspect – super tomboy; you can’t probably tell from the way I’m dressed, but in my personal life, you know, I definitely wear what she’s wearing in the movie. She – you know, she’s not afraid to boss Ratchet around.
BELLA THORNE: I, I boss him around, a lot.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: In real life, too.
BELLA THORNE: Yeah.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Yeah, it’s true.
BELLA THORNE: And she’s – you know, at the end of the day, she might, like – shoot first, and then ask questions later, which isn’t the best thing, but I think in her case, you know, it works. And at the end of the day she just wants what’s best for the team.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: And I think that it’s – yeah, it’s just one of those cool things, to walk into a character that really is the guy that’s the underdog, and he wants to do the right thing, and he wants to save the day, and he wants to have everybody like him. But at the same time, he also wants to be doing cool things. And that’s kind of how I am, and that’s why I get to be a voice actor, because I get to be superheroes and stuff. And so it’s just – it’s a great combination of life, and unreality. Yeah.
I have a question for Bella. One of my readers wants to know when you’re going to write and direct your own film, because you totally have the brains and talent to do it.
BELLA THORNE: Thank you. Actually, my goal was to have my first self-directed short film premiere at South By Southwest next year, you know, and hopefully some other festivals. I love the creative process. One of the unfortunate things about
this character was already created when I came in, and stepped foot inside her. So that was fun and you know, interesting. But I would love to do some more live action animation, where actually get to go behind the scenes and you know, really go and literally create this character, because anything behind the scenes, to me, is just so cool. I’m never in my trailer. I’m always right behind the director, seeing what he’s doing. They probably think I’m annoying.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Ah. And make sure that there’s a whacky, Qwarky little nerdy guy in that.
BELLA THORNE: Yeah. Yeah.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: But you gotta try.
You, and David, and Jim, and Armin, you have probably some of the most experience with this game franchise. And I know working with the gaming studio had to be a bonus. Did you ever find yourself in any situation where you were leading the direction
or saying, “You know, I don’t feel like that Ratchet would do that,” or, “I feel like he should
say this here.”
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: You know, I really feel that was the beauty of – yeah, Kevin’s right next to me. He’s right next to me, isn’t he. Yeah. Honestly, the beauty of this was it was such a seamless transition from game to film – the only difference being that we were together. That was the only reason I knew we were doing something different than the game – it felt like the game. And we did the game pretty much simultaneously, as well. And so it was really –
KEVIN MUNROE: Yeah.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: And Kevin is so easy to work with in that, too. It’s like, you know, “Okay, let’s try this line. What do you think?” You know, and Ratchet does have a way – and T.J. Fixman, who has written him throughout the games, as well, was there. And we were all always able to kind of go, “Yeah, let’s – let’s ratchet this up a little.” (haha)
KEVIN MUNROE: Yeah.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: I’m learning that Ratchet has another meaning now, by the way, which is just –
BELLA THORNE: Yeah.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: All day everybody says, “You know what ratchet really means?” I’m like, “Hey, hey, hey.” So yeah, ratchet it up in a good way. But no, we really – it was a seamless transition. And I think that’s what’s going to make this such a successful thing, in that you watch this, and you feel like you’re playing the game. And if you don’t know the game you can go, “Now there’s a game I can play?” You know. So it’s really cool. Thanks.
(Bella). In doing this role, did you find your approach changed, doing it as a voice actress, instead of just as an actress on screen?
BELLA THORNE: Yeah. I mean, there’s so many different things that go into it. And you know, when you’re acting, you’re not acting with just – with just your voice; you’re acting with every part of you, which is, you know, really small things like, “Wow, would my character grab her hair this way? Maybe she wouldn’t because, you know, she’s very naïve, and she’s this, and this, and this.” And you know, there’s like a lot of things that go into consideration. But really on this one, I’m just – I’m watching a character and I’m just trying to be as most like her, and you know, make her come alive as I can. So yeah, it’s pretty different, but I still use my body a lot because just in the fluctuations of your voice, you know, they change so abruptly – when you just move your shoulder forward, just like the smallest bit. But the most annoying part was, I wear a lot of jewelry that’s under here. And every time, I’d be like, “Oh, my God, I’m gonna go kill him right now.”
How’s the interaction with the fans? Are they sort of questioning you about going from a videogame to the movie, and trying to get clues out of you, before it comes out?
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I mean, I’ve got my little YouTube channel, and my social networks, have people asking questions all the time. And you really have to talk in code. You know what I mean? It’s like – and we do – you know, as voice actors, you’re always doing stuff that’s – everything is under an NDA. So it’s like, you know, even, “How was your day, Honey?” It’s like, “I can’t talk about it. I can’t…” Right. No – so there’s so many things that, yeah, you don’t want to give away, too. And so we forget. Sometimes I kind of go, “I don’t want to know anything about it. I just – I just want to look right here.” You know, it’s like – with Star Wars, when we did Clone Wars – that Obi-Wan Kenobi didn’t know that Anakin was the one that was going to become Darth Vader. So I was like, “I can’t even – I can’t think that way. No, he’s the chosen one.” So you kind of have to wear those blinders when you do it, and then hopefully, that comes across with fans, and you go, “Look, I’m as excited as you, but I can’t say anything.” Yeah.
I have a question for Kevin Munroe. Did the VO talent record separately, or together?
KEVIN MUNROE: A mix of both.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: I wish – you know, I wish we could have recorded together.
KEVIN MUNROE: We – yeah, it’s – there’s this funny thing, because like this movie, theproduction was going really fast. And so a lot of the times, it was just whenever we could get people, ‘cause – Bella’s so busy.
BELLA THORNE: Oh.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: And I’m not.
BELLA THORNE: That’s the excuse.
KEVIN MUNROE: And she’s – and James just lives at recording studios.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: I’m sittin’ around.
KEVIN MUNROE: Like, anywhere you go where James is, he has a microphone with him, so you know you’re probably covered. It’s just a matter of finding him, like just catching him in the bathroom or something. But no – and so – but whenever I did like –
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Stranger things –
KEVIN MUNROE: – the Ninja Turtles with James, we had – I think it was our first couple of sessions.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Yeah.
KEVIN MUNROE: Where we had all four turtles in one room.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Yeah.
KEVIN MUNROE: And they were all speaking into the mike at the same time. And there’s a way that you really converse with people, and you kind of like, step on each other a little bit, and you kind of go, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.”
BELLA THORNE: Right.
KEVIN MUNROE: And you make these little noises that you can only get when you’re actually reading against somebody. So I try to do it – I try to re-create it as much as possible when I’m reading with an actor. But that one specifically, there was such a great feeling to those scenes. And so anywhere I can do it – I always think it’s a great idea so.
And what do you want viewers to take away from Ratchet and Clank?
KEVIN MUNROE: I think it’s the message of just that – just – it’s not just following your dreams, but it’s just – it’s finding your dream. And I think a lot of time, life will make you think that you’re supposed to be dreaming about something else. And, and really, if you just listen to yourself, and know the things that make you happy, and know that – what you can do to make the world a better place – like, that’s what your dream should be. And I think that’s totally what –
BELLA THORNE: True, true.
KEVIN MUNROE: – Ratchet learns in it. So – yeah.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Yeah. Doing the right thing.
BELLA THORNE: Um-hmm.
KEVIN MUNROE: Yeah, not the big things – just the right things.
JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Right.
KEVIN MUNROE: You know. Yeah.
After enjoying these clips and interviews make sure you see the movie tomorrow!!
RATCHET & CLANK
Opening Nationwide April 29, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 94 Minutes
From Rainmaker Entertainment and Blockade Entertainment, Ratchet & Clank is a CG-animated movie based on the iconic PlayStation video game. Two unlikely heroes struggle to stop a vile alien named Chairman Drek from destroying every planet in the Solana Galaxy. Ratchet is the last of his kind, a foolhardy “lombax” who has grown up alone on a backwater planet with no family of his own. Clank is a pint-sized robot with more brains than brawn. When the two stumble upon a dangerous weapon capable of destroying entire planets, they must join forces with a team of colorful heroes called The Galactic Rangers in order to save the galaxy. Along the way, they will learn about heroism, friendship, and the importance of discovering one’s own identity.
Voice Cast: Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Bella Thorne, Rosario Dawson,
Jim Ward, James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Armin Shimerman, and Sylvester Stallone
Directed by: Kevin Munroe
Written by: T.J. Fixman, Kevin Munroe, Gerry Swallow
Produced by: Kim Dent Wilder, Brad Foxhoven, David Wohl
Release Date: Nationwide from Gramercy Pictures on April 29, 2016