This week in theaters, Gore Verbinski’s latest extravaganza, Rango hits theaters. This film takes of number of interesting, artistic risks and is able to do so because of the powerhouses behind it. Gore has just come off the successful Pirates franchise and if you’ve seen any of the posters for this film you should know that “Johnny Depp is Rango.” Normally I don’t like such blatant advertising but because I support this film and always applaud a metaphorical head trip with many fine cinematic references, I’ll back that up — Johnny Depp is Rango along with the lovely and hysterical Isla Fisher as the rough, tough and sometimes frozen Beans and the adorable and witty Abigail Breslin as the sweetly sinister Priscilla — and you should see it.
We sat down with the crew to talk about the film, find out what they had to say below…
Gore and Johnny, together again…
You guys have obviously worked together a few times now, and I was just wondering if you could each comment on what you like so much about working with the other.
GORE VERBINSKI: I like the way he smells. [LAUGHTER]
JOHNNY DEPP: I’ve been told I smell good; I mean, I don’t look like I smell good. [LAUGHTER]
GORE VERBINSKI: I don’t know – because we have shorthand, talking and sound effects and unfinished sentences and -
JOHNNY DEPP: Yeah.
GORE VERBINSKI: He seems to understand exactly what that means, and I get it back. And you know, a very – very complex direction, like more fuzz -
JOHNNY DEPP: More fuzz, yeah.
GORE VERBINSKI: More stink on this line, you know. Really, that’s about as intellectual as it gets.
JOHNNY DEPP: And it really is that, exactly, you know. “Ah, let’s make – you know – maybe some more fuzz. Let’s put some more fuzz on it.” “Okay. Gotcha.” No, he’s a very – I mean, working with Gore, you know, in three “Pirates” films and Rango certainly, there are no limits to what you could – to the possibilities, I mean, you know, he allows you to try all kinds of things, you know, that sometimes fail miserably.
GORE VERBINSKI: Yes, please.
JOHNNY DEPP: And other times, you know, goes into this kind of weird – you’ve just arrived at some place that you know no one’s ever been to before, you know. And he welcomes it and he creates an atmosphere that allows you to just, you know, go essentially ape. And yeah, and it’s a blast, you know – that’s really a fun part of the process.
GORE VERBINSKI: That’s really – what’s great about Johnny is, you know, the trust that – you know, neither of us are going to make the other one look like an ass, you know. I have to – he has to trust that at the end of the day, we’re not going to use that stuff -
JOHNNY DEPP: Um-hmm.
GORE VERBINSKI: Where we’ve tried something that didn’t work, but we’re going to try it because anomaly and you know, we’ve got this sort of pursuit of finding the truly awkward moment, you know, which is – you’re only going to get there by not knowing, and sort of venturing into the unknown. And so, you know, I just think he’s incredibly brave, you know, on top of being incredibly talented. It’s like you’ve got to kind of cross that threshold.
Acting in an Animated-Gore World:
For Johnny, you’re a very physical actor, and I just wondered with this process, it’s different than the other animated films you’ve done, where you were in a booth. You actually acted this out. And I wondered if that helped you. And maybe the actresses, as well, could talk a little about doing that. It’s different than most animated pictures.
JOHNNY DEPP: Well, yeah. I mean, ultimately, it was everything; though, you know, there were times when you didn’t feel that, when you were doing it – you’d rather have been – because you know, well, we’re lazy. [LAUGHTER]
JOHNNY DEPP: At least I am. And I’d sort of rather just sit in front of a microphone and do the thing. However -
GORE VERBINSKI: That’s exactly the point.
JOHNNY DEPP: The process that we did, that Gore created this sort of atmosphere that was really, truly ludicrous; I mean, just ridiculous. It was like just regional theater at its worst.
JOHNNY DEPP: And somehow, because of – not the idea of motion capture, but emotion capture, you know; certain gestures, body language, movement, something you might have done, you know, with your eyes – all those guys, you know, these animators took it and put it in there. So, I mean, it was very strange. I mean, for Harry Dean Stanton to walk up to me one afternoon – because I’ve known him for a million years – and he walks up to me and says, “This is a weird gig, man.” [LAUGHTER] And I went, “Oh, yeah. You’ve just started. You just wait.” You know. But ultimately, it was the right thing to do. And that was his vision, and we saw it through.
What did you think, Isla and Abigail?
ISLA FISHER: I think the characters had humanity because we were interacting with each other, and more chemistry; and so it felt more organic and real. What do you think, Abigail?
ABIGAIL BRESLIN: You know, it was – you know, when you’re in just like a booth, by yourself, it’s like very isolating, and like you don’t really, like, have anything to sort of play off of except like one take of like one line, and then like a beep, and then – so this was, this was – I think that it was, well, for me, at least, a lot more fun. Although I did wear a wig, like a black wig and I got a really bad rash on my neck from it, and so that was a little unfortunate, but -
ISLA FISHER: And you were carrying a gun.
ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I was.
ISLA FISHER: Which was weird, to see Abigail with a massive gun.
ABIGAIL BRESLIN: It was so bizarre, because like there was actually guns going, and like you don’t think that there are like firearms in an animated movie.
ABIGAIL BRESLIN: And it’s like live. That’s all I thought about it.
JOHNNY DEPP: Gore always travels with guns.
GORE VERBINSKI: Absolutely. Keep people from going to sleep.
JOHNNY DEPP: Yeah.
To do 3D or to NOT do 3D — that is the struggle:
I’ve heard in previous reports that you kind of fought tooth and nail in order to make sure that Rango isn’t going to be in 3D. Are you for or against 3D in general? Is Rango not being in 3D like the only time when you’re going to be like, no to 3D? And how do you all feel about just kind of like 3D being like the big trend in general?
JOHNNY DEPP: I’m waiting for 5D. [LAUGHTER] That’s what I want.
GORE VERBINKSI: I don’t know – I just don’t feel – I watched the movie; I don’t think there’s a dimension missing. I don’t feel like, I don’t watch it and go, you know, “It’s flat,” or it’s, you know, missing anything. So you know, we talked about it early on and it just didn’t seem like we needed to go there.
ISLA FISHER: I think the glasses are really uncomfortable. [LAUGHTER]
ABIGAIL BRESLIN: Like, it actually looks like, it looks so like lifelike anyway, like I think that it looks like 3D; it looked like the animals were there anyway. It looked really cool, I thought. And 3D makes me dizzy.
Is There a Chance of a Rango Sequel??
This is for Johnny and Gore. I noticed, looking through the Rango movie storybook, that he has a continuing adventure and goes to another town. Can we hope that there might be a Rango 2?
GORE VERBINSKI: [INDISCERNIBLE]
JOHNNY DEPP: I think that means yes.
GORE VERBINSKI: I don’t know. Let’s see if, you know, people like Rango – Rango. I’m not even going to call it Rango I.
JOHNNY DEPP: [LAUGHTER] Rango 1.
PRESS: So there’s a possibility?
GORE VERBINSKI: Currently, not talking about it. I mean, it felt like, you know – I mean, if you just had a kid, would people say, you want – “How about twins?” [LAUGHTER] “We’re just – we’re still recovering.”
Finding A Voice:
This question is for Isla. Can you tell us a little bit about creating the voice of Beans, and if you feel like having to cover your accent so frequently in films made it easier to do the characterization? And then I have a follow-up for Johnny.
ISLA FISHER: I kind of imagine Beans, if Clint Eastwood and Holly Hunter would have a love child, that would be Beans. And Gore, obviously-
JOHNNY DEPP: I’d like to watch that.
GORE VERBINSKI: Yes. [LAUGHTER]
ISLA FISHER: If you were around. No, and then I just – the physicality of the character had already been created; I’d already seen – Gore presented me with 20 minutes of the movie, just linear drawings. So I knew, you know, how she moved. And then I was able to – you know, Gore was with me every step of the way vocally, and he was very specific about what he wanted. And no one ever wants to hire an Australian, so I’m just used to never doing my own voice, ever. [LAUGHTER]
ISLA FISHER: I mean, they do want to hire – oh, that came out wrong. They do want to hire Australians, obviously, but not with the accent. [LAUGHTER]
PRESS: But I was just wondering, for all the actors – how much of your characters did you get to see in terms of the artwork, before you started playing with them?
ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I saw a picture of Priscilla. And I would have done it based on like how – I mean, let’s face it, she’s a glamour girl. So she’s kind of gorgeous. You know, but I thought she was adorable. So I would have done it based on that. But yeah, I thought all the characters were pretty cute – but in a strange way, odd, but you know, cute. They’re not like cuddly, you know – it’s not like, you don’t want to like hold them, but – yeah.
[Justin Bieber walks into the room right before they end. A surprise? Perhaps! Or perhaps it's just cross-promotion since they are both being released by the same studio...]
JOHNNY DEPP: Hey, Man. [APPLAUSE]
JOHNNY DEPP: We just established that I’m a Belieber.
JUSTIN BIEBER: You know, and I’m a big fan of you so I had to come support you.
JOHNNY DEPP: Bless you, man.
JUSTIN BIEBER: I had to come say hi – I heard you were in the building. You’re a Belieber and I’m a big fan of him. [LAUGHTER]
JOHNNY DEPP: By the way, Justin Bieber. [APPLAUSE as Bieber waves to everyone]
JOHNNY DEPP: Well done, Man, thank you. Okay, now, who’s not a Belieber now? [LAUGHTER] You know what I mean? Aren’t we all Beliebers? Bless him. Yeah. I know – how am I going to explain this to my daughter?
GORE VERBINSKI: Who was that?
JOHNNY DEPP: That was the Beatles.
Check back soon for our “Johnny Depp Fucks with Journalists” piece and a 1-1 with Gore!
Rango is scheduled to hit theaters on March 4, 2011.