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Monsters vs Aliens in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Monsters vs Aliens

THE STARS:
(voices) Reese Witherspoon • Seth Rogen • Hugh Laurie • Kiefer Sutherland • Will Arnett
DIRECTOR: Rob Letterman & Conrad Vernon

THE CONCEPT:
Susan and the Monsters...
When Susan Murphy (Witherspoon) is unwittingly struck by a meteor on her wedding day, she mysteriously grows to 49 feet 11 inches tall. She’s immediately captured by the military and placed under the care of General WR Monger (Sutherland) in a secret government compound that houses a ragtag group of monsters, including a brilliant insect, Dr Cockroach (Laurie), a half-ape, half fish, The Missing Link (Arnett) and a gelatinous and indestructible blob named BOB (Rogen). Their confinement is cut short when a destructive alien robot lands on Earth and begins attacking San Francisco, and the motley crew of monsters is enlisted to fight the aliens and save the country.

U.S. RELEASE: March 27 2009, Nationwide • Rated: PG

THE COMMENTS:

CONRAD VERNON:
“When we first were working on this film and getting the story ready, Jeffrey Katzenberg sent us an e-mail that said Reese had come in and was talking to him about doing an animated film. Rob [Letterman] and I immediately shined to that idea and said, ‘Wow, that’s perfect casting for us. It would be great for little Reese to play this gigantic woman and become empowered.’ She has a very big personality, so we met with her and pitched the idea, and seeing as this story was about a woman being empowered, she really loved this role.”

LISA STEWART (Producer):
“For the rest of the actors we basically tried to assemble a comedy all-star team. We just wanted to find the best comedic actors we could get who we knew would be quick on their feet in the recording booth.”

REESE WITHERSPOON:
Reese Witherspoon and Susan“I was really into the idea of 1950s B movie monsters becoming heroes. I watched a lot of those movies as a kid with my dad every Saturday night. So this was a really good modern concept, and then to put a woman at the center of the film was pretty amazing. They don’t make a lot of movies with a woman at the center of them, so it was a great opportunity to create a female superhero. I’ve never been offered this kind of thing before. I don’t think they make a whole lot of female superhero movies – this is the first one I’ve ever even heard of other than Wonder Woman on television in the ‘80s.”

SETH ROGEN:
Seth Rogen and BOB“Normally my roles are pretty intellectually deep, so it was nice to shed those shackles and be immature as BOB in this [he laughs]. My first concern was how will I be funny without profanity? Definitely a real fear I had, but the answer is if you get very clever people to animate you, it makes up for all the profanity in the world and it actually makes quite a delightful movie. I only have one voice I do, so I told them, ‘If you want the character to sound exactly like me then I’m the perfect guy for this.’ I thought BOB was a cool character. It seemed like there was a clear joke, he has no brain and he’s hungry all the time.”

WILL ARNETT:
Will Arnett and The Missing Link“I was a little alarmed that [The Missing Link] is what I looked like in some people’s eyes – sort of half-ape, half-fish. Truthfully, I was so impressed with the art right from moment one, how great it looked before we even got into the script and the story. I’m not sure that I knew what I was going to do voice-wise. They said, ‘This guy’s kind of macho, or he thinks he’s macho. So just talk in your normal voice.’ That hurt, I’m not going to lie.”

VERNON:
“Someone had sent us a clip on YouTube from The Simpsons, and we said, ‘That’s a hilarious voice, who is that?’ And we looked at the credits and it was Kiefer Sutherland. So we said, ‘Geez, let’s get that guy to do a similar thing for us.’ We always thought of the General as George C Scott from Dr Strangelove, but Kiefer came in with the idea that it was the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket mixed with Yosemite Sam, so between all those characters he just jumbled them up and threw this new voice at us.”

KIEFER SUTHERLAND:
General WR Monger“I loved the sergeant in Full Metal Jacket, because he was so relentless. To counterbalance that with humor I loved the voice of Yosemite Sam. The producers laughed so we took the voice in that direction. I’ve never chosen a character, I’ve always been drawn to an entire story and however I fit in then great. This was no different. I loved the idea that they were making a movie geared towards young children, telling them it was all right to be different. Not only to be different, but also that thing that might make you feel awkward about being different, could be your greatest quality.”

VERNON:
“What’s nice about the old monster movies is they never had personalities, they never had hopes, dreams and ambitions, or needed love, they just scared the hell out of everybody. So we could easily use the iconic-ness of these characters that everyone would relate to and recognize from those old movies that they used to watch, but then be completely original in the personality that we gave them.”

STEWART:
“I think that the idea that they are based on these ‘50s and ‘60s characters, having them locked away for all of these years and then thrust back into contemporary society was an extremely fun thing to play with, they’re out of shape, they don’t really know what’s going on in the world anymore, it just gave us a great opportunity for humor.”

WITHERSPOON:
“When I saw my character, I was stoked. From the time she busted out of the church and she’s wearing that mini-skirt, she looks so cute. My girlfriend and I saw it with our kids, and she turned to me at the end, when Susan wakes up and she’s in that catsuit, like Ziggy Stardust, and she was like, ‘You’re so hot!’ I said, ‘I know, I would actually wear that outfit.’ It was awesome.”

ROGEN on doing voice over work:
“It’s a little different than your traditional film making process. There are no technical aspects to consider. There are no marks or cameras or lights or movements, you just stand and talk. I like it. But you feel really goofy in [the sound booth]. It’s you alone in a room going, ‘Ooh, ah, eeh,’ and you’re like, ‘Is that what you want?’ And they are filming you all the time, it’s very odd.”

ARNETT on monsters and aliens:
“I don’t know that monster movies had a big effect on me. I think the first scary movie that I went and saw in the theatre was The Fog, and that’s actually remarkably devoid of any creatures. It’s just rolling steam. I’ve read with a certain amount of interest that last year there were some sightings of UFOs in Texas, and there were a lot of fairly credible members of the community who all had independent accounts of having seen these lights move in similar ways. It’s hard not to be compelled by that a little bit, because it just allows you to appreciate that maybe we’re not just here on our own.”

SUTHERLAND:
“I’ve never been on the extraterrestrial highway; I have never sought out Area 51. I think it would be very arrogant to think that in a universe that we can’t even find the ends of, that we are the only organisms out there. Do I think they are in the shape of the aliens in our film? Probably not. Do I believe that there are other things out there? Absolutely.”

WITHERSPOON:
“I think the movie is about a lot of different things. I remember being a kid and how important my friendships were and I think this movie has a really strong friendship message in it and how important those relationships are, and if you feel a little different on the outside there’s a group of people you fit into and you guys might collectively save the world.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2009 Visual Imagination.
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