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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in our magazines

THE MOVIE: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Martin Freeman • Sam Rockwell • Mos Def
• Zooey Deschanel
DIRECTOR: Garth Jennings

Arthur Dent and Marvin on the planet Magrathea THE CONCEPT:
Arthur Dent escapes the destruction of Earth – to make way for a hyperspace freeway – with the help of his friend Ford Prefect, who happen to be an alien. Then Arthur discovers that the Universe is not quite how he'd imagined…

U.S. RELEASE: April 29 2005, Nationwide • Rated: PG


Were you a fan of the books?

“No, I read the book after I got the part, but I think I’d seen the TV series as a kid, but I watched Doctor Who mostly. So I didn’t know too much about it. I drew from the book more than the tv series.”

Could you talk about the different characters you blended together to create Zaphod?:
“When I read for Zaphod it was kind of a crap reading, so I went out thinking, ‘Forget that.’ Then I got a call where they offered me the role, and I didn’t really know why they gave me the part. My ex-girlfriend said, “Why don’t you do that Vince Vaughn/Elvis thing,’ and I said, ‘I don’t know if that’s going to work for this. I’ll try it.’ I went in there and said, ‘What about this,’ and I didn’t think they’d go for it, and they did. I added some Bill Clinton to that, a Iittle George W Bush and a little Freddy Mercury. It’s definitely got a rock star vibe.”

Did you give Zaphod a back story about all the rock influence?:
“No, but he’s very American in the book, and we needed him to be very likeable. So we took from all of these American icons, like Elvis and Bill Clinton, who are very charismatic characters. The thing about him is that you don’t know if he’s a genius or a moron. He’s incredibly superficial too, and it says in the book that he could blow up the ship with an extravagant gesture. He’s walking around touching the control panel and he’s pretending he’s Captain Kirk, and he pushes a few buttons, and he can blow up the ship, and that was really key to Zaphod, he just doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing, and he’s President.”

With films like Sin City, where everything was digital, how important was it to walk onto a set and see a spaceship?:
“It was great. I don’t know how they do that CGI stuff. We had these real sets and Muppets. We had real puppeteers, who are terrific actors. So that was really helpful.”

Do you know when you’re making a film that it’s going to be cool?:
“I’m not really good at that. Galaxy Quest was pretty special, and it made some money. It wasn’t like Ghostbusters money, but people dig that movie, and smart people like that movie. We all felt there was something about that at the time. It was a similar tone to this, and it’s funny that Alan Rickman and I are in both.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2005 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #657, June 2005 cover

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