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INT: Matthew Lillard

Aug. 18, 2003by:

Part 1: Scooby-Doo 2 Sets
Part 2: Matthew Lillard
Part 3: Linda Cardellini
Part 4: Raja Gosnell
Part 5: Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sitting in a boiling hot room, sweating bullets into buckets, us journalists waited as the talent came in and out in between takes to chit-chat about their experience on SCOOBY-DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED. Almost everybody was very courteous and happy to share their love with us, except one Freddie Prinze Jr. who didn't feel up to talking to us-- we were told that he felt a little "under the weather". When I saw Fred walking to the set earlier on, blonde locks in tow, he looked pretty freakin' healthy to me (he actually seemed pissed off beyond belief). Oh well, what can you do. Freddie, Freddie Doo! Where are you!?Now let the games begin!

I loved Matthew Lillard. He came in totally chilled out with a good sense of humor. When I mentioned that I was from JoBlo.com, he said: Right on! I checked your stuff!Another thing I liked about Matthew is that he used the term dude more than I do. Thats a compliment.Booca!

MATTHEW LILLARD

Between the first film and now the second film, did you do anything different this time around?

The funny thing is my daughter was born the weekend the first one opened and I put on 20 pounds of empathy weight, I don't know if it was because of the kid... So I put on a lot of weight, so for me to get back into physical shape was a big deal, and doing that - I was working on a movie watching Charlie Chaplin movies while running the treadmill to get ready for this, the physical kind of comedy that he was using I tried to bring a lot into this movie.So that was the thing, it was a lot like ROCKY, dropping the weight, watching Charlie and Chan and all those greats. Then on top of it, just committing to it, it's a really long grueling shoot, especially for me because I do a lot of physical stuff. I'm working a lot, and I'm working with the dog and he isn't there so that's even more of a mental drain, so it was just getting ready for the war. It feels like a war.

Was it easier working with the dog the second time, since now you had an idea what it looks like?

It is because the leap of faith isn't as great.The first time, it was like jumping in the abyss and your like 'I have no idea how this is going to turn out' or even if it would work at the end of the day, you didn't know if in the end it would be like ROCKY & BULLWINKLE in terms of its failure or success. So, this time it is easier because you have an idea of what's on the other side. I also have faith that what's on the other side is going to upstage 99% of the time and that's not an easy thing to do.

Last time you said the voice was really hard to maintain. Did you find that this time too?

It was hard to locate, but it wasn't hard to maintain as much - I don't know when I said that, when I said that I was just lying quite possibly.The endurance of the whole thing is hard to maintain, because it's six months of, this one was four months, but the first movie was six months and everyday youre running for your life [screams in Shaggy voice]. The anxiety level is up here and that's a physical commitment and an emotional commitment that's kind of tough to maintain. I'm trying to get to sleep early, eat well, etc...You do a movie like WICKER PARK, which is the other movie I did, or even like SCREAM-- its not that same kind of grind.

So watching Charlie Chaplin and those classics, is there anything you came back and said this would be a great thing for Scooby and me to do that we could find a way to put in the movie?

It wasn't directly stealing, but indirectly stealing if that makes sense. It's not like I looked at his work with like a fire hose and said "Oh, where can I work a fire hose". Also, like Rowan Atkinson in the first movie, there's ways that brilliant physical comedic performers work and it's like preciseness and rhythm.Its all like a dance, and the beats are like music. Its finding and watching someone doing something great, you just learn it vicariously. So I wasn't like stealing specific things, but it was the whole essence of it - that's a really esoteric kind of way to say it-- you know it's a musical comedy and watching a great musician like Charlie Chaplin do it you hopefully learn.

Because you did that this time around, was there specific things from the first time around you had to let go?

Not really. I didn't actually go back and watch the movie again before we started working on it. Like you know when a movie comes out you see it so many times your like 'God I can't watch it anymore'. I'm kind of glad I didn't, because I think we were all happy with how the first film did, but we all realized that it wasn't the best movie ever.So we all came back, and I don't know what anyone else has said, but you sit up here and I guarantee you ask us all, we're all making a better movie - the script's better, with a better idea.

The first time we kind of got in this log jam where we tried to make a movie that was SHREK in its appeal to both adult and kids, and we missed both ways. We kind of screwed up and yet it was a big hit-- actually it was a huge hit.This time around, I know we're making a movie that's for families that adults will get a kick out of, but it's for families. Having that kind of commitment and that kind of focus is completely helping out the film, its making a better film. The movie is going to make a certain amount of money again box-office wise, but hopefully at the end of the day, we won't be crucified like we were the first time around.

When the first film came out, I recall everyone was really impressed with how you captured Shaggy which no one thought a live actor could do.How would you describe what enabled you to become Shaggy without mimicking the cartoon?

I think it's just commitment and trying to find the honesty in what he does.Its making his two-dimensional character a three-dimensional real person.I think that scene in the first movie, the power point scene where he's like "Scooby, you're my best friend", showcases two best friends. You take out the fact that it's a talking dog who walks, and talks and farts like a man and you really make it about two best friends and the humanity of it.

I think that's why I got accolades and a lot of positive reviews because I was trying to make a funny character with humanity, if that makes sense. The great thing about this movie is that James Gunn knows us all, Raja Gosnell knows us all, the studio knows us all, and the movie has been crafted around what we do best. So for me, Scooby and I have a really great emotional through-line through the film, but it's also coupled with a lot of big comedy hi-jinks moments.

We talked to Neil Fanning a little bit earlier. Can you talk about working with him the second time around?

Neil Fanning is, without a doubt, my savior in particular. I couldn't do this movie without him - no way, without a doubt.Not only does he bring life to Scooby as the voice in terms of the film, but also for me as an actor, he's a tool that I couldn't replace.We work on it beforehand; he works with me with lines on set.There's so much going on on-set that a lot of times, the idiosyncrasies of the scene fall by the wayside. Raja's watching all kinds of stuff.But Neill is always there, always watching, always reminding me and working with me.

Also coming up with stuff for me. I can't say enough to what he's done for me to get to the place where I am and the work I feel I am doing on this movie. I feel like this is the best work Ive ever done in my life, and it sounds funny because it's Scooby-Doo, but I feel like it's a movie for me with a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. I like that-- I don't have that a lot in my career.So to be a guy in a major movie like this, and to have a majority of the storyline and to have a real strong kind of push in the film feels great - a lot of that I attribute to Neill.

What do you think about the inclusion of all the monsters from the series?

I think it's great. I think it's very clever and it brings back elements of the cartoon that people love that we didn't necessarily have in the first one. You know, you see Captain Cutler's ghost and you're running from Cutler's ghost and he's really there, and the Black Knight Ghost and all these ghosts you recognize from the series.I think that's fun and I think that kids & adults will love that.

Which ghosts was your favorite?

I love Cutler. There's a great scene in the movie where again Shaggy & Scooby have screwed up and they're pitching rocks into the water, and Cutler's ghost comes out of the water. It was the first ghost I saw, and the scene where he arrives is really cool - he's just a really cool ghost. I think Cutler's awesome, I think all of them are good, but obviously there's a couple of CG elements we haven't seen.

Are there any big sequences that have been done?

There's a bunch of set pieces. I think the action in this movie is ten times better than the first one. They made a concerted effort to build in great action sequences. There's a whole scene that we're being chased in this mineshaft where we're skating down this hill, like snowboarding down this dirt hill and we jump off a 20ft cliff into a bunch of bags that was fun. I just did it once; they didn't like me doing stunts.That was plenty, honestly jumping 20ft into a bunch of bags doesn't seem that impressive, but when your on top of 20ft, it's like "Oh shit, that's hard"-- so once was enough for me.

Are you scared the Shaggy role will typecast you in the future?

Yeah, sure.That's definitely a concern, definitely my biggest nightmare.I've worked my whole life, I've done Shakespeare, I've done plays, I've done dramas and from now on, if all Hollywood sees me as is this big goofy kind of silly character...that would be a drag.The good thing about the script is that the movie has got a lot of layers. I don't feel like he's just this stupid funny Bill & Ted goofy stoner guy, I think he's got a lot of layers.Hopefully, if anyone is going to try and hire me, they will go back and see the dimensions and the layers in the performance and hopefully, give me a chance.

Have you got something lined up for after this?

There's a deal right now that I'm trying to put together, and there's another deal I'm trying to get, so we'll see.

Do you think physical comedy movies will progress after this?

You know Hollywood doesn't do a lot of physical comedy movies.It really doesn't. You get movies like DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR, but that's not really a physical comedy, you know it's kind of like a lost art form.I feel like as Hollywood progresses, less and less people are willing to be silly and I think that physical comedy is demanding and it just doesn't happen a lot anymore.

Which is too bad, I mean REVENGE OF THE PINK PANTHER five years ago, other than that there's not really been a....Jim Carrey does some shtick that's physical, but its not really done much anymore which is too bad because I think that people love to watch people get hurt. You watch Chaplin and you're like, it's so funny to watch him getting hit in the face with a frying pan - its like cartoons. Hopefully they'll keep doing them because if I get stuck in a rut, maybe I should just keep doing that.

What other "psychical comedy" people did you look at for this?

You look at [Peter] Sellers, they're trying to remake the Pink Panther series and it's like nobody wants to touch it. Everyone is very scared of it and they should be because when you get somebody whose that good and that committed at it, you tread very lightly on comic genius.So Sellers obviously is huge, Chaplin's huge, I think there are guys out there that are funny - I think this Ashton Kutcher kid-- he's good looking and you watch "That 70's Show" and he just delivers the full commitment.He's good looking and funny and usually God doesn't dish out that many gifts in one person, so I kind of hate him (laughs) because he's...I'm jealous. And he gets Demi Moore on top of this...

Now we're going to write this and your going to get "Punk'd"...

You can't Punk me Kutcher. Kutcher I don't know if you can hear me (talking closer into the mike), but you cannot punk me, I'm not scared of you. Seth Green was "Punk'd I haven't seen it, but I think every celebrity wakes up that little more terrified. I can't watch it, it's such a hard show to watch because I know if they punk me I'm going to be a dick or something. I don't know, Don't Punk me please, please don't Punk me.


STAY TUNED FOR MORE BELOW

Part 1: Scooby-Doo 2 Sets
Part 2: Matthew Lillard
Part 3: Linda Cardellini
Part 4: Raja Gosnell
Part 5: Sarah Michelle Gellar
Source: JoBlo.com

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