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INT: Raja Gosnell

Aug. 21, 2003by: The Arrow

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

Tall and mellow Raja came in with an amicable aura about him. Very generous and very kind. Good man!

RAJA GOSNELL

So what did you do differently in this sequel? What was easier?

I think we learned a lot on the first movie, and we learned where our strike zones are and it seemed like the nostalgic stuff worked the best when the gang was together, doing what the gang does, so we designed this movie around the classic monsters, bringing the classic monsters back and alive. It seemed like when the gang was fighting in the first movie that it was not necessarily what the audience wanted it to be. It feels better in this movie, the gang's all working together, they have their own personal issues they have to deal with, but they're still a gang. It's Mystery Inc, we're going to solve this thing - it just generally has a more positive tone I'd say than the first movie.

The first movie had an issue about getting the right tone: whether it was ironic for adults, whether it was a kid's movie. How much did you want to try and push the winking Brady Bunch humor and so on?

That was one of our big learning curves on the first movie, and I think that we've found just the right balance in this movie - I think there's enough of that to satisfy the hardcore Scooby fans. There's some winks, there's some innuendo, but overall, the tone of the movie is much more of a mainstream. There's been a tonal shift, but there are still those little nuggets in there.

When you started saying we wanted to bring all these monsters back, was it going to be only one, was it two, what was the development of the idea?

Again, what worked best in the first movie seemed to be when the gang was together doing what the gang does and we're dealing with sort of classic elements. So the first idea was to bring ALL the monsters back, and that sort of became a bit cumbersome from a story standpoint because once you bring a monster alive, then what is their function in the story and how do they interact with the gang? So we sort of gradually whittled away the monsters and now we're down to 7 or 8.

We have Captain Cutler whoís a deep-sea diver whoís a classic; we have the Cotton Candy Glob, the 10,000 volt ghost, the Tar Monster, Miner 49'er, and the Zombie, so I think that we have enough of the greats that the people recognize them.The movie actually opens in the Coolsonian Criminology museum where all the costumes are on display from the creatures that have been unmasked by Mystery Inc so you sort of see them in their goofy costume state, and then they're all stolen by this evil masked figure and they're brought to life.

As a director, from a visual standpoint, are you trying something different for the sequel or just more of the same in your approach?

We're trying to do what we did in the last movie, but better.Itís a very colorful movie...itís a very visual movie.We're not sort of hamstrung by being in an island environment or a theme park environment, we're throughout Coolsville so we have a beautiful museum setting, we have Mystery Inc's offices which are sort of hi-tech and beautiful and there's enough of the 70's in there which is cool for kids now, we have this haunted house out here which is Peter Boyle's house in the movie, and we've been on a variety of locations so the looks can differ more.But we have the same production designer who's a genius in my opinion, and the look of the photography is going to be very sort of poppy and very Scooby-Doo.

How does the shoot differ for you - the first film was such a long shoot with lots of pressure, now you're on the second - is it easier?

It feels great, it feels really nice to walk the way we did in the first movie, to know exactly tonally where we want this movie to be. The characters are spot on, we knew as we designed the script what the strengths of the different characters were and we really sort of designed this script around everything we learned on that one, so it's made my job a lot easier because I'm not constantly struggling with tone in my head, I'd go "How far do I push this, how far should I push that?" Since we were there, we pushed the envelope in the last movie, so itís pretty easy to internally find where the boundaries are.

Has Warner Bros been more strict or lenient considering the first film's success?

Not necessarily, they've been very supportive all around.We all wanted to make the same movie, we all walked with the same lessons from the first one, we all wanted to make a better sequel and we all attacked it with that in mind.

What can you do this time that you weren't able to do now that youíre all speaking the same language?

I think there's just more time to do more detailed work. Before, we were always rushing to the next set-up and there wasn't that sort of time to develop the characters as we went.A lot of times, you really don't learn if a scene will work until you get it on its feet, then you have to make very quick decisions about which way that scene is going to go. This time, since everyone had done it before in rehearsals, it was very easy to get the scene on its feet and get the production going.It's much more of an automatic comfort level with first of all, the script, and then, the staging and the performance.

So much of the first movie's funny stuff is all Scooby, and I can imagine you must have an unlimited amount of ideas of things he can do.So how do you pare that down, how do you work in the things you want him to do, what are some of the things you want him to do?

At the end of the day, we want him to be Scooby, the Scooby that people love is innocent, he's got a three-year-old mentality. He's frightened, he's scared, he's everyone's best friend.So we wanted to maintain that Scooby first and foremost, and seeing his and Shaggy's relationship is really at the center of this movie, it's a buddy team and what they do emotionally, they do it together. In terms of gags, they're somewhat unlimited, because he's a CGI character.

At some point though, because the rest of the world is real, his gags get so outlandish that it can't start to feel like a different movie so we wanted to sort of design his humor to be Scooby-esque, his character to be Scooby-esque and sympathetic and funny at the same time.The humor is to come out of real life situations, not necessarily be a whole other outlandish movie.I think Scooby, in terms of his performance, will be roughly the same in terms of the gags, plus the emotion as in the first movie - I think that was one of our most successful things in the first movie so we're trying to do it that way.

With all the monsters and extra supporting characters, is it harder to concentrate on the ensemble?

No, it's not actually. I think the new supporting cast were great - they brought a lot of fresh energy into the mix, we have three great suspects in the movie.They've got some of my favorite scenes in the movie, because they're fresh characters and they are not just geeky sidekicks - they're living, breathing real people with subtly hidden motives, so I think the mystery elements of this is much stronger this time around.

Has all the blue screen CG work become much easier?

Yes, it has. I'm much more Scooby conscious in this movie than I was in the last one. You get on set, you have 5-6 actors working, you try to cover this and cover that, and Scooby on the first movie tended to be an afterthought - so it was like "Oh yeah, we got to get that Scooby shot" and it was the last shot of the day as actors have turnaround, Scooby doesn't - Scooby's not there. In a sense, we're all much more conscious of Scooby, and what Scooby is going to do, and what the jokes are. A lot of Scooby stuff that was in the first movie came up in post-production, the first script didn't revolve around Scooby that much. Scooby was the comic sidekick.This movie is really about Scooby & Shaggy's relationship and their journey, and the other characters too, but it really centers on those two guys.

What about CG Scooby's look?

He's going to look a lot better in this movie. The technology for the fur, and the wet nose and the eyes is...you know, two years turnaround time, we've got a lot better lighting technology as well so - he's still got the same shape, he's going to be the same character, but the look of him should be better.

How did the new actors like Seth Green and Alicia Silverstone come forward?

We went to them, we said '"Would you want to be in a Scooby-Doo movie?"-- the way you approach any actor.I can't think of any better team than those three for these specific characters. Alicia plays the hard-hitting reporter, who at first seems to be a big fan of Mystery Inc, but then continually exposes their mistakes and in a sense, turns Coolsville against them.Peter Boyle is a just-released from jail person whom they imprisoned, so he has a lot of motive, but turns out to be very sympathetic.Seth is Velma's love interest, and yet there's a dark side to him that's hard to figure out.

We also saw Tim Blake Nelson's name in the cast...

He's actually a deceased...it's a little bit hard to explain, but there's flashbacks of him earlier.

Any plans for a third film?

Yeah, I love doing Scooby Doo.If there's a chance to make it better, I really would love to.I really feel like, for better or worse, I want to own the series, I feel like that's important to me. I got a lot of movie offers after Scooby 1, but I really wanted to do Scooby 2 because I didn't just want to be the guy who directed the first one and sat back from the second one wondering if it was better.

Any other projects in development?†

There are a couple, but they're in pretty early development stages.I'd love to do a "people movie" that's about people, I'd like to stay in a comedy vein for now - I'm very comfortable there and audiences seem to be comfortable with my version of comedy, so it seems like a good place to be.There's another visual effects movie I've also been dancing around for a while, trying to find the key to unlock and make. It's something the studios are interested in, so that's a bit of a harder puzzle, but it's something near and dear to my heart.

Is there a story for Scooby 3?

There are a couple of stories ticking around, but no there's no official story - it's just guys sitting around a monitor pitching things. So at this present time...no.


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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