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INT: Sam Rockwell

The following interview was both mine and Sam Rockwell's first of the day. It was early on a Saturday morning and these type of interviews can go either way. People can be shy and reserved at first until they get warmed up later in the day or they can be refreshed and energized getting tired and crankier as the day progresses. Luckily Sam was the latter. At least half of the latter - I didn't see him later on so I can't vouch for whether he got cranky. But the man came in with a big cup of coffee and was rearing to go. You know an interview is going well when the subject gets out of his chair to mime out some answers to you. Here's what Rockwell had to say and to mime, about his work on HITCHHIKER'S.

Can you talk about your audition for HITCHHIKER'S and Zaphod because as I understand it, you went in for the role of Ford Prefect? Yeah. That happened by accident. How do you adapt, going from auditioning to one character for another? We had met once in New York for Ford and we met again in London after I had read the script for Ford again. I was shooting a movie in London, this movie PICADILLY JIM. I was reading Ford as kind of this young Gary Busey. I actually said, "What about this Zaphod guy?" Because I had read his scenes during his entrance and I said, "This is a great character." They had tossed different names for Zaphod and I think they were thinking more like comedians - Jack Black and Will Ferrell - at first. I guess they responded to what I was doing but I didn’t know if what I was doing was all that. I kind of cold read it. It was supposed to be just a meeting. But I knew that Nick and Garth were special guys. I looked at the TV series but I didn’t really know what Zaphod was about. I just knew he was this flashy character. They cast Mos as Ford and I didn’t hear about the whole thing. Then, I heard later that I got the role of Zaphod. I didn’t think they really thought of me as Zaphod and then I met with them again to see what they wanted me to do with this because I really didn’t know why they gave me this part. So my girlfriend at the time gave me this idea, this Vince/Elvis thing that you joke around because Vince Vaughn does this great Elvis and we’re good friends. But that was just a goof, I didn’t know about that for a whole movie. So she said, "Why not?" And I said, "I’ll give it a shot."

How did you film the scenes with the second head? The two heads stuff was really tricky, actually. There’s this new movement of in-camera effects so we tried to avoid any CGI by doing in-camera stuff, so there were muppets and we tried the second head two ways. We did it with a prosthetic on my head, with me doing the second head live, and it was really heavy! It was tough but I liked acting with the second head live. It was more fun than doing the blue screen. I had to sit really still in this blue Smurf outfit. Was there some George Bush in your Zaphod or was that just my imagination? Yeah, there’s a little of his bravado in there, like when they were thinking of ideas and getting hit in the face. "Well what do you think Zaphod?" [makes a George Bush-esque face] "Well I think", Also that line where goes, "I’m president of the galaxy! I don’t have much time for reading." [laughs] How does this movie compare to something like GALAXY QUEST? Well, it’s in the same vein. It’s definitely a similar kind of thing. It’s a sci-fi comedy which doesn’t come around that often. This is my second. I’d be surprised if there were three.

Would you do a sequel to this film? That’d be great, that’d be fun. I’m signed for a sequel. I think some of the stuff is negotiable but I’m signed if there is a sequel. Are you ready for the hardcore fans? I don’t know. I don’t know what that’s like. Did you ever toy with another profession? No. I don’t really know how to do anything. I don’t have any skills. This is it, this is all I got [laughs]. I’m still learning how to do this. It’s an on-going process. I’d be screwed basically. You have to have no choice to be an actor. Otherwise, you’re not going to make it - anything that’s that competitive.
Source: JoBlo.com

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