Man, it seems like yesterday that I was out in sunny LA, bubbling over with excitement to see a prescreening of Kubo and the Two Strings. It opens on August 19th and I am telling you, go see it! The next day, I had the joy of interviewing with the cast. I got to be in the same room with Matthew McConaughey. AHHHHH! Breathe, Breathe.
The cast is all great. This animated movie is backed to the brim with talent. We were able to hear what the Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, portraying Monkey, and Art Parkinson had to say about the movie, their parts and the behind the scenes.
Question: Kubo stands out because it is a children’s movie that takes really difficult subject matter and handles it in a really intelligent way. Was that something that drew you to the project?
MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: For me, I mean, that’s something LAIKA seems to do with all their projects. They don’t really pander down to the age group. They deal with adult themes in a way that’s digestible for kids. There’s always a good moral to the story, that’s learned in the middle of the adventure. I liked their previous work and this script had all that – yeah.
CHARLIZE THERON: Yeah, I mean, for me, I in general love directness. I was raised with a lot of directness. And I think in storytelling we sometimes forget that with children, and there was something about this that was just so clear, and I love that. And I think, you know, as far as taste goes, I like that there’s nothing about this that kind of shies away from very, very real issues and things and I think at the end of the day that makes it very powerful and refreshing because we don’t see a lot of that. And so, yeah, I was very excited to be a part of that.
ART PARKINSON: I think it’s a very family-oriented film. I think it’s a very relatable family-oriented film because some of the problems that the family faces in the film is very relatable to every family. So I think that’s definitely what drew me to the project.
Question: My question is for Matthew. So Travis told us that you read the script to your kids.And I’m curious – their reaction, and if they’ve seen the film, their reaction after knowing the story.
MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, I did read it to my children. I’ve found that that’s been a good practice for the last 8 years since I’ve had children, for any script that I do, is to how do you – any time you’re telling a story, you got to think who you’re talking to. And as Charlize and I were talking about, a lot of the films we’ve done it’s hard to say how do you pitch that to your child where they get it, and what do you leave out, you know? I know I’ve had a lot of stuff that I’ve had to leave out, and so how do you tell it in more of a mythical way. Well, we read this over quite a few nights at bedtime and they got into it, understood it. I’d watch their reaction to where they thought things were oh, scary, spooky or funny, and then we all went and watched the film. I had a great time watching the film but I also had a great time looking out of the corner of eye at my kids at what they were laughing at. My eldest son in all the animated films he watched, he always loves the goofy sidekick, and that’s what I got to play, sort of the goofy Beetle, you know? And so they still to this day since they’ve seen it will walk by and ask me something, and as I’m trying to think, they’ll be like, oh, well, I suppose you forgot, like the Beetle. You don’t remember that, do you, Papai? All right? You know, so they still kind of jeer me a little bit about that. They loved it. And then my wife thoroughly loved it. She still talks about it. She had a really great emotional ride watching it, which is something that I think is true about the film. The kids are going to love it but it’s definitely for adults as well.
Question: Okay, hello. I’m not sure how to follow up on that question. But after seeing the process of the creation of the movie, were any of you able to do very much adlibbing?
CHARLIZE THERON: Afterwards?
PRESS: No, as you were doing the recordings.
CHARLIZE THERON: Oh. Yeah. Travis is by the way one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. I mean, he’s just very consistent in who he is and very warm, very encouraging. I think that, you know, he wanted this to be – well, he gave us all ownership in this and he has a real understanding that, you know, we wanted to kind of step into these bodies and become and live in this and the only way you can really do that is to know that the sky is the limit, you know, there’s not any kind of hard lines for you to kind of be in. And he so very much did that.
MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, they have enough voiceover for three more movies from the stuff I gave him. That was it. I like to walk in and say, you know, press record. And then don’t press stop for the next 12 hours, or however long it is, and come back in and find it. So that was part of the fun and for me that’s just – you know, Charlize says sky’s the limit. It was a fun process. It was supposed to be fun, and you can’t really screw up, try, you know. And if you do, it’s just tape. It’s just recorded. So yeah, I played around a lot, and I liked doing that.
ART PARKINSON: Yeah, I thought that if I had any ideas about extra lines or things I wanted to add, I always just mentioned it to Travis and asked him if we could do a take with these extra lines and he was always very supportive of it. Like with Matthew and Charlize, he always let us sort of bring the characters to life ourselves and he sort of gave us the instruments to do so, though. You know what I mean? So yeah, he was very, very supportive and it was always very fun.
Hearing the cast talk about the film gave me a whole new appreciation on the experience. I have always loved reading the behind the scene interviews with the cast of movies and this was an amazing experience.