Feature: Monsters vs. Aliens
Tue, 24 Mar 2009 17:54:36
Monsters Vs. Aliens 3-D turned its A-list cast inside out. Petite Oscar-winning Reese Witherspoon became Ginormica, a 49-foot tall heroine, while Seth Rogen morphed into B.O.B., the brainless and constantly hungry one-eyed blob. Will Arnett stepped into the slippery scales of The Missing Link, and Kiefer Sutherland jumped inside jetpack-sporting, grizzled General W.R. Monger.
The film instantly resonated with Reese on a few levels. "It was a great opportunity to create a female superhero, but the movie is about a lot of different things," she explains, smiling. "I remember how important my friendships were when I was a kid. Monsters Vs. Aliens has a really strong friendship message. It says, even if you are a little different on the outside there's a group of people you fit into, and you guys might collectively save the world—or invent the internet [laughs]."
Since Al Gore has taken care of the internet, Reese and her unlikely band of friends get to save the world. Her character, Susan Murphy, is struck by a meteorite, and the impact turns her into Ginormica. The government whisks her off to a top-secret hideout where she befriends misfit monsters B.O.B., Dr. Cockroach, and Missing Link. W.R. Monger quickly employs their super services in stopping an alien invasion, and the monsters forge an unbreakable friendship despite their physical differences.
Reese adds, "I was really into the idea that 1950s B-movie monsters would be the heroes of the film. I watched a lot of those movies with my dad every Saturday night when they were on. I thought it was a really good modern concept, and to put a woman at the center of the film was amazing."
“'I play a character without a brain often,' says Rogen with a chuckle. 'I think I'm good at it.'”
Seth Rogen felt right at home as B.O.B. "I play a character without a brain often," says Rogen with a chuckle. "I think I'm good at it. I figure I might as well keep it up. I've found my niche [laughs]."
Meanwhile, Will Arnett gets to flex his verbal muscle as The Missing Link. His jive talk adds a comedic flair to the action-packed set pieces. He explains, "While trash-talking on the surface may be demoralizing, it actually works as a diversion. On any sports team, you need a guy who's a real lightning rod. I'm like the Manny Ramirez of Monsters Vs. Aliens [laughs]."
The filmmakers encouraged the actors to be themselves within this fantastic landscape. "There's a huge creative freedom," Kiefer Sutherland explains. "I'm limited by my physicality. I'm five foot 10. I can only run so fast and jump so high. To be able to check that at the door and create a character solely based on its emotional quality and vocal potential is massive."
The movie also brought Kiefer back to some of his own childhood experiences. "The main thing that resonated with me was this idea of telling children it's alright to be different. When I was a kid, I certainly was," shares Kiefer. "You know that terrible moment where you decide to make a fashion statement at seven-years-old and you wear your socks outside your pants? You think it's cool and you go to school like that, and it's not cool [laughs]."
He continues, "I had a certain backpack when I was growing up. Levi's made a backpack when I was growing up that was like a Levi's pocket. It was the most coveted thing. My mother had no money, so I got mine a year late. My mom was a great product of the '60s. After I went to bed excited that I got the backpack, my mother bedazzled it with my name in rhinestones, a peace sign, and some other shit [laughs]. I had to bury that backpack on my way to school every day until I finally told her someone stole it. This desire to fit in is unrelenting for children. I love the idea of telling them, 'You're alright no matter what anyone else says.'"