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Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The (2005)

Don't Panic

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Old Jul 8, 2006, 04:50 PM   #1
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Hitchhiker Interviews

Zooey Deschanel Interview

Below, Zooey talks about transitioning from the indie screen to the summer blockbuster and what lies ahead in her future.

Q: We heard among all the people in the cast that you were the only one that was familiar with the book.

ZOOEY: Thatís probably true.

Q: You were the biggest fan?

ZOOEY: Yeah. I was the only one in the cast with a computer or an iPod too.

Q: Whatís up with that?

ZOOEY: I donít know! None of them have computers. Even those who did, they were like, ďYeah, I got one but I donít use it or I donít set it up yet or my assistant hasnít set it up yetĒ or something and I was like, ďWhat? Címon you guys.Ē Martin only listens to vinyl and heís like, ďComputers? Ugh.Ē

Q: Do you remember what you thought then?

ZOOEY: I thought it was just the coolest, most sophisticated thing ever but I had no idea what I was reading. I read the words but did I understand them? I donít think so.

Q: But you had a love for that ever since that time?

ZOOEY: I hadnít read the whole series. I read that book and thought it was fantastic. Then, I went back to it when I found out I was doing a screen test with Martin. I reread the book on the plane on the way over. I was like, ďOh my God, Iím so lucky. This is the greatest.Ē Yeah, Iím into the book.

Q: Who is Trillian for people who arenít familiar with her in the books?

ZOOEY: Sheís an incredibly intelligent person who is lured off the face of the Earth by a very charismatic, galactic politician. She is so bored with being on planet Earth.

Q: Can you talk about the romance between Trillian and Arthur Dent, because thatís not really apparent in the books and itís one of the things that was changed for the movie. What relationship did you and Martin Freeman try to create?

ZOOEY: We certainly looked at movies like ďThe Apartmentí and ďAnnie HallĒ and a lot of screwball comedies in the thirties. I think we tried to create a tension where itís so obvious these two people should be together but for different reasons, theyíre against it. Heís bitter and sheís stubborn but you want for them to be together and you can see that they just love each other but they canít do it for some reason. I always find it interesting, no matter how many times I see it. I always liked that in a film and I think that kind of thing can make a romance really interesting. Itís there but itís very, very underlying. Part of translating the source material into the film is making it one whole piece because the book is told in episodes. For a movie, you have to make it one whole thing and this is a thread that you can continue through episodes throughout the movie and throughout the book. This was a connecting element, as well, storywise.

Q: Since you have a computer, have you been reading up with the fans on the Internet?

ZOOEY: I try not to, no. That would be crazy. You can choose to read that stuff, or not. What good is it going to do me? I just try my best to make the character the best I can and make it the most interesting and also entertaining and also true to the book that I can. If Iím trying to please every craze fan, then I canít. Of course, we all want to please the fans. Everyone wants to do justice to the book and make it the best we can and the most entertaining movie and also get new fans on board. Thatís all we want Ė fans on board the Hitchhikerís franchise, whether it be the movie, the book, the radio series, or the TV shows.

Q: If you were to go to sci-fi conventions and met the ďreal fansĒ do you think you could handle it?

ZOOEY: I donít know! Itíd be really interesting. I love that movie ďGalaxy QuestĒ that Samís in. So funny.

Q: What do you think is the magnet that pulls fans towards this movie or even the book?

ZOOEY: I think that the book is just so clever and really brilliant and itís got this underlying, philosophical element I think works on many different levels which is what a lot a things that have big followings have. People can get different things and every time you read it, you get something different from it. Itís really funny, letís not forget how funny.

Q: What do you think that the film has captured from the essence of the book? What was your sense of being on set?

ZOOEY: I think with a book that got a lot of fantastic elements to it, every time you translate a book to the screen, itís like making it grounded in some kind of reality was very important. You get that across in the language of the book but you canít have every single piece of narration from the book so I think to create that with a character and with the dialogue and what happens was the most important thing Ė to make a movie that is entertaining and makes sense and also maintains this fantastical element as well.

Q: Your character is the most intelligent amongst the cast. Did you feel like you had to be the caretaker of her to constantly remind the audience that sheís not the damsel in distress?

ZOOEY: Keeping her intelligence intact was one of my main goals for the character because thatís the main thing you get from her in the book. The characterís not that well-developed in the book; sheís sort of the background character and developing her was part of when Douglas was adapting the book. That was one of his goals Ė to make the character of Trillian a little more flushed out and absolutely keeping her intellect as strong as it was in the book and the radio series was important to me.

In the TV series, itís played out incredibly differently and sheís very funny but sheís like a blonde. She wears a leotard and played a little more ditzy, more like Marilyn Monroe but 80s. Crimped hair. That was important to me because I thought Trillianís attractiveness comes from her intellect. You also see how different she is from Zephod. Somehow, heís attracted to her and sheís attracted to him but theyíre complete opposites and when you first see them on the ship, it was important to me that you see that they have this unbelievable piece of machinery on your hands and all youíre doing is watching television.

Q: Are you going to work on ďElf 2Ē?

ZOOEY: People keep asking me about that. Itís so early on in the process and I donít know anything about it at all.

Q: Do you have a favorite movie you like to watch over and over again?

ZOOEY: Yeah, I have lots of favorite movies. Actually a movie that has always been one of my favorite movies and that I watched a lot during this movie was ďThe Apartment.Ē Itís a movie I love. Fran Kubelik [Shirley MacClaine] is so sympathetic. She really is different from anybody else - Shirley MacClaine as an actress. I canít explain it. Sheís got a softness and sweetness to her that I think is really wonderful. Although she makes mistakes, you really feel sympathy for her and itís actually one of the movies I talked about with Garth and Nick when I first met with them. They were saying they loved that movie, and I said thatís one of my favorite movies. That was one of the things that bonded all of us together.

Q: Do you have a favorite CD youíre listening to now?

ZOOEY: My boyfriend just got me into this band called the Raspberries. Do you know that band? I have the Capitol collection, thatís all I could get on iTunes. Itís this nice, catchy melody and Beatle-y.

Q: Is your boyfriend a musician?

ZOOEY: Heís an actor and a musician.

Q: Do we know who he is?

ZOOEY: Jason Schwartzman?

Q: How long have you guys been a couple?

ZOOEY: A year and a half.

Q: So now that you have two blockbusters underneath your belt, do you think youíre going to be sucked into these kinds of films?

ZOOEY: I usually choose movies for the characters. Is this something I can do something with? Is this something I can contribute to? Sometimes Iíll get a script and Iíll say, ďI donít think Iím right for this.Ē Even if I think itís good, sometimes itís not just right for you. I usually know deep down if I know something is a good character for me and itís hard to describe and put it in words, but the main thing is making sure youíre not miscast or typecast because you want to keep your range open. You donít want to get too narrow.
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Old Jul 8, 2006, 04:51 PM   #2
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Re: Hitchhiker Interviews

Martin Freeman Interview

The character of Arthur Dent in Douglas Adams' book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" can be best described as a mild-mannered, shy British man who is completely taken in by the extraordinaries of the galaxy. As he embarks on wacky galactic adventures with his best friend and alien, Ford Prefect (Mos Def), he discovers everything he didn't understand about life thousands of light years away from home.

So it's a very fitting choice that Martin Freeman was cast in the role. Freeman, best known in the U.S. for his critically acclaimed role in "The Office" as well as the "porn star stand-in" in "Love Actually," recently spoke about starring in the highly anticipated film adaptation of the Adams novel opening this weekend. Below is what he had to say at a press day in New York City.

Q: Would you agree that the people for "The Office," you and Ricky Gervais, and everyone else, seem to be embarking on film careers?

MARTIN: I guess. There is a bit of a trend that way, I suppose. It seems to be a natural thing that, rightly or wrongly, if you get a tiny bit of success that the film world is interested (in you). Certainly, so often itís not a step up because there are plenty dreadful films made, and thereís plenty of good telly made. So itís not necessarily a step up. But I donít know any actor that wouldnít want to do films, you know what I mean? Iím not an actor who solely wants to do films. Itís not what I live for, but weíve all been turned on by films and weíve all been excited by films. Whatever we do for a living, weíve all seen films that we love. So itís a medium that I suppose people are going to be attracted to.

Q: Were you a fan of Hitchhikerís Guide before you were involved with the film?

MARTIN: I was certainly and admirer and I was familiar with it. I think growing up in England you do have a common familiarity with it. The books were around the house. So I was familiar with them as opposed to such a fan, like Iíve always wanted to play Arthur. I certainly didnít have that feeling about it. But I knew it. From the age of nine I knew who Zaphod Beeblebrox or who Ford Prefect was. I think in England if people have not read it, they kind of know what itís about. It is part of the culture, really.

Q: Given how iconic and popular Hitchhikerís Guide is back home in the U.K., how important was it not to screw up this film and how tough was it to not screw it up when youíve got an American studio, American financing and the reality is that for films to earn big bucks they need to be successful in the States?

MARTIN: fortunately, it didnít really feel like that in the going to work. Going to work for four months, it felt like we were making a very small British film with some American actors. We knew, yes, itís a Disney film and ultimately that it was going to be a bigger film than it would be if it was just British money, thatís for sure. But it didnít feel like it was particularly being Hollywood-ized or all the things that people would fear about it Ė and legitimately fear as well, because it does happen that people get the wrong end of the stick and start beating people over the heard with it. It still felt like it was being true to the story. It still felt like it was being true to the spirit of it. There was a big respect, a big acknowledgement that we were doing this for someone who is no longer with us, i.e., Douglas Adams. So he was sort of an ever-present force behind us. Not that we went in to pray at the Temple of Douglas every day, but we were just aware that we wanted to do this well because, A) weíve got pride in our work and who wants to do a bad job ever? Ė and B) because the reason weíve all got a job is no longer here, so we kind of want to do him proud.

Q: How concerned are you, if at all, about Hitchhikerís Guide being hurt in America precisely because itís so faithful to the source material?

MARTIN:Itís funny with America because either too much credit is given or not enough credit is given. Do you know what I mean? So either itís the most important place in the world, and if you havení t made it there, then youíre a bum, or theyíre all stupid. And none of that is true for me. This is also the country that gives us Larry Sanders and also the country that gives us "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Spinal Tap" and lots of things that are way clever than a lot of things British people do, frankly. So I would like to give Americans more credit to think that, ĎOK, if itís something with a British twist, weíll still go and see it.í Also, Zooey [Deschanel] is in it, Mos is in it, Sam [Rockwell] is in it and John Malkovich is in it. These are people who I imagine have some sort of following here, that people respect those people and like those people. But ultimately itís not that I donít care, but I care that Iíve made a good film. And then itís whoever. Van Gogh didnít sell any paintings.

So I think that actually just staying true to yourself and telling the story you want to tell, thatís the only way you get the hope that people join in and get the hope that people like it. Once you start compromising and demographic-ing and thinking, then itís already ruined. Itís already ruined. But we had people who really cared about it, people who wanted to tell the story as honestly and as truthfully as possible. And, again, Iím not using truth as some biblical (reference). I mean, "Hitchhikerís" is not the Old Testament. It shouldnít matter THAT much that, ĎOh hang on, thereís this syllable different fromÖí It should be funny and it should be entertaining and engaging. So I think all those things are in place. And then what can you do but hope that people agree? And some people will and some people wonít.

Q: Did you secretly hope that the U.S. version of "The Office" would fail?

MARTIN: No, I didnít. To be honest, I have no opinion of it because I genuinely have nothing invested in that. Whether the American one is good or whether itís dreadful doesnít affect the legacy of the British one. It has no effect. As it happens, Iíve seen the pilot of the American one. Iíve not seen the rest of the series but I was lent a tape of the pilot a while ago and I thought it was really good. I thought it was a show that if Ií d come across it on the television, I would watch it the next week. I thought it was so close to ours that I wondered who would get the American one that didnít get the British one. Itís very faithful; the pilot was anyway.

Q: What did you make of the guy who plays you?

MARTIN: I thought he was good. I thought he was really good.

Q: The motto in the story is ďDonít Panic.Ē What makes you panic?

MARTIN: Name it. Everything does. What makes me panic? Forgetting peopleís names. That embarrasses me. Iím very easily embarrassed.

Q: If you had five minutes left on Earth, what would you do?

MARTIN: Iíd panic! Iíd ****ing panic. Iíd find that terrifying.

Q: With the success of the TV show and a big movie like this coming out, do you think you're prepared for British tabloids, etc.. asking you about your private life?

MARTIN: Iím not particularly scared about it because I know what I will and wonít answer. The great liberating thing about being alive is that you realize, ĎI donít have to do anything.í Do you know what I mean? Itís great. ĎYouíre going to have to move to Hollywood.í ĎNo, Iím not.í ĎBut youíre going to have to answer these questions...í 'No, Iím not.'

Q: With this coming out are looking forward to being seduced by Hollywood?

MARTIN: Seduced?! Iím looking forward to being f----d.
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Old Jul 8, 2006, 04:52 PM   #3
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Re: Hitchhiker Interviews

Sam Rockwell Interview

When ďThe Hitchhikerís Guide to the GalaxyĒ was being prepped to go to the big screen, the producers and Douglas Adams himself had several names in mind for the role of Zaphod Beeblebrox, the wacky, charismatic President of the Galaxy who acts more like a surfer than a servant of the galaxy. Sam Rockwell may not immediately strike a chord for the part compared to a Jim Carrey or Mike Myers, but as he proves in this weekendís sci-fi fantasy feature, he possesses enough charm and humor to take on something of galactic proportions.

Below, Sam talks about taking on the role, including how he came upon it by accident.

Q: What did you find out about being a blonde?

SAM: They definitely have more fun. I was blonde when I was a child, soÖ

Q: You were a real blonde? Not dyed or anything?

SAM: I was a real blonde up until I was 10 or something. I looked like Shaun Cassidy.

Q: How was that for your social life?

SAM: It was good! I got real lucky for a 10-year old with all the ladies.

Q: Can you talk about your audition for ďHitchhikerísĒ and Zaphod because as I understand it, you went in for the role of Ford Prefect?

SAM: Yeah. That happened by accident.

Q: So did you have to change emotional gears from someone a little more subdued to an overly outrageous character?

SAM: We [producer Nick Goldsmith, director Garth Jennings and I] 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 ďPiccadilly Jim.Ē I was reading Ford as kind of this young Gary Busey. I actually said, ďWhat about this Zaphod guy?Ē Because I had read his scenes during his entrance and I said, ďThis is a great character.Ē They had tossed different [actors] names for Zaphod and I think they were thinking more like comedians at first. I guess they responded to what I was doing but I didnít 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 didnít really know what Zaphod was about. I just knew he was this flashy character. They cast Mos as Ford and I didnít hear about the whole thing. Then, I heard later that I got the role of Zaphod. I didnít 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 didnít 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 weíre good friends. But that was just a goof, I didnít know about that for a whole movie. So she said, ďWhy not?Ē And I said, ďIíll give it a shot.Ē

Q: How was filming a two-headed character?

SAM: The two heads stuff was really tricky, actually. Thereís 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.

Q: So in portraying the president of the galaxy, did we hear a little George W. Bush in there?

SAM: Yeah, thereís a little of his bravado in there, like when they were thinking of ideas and getting hit in the face. ďWell what do you think Zaphod?Ē (scrunches his face) ďWell I thinkĒ, PSSH! Also that line where goes, ďIím president of the galaxy! I donít have much time for reading.Ē [laughs]

Q: How do you see this movie connected with ďGalaxy QuestĒ?

SAM: Well, itís in the same vein. Itís definitely a similar kind of thing. Itís a sci-fi comedy which doesnít come around that often. This is my second. Iíd be surprised if there were three.

Q: What about a sequel?

SAM: Thatíd be great, thatíd be fun. Iím signed for a sequel. I think some of the stuff is negotiable but Iím signed if there is a sequel.

Q: Are you ready for the hardcore fans?

SAM: I donít know. I donít know what thatís like.

Q: Youíve acting for quite some time now, right?

SAM: Yeah, Iíve been acting since I was 10 years old.

Q: Did you ever toy with another profession?

SAM: No. I donít really know how to do anything. I donít have any skills. This is it, this is all I got. Iím still learning how to do this. Itís an on-going process. Iíd be screwed basically. You have to have no choice to be an actor. Otherwise, youíre not going to make it - anything thatís that competitive.
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