In the animated feature, Escape from Planet Earth, Rob Corddry voices Gary Supernova, a Mission Control whiz kid at BASA, who has always been overshadowed by his younger brother, astronaut Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser), whose heroic adventures on the planet Baab are legendary. The hilarious space adventure about aliens responding to a distress call from planet Earth opens this Friday and features an all-star cast that includes Sarah Jessica Parker, William Shatner, Jessica Alba, Jane Lynch, Sofia Vergara, Craig Robinson, George Lopez, Steve Zahn, Chris Parnell, Ricky Gervais and Jonathan Morgan Heit.
At our roundtable interview, Corddry talked about doing his first animated feature, how the filmmakers worked around his Warm Bodies’ shooting schedule, what he discovered about himself during the recording process, his adventures as a Boy Scout earning an Eagle Scout badge, his lack of sibling rivalry in real life, the possibility of life on other planets, playing zombies with Nicholas Hoult, having his first number one movie, his insane love of gadgets, and his upcoming projects including Season Five of Children’s Hospital, Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain, and possible film sequels. Hit the jump to read more.
Rob Corddry: Thank you!
When you did that one line…
Corddry: What’s up bitches, man?
You got everybody in America with that and overseas, too.
Corddry: Oh good! It was totally cheap and I apologize!
Are you still walking like a zombie?
Corddry: I can’t stop. I shuffle around anyway.
Were you recording your voice for Escape while you were shooting Warm Bodies? What was the process like?
Corddry: As a matter of fact, yes. Doing a movie like this is so weird because you’ll do intense work for a week. You won’t hear word one for a month and then you’re back in for three days. It’s really sporadic like that. I was in Montreal shooting Warm Bodies and they had to get this other session, so they got a recording studio up there, and Cal (Brunker) came up and directed me. We had a half day session up there in Montreal, and I had zombie make-up still in my finger nails. It was funny.
When you were a teen, were you an adventure-seeking guy or were you more of a science nerd?
Corddry: Totally the science nerd and not even. Science nerd would be a nice term. I was just scared of everything. As a teenager, I was very much a people pleaser and that excludes being adventuresome at all. I was a Boy Scout though and so that’s as adventuresome as I got. I got my Eagle Scout badge. Whoa! Such adventure!
You have to do a lot to be an Eagle Scout. That’s tough.
Corddry: That’s not showing off, but yeah! It wasn’t easy. It was really cool and really fun. I feel a lot of pride in it to the Boy Scouts. Boy, it’s a rough organization, especially these days. It’s hard to be affiliated with them.
Do you believe in life on other planets?
Corddry: That’s a terrible question. Here’s the thing. I’m afraid. I want to. I really want to, but this is my prediction. I assume that we will probably discover “life on another planet” in our lifetime, but it will be one-celled at best. Or it will be the fossil of a one cell. It will not be satisfying, but we’ll still go crazy. I can’t wait. Also, part of me feels like I just want it to be true. It’s like ghosts. I just want it to be true, but I feel like we’d have more hard evidence at this point unfortunately.
Corddry: Oh yes, I do have siblings, but I don’t relate to sibling rivalry whatsoever. I get along famously. My brother, Nate Corddry, is an actor and we’re starting a production company together. We’re best friends. I don’t get to see my sister a lot. She lives back in Boston, but no, we’ve never [been rivals]. I don’t feel rivalry. I’m the least competitive person you’ll meet ever, to a fault. So no, I don’t really understand that.
When they’re growing up, most kids are rivals for the affection of their parents or that favorite toy.
Corddry: I guess I was the firstborn so I was my parents’ favorite, (laughs) he says jokingly. Another thing too is, and I don’t know what this says about me, but I’ve also never felt jealousy. I feel like it’s the same sort of thing. I’m not really [that way]. It’s a lack of ambition. I think that’s what it is. (laughs)
Back in the 50s, the space alien movies were all about aliens coming down and attacking Earth and humans being the good guys. In this one, the humans are the bad guys and the aliens are the good ones. It’s interesting how that dynamic has changed over the years.
Corddry: It happens a lot. Yes, it says a lot about our culture of guilt. But also, I’d say that we almost always, or maybe this has changed as well, I can’t say that, at least now the aliens are always more technologically advanced than we are. Are we that in the dark? I’d say the iPod is insane. Look at these things. Look how tiny they are. They’re recording my voice for hours. I’m sure if aliens are watching us, they’re like, “Wow! They’re smart!” We’re just barbaric. That’s the metaphor that they use. It’s easy to make that metaphor in an alien.
What do you hope that families, teens and kids will take away from this besides the fact that it’s a lot of fun?
Corddry: I think more curiosity. I wish my six-year-old daughter was here so I could ask her if she understood the whole Dark Planet idea and the irony of that. I’m very curious if there was any metaphor she took away from it or whether it was just a fun romp where the good guys win.
Little kids will probably get the idea that if the family sticks together, you can do anything.
Corddry: That’s hopefully what I want them to believe anyway so that this is just an affirming. Why would they believe anything else? Right? So yeah, I agree.
Corddry: It sounds so trite to say because it is. I mostly enjoyed the challenge of it. I found it really difficult. I’ve never done animation before. I guess I’ve discovered that I’m most comfortable acting with another person. That’s just easy. So it was a real challenge to me, and one I’m still thinking about and wondering how I did. I think I got better as we were going on, but I guarantee you none of my first few sessions are in that movie. I look forward to getting better at it and I’ll speak more clearly about it then.
Did you have to learn any kind of weird techno-babble to do some of that dialogue? Did you flub up at all phonetically?
Corddry: No, no. Just pure phonetics? No. I’m fairly verbal in that sense, like I can talk pretty fast. But I’m also a geek for that kind of thing. I actually think my only line of improv in the film is, “Yeah, thanks, I love tech history,” because it’s true. That’s an area in which I really related to the character. I wish I was as smart as him.
How funny was it to work with Nicholas Hoult and be zombies together on Warm Bodies?
Corddry: Oh man! I have nothing bad to say about that whole experience. It was really, really fun and rewarding and those people are great. Also, I’ve never had a hit before. You know what I mean? Never, ever! I’ve done like 30 movies. I’ve never had a number one movie. It’s affirming because all the pieces were right and everything was fun and it seemed right and it felt exciting and that’s the recipe for a good movie.
Even before it became a hit, there was this sense that this was going to be a hit. There was such confidence.
Corddry: Really? From the actors and producers and stuff? Well that’s cool. Because we all genuinely liked the movie a lot and we were very excited to talk about it. I’m not surprised that came through.
There were a lot of fans of those books, too. They’d read them and they were waiting to see what this was going to be like, and then they saw the trailers.
Corddry: I will tell you the Warm Bodies fan network and fan club did more to get that movie made than anyone because they are a passionate group of people and lovely. They came to set one day and they were the nicest people. I’m so happy for them. They just love this little zombie book and they’re super nerdy about it.
Corddry: I didn’t do the international press junket for Warm Bodies because I was shooting Children’s Hospital at the time which is something I have coming up — the Season Five of Children’s Hospital in the summer. That’s coming up. I also have Pain & Gain, a movie I did with Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg.
What about a sequel to Escape from Planet Earth? The way it ends suggests there could be another movie with the brothers together.
Corddry: Are you making me an offer? Talk to my lawyer!
It’s kind of set up that way. Do you think maybe? Would you go back?
Corddry: Oh yeah, of course. But it all depends on how it does. I’m sure right now in some board room they’re talking about Warm Bodies 2 and I have no idea what that would be.
Isaac Marion is writing it and there’s a prequel too. He rewrote the prequel.
Corddry: Sure he is. Of course he is. But how do I figure into it? That’s all I care about.
Will you get a heart?
Corddry: I get a heart. I’m a Tin Man.
Are you a gadget person?
Corddry: I’m the biggest gadget person there is.
What’s your favorite one?
Corddry: Are you kidding me? We’re going to need 10 more minutes. Right now, I’m obsessed with getting the iPad mini, even though I don’t need it at all. I have the iPad. It’s great. It’s a tool. I use it for entertainment and for work. You don’t know you need the iPad. You don’t know how heavy it is until you pick up the iPad mini. It’s one of those moments. I’ve been an Apple guy since the mid 80’s and that’s when I was like, “Boy, you guys really got me here. I know exactly what you’re doing, right down to your price points.” And so, I’ll probably get that version.
Is it the whiteness that makes you want it?
Corddry: That’s it. That’s all it is. I want it. I don’t like gadgets for their own sake. I like gadgets that are tools. And I like simple gadgets that do one thing really well like a hammer. With a lot of these things, these mini-recorders, there’s too much functionality that you never use. All you need to do is press record.
Do you worry about your life being stolen off the Cloud?
Corddry: No, I don’t because I have an insanely detailed system to protect myself against that in terms of back-ups and passwords. I don’t know any of my passwords. I don’t know them. They’re in a master vault. I just take the precautions. No one’s getting that out of me. Bring it on. Try to get into my dropbox!
Now you’re talking like Gary.
Corddry: That’s right! I’ll give you a million dollars. No, please, don’t try it. You might actually get in there. Anybody that put their mind to it, I’m sure they could.
If you’re like anyone else, you’ve probably got a document in the cloud with all of your passwords in it.
Corddry: Nope. That’s silly. That’s ridiculous. No, I use one password. It’s an account where it’s all mastered, secured, encrypted. Yeah.
So you *do* know what you’re doing?
Corddry: I know exactly what I’m doing. I could talk about that for hours. (laughing) How many times has that happened?