Comic-Con: Channing Tatum, Christina Applegate and Ron Perlman Talk THE BOOK OF LIFE, Enjoying the Voiceover Process, Working without a Script, and More

     July 27, 2014


Mexico’s Day of the Dead will be brought to life in the animated fantasy adventure tale, The Book of Life.  A vibrant, magical and romantic journey, the story will tell the legend of Manolo (Diego Luna), a conflicted hero and dreamer who sets off on an epic quest in order to rescue his one true love and defend his village.  The voice cast also includes Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Christina Applegate, Ron Perlman, Danny Trejo, Ice Cube and Cheech Marin.

While at Comic-Con for a presentation in Hall H, co-stars Channing Tatum, Christina Applegate and Ron Perlman spoke to press during a conference, in which they talked about what they enjoy about the voice-over process, what it’s like to see their voice matched to the finished product, what was appealing about the story, working without an actual script, and how they would describe the film.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

the-book-of-life-channing-tatumQuestion:  What do you think of the voice-over process?

CHRISTINA APPLEGATE:  I like doing voice-overs because I don’t have to wear make-up and I don’t have to shower and sometimes I didn’t brush my teeth.  For me, I like the process of going in and doing it blind, and having to imagine this person in your mind, with the way they move and the way they carry themselves and the way their mouth moves.  You haven’t seen any of it, so you don’t know yet.  And then, you finally get to go in a few months later, when you’re doing some more dialogue, and it comes to life.  That’s a magical moment that’s really, really cool.  When I actually got to do my dialogue to picture, it was such an incredible feeling.  I’ve never seen anything like this movie.  I’m really proud of it. 

RON PERLMAN:  I’ve always loved voice work because it’s an invitation to just come in and give a full-blown performance without all the bullshit.  You’re always working on it, on an incredibly instinctive level.  There’s not a lot of analysis going on.  You’re going for the brass ring, immediately.  It’s very primal.  It’s pure performing for performing’s sake.  Of course, if you go horribly wrong, you’ll be pulled back, so there are a lot of checks and balances, but you’re asked to go for it, in a big way.  That suits my wheelhouse and my approach. 

CHANNING TATUM:  I had never really worked on an animation movie.  I did a little part in The Lego Movie, but that was basically me and Jonah [Hill] going in for an hour and making fun of each other, and that was easy.  But, (writer/director) Jorge [Gutierrez] has got such an energy and a life to him.  It’s like working with a net where you can’t do anything wrong.  You can try absolutely anything, and I did.  It’s a really fluid process that I was wildly interested in.  These guys are artists of the highest regard. 

What was it about this script that made you want to get involved with this film?

APPLEGATE:  Well, there wasn’t one.  I’ve actually never seen one.  That’s the truth.  Jorge came over to my house.  Because I don’t like to leave my home, I said, “You can come up here and do the presentation.”  He wanted to do a presentation because there was no script, but he had all of this artwork.  So, the artwork popped up on a screen and a talked me through it, and I was just mesmerized.  I had chills from the storyline and the passion that he had for the story he was trying to tell.  No one ever dies.  Love never dies.  It’s always living, even if it’s in our memory.  It was a beautiful love story.  He was so passionate and the artwork was just insane.  I’d never seen anything like it.  So, I said yes, right away.  And then, they said Channing Tatum was going to be in it, and I said, “The guy from the Ricky Martin video?!” 

the-book-of-lifeWhat one word would you describe the movie with, to someone who is wondering whether they should see the film?

TATUM:  For my character, moustache.  For the movie, life.  

APPLEGATE:  I would say magical.  

PERLMAN:  Vaginal?  Did she say vaginal?

APPLEGATE:  Yes, I said vaginal. 

PERLMAN:  Okay, now I know what I’m going to say. 

APPLEGATE:  What are you going to say? 

PERLMAN:  It’s dazzling, and I would like to explain what I mean when I say that.  I know you wanted a one word answer, but fuck it, we’re here.  Let’s face it, there’s no better film to talk about in this whole goddamn convention.  No.  When I did my first movie with Guillermo [del Toro] in 1991, it’s when I was introduced to the concept of the Day of the Dead.  There’s a myriad of things that you can take away when someone first describes to you why there is a Day of the Dead and why there is a culture that’s invented this pagan ritual and how charming it is.  But for me, we live in a culture, here, where death is an enemy.  It’s fear.  It’s something you run from.  And this was a beautiful relationship between the living and the dead, and you make friends with it and you understand that it’s just part of the continuum.  You demystify it and celebrate it in a way where you bring beauty to it.  To be able to be part of a film that’s going to introduce that to little kids in America, who will probably be introduced to it otherwise, that’s dazzling.  Dazzling!  


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