Exclusive: Patton Oswalt talks BIG FAN, Funny People, Serenity, Dollhouse, Ratatouille and a lot more!

     February 25, 2009

Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

I’m a big fan of Patton Oswalt. I like his stand up, I enjoy watching him act on TV and in movies, and I love that he’s a card carrying member of the geek community. In fact, if he wasn’t doing so well in his line of work, he could probably run the most successful movie website online. He’s that smart about movies and TV shows and he can obviously write.

So when I was offered the chance to speak with Patton at this year’s Sundance, I jumped at the chance. And that was before I’d seen his excellent new movie “Big Fan”.

For those that haven’t heard of “Big Fan”, here’s the synopsis:

Patton plays Paul Aufiero, a 35-year-old parking-garage attendant from Staten Island, and is the self-described “world’s biggest New York Giants fan”. He lives at home with his mother, spending his off hours calling in to local sports-radio station 760 The Zone, where he rants in support of his beloved team, often against his mysterious on-air rival, Eagles fan Philadelphia Phil. His family berates him for doing nothing with his life, but they don’t understand the depth of his love of the Giants or the responsibility his fandom carries.

One night, Paul and his best friend Sal spot Giants star linebacker Quantrell Bishop at a gas station in their neighborhood. They impulsively follow his limo into Manhattan, to a strip club, where they hang in the background, agog at their hero. Paul cautiously decides to approach him, stepping into the rarefied air of football stardom–and things do not go as planned. The fallout of this chance encounter brings Paul’s world crashing down around him as his family, the team, the media and the authorities engage in a tug of war over Paul, testing his allegiances and calling into question everything he believes in. Meanwhile, the Giants march toward a late-season showdown with the Eagles, unaware that sometimes the most brutal struggles take place far from the field of play.

As I’ve already said, “Big Fan” was one of my favorite films at this year’s festival and Patton’s performance was a real surprise. That being said, if you go into this movie expecting to see Patton making you laugh all the time, you’ll be disappointed. While there are some very funny parts, this is a drama first. The humor is a result of real life situations and not from Patton doing stand-up.

While I don’t know if the film has sold or what’s the plan for distribution, I’m very confident it’ll eventually get released as it’s that good.

So now that you know the reason I got to speak with Patton, let me talk a bit about the interview. During our pretty long conversation I got Patton to not only talk about working on “Big Fan”, but we talked about what he’s geeking out over right now, Judd Apatow’s new movie “Funny People”, how he’s going to be on “United States of Tara”, “Dollhouse”, and “Flight of the Concords”, and he even said he’s writing a “Serenity” comic. Oh…and of course we talked about “Ratatouille”. Trust me, if you’re a fan of Patton’s, you’ll love the interview.

And with that, a big thank you to everyone who made this interview possible and to Patton for giving me so much of his time.

Patton Oswalt part 1

  • What has Sundance been like for him

  • Has he been able to see any of the movies

  • Patton talks about his part in Big Fan and how it’s an unusual part or him

  • Did he know about the world of sports radio

  • Is he more of a sports fan after playing this part

  • Working with Robert D. Siegel

  • Did he watch any movies to get ready for the part

  • What is he geeking out over right now

  • Was he a fan of Scott Pilgrim and did he try to get in the movie

  • Funny People talk

Patton Oswalt part 2

  • Observe and Report talk – he is in the movie as a cameo

  • Ratatouille talk – was he surprised by the success of the film especially in France

  • We talk about the ending (which is my favorite thing that Pixar has ever done)

  • What he has coming up – says he is doing a new album/special, writing a book, he’s on a lot of TV shows like United States of Tara, Dollhouse, and Flight of the Concords

  • Says he is writing a Serenity story for the comics

  • We talk about Serenity/Firefly

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