Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Interview with Actor John Ratzenberger

When the name John Ratzenberger comes to mind people are immediately reminded of the character, Cliff Clavin, the know-it-all mail carrier from the most watched comedy series, Cheers. had a chance to talk with Mr. Ratzenberger about his upcoming projects and the role he plays as a spokesperson for blue-collar workers.       Tell me about your role in Pixar’s new animated film, Brave.

John Ratzenberger: Well, I play one of the castle guards in the movie.

TCC: Do you feel voice-over work is easier than actual acting in a film or TV show?

JR: It’s the same skill set but you’re just using it in a different way. On a TV show or film you have other people you’re talking to. You have real furniture you’re sitting in or a real car that you’re driving. In an animation you have to imagine all of that.

TCC: Do people ever recognize your voice as any of the animated characters you’ve done before?

JR: No, not recently. Sometimes my characters voices are slightly different from how I normally talk, because you know ‘Hamm talks like this!’ (Hamm’s voice) and I don’t talk like that.

TCC: Since you have been in every Pixar film, has it come to a point where you don’t even have to audition, but rather you’re just given a character role?

JR: I’ve never been asked to audition.

TCC: Really? Never?

JR: Correct.

TCC: Ok then, well, almost all the Pixar movies you’ve been in have done exceptionally well in the box office, what do you think about some calling you ‘Pixar’s Good Luck Charm’?

JR: The reason why the films have done so well in the box office is because Pixar takes a lot of time and care in writing and crafting the story. It’s nice to be considered a ‘good luck charm’, but the real luck comes from Pixar’s hard work.

TCC: Any favorite Pixar film you enjoyed working on?

JR: Yeah, it would have to be Toy Story. But working on all the Pixar films have been fun.

TCC: Do you ever get tired of people asking if there will ever be a Cheers reunion?

JR: No. As for myself and, I'm sure, the rest of the cast would love to have a reunion. But the actors don’t make that decision it’s the people who own Cheers.

TCC: Would you ever be in support of a remaking of Cheers with an entire new cast?

JR: Sure. I don’t think it would make a difference if whether or not I supported it. It’s not like I would stop it or anything (laughs). But if it happens, the show’s success really depends on how it’s written. It’s all in the writing. Cheers was written by people that grew up reading books. They didn’t grow up watching television. That’s why Cheers was a success because of good writers. Usually good writers read a lot of books and the bad writers watch a lot of television.

TCC: Now I know you are an advocate for more skilled workers in America. Do you think learning a trade is more practical than getting a college degree?

JR: Everything we do depends on an infrastructure. This is what makes the roads drivable, prevents the bridges from collapsing, makes water come out of facets, and in a flip of a switch causes lights to come on because of the electricity that’s there. All of those things we take for granted everyday were designed, build, maintained and repaired by people who know how to use tools. If we run out of people that don’t know how to repair those things, including the turbines that generate electricity, then that would be a problem for everyone that relies on such power for the electronics we use every single day. That’s the importance.

Now if you want to get a college degree then you should do that. If you want to be an electrician then you can do that too. You can do both. One doesn’t necessarily innate the other.

TCC: You also make a guest appearance on Lifetime’s drama series, Drop Dead Diva. Can you explain a little about that?

JR: Yes, my character seeks legal advice from his estranged daughter, Kim Kaswell, after getting into trouble for retaliating against his boss because he was fired and didn’t receive his pension that he feels the company owes him.

Check out John Ratzenberger’s appearance on Drop Dead Diva on June 10th

Disney/Pixar’s 3D animated film, Brave, will be in theaters June 22nd and stars Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, and Craig Ferguson.

Written by: Bridget Campos 

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