ANTHONY ANDERSON on 'HOODWINKED' Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
December 12, 2005
A sly spin on the old story of Little Red Riding Hood, the computer animated feature Hoodwinked re-imagines the classic fairy tale as a comedic crime caper told from multiple perspectives of the various characters, many of whom are suspects in a recent rash of thievery. Included on the shortlist of possible bandits are karate enthusiast Red (voice of Anne Hathaway), X-treme sports junkie Granny (voice of Glenn Close), a Wolf that is dedicated to investigative journalism (voice of Patrick Warburton), and a dimwitted Woodsman who aspires to be an actor (voice of James Belushi).
Hoodwinked's ensemble voice cast also includes Anthony Anderson, David Ogden Stiers, Xzibit, Chazz Palminteri, and Andy Dick. In this interview, Anthony Anderson talks about working on this project, and also gives discusses his return to the acclaimed TV drama The Shield.
MEDIA: What attracted you to Hoodwinked?
ANTHONY: Strictly money. Christmas was coming up. They were like, "We got $1,750 to give you for about 30 minutes of work." No...I had originally done a voice in Dr. Dolittle 2. I was the voice of one of the bears with Ced the Entertainer. Then I went away to do Kangaroo Jack and they needed another session. And I couldn't make it back, and they couldn't pipe it in, so they replaced it. So I was a little bummed about that. And so this opportunity presented itself to me. And I worked with the Weinsteins before at Miramax with Scary Movie 3 and My Baby's Daddy, and just had a good relationship with them. And it's something for the kids. I took my kids to the premiere this weekend and they loved it. So that's really what attracted me to it.
How did the filmmakers prepare you for your role?
I was in the studio and they showed me the scenes. They were like, "Okay, that's you." And I was like, "Okay, cool. Cool." They played the scenes for me and it was like, "This is what we need you to do. Here's some dialogue, play with it. Do what you do. Add your magic to it." And here we are.
Actors are often asked to do their own voice in animated films, but in this one, you got to do something different...
Yeah, that was the fun part. My kids didn't know who was me--I took my godchildren, my kids, and a bunch of other people--until they showed my name next to a picture [of my character Bill Stork] at the end of the film in the credits. They were like, "Oh, so that was you!" Because I wouldn't tell them. So yeah, we just had fun with that. A lot of times, they do want the celebrity's voice. "Don't alter it, just be you" and all that.
Were you bouncing around the sound booth trying to find your character's voice?
No, but I was bouncing around the booth just having fun. This whole process took maybe about four hours one afternoon to complete. Our directors and producers were there, and we had the pages in front of me. I delivered what was on the page, and then they were like, "Okay, now let's play." So that was the fun part as well. That's the great thing about doing voiceover work in general. You can roll out of bed, you don't have to brush your teeth, you don't have to do anything. You can show up to the studio dressed in whatever and just do what you do. And that's what it was. It was fun. I didn't get to be physical. I didn't bounce around too much, but we definitely played a lot just trying to find some things.
Did you get to play off of other actors in the sound booth?
I was in there by myself, as well as, I believe everyone else was, just because of location and time differences and things like that. Yeah, I think we were all in the studio solo. There was a template playing in the back of what someone might sound like or what they had been doing, but [I] just played off myself and off the director in the sound booth.
Between Twitchy in Hoodwinked and Scrat in Ice Age, the fidgety squirrel seems to be a popular supporting character. How much longer before we see a full-on crack-addicted animal sidekick?
[laughs] I don't think we're too far off from that. I would like to see that. [laughs] But you know, those are the characters that people just remember. [Twitchy the Squirrel] and the billy goat were two of my favorite characters in this film.
Will you be returning to TV's The Shield for their upcoming fifth season?
I'm not there yet. I got a call not too long ago to say that they want me for about three episodes this season, I guess to tie up some loose ends. Glenn Close isn't coming back. I wasn't coming back. Forest Whitaker's on the show now, so I don't know what they're doing or what direction they're going in. But just personally, I feel there are some loose ends that need to be tied up and taken care of with regards to my character, Antwon Mitchell. I think the fans, including myself and other cast members of the show, were a little disappointed in his fate at the end of last season. I think it should have been something a bit more grand than what it was, be it me dying on the show or something like that. But to have a character like that all season long and then to have him put in jail on some little technicality that they solved in like 15 or 20 minutes, and you couldn't get rid of this guy for 13 episodes...I was a little disappointed in it. So we'll see what they have in store, but I'll be back for a couple of episodes.
Fans have come up to you and expressed their disappointment?
Yeah, exactly. First thing out of their mouth is, "Are you coming back to the show next year?" And the second thing is like, "Because man, it shouldn't have ended that way." And I always tell them, "I have no idea if my character's coming back." Now I do, but until a week or so ago, I had no idea. But yeah, I think a lot of people were disappointed in just how it all had come together by season's end.
How much strain does your work put on your family life?
None, really. See, the luxury of television is you get banker's hours, and I get to be home. I may not be able to take my kids to school in the morning every day like I have been, but I get to see them at night. I get to pick them up from school. It's different than being on location and shooting 16, 18-hour days on a film. And for the most part, I bring the family with me when I can. If I'm away during the summer months, they come with me for the summer. Or sometimes school vacations fall in line with production schedules, so for that week or so that the kids are out of school, they come on set with me. But that's the thing I love about television--you get these banker's hours and you have some semblance of a regular life.