Charlie Day has spent most of his career on television, with recurring roles on shows like Third Watch and Luis before breaking out with It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, but in the past couple of years has found himself more on the big screen, with big roles in movies like Going The Distance and Horrible Bosses. This year, however, is really his chance to shine in the film world. Not only will we soon see him starring in Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, which is out next month, he has also found himself joining the Pixar family, lending his voice to the oddly-shaped creature Art in the brand new Monsters University. And with the latter movie due out this weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with the star about his monstrous summer and the future of his career.
A few weeks ago I had the chance to fly up to Emeryville, California for a Monsters University press day at Pixar headquarters and got to sit down one-on-one with the rising comedic actor. Check out our conversation below in which we talk not only about his terrific part in the new animated feature, but also the future of It’s Always Sunny, possibly collaborating with co-stars Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton on a film project, and the importance of the message in his new movie.
When you were doing your voiceover work did you come up here?
Yeah, the very first time I got to work on the movie, they brought me up here and I got to do the whole tour and see all the... Have you been around the facility at all?
Yeah! I’ve actually been lucky enough to come here a couple times before.
It’s really cool.
There really is an incredible, creative energy here. I have to imagine that has an impact.
Oh, absolutely. Well, I think the real trick to being a good actor or anything is to surround yourself by as many people as you can that are far more talented than you are and then really convince people that you are great.
Was this something you’ve wanted to do this for a while? This is your first time doing a voice in an animated movie, right?
I wanted to do it from the very first time I saw an animated movie. There’s something that they have, some sort of magic in recognizing the actor’s voice, but then seeing a completely new character that they have. I would love it when I heard Billy Crystal or Steve Buscemi or Tom Hanks or any of the actors that I loved voicing these characters and how could you not want to do that?
Totally. So was Monsters something you actively went after or did they contact you?
No, I didn’t even know it was being made until I got the phone call!
How long ago was that?
That’s a good question. Over a year ago, but I guess they’d been working for years and years and years, but they’re pretty good about keeping secrets up here. So, yeah, I didn’t pursue it, but I would’ve I suppose, if I could’ve.
I know that characters in animated movies can change a lot from their first conception to what ends up in the movie. Were you able to see early versions of Art?
I was. The very first day I came in, they had the drawing of the character and they had a few clips of how he moved, which is so funny, and each time I went back, they would have more and more and more, which would really get you excited and give you a better picture of what it was that you were trying to do.
Did you get to see an evolution of the character’s design changing?
They were pretty set in stone with what he was going to look like by the time I showed up. I would like to see early sketches, but I think he’s something that somebody dreamt up and just knocked it out of the park, right away.