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Igor in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Igor

THE STARS:
(voices) John Cusack • Molly Shannon • Eddie Izzard • Steve Buscemi • Jennifer Coolidge
DIRECTOR: Tony Leondis

Igor THE CONCEPT:
In a land of mad scientists, any baby born with a hunch on its back becomes an 'Igor', the lowly assistant to a crazy scientist. One Igor (Cusack) longs to be a scientist, and when his cruel master dies during an experiment one week before the annual Evil Science Fair, Igor finally gets his chance to shine, with the help of the friends he’s created, Scamper, a suicidal road-kill rabbit that he has brought back to life, and Brain (Hayes), a brain in a jar that is less than brilliant. Igor creates a ferocious monster for the Fair, who unfortunately turns out to be Eva (Shannon), a kind-hearted giant who aspires to be an actress.

U.S. RELEASE: September 19 2008, Nationwide • Rated: PG

THE COMMENTS:

Scamper, Igor and Brain
CHRIS McKENNA (Screenwriter):

“I was thinking about doing something with evil scientists, as I just love that world, and I thought, ‘What if there was a whole land that every mountaintop had the stereotypical evil mad scientist working away in a castle laboratory?’ Then I started thinking, ‘Would they all have a hunchbacked lab assistant? Would they all have an Igor?’ That was the whole germ of the idea.”

TONY LEONDIS:
“We made the movie in a year and a half instead of five years, so I knew that we had to have very clear shapes for the characters and very non-Humanlike characters, because the more Human they are the more you can see the imperfections. We are all used to looking at ourselves in the mirror, so if they’re more abstractive then it’s a little easier to get away with things and make the movie in a year and a half. So a lot of the design was dealing with our limitations. But I also happen to love that look.”

JOHN CUSACK on the animation process of working alone:
“It’s okay, I could imagine Molly doing Eva, and then you start to hear her as the film progresses and they get tracks down, and you get to play off of her anyway. It would have been nice to have been in the same room. Doing a voice is just acting, [the animators] do all the work. I liked the script and I thought this was a pretty cool project.”

MOLLY SHANNON on playing Eva:
Igor and Eva“I just of thought about when I first started acting, I went to NYU Drama School and I remember being like, ‘I’m going to New York City to take acting class, and have coffee and take notes ‘ It was that innocence that I just thought about, I could really relate to that character. She’s in a fantasy about all of show business, it was a really fun character to play.”

STEVE BUSCEMI:
Scamper“I got a call saying, ‘Would you read this and would you be interested in doing a voice?’ I read it and I liked the darkness of it, I have to say. I liked this weird story, and Scamper, this road-kill rabbit who is suicidal, but immortal. How could I resist?”

McKENNA:
“Scamper is basically the anti-Thumper. What if Thumper got run over, brought back to life, and he came back and he realized life is just a nasty bitter place where you get run over, and then brought back by some guy you don’t know – that was the whole germ of this character. And we thought, ‘Who is our ideal person? [Who’s] really bitter, sarcastic, hilarious, we’d love to get Steve Buscemi,’ and when we actually got him we couldn’t believe it.”

SEAN HAYES:
“I read the script and they sent over the drawings, and I thought it was amazing that Chris and Tony created a new tone and world and feeling that we haven’t seen before. It was exciting to be a part of something new, the sharp edges of the drawings, the eccentricity of it, the darkness of it yet still kid-friendly, I loved all of it.”

CUSACK on the political overtones in the movie:
“There are political overtones in this, there’s a gentle anti-war [theme] because the whole city is kept in the dark, and it’s also all built upon making these weapons and perpetuating evil inventions which the whole economy is based on – it’s pretty blatant.”

EDDIE IZZARD (Dr Schadenfreude):
“I didn’t know this was a kids’ movie, I thought it was for adults, I swore a hell of a lot in it! I do like kids, when the personality kicks in it’s great, but we found this tested really bad on one and two year olds, it’s over their head, they don’t get the nuances!”

JENNIFER COOLIDGE (Jaclyn):
“You’ll get a script that comes to your house and you say, ‘I’ll sign on for that movie,’ then you do it and by the time they reworded your stuff and tamed it down it’s like a bowl of soup without any salt. But this movie does not hold back, it’s all in there. It’s so nice they didn’t dumb this one down.”

McKENNA:
“Setting it in an evil world, we were worried at times whether we could even say an Evil Science Fair, people are very sensitive to those things. But every story has its Good versus Evil, and we just embraced it and went for it, and you have an arc in the movie where Igor learns it better to be a good nobody than an evil somebody.”

A well-earned rest...

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © MGM
Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #699, August 2008 cover

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