IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Clark Duke Talks 'The Croods' Blu-ray/DVD, 'The Croods 2' and 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2'

Tuesday, 01 October 2013 14:45 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Clark Duke Talks 'The Croods' Blu-ray/DVD, 'The Croods 2' and 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2'

Unarguably, Clark Duke is one of the funniest young comedic actors working in Hollywood today!

He first gained attention on the small screen for his work on Greek, and the Internet series Clark and Michael co-starring Michael Cera, but it was probably his role on The Office that he is best known for. He has also appeared in several successful films including Superbad, Sex Drive, Kick-Ass, Hot Tub Time Machine, Identity Thief, and Kick-Ass 2, as well as recently finishing work on another highly awaited sequel - Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Earlier this year, Duke’s first performance in an animated movie was released with the box office hit The Croods, which will be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning October 1st. 

The film was produced by DreamWorks Animation and directed by Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps) and Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon). The Croods follows a caveman’s (Nicolas Cage) family as they trek through an unfamiliar fantastical world with the help of an inventive young boy (Ryan Reynolds), after their cave is destroyed. Duke plays the family’s youngest son Thunk, and in addition to Cage and Reynolds, the film also stars Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man), Oscar-nominee Catherine Keener (A Late Quartet), and Oscar-winner Cloris Leachman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). The Croods did so well during its theatrical release that a planned sequel has already been announced. 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Clark Duke about his work on The Croods, as well as its upcoming sequel, and Hot Tub Time Machine 2. The comedic actor discussed The Croods, making his first animated film, creating his character’s voice, recording alone, working with directors Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders, never actually meeting Ryan Reynolds, the movie’s premise, possibly returning for the planned sequel, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, when he finished filming, Adam Scott’s addition to the project, and if the original film’s star John Cusack will actually appear in the sequel. 

Here is what Clark Duke had to say about The Croods, The Croods 2, and Hot Tub Time Machine 2:

IAR: To begin with, did you enjoy doing voice-over work on The Croods, and how is that acting process compared to what you are used to with live-action movies?

Clark Duke: It’s nice because you don’t have to wear a shirt to work. You can just wear a cowboy hat in the office. It was great. It was kind of like stretching out a different muscle. 

I know that you like doing a lot of improvisation in your movies, is there room for that when you are doing an animated film or do you have to stick pretty close to the script?

Duke: There’s as much room as you want there to be, yeah. That was part of what was really fun about it because you’re doing it by yourself for the most part. It’s pretty wide open what you want to do. I liked it because it was completely pressure-free. They’re just like rolling this tape or whatever they record audio on now and it’s limitless. You can use as many takes as you want, you can try anything, and you can riff as much as you want. Thank God I like the director of this, Chris and Kirk really opened it up. So you can go nuts in there.

You mentioned that you were alone for most of the voice recording, but at any point did you get to work with another actor or were you completely isolated the entire time?

Duke: I think once I did something with a Cloris Leachman. I did a little bit of stuff with her, but literally, I think only once. I’ve still never met Ryan Reynolds, we email each other, but we’ve never actually met. 

Is it weird to make a movie with actors like Ryan Reynolds, Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener, and Emma Stone, and never actually meet them?

Duke: It’s bizarre. I’ve only talked to Ryan Reynolds through (comic book writer) Mark Miller, who wrote the Kick-Ass comics, because we were on an email chain together.

So when you are recording are you depending on directors Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco to work off of? Are they reading the other actor’s lines for you?

Duke: Oh yeah, very much so. They’re there with you. For the most part they were reading the lines. It’s more like a big fancy room. They’re there reading the other lines and I bounce stuff off of them. I kind of get the immediate feedback if they’re laughing or not. They were really easy to work with. 

What was your experience like working with them? You must have known you were in good hands because they have such an impressive resume of animation work, correct?

Duke: Yea, that’s exactly right. Visually the world they created was so cool. So it was nice to know that even though I didn’t get to see the finished animated stuff for a while. You still see the sketches and the designs, and that helped a lot to kind of figured it out, but they’re pros man. I’ve never seen two people work so fluidly together.

What was your initial reaction to the premise of the film? Is that what got you interested in being involved with the project?

Duke: I’ve always had a soft spot for cavemen. This is bizarre, but I have a set of dishes from the old B.C. comic strip. The cast was so good and like you said, the resume and the pedigree that Chris and Kirk have is impressive. So it seemed like a fun one to do. 

Can you talk about creating the character of Thunk Crood and his voice? Did it take you a while to find it or did it come pretty naturally?

Duke: It kind of just found itself through the process of working and going into the recording studio with the guys. It’s a little higher pitched than I normally talk. It’s a little bit in my upper register. It kind of organically happened I guess. I think I recorded it for like two years or something. I know it sounds crazy, but you go in like once a month for a couple hours. It was such a process, it kind of just organically happened. 

Was it odd for you to make a movie that way? 

Duke: Yea, you just kind of live with it. It was interesting. It was kind of like, when is this ever going to be done? But when I saw the finished movie, it was really cool.

Once you really felt like you had found the character, did you have a chance to go back and re-record any of your earlier tracks to make sure it all fit?

Duke: You kind of record a lot of stuff over anyway. Just because stuff changes like the scene will change or somebody else’s performance will, so you kind of record something better to bounce off of that. Yeah, you definitely go back to stuff.

The movie was so successful that they’re talking about making a sequel, is The Croods 2 something you’d like to return for?

Duke: Yea, if they want me, sure!

Speaking of sequels, are you done filming Hot Tub Time Machine 2?

Duke: Yea, we wrapped it up about six weeks ago. 

What was it like to return with director Steve Pink and most of the original cast?

Duke: It was pretty surreal. We got the guys back together and we added Adam Scott who is a friend of mine. He was so funny in the movie. It was like putting on an old comfortable jacket. 

Is Adam Scott playing John Cusack’s role from the first movie, or will Cusack’s absence be explained somehow?

Duke: I kind of don’t want to give it away. I don’t know how much has been released. It’s really funny who his character is and it makes perfect sense, but I think if I tell you it’ll spoil a lot of the movie. I haven’t seen a cut yet, but I think it’s going to be really funny. The editor told me it’s like one of the funniest things he’s ever worked on. 

Was it weird making the movie without John Cusack or was that not a big deal?

Duke: Well he’s ... again I don’t want to spoil anything. I don’t know what is secret and what is not. But he might just pop up!

The Croods will be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning October 1st.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is currently in post-production. 

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