Animation is Rich Moore’s game, but it wasn’t necessarily John C. Reilly’s.
The director of Wreck it Ralph, out on DVD Tuesday, says it took some finagling to reel in his leading man.
Reilly, who voices a hulking videogame character called Wreck It Ralph in Disney’s arcade adventure, was hesitant at first. He was used to big screen projects like The Good Girl, Chicago and We Need to Talk About Kevin.
“John said he’d heard that actors just go into a recording booth and put on headphones then act against nothingness,” Moore recounts. “He said, ‘That doesn’t sounds like fun to me to be really honest. I don’t think you’re going to get my best work doing that.’ ’’
So they hatched a plan to get Reilly and other costars like Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch in the same room.
“What I love is how they are all relating to each other,” Moore says. “Ultimately, it made the movie much, much better that they were able to see each other and look into each other’s eyes and play off each other’s faces.”
Something obviously clicked because Wreck it Ralph was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
“I credit John hugely by trusting me enough and saying, ‘I’m kind of uncomfortable about how I’ve heard the business is done.’ Had he not said something we may have not gotten to that point,” Moore says.
Best known for his TV work on The Simpsons, Moore also believes audiences understood what was at the heart of this movie: a bad guy who wants to turn his life around and get accepted. Simply, Ralph wants to stop wrecking.
“Ralph is the aggressor, but really, he’s just a guy doing his job in this game,” Moore says. “Over the course of time he understood that he was flawed. But you kind of gotta love the guy because he’s doing the best that he can. He’s so human and relatable.”