Some animated movies just hire celebrities to do
their celebrity voices and use their celebrity likeness on their posters.
Even when Pixar got Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, they still transformed them
into characters. Patton Oswalt may not be quite as recognizable, but his
voice of Remy the rat in Ratatouille
would not be tied to his stand-up or sitcom persona anyway.
Patton Oswalt on Ratatouille
"It was a lot easier than I thought,"
said Oswalt. "Like, ‘I’m going to be in a booth alone and
I’m just going to see random pages. Is this going to work?’
But you’re in a room with Brad Bird. You’re in a room with the
best animation director alive right now, and you’re in a room with
the guy that’s got all of animation history in his head and has the
whole story and world in his head. He can feed you the lines and get the
reaction. He’s a guy who’s got a million tricks and he’s
got no habits, so every moment is going to be its own thing. He knows all
the rules of animation and then forgets them when he walks in that room
because everything’s going to be unprecedented to him, which makes
it so fresh. ‘What is going to happen here?’ I mean, he was
pushing me from behind. He was yanking me. He was stuffing water down my
throat. It was nuts."
That made recording more of an acting exercise and less about trying to
embody a rodent. "I was actually worried about that and then Brad Bird
told me, ‘You know, the reason we hired you is because of your enthusiasm
for esoteric and weird things,’ this one being food. And I am a big
foodie. It ended up having nothing to do with being a rat and everything
to do with just embrace your enthusiasm non-judgmentally, if that makes
sense. So it ended up being really easy."
Remy is a rat who likes to cook, but restaurants don't like rats. So he
teams up with a human to concoct his culinary masterpieces. Remy's passion
for food makes Ratatouille a heavy hitter in the genre
of food movies.
"Honestly, and it has nothing to do with me
being in it, I think this will be on the top of the pantheon. I really do.
I think it will be up there with Babette’s Feast
and The God of Cookery, even beyond those movies. Movies
like Big Night and Tampopo. Tampopo
is basically a gun fight done with noodles. You’ve got to see Tampopo
because there’s so much of that passion. It’s about opening
a little noodle hut. There’s so much of the same passion of that movie
in this movie, too. I don’t know if they’ve seen it or not but
you can’t believe how emotional you’ll get. Like, 'I hope these
guys open this noodle hut.' Movies about food that really illustrate it,
I honestly think that this is going to be the new standard."
The film's title comes from a vegetable dish that is traditionally not glamorous,
but even Remy can make it special. Oswalt himself is a connoisseur. "I’d
had Ratatouille. I was a big fan. I never had that much access to really
good French food. In Los Angeles I would go to one on Beverly Blvd where
they make their own pickles and olives in the jars, Mimosa. Their menu changes
seasonally so we’d go to get the new seasonal menus. And then Chez
Francois in Great Falls when I was growing up in Virginia. We’d go
there a lot which is this amazing, amazing French restaurant in Virginia
of all places. And then also just a lot of the Vietnamese fusion, you’d
get a lot of that French flavor in really good Vietnamese restaurants. So
I was as much as I could be but I was always a broke comedian. I didn’t
have the money to go to these places."
Ratatouille opens to theatres on June 29th.
For the trailers, stills, posters and more movie info, go to the Ratatouille
Stay tuned for updates.