Home FamilyEntertainment RATCHET AND CLANK ~ A Conversation with Director, Kevin Munroe #RatchetAndClank

RATCHET AND CLANK ~ A Conversation with Director, Kevin Munroe #RatchetAndClank

by Heather

While in Los Angeles a few weeks ago for the Ratchet and Clank Press Event, we had the opportunity to sit down with talent from the film. Kevin Munroe {Director/Writer}, James Arnold Taylor {voice of Ratchet}, and Bella Thorne {voice of Cora}. Today, we want to share with you some of the tidbits from the Press Conference and some insider information on the film, the characters, and the voices behind the characters!

There was something in the air on that rainy Saturday afternoon. The clouds parted, suddenly the rain stopped, and the sun was shining through. We could hear chuckling and laughing as we entered the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverley Hills. Outside we all stopped to take a photograph with Marilyn Monroe, she too was giggling and in a festive mood. Perhaps she knew that on the 15th floor we were to be greeted by Ratchet himself. We were going to be interviewing the amazing cast of Ratchet and Clank. There were smiles all around, the atmosphere was alive with giddy nervousness, and gamers and bloggers alike were rejoicing!

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On the first floor, this long time dream became a reality as we were greeted by and had the honor of interviewing Bella Thorne, James Arnold Taylor, and Kevin Munroe. To say that it was amazing being in the same room with such talent would be an understatement. My family absolutely loves playing Ratchet and Clank, their jaws dropped when they heard I would be traveling to Los Angeles to meet the cast behind the characters, and now the moment was here and everything was suddenly real.

The first thing that I noticed is that all three were eager to answer our questions and they were excited to do so. It was obvious that they were just as excited for the films premiere as we were, the room was full of positive energy. I don’t imagine it is easy being a voice actor but as we asked questions and learned more, it was clear that they all definitely enjoyed their role in the film, the opportunity to bring adventure to life, and introduce a new generation to Ratchet and Clank. There were many questions asked during our short visitation, there were moments when I even found myself in awe sitting back and listening to how they came together. Today, I want to share with you the Cast and Director Interview!

Ratchet and Clank - Press Interview

QUESTION: You’ve worked on both films and video games in the past. Do you feel like they give an advantage in being able to translate the video game into a good movie?

KEVIN MUNROE: Umm – yes, and no. At the end of the day, it’s all about just finding a good story, and really trying to find that. But no, I was working at a company called Shine Entertainment, back in the mid-1990s, and I am Canadian. I came down to California and I had animation training. Where do you get a job? Video games at the time were really friendly with that. My first in was through video games and the company had done a game called Earthworm Jim, it felt like you were playing a cartoon. To me, that always resonated.

That project, I think, gave birth to a lot of projects like Ratchet and Clank, and these very character driven kind of properties. I think knowing the background of that, I knew what everybody was going after. It was a very familiar world for me, coming from the silliness of that sort of Shine-y Entertainment, Earthworm Jim era and Crash Bandicoot and all those things came about.

What’s great now is that it’s all about the story. It doesn’t matter if it’s a game, or if it’s a movie, or a TV show. It’s all about just experiencing, even on your phones, experiencing a story anywhere.

Ultimately, it came down to that.

QUESTION: What inspired you to write Ratchet and Clank, and what’s the biggest challenge making the movie?

KEVIN MUNROE: Actually, there’s something called a first draft, where the first writer, T.J. Fixman comes in. T.J. actually worked on the video games, I think for over 10 years or so, and he had a fantastic first draft that was filled with so many characters, and so much story. My job was to come in and basically just to find the movie that we were telling within that – because there were all these other stories where we met his dad at one point in the script, which is a great story line, but that’s its own movie, you know. If you have seen the movie, or when you do, you will see that there’s already enough in there. I know that we pushed the boundaries.

QUESTION: What was your biggest challenge making the film?

KEVIN MUNROE: The biggest challenge was, I think, taking – because the game has been around since two thous– – the game’s older than you are, right? And so it’s been around since 2002. Whenever you have something that’s so big, it’s almost like Lord of the Rings, where you’ve got 10,000 stories that these guys have gone on and done – and adventures, and characters. The question really becomes, what’s the story you want to tell? We wanted to tell how Ratchet and Clank met and how they got to become the heroes of the galaxy. Basically making sure that you can just tell the story, just using the elements to make sure you can do that to start. Then, hopefully if everything goes well, we get to tell a whole bunch more stories.

Ratchet and Clank - Kevin Munroe, Director

QUESTION: The fans for this game are very, very passionate. What was some of the biggest challenges in bringing the video game world to the big screen?

KEVIN MUNROE: It’s funny because I’ve had my run-ins with a few different fan groups, in terms of properties. Everyone has a different tone. Turtles fan groups were very, very wary, I think, because a lot of people have interpreted Ninja Turtles in a lot of different ways. So a lot of it was like, “Okay, what are you gonna do with it? How are you gonna screw this up?” kind of thing. Whereas the Ratchet fans have been so supportive, which is crazy. I’m sort of not used to that energy. I’m kind of waiting for somebody to come, and like slap me on the back of the head, or somebody’s like, kneeling down behind me to do the bully push or something.

It’s been an incredible fan base to work with. Really, the biggest challenge is that games are such a user driven way of ingesting a story, or entertainment. It’s like comic books. You control how fast you flip. You control how much you stare at a panel. So you’re really directing it whenever you’re doing that. When you play the video games, it’s pretty much the same thing. The notion of any time you do an adaptation like that, is that you have to find the tone of what works for the people who love it. Then, your job is to then translate that love into another medium.

You try to take what people love and stay true to that. It has to be less about the details, and more about the feeling, and more about the tone, because eventually it has to become a movie. I think we just really kind of threaded the needle with this one.

QUESTION: How did you navigate the game? Often when I see cartoon movies, they have a lot of subliminal, adult humor to it. This one is very much a family, kid friendly movie that adults could enjoy. Did you get any push back saying, “We want more racy humor in it,” or something like that.

KEVIN MUNROE: No – well, yeah – other than ‘kick some asteroid’ – it’s crazy. Yeah, whoever is doing all those campaigns, and the tags with – some of them are pretty racy. As a parent, I’m just kind of like, “Ooh, really?” But okay. The best part is it’s always really true to what Ratchet and Clank is and they’ve always had it.

There’s – some of them are super cheeky, like ‘up your arsenal’ and stuff like that for some of the video games that they’ve done. But they’ve never done it as a – it was never a Shrek nod to parents. The Ratchet and Clank people who created that, and they did those puns, they did it for the people who consumed it. It wasn’t for the parents of the people who consumed it.

I think there will always be people who think, “Oh, if Transformers just could have been R rated, it would have been so much…” But you’re like, “No, its Transformers. Come on.” It’s the same way with this, you look at the majority of these games and they have been rated E10, maybe. Of course you can have a PG13 Ratchet movie. I don’t know if you need it, though. A lot of times it was just staying true to what Insomniac had already done and not screwing it up.

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QUESTION: Are you more passionate about directing or writing?

KEVIN MUNROE: Storytelling. That’s just a lame answer. But it’s true. I would say it probably is more of a director’s medium, I think, for what I like to do. I love the combination of just visuals, and words, and music, and color.

I started out mostly doing character design. I think my first job was on Hey, Arnold, at Nickelodeon, doing character design. When you design a character, just from the way they dress, to the way they stand, to the way their hair is, all of that stuff that can inform story; that can inform who they are. I love the idea of when a design is so crisp and clear that you just go, “I need no words, at all.” To me, I think that’s probably the directing aspect of it. I just love the combination of all those things, and figuring out the balance of it.

With this one, it was great, because I had never worked with Rainmaker before. They’re a fantastic studio. But I’d never really worked with most of the department heads, or any of the people there. It was all just kind of like jazz. We were on a tight schedule and we knew we had to make the movie, and we all just showed up. And like, “This is what I do. And how do you play?” And this guy, “Well, this is kind of like what I do.” And so we’d take that, and then move it, and then sort of combine it with everything that Insomniac had created. And so that’s such a rush for me. I love that.

QUESTION: If there’s another Ratchet and Clank movie, where do you see the story going to next?

KEVIN MUNROE: It’ll be a spinoff starring Ratchet and Cora. It’ll be great. There’s a lot of themes with where Ratchet comes from, in terms of his origins. There’s a lot of bigger themes. Now that Ratchet joined the Rangers, and characters like Cora gave him such a hard time and really made him earn his place in the ranks, I think there’s so many more adventures they could go on.

QUESTION: How different is it to direct a video game versus directing a film?

KEVIN MUNROE:  It’s just a different pencil, for the most part.  It’s taken a while because I think at the beginning, you sometimes think because it’s live action it has to be this way; or because it’s – and directing a live action film is really not much different than directing animation.  It all comes down to lighting.

It’s always just about the story and characters, and finding something fun you want to say.  Then, it’s a matter of just knowing the tools of that medium.  My journey has been more about just discovering that it just needs to be about story, and then letting your actors just own the character, and let them create it with you, and specifically not having all the answers.  That’s, I think, one of the biggest things.  Otherwise, it’s just a really good story.

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QUESTION: As a lifelong gamer, I really appreciated all the hat tips to the gamers that you put in the movie.

KEVIN MUNROE:  Awesome, man.

QUESTION:  Especially the Sly Cooper bit.

KEVIN MUNROE:  Did you like that?  Yeah.  That was great!

QUESTION:  Any chance we’ll see him in a starring role soon?

KEVIN MUNROE:  Hey, there we go, right?  No.  I would hope so.  I know it’s there.  It hasn’t gone away.  It just hasn’t really moved forward, I think.  I think a lot of it depends on how this does because it’s a model.  I get that we’re going in and we’re saying we can take really successful videogames, and tell really compelling stories that people want to go to the theater and see, like the film version of it.  So – we’re all ready to go.  I think it’s just a matter of just waiting until someone says, “Yeah, we’re doing it.”

Everyone is really jazzed to get into it.  So – yeah.

QUESTION: What do you want viewers to take away from Ratchet and Clank?

KEVIN MUNROE:  I think that there’s the message of … there’s so many messages in that.  I think it’s the message of it’s not just following your dreams, but it’s finding your dream.  I think a lot of time, life will make you think that you’re supposed to be dreaming about something else.  And really, if you just listen to yourself, and know the things that make you happy, and know what you can do to make the world a better place, that’s what your dream should be.  And I think that’s totally what Ratchet learns in it.

JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Yeah. Doing the right thing.

KEVIN MUNROE:  Yeah, not the big things – just the right things.

Are you interested in learning more about the cast and inner workings of Ratchet and Clank? Stay tuned for Part II of our interview with cast members James Arnold Taylor {voice of Ratchet} and Bella Thorne {voice of Cora} coming up.

For a complete insiders look, be sure to head to theaters THIS Friday, April 29, 2016 for the film’s premiere. BUT before heading out to theaters, keep an eye out for our Movie Review hitting the blog, tomorrow!

RATCHET & CLANK opens everywhere April 29th!

Ratchet and Clank - Movie poster

Opening Nationwide April 29, 2016

MPAA Rating: PG

Running Time: 94 Minutes

From Rainmaker Entertainment and Blockade Entertainment, Ratchet & Clank is a CG-animated movie based on the iconic PlayStation video game. Two unlikely heroes struggle to stop a vile alien named Chairman Drek from destroying every planet in the Solana Galaxy. Ratchet is the last of his kind, a foolhardy “lombax” who has grown up alone on a backwater planet with no family of his own. Clank is a pint-sized robot with more brains than brawn. When the two stumble upon a dangerous weapon capable of destroying entire planets, they must join forces with a team of colorful heroes called The Galactic Rangers in order to save the galaxy. Along the way, they will learn about heroism, friendship, and the importance of discovering one’s own identity.

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Stop by the official Ratchet and Clank website to learn more about the movie!

Disclaimer: This post is written in collaboration with Focus Features. Regardless, all opinions expressed are still 100% my own.

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2 comments

Linda Manns Linneman April 28, 2016 - 6:41 am
What a great experience. It had to be so exciting to attend this. These people are very talented in what they do. I am sure alot of hard work has gone into this for our enjoyment. I am so glad you got to meet these people and you were able to share this with us. Thank you so much
Reply
clojo9372 April 30, 2016 - 2:10 pm
My nephew is really looking forward to this movie. It seems like with the amount of comics and video games that there are out there, there is a plethora of ideas to make some great movies with. Thanks for sharing this with all of us! :)
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