RATCHET AND CLANK ~ Getting to Know Bella Thorne & James Arnold Taylor #RatchetAndClank

by Heather

Earlier today we shared with you our journey to Los Angeles for the Ratchet and Clank Press Event and sitting down to talk with Director Kevin Munroe. We learned so much about the creation of the film while trying to capture the essence of the game and I would be lying if I didn’t use the term “geeking out” to describe the feelings that overcame me as I listened to what Kevin had to say about the entire process. If you missed it, be sure to check out our conversation with Director Kevin Munroe … it was amazing!

BUT, Kevin wasn’t the only one that we had the chance to meet with! James Arnold Taylor {voice of Ratchet} and Bella Thorne {voice of Cora} were also there to give us more details about the upcoming film which will be hitting theaters THIS Friday!

As I mentioned before, everyone was very eager to sit down with us, answer questions about the film, and celebrate the completion of the filming process while awaiting the premiere. What I loved is how pleasant and easygoing everyone was. They all genuinely wanted to be there, talk with us, introduce us to the film, and invite us along on the adventure.

What was really cool about talking with James Arnold Taylor, Bella Thorne, and Kevin Munroe in this part of the press conference was that we not only learned about the characters that James and Bella played in the film but we also learned more about them. Check out the details from our conversation below!


QUESTION for James: Is there a difference in your approach between voicing, or recording for video games and recording for films?

JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR: Well, I’ve been very blessed to be able to do quite a bit of both.  They are extremely different from each other.  Video games, you’re isolated, you’re all alone; you’re recording in your little padded room, talking to yourself, and just a director feeding you lines.  In the film, we got to work together.  I work with David.  Bella and I didn’t, but that’s because of the restraining order.

BELLA THORNE:  Because I was the only one not invited.


BELLA THORNE:  I just want to make that clear.

JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR:  It was the restraining order that I have against her.  No – I kid.  But Jim Ward, who plays Captain Qwark, and of course David Kaye, doing a wonderful job as Clank – we all got to work together; and Kevin giving us direction – that was fun.  Totally different than a video game.  Animated series, you work like that.  But that’s pretty unspoken in a film.  So it was wonderful that we got to do it that way.


QUESTION for James: Recently you did a live stream and you were talking about really encouraging people to follow their dreams. I noticed that that was a theme in Ratchet and Clank a lot, too.

JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR:  I think so, too.  I think it’s pretty awesome, it’s this wonderful thing of the underdog.  I kind of look at myself like that too, as I’ve always wanted to do these things.  It’s been my dream to be a voice actor since I was four years old.  And here we are now with this.  And I get to have my name on a poster with Bella Thorne.  That’s pretty darn cool.  So – dream achieved.

I think it’s really important.  And I think it’s a wonderful theme that kids and families can go together and see this movie.  They can see that sometimes your heroes aren’t exactly what they thought, and you can still pursue your dreams, and be the good guy, and save the day.  Yeah, pretty cool.

QUESTION for James and Bella: Ratchet and Clank is such a playful project, I was wondering what the most fun part of doing these voices was for you.

BELLA THORNE:  The most fun was probably playing a bad a** female Jake was super cool.  When I walked in you guys were just like, “No, yeah, you can just use your dark voice, your…”

KEVIN MUNROE:  She was like, “Are you sure you don’t want me to sound more girly?”  Like, “No.  No.”

BELLA THORNE:  He was, “No, no, no, no.”

KEVIN MUNROE:  No.  Please.

BELLA THORNE:  “Yeah, you can even go deeper.”  And I was like – no.

KEVIN MUNROE:  I will say when it’s too far.  Trust me.

BELLA THORNE:  Yeah.  No, no, no, I sound like a man, guys.  We don’t want to think that a man is actually Cora.  The most fun part was probably getting to stress my personality to its limits, just because I was playing such a different character from me.

JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR:  Yeah, and she does an amazing job at it.  It’s so fun.  I was just telling her, as we were walking down the hall, I’m afraid of her character, in every way.  It is great to be able to do that.

The funnest thing for me is very similar, being the character of Ratchet is my regular voice.  That’s kind of a first for me.  I’ve been, you know, Fred Flintstone, and nobody expects Fred to come out of me, or Obi-Wan Kenobi, or Johnny [PH] Tatstu’s an 11 year old kid and totally awesome and all that, you know, and that’s cool.  But – or if I’m doing, you know, Christopher Walken when he can’t do it – I come in, I go, you know, it’s great.  Or Jay [PH] Burshell, or Michael J. Fox – well, wait a second; this is heavy.  So I’m just, basically just trying to impress you all with voices.  But Ratchet –  I get to be me.  And so it’s very cool to get to do that, and get to work with these people.  And get to work with Kevin again.

QUESTION for James and Bella: How do you identify with your character?


BELLA THORNE:  Pretty much in almost every aspect – super tomboy; you can’t probably tell from the way I’m dressed, but in my personal life, I definitely wear what she’s wearing in the movie.  She’s not afraid to boss Ratchet around. At the end of the day, she might, shoot first and then ask questions later, which isn’t the best thing, but I think in her case, it works.  At the end of the day she just wants what’s best for the team.

JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR:  It’s just one of those cool things, to walk into a character that really is the guy that’s the underdog, and he wants to do the right thing, and he wants to save the day, and he wants to have everybody like him.  But at the same time, he also wants to be doing cool things.  That’s kind of how I am, and that’s why I get to be a voice actor, because I get to be superheroes and stuff.  And so it’s a great combination of life, and unreality.


QUESTION for Bella:  One of my readers wants to know when you’re going to write and direct your own film, because you totally have the brains and talent to do it.

BELLA THORNE:  Thank you.  Actually, my goal was to have my first self-directed short film premiere at South By Southwest next year and hopefully some other festivals.  I love the creative process.  One of the unfortunate things about this film was this character was already created when I came in, and stepped foot inside her.  That was fun and interesting but I would love to do some more live action animation, where I actually get to go behind the scenes and literally create the character, because anything behind the scenes, to me, is just so cool.  I’m never in my trailer.  I’m always right behind the director, seeing what he’s doing.  They probably think I’m annoying.

QUESTION for James:  You, and David, and Jim, and Armin, you have probably some of the most experience with this game franchise. I know working with the gaming studio had to be a bonus. Did you ever find yourself in any situation where you were leading the direction or saying, “You know, I don’t feel like Ratchet would do that,” or, “I feel like he should say this here.”

JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR:  You know, I really feel that was the beauty of – yeah, Kevin’s right next to me.  He’s right next to me, isn’t he?  Yeah.  Honestly, the beauty of this was it was such a seamless transition from game to film, the only difference being that we were together.  That was the only reason I knew we were doing something different than the game; it felt like the game.  We did the game pretty much simultaneously, as well.  Kevin was so easy to work with in that, too.  It’s like, you know, “Okay, let’s try this line.  What do you think?”  You know, and Ratchet does have a way – and T.J. Fixman, who has written him throughout the games, as well, was there.  We were all always able to kind of go, “Yeah, let’s – let’s ratchet this up a little.”

I’m learning that Ratchet has another meaning now, by the way, which is just –  All day everybody says, “You know what ratchet really means?”  I’m like, “Hey, hey, hey.”  So yeah, ratchet it up in a good way.  But no, really, it was a seamless transition.  I think that’s what’s going to make this such a successful thing, in that you watch this, and you feel like you’re playing the game.  And if you don’t know the game you can go, “Now there’s a game I can play?”  You know.  So it’s really cool.

QUESTION for Bella:  In this role, did you find your approach changed, doing it as a voice actress, instead of just as an actress on screen?

BELLA THORNE:  There’s so many different things that go into it.  When you’re acting, you’re not acting with just your voice; you’re acting with every part of you, which is, really small things like, “Wow, would my character grab her hair this way?  Maybe she wouldn’t because, you know, she’s very naïve, and she’s this, and this, and this.”  There are a lot of things that go into consideration.  But really on this one, I’m watching a character and I’m just trying to be as like her as I can and make her come alive as I can.

So yes, it’s pretty different, but I still use my body a lot because just in the fluctuations of your voice, they change so abruptly when you just move your shoulder forward, just like the smallest bit.  The most annoying part was, I wear a lot of jewelry that’s under here. Every time, I’d be like, “Oh, my God, I’m gonna go kill him right now.”  Then it would be like …

KEVIN MUNROE:  Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink.

BELLA THORNE:  Yeah.  Clink, clink, clink, clink.  That would be annoying.

JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR:  Clank’s not in this scene.  Yeah.

QUESTION for James: Working on this is quite a bit different than being in the video game and being in regular cartoons. How’s the interaction with the fans?  Are they sort of questioning you about going from a video game to the movie, and trying to get clues out of you, before it comes out?

JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR:  Oh, yeah.  I’ve got my little YouTube channel, and my social networks, have people asking questions all the time.  You really have to talk in code.  You know what I mean?  As voice actors, you’re always doing stuff that’s, practically everything is under a NDA.  So even, “How was your day, honey?”  Like, “I can’t talk about it.  I can’t…”  You know.  Sometimes I kind of go, “I don’t want to know anything about it.  I just – I just want to look right here.”  It’s like with Star Wars, when we did Clone Wars – that Obi-Wan Kenobi didn’t know that Anakin was the one that was going to become Darth Vader.  So I was like, “I can’t even – I can’t think that way.  No, he’s the chosen one.”  So you kind of have to wear those blinders when you do it, and then hopefully, that comes across with fans, and you go, “Look, I’m as excited as you, but I can’t say anything.”


QUESTION for James: You are the ambassador of inspiration and your book looks awesome. A just picked up a copy. I’d like to know, do you think that you’ve gotten a lot of the opportunities you’ve gotten because of your positive attitude?

JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR:  I’d like to think so.  Yeah, I think it really is.  Thank you, by the way, and thank you for getting the book.  And it’s a little book, Daily Inspirations, 365 Daily Inspirations for the Pursuit of Your Dreams.  And it’s a journal, and you can kind of – I want other people to be able to achieve what I’ve achieved in my life, as a kid that sat there at four years old going, “I want to do voices.”  And I pursued it with a passion.  And here it is.  And I tried to stay positive.  And I had a lot of crazy stuff going on around me as a kid, and stuff that kids shouldn’t see.  And so I thought, “I want to stay positive.”  And it was really what kept me alive in some of those instances.  So I know for a fact that it plays a part in my life, and it plays a part in my career.  I’m so grateful to be here with these incredibly talented people.

KEVIN MUNROE:  He is one of the most pleasant people to work with.

BELLA THORNE:  So positive.

KEVIN MUNROE:  You work with a lot of people, and I can say that some people aren’t people pleasant; but specifically, whatever pleasant is – James somehow lives up in this stratosphere.

QUESTION for James:  Great!  So a follow-up question.  What would you say – I know you started really young wanting to be a voice actor.  What was the best encouragement you’ve gotten, or best advice?

JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR:  So when I was 19 years old – there’s a fellow by the name of Don Messick.  Now, some of you may know Don, but you certainly know his voice.  He was Scooby Do.  He was Papa Smurf.  He was Mr. Ranger.  He was Boo Boo Bear.  And he lived not too far from me.  I grew up in Santa Barbara, California.  He lived there.  And I was working in radio.  We did a commercial together in his home studio.  And I went, “This is the best thing in the world.  I’m gonna do that someday.”  So I called him up – he was in the phonebook.  And I called him up after we worked together, and I said, “Hello, Mr. Messick, we worked together.  And I was just wondering if maybe I could take you to breakfast some time, and I’ll buy it.  You know, it’d be wonderful to talk to you about voiceover, and it’d be really great if you could just talk…”  And he was like, “Yeah, sure, fine.”  I went, “Okay.”  And he took me to breakfast, and talked to me, and told me stories about being Droopy Dog, and Scooby Do, and all of that.  And it was so inspiring, and he was so wonderfully humble, and giving of his time.  And I thought, “I – I gotta do that.”

QUESTION for Bella: Bella, you are so busy, how are you able to balance everything that you do?

BELLA THORNE:  Ppppphhhhhh.  I guess you’d have to ask my manager’s assistant, Joey, because I don’t know.  I don’t know how he puts it in the schedule, to be completely honest.  I have a goals list that I just started on my phone, which is pretty cool.  I’m just trying to do everything.  I make personal time for myself when I’m on sets, which is good.  So I’ll be on set, but then I’ll have, a buddy come by and spend time with me while I’m on set.  That’s kind of how I balance my personal relationships a bit more.  I just want do everything, but more directing and writing, specifically – yeah.

 QUESTION for James:  What’s your biggest risk that paid off?

JAMES ARNOLD TAYLOR:  Biggest risk that paid off?  Let’s see.  Well, Fred Flintstone, going for that, because nobody thought I could be the voice of Fred Flintstone, 5’4”, looking like Barney Rubble, you know.  So – the director literally looked over me in the first session.  He went, “Where’s the actor?  Where is – no, not you, can you get.”  “It’s me.”  Right, you know.  And so it was a risk.


Photo credit Jessica Helgren from The Mommy Bunch

It was absolutely refreshing to sit down and talk with this talented group of three. Everything about the conversation with easygoing, they cracked jokes at one another, and you could tell, just by the short time that we spent with them, that the chemistry was phenomenal. I can’t wait to see what they come together and create next! BUT until then, we will sit back and enjoy Ratchet and Clank.

We invite you to join us at the theater THIS Friday, April 29, 2016 for the film’s debut. AND, don’t forget to check back tomorrow when we release our Movie Review!

RATCHET & CLANK hits theaters 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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Linda Manns Linneman May 24, 2016 - 4:44 pm
We are so excited about seeing this movie. We are going this weekend. We saw the previews at the movies last weekend. Thank you so much for sharing this great article
Olivine Eyes September 10, 2016 - 7:07 pm
I will always associate James Arnold Taylor as the voice of Tidus in Final Fantasy X. Sorry.

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