Get ready to meet your new robot and best friend in "Ron's Gone Wrong," which hits theaters this weekend. Growing up and meeting new people can be scary. And for all of us at some point in our lives, this feels like an astronomic undertaking. In the case of a young boy named Barney, he doesn't really have any friends. But that's all about to change. This coming-of-age film about what it means to be a friend features the voices of Jack Dylan, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Olivia Colman, Rob Delaney, Justice Smith, and Kylie Cantrall as well as many others. 20th Century invited Noovie to attend the virtual press conference with some of the talented voice actors. Check out our quick Q&A with the actors behind the voices of "Ron's Gone Wrong."
'Ron's Gone Wrong' Q&A: Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Ed Helms, & Kylie Cantrall
Q: How did you end up wanting to play the role of Barney?
Jack Dylan Grazer: Well, (it) started back in 2017. I was 13 and I'm 18 now, so it's been a while. But it's been a whirlwind of a process and there's so much evolution that has happened, especially with Barney and the story as a whole...It was a whole other ballgame when I started. But I'm so glad that I stuck around and here we are now, and I'm so thrilled.
Q: How did you achieve the physical comedy with it being voice work, in terms of how you really animate that through voice?
Ed Helms: That's a really interesting question, because the short answer is that I did none of it. It was all the talented animators and directors who did all of the physical comedy. But the more nuanced answer is that obviously as a brilliant voice actor, I'm able to infuse little nuggets of physicality. No, really, it's all there on the page. It's really fun to just bring these lines to life and these guys can tell you that the filmmakers...I don't hold back in the booth, I'm definitely physical in the space and that I think helps it sound right and helps it sound physical and gets me there mentally.
Q: How did you approach playing a computer, bringing it to life and giving it a personality, and also, as an emotional personality that reacts to the story as he [Ron] learns with you?
Zach Galifianakis: I think that that was a joint effort, to find that voice. Sometimes I would be too emotional and then I would get feedback from the booth like, "That's too...we're hearing a little crack of emotion there." And I thought, "God, I think I'm doing this wrong." I saw the buyer's remorse in Sarah's face. No. But I think honestly, it was a little tricky just to find it because you don't want to do a robot. Obviously, they didn't want that. They wanted more of my voice. But then, how do you walk that line of not too much emotion, but likeable or lovable? So, I had a lot of help because I needed it. Also, it's a tone thing, too. In an animated thing there's a lot of (that). There's a lot of imagination that's required in the beginning because you don't see a lot of visual stuff quite at the beginning. You've been told what's happening and that's a little bit of it. Sometimes it's a little challenge, but honestly, I had help and they were very patient with me. When you don't know what you're doing like me, it's helpful.
Q: How do you think Savannah, your character, plays into teaching the beautiful and important messages in this film, particularly around the world of young people and social media?
Kylie Cantrall: Savannah, she's your classic popular girl in school and from the outside she seems like she has it all together. And social media is a huge part of this film, and she's taking these cute selfies and she's doing these makeup tutorials. But I think underneath it all, she's just a young girl trying to figure herself out. And I hope that young girls can relate to her and understand the pressures that she goes through and kind of resonate with that part of her.
Q: Your character experiences internet shame when an embarrassing moment goes viral. As a celebrity, is this something that terrifies you?
Kylie Cantrall: Definitely. And not only as a celebrity, but also just as a young girl. I think a lot of girls can relate to this, just so many pressures that come with social media and especially in this cancel culture, too. It definitely is a scary thing. But as long as you're just not letting it take over your life and have that balance of knowing when to put the phone down and have those real in-person connections, I think it's so important to know your limits and not let it be your whole world. But it's hard, especially when it's a part of my work, but I try to find the delicate balance.
Q: What message do you have for kids that struggle to fit in that are going through the same sort of things that Barney is going through?
Jack Dylan Grazer: I mean, who am I to give advice? I still don't fit in. So, firstly, I think the reason that I said yes was because I wanted (the part), I really related to Barney. I had just finished middle school, which was like the worst time of my entire life. Most awkward stage of my entire life. And when I found Barney, I was like, "Oh my god, yeah, I could pull that off. I did that for three years. I could do that again for five more years." And I had a blast. We're starting the sequel next week, too. So, what advice? I guess, just know who you are at every age. And the biggest thing, the most general way to say it is, just incorporate self-love and know your self-worth. And know your value, know how valuable you are, know how valid and valued you are. I think that's super crucial.
Q: What makes the bond between Ron and Barney so special, do you think?
Zach Galifianakis: Well, if you've ever been desperate for a friend that sometimes can make an interesting relationship. I think what's neat is just to see the juxtaposition of all the cool kids with the toys that are supposed to work the way they are and then Barney's given this more humanlike robot with his flaws and glitches and just to watch that kind of natural progression. And they kind of fall in love with each other. You see how charming Jack is. If he'll just shave that moustache, things will be fine.
Q: Were you and Olivia Colman able to do any voice work together or if you weren't, were you privy to her performance to kind of play off that in a way?
Ed Helms: So, unfortunately, we were not able to do any recording together. But throughout the process, all the filmmakers, the whole gang, was so great about showing us kind of works in progress and showing us little sequences that were sort of coming together for animatics, which are kind of these like, basically, storyboards, but with voices, and that is so helpful and so fun. It kind of brings the world to life during the process.
October 22, 2021
Jesse is a writer and content manager for Noovie. When he's not working, he's on the beach playing volleyball.