New movie “Pixels” hits theaters this Friday.
As kids in the 1980s, Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler), Will Cooper (Kevin James), Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gad), and Eddie “The Fire Blaster” Plant (Peter Dinklage) saved the world thousands of times – at 25 cents a game in the video arcades. Now, they’re going to have to do it for real. In Pixels, when intergalactic aliens discover video feeds of classic arcade games and misinterpret them as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth, using the video games as the models for their assaults — and now-U.S. President Cooper must call on his old-school arcade friends to save the world from being destroyed by PAC-MAN, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Centipede, and Space Invaders. Joining them is Lt. Col. Violet Van Patten (Michelle Monaghan), a specialist supplying the arcaders with unique weapons to fight the aliens.
Adam Sandler (Producer/Actor), Kevin James, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Monaghan, Ashley Benson, Jane Krakowski, Director Chris Columbus, Brian Cox, Anthony Ippolito, Jacob Shinder, Denise Akiyama, Lainie Kazan, Jared Riley, Waka Flocka, Producer Allen Covert, Producer Michael Barnathan, Producer Mark Radcliffe, Executive Producer Heather Parry Executive Producer Steve Koren, Executive Producer Patrick Jean, Executive Producer Benjamin Darras, Executive Producer Johnny Alves, Executive Producer Matias Boucard and Writer Tim Dowling all attended the film’s world premiere on Saturday at Regal E-Walk. The event was appropriately presented by gaming paradise Dave & Buster’s. Read what the cast and filmmakers had to say about the film below:
What inspired you to come up with this script and the movie?
Adam Sandler: It was a short film that we saw on the internet that was incredible. Patrick Jean did that. It was about all these video games we loved from growing up taking over New York City and then we came up with the idea of guys who were great at playing these games getting called upon to defeat them as they try to take over the world and we just knew it’d look awesome, knew that it’d be fun to see these things that you grew up with and thought were all sweet and they had a bad side to them and it was fun to be goofy guys trying to beat them.
What kind of gamer are you Adam? Have you got skills?
Sandler: I’ve got some skills in these games. As we’ve progressed and we got older and the new games came out I can’t say I’m any good at that stuff. I’d like to be but I got no time but in the old day’s I was pretty good at that stuff.
Adam what do your kids think about this movie?
Sandler: The coolest thing is that the other kids in their school are excited about it so that makes them psyched like oh I guess dad’s a part of something cool.
Speak a little about collaborating with Chris and what you admire about him.
Sandler: Love him, love his movies, one of the happiest guys I’ve ever met in my life. Always working hard, always in a good mood and his movies have definitely, I mean we used to talk about Home Alone when I was making movies back in the day and we’d say “yea yea, we’re working hard but how do we make one of those Home Alone kind of movies?” He’s a stud.
Do you think it’ll bring back memories from an older generation?
Sandler: I’m shocked at how we made it, what got me excited about it was I connected with it cause I’m older and I noticed one of my games from when I was a kid. I am pretty shocked how little kids all know Pacman, Donkey Kong, like it’s not a “What’s that game?” they’re just like oh that’s Donkey Kong, it’s pretty funny every generation still knows these games.
Do you consider yourself a nerd? And do you still play video games?
Sandler: I didn’t know it was a nerdy thing to do, I played them all the time. When I grew up every kind of kid played video games, kids smoking cigarettes at 13 that you were scared, were all into it too, the jocks, the nerds, the tough kids, the goofy kids, they all kind of, got to be good at something. It was kind of a huge skill for a guy who’s not an athlete. I don’t know, it connected with us all.
What do your kids really love?
Sandler: They do like gymnastics, they love jumping on that trampoline. I like force them to try and read, me and wife try to get that going.
Favorite iconic arcade character?
Sandler: I don’t know who my favorite is. I am baffled that we showed the movie for the first time and they asked the audience who they liked the most and the whole audience said Pac Man. It was 100%. There is some weird fascination with Pac Man. I just, every age, grandma, little kids, they all just connect with Pac Man for some reason.
If you be a video game character who would you be?
Sandler: I’ve been told I look like Donkey Kong so I’ll go with him.
Tell me what inspired the original short.
Patrick Jean: What inspired me was that I used to play all these video games in my childhood and I wanted to do a homage to all that you know. It started as a small short film and it became this huge massive movie.
When did you first find out Adam Sandler and his company wanted to make the film?
Jean: Well I felt great because Adam Sandler was one of our first choices as the main part of the movie. So I was very glad that he accepted to do it.
Speak about working with Chris as well.
Jean: It was great, Chris is an amazing director and it was a real pleasure to work with him I was on the set during most of the shoot and I learned a lot, it was overall an amazing experience.
Speak about watching the special effects come to life because I’m sure it was probably different from your film just with this massive kind of production.
Jean: Yea so, in the short film the idea was to do like kind of two different worlds colliding but it was more something visual. On the feature we had to add characters and a real story line but I think the spirit of the short is still present in the feature film, at least visually.
Tell us a little about the role you play.
Affion Crockett: I’m the soldier that discovers the alien on the radar before they attack the earth and then they pixelate me. They kidnap me first then Adam and the guys have to come save me and a couple other kidnap victims.
Speak about working in this world where everything is kind of CG?
Crockett: Yeah hats off to Chris Columbus the director, he can tell you what this green ball you’re looking at or this green pad, he can describe it really well and give you what your reactions would be and yeah you’d pull it off.
Speak about working with Adam and you’re working with Josh, and you’re working with such an incredible cast.
Crockett: Yeah well working with Josh again, Josh is one of my good friends we worked on Wedding Ringer together, The Comedians, his show with Billy Crystal so yeah always a pleasure and I’m a huge fan of Adam Sandler so to be a comedian looking up to the big homie in a sense was a great opportunity.
What was your favorite moment from set?
Crockett: Everyday, because Adam is a guy that you know he takes time out to just share stories with you or ask you even about your family like it’s not always about work and he’s just a very humble guy so it was great to see a humble superstar like that.
This is in a way an 80’s period piece,
Crockett: Yeah absolutely and Adam’s nostalgic about the 80s we saw The Wedding Singer all the Michael Jackson “Beat It” jackets and the hair the mullets and all that stuff. So he’s already in that world.
What were some of your favorite games growing up?
Crockett: All the ones in here. Galaga, Centipede, Donkey Kong, Pacman, a lot of the Asteroids.
What’s coming up next that you’d like to share?
Crockett: I’m teaming up again with Marlon Wayans, we did Haunted House 1 and 2, we’re doing another parody movie of 50 Shades yeah I’m playing his brother in that so were working that out right now.
Are you done yet or is it the works?
Crockett: No we’re in the works. The beginning stages of that. Oh it’s going to be hilarious.
So tell me about how you got involved with the project and what your inspiration was for the screenplay.
Tim Herlihy: Well Adam’s company acquired the rights to the French film that it’s based on and I think they thought of me because I played a lot of video games. So they said would you like to do this and I thought I just immediately sparked to it.
Speak about collaborating with Adam.
Herlihy: Well we’ve done a lot of movies together we did Billy Madison, and we’re college roommates so it’s very easy to collaborate. We’ve known each other for a long time so it’s seamless at this point.
What’s next for you?
Herlihy: We got a movie coming out called the Ridiculous 6 on Netflix in December and then they’re shooting a movie I got to go there next week in Savannah with Adam and David Spade.
Tell me what inspired you to be a part of this project.
Chris Columbus: I love the idea of being able to do an original summer movie in a summer of superhero movies and sequels. It was really exciting for me and I really fell in love with the concept of these three video game nerds who actually were superstars when they were kids and then their world fell apart because the arcades closed and we cut to 2015 and they have useless skills, and they’re really lost in their lives, but the president of the United States needs to get them together to help save the planet and I love that.
You’re no stranger to special effects but tell me about working with effects on this particular film.
Columbus: We wanted to create effects that people have never seen before, something that will blow the audience’s mind and we really tried to create these pixelated versions of destruction and I’m telling you, you shouldn’t do any mind altering drugs before seeing the movie. It’s wild.
Talk about your character.
Josh Gad: he means well and he’s a superhero without a cape. His super power is that he can play video games really well and that is a relatable thing I think to a lot people.
So if you were to be a video game character who would you be and why?
Gad: If I could be any video game character? I feel like I’d be Super Mario just because we have sort of the same body type.
Who was your favorite one to actually take down in the movie?
Gad: It would have to be Centipede because I was terrible at it in real life so getting my revenge on those slimy little bastards was fun.