Q: What can you tell us about the movie?
Lee: I haven’t seen it yet. I haven’t read the script; I just did my bits and pieces of my characters. I’m kind of curious how it all turned out myself.
Q: How long did it take?
Lee: It was over 9 months or so. I think they did beef up my dialogue though. I’m a little more involved now.
Q: Is there a sense of frustration that with animation, you’re doing it in isolation? Does it make it more difficult to do the gig?
Lee: It makes it more interesting sometimes because you can try and do more with your voice, and you don’t have to put on makeup or get all in costumes. It’s also a lot easier because you do it over a 3 hour-4 hour period in a day session, so you pop in you do your thing, and then you say “Okay, I’m going to the lunch.”
Q: Since you don’t need a costume for an animated role, does it make it harder to get into character?
Lee: If you look at the subject, it’s pretty close to how I was raised, so I think that quality is not hard to attain.
Q: It’s not hard to drop in and out and keep coming back to it?
Lee: I think what I was going for within the character was sort of this inner softness, and I think being raised here in the islands, you kind of naturally have it. It’s within the culture, it’s the quality of our spirit. It’s something I enjoy actually expressing through a vocal tone. As we say in the islands, ‘your tune in your tone of your voice says a lot’ and that’s something you try and lay in, to give you something that effects people subconsciously. Sort of like these islands.
Q: Did you act with others at all in the same room?
Lee: I think we were all singularly recorded. I never really saw them. But I knew all the stars from way back, we had done work together multiple years ago, for an after-school special.
Q: What else can you tell us about your character?
Lee: I think in this story, from what I got from it, is that he’s kind of the same old David and still trying to get together with Nani. He’s sort of very helpful in a lot of ways, maybe with more of the courting attitude.
Q: Were you surprised with the success of the first film?
Lee: You had an inkling I think, but you never really know for sure. The pictures were really beautiful and the story was very risky for an animated feature. The whole issue of Lilo being taken away and the reality of that position in society was kind of risky. I think it made people more affected and attached to the picture. I was surprised in many ways.
Q: Do you think fans will be as enthralled with this one as they were with the first one?
Lee: Well, I haven’t seen it (laughs) but I’ll find out.
Q: This was always designed to go straight to dvd. As an artist, how does it stick with you that it’s not going to a big screen?
Lee: I can only look at it from my perspective, and the less money they put into entertainment, the better for me. I’m just one of those people where I think it’s ridiculous the amount of money we pour into that, and not more important things.
Q: Like what?
Lee: For instance, our health and well being is dictated by the way we grow our food. And the war we’re fighting in overseas is directly related to the way we grow our food. Our food is grown by petroleum based products, and that effects the whole society’s attitude and their values. Because we’re so out of touch with nature in that way and taking care of the land, completely disappearing into our material world, it affects everything else, and future generations. I think living here in Hawaii is more profoundly effected because we’re a small ecosystem and so living here and for me, I don’t do movies that much. I’m doing quite a bit of farming and agriculture and fishing and stuff, I’m speaking from a very personal place. I see my involvement in Hollywood not as being involved. I think once you become privy to that knowledge and education, it kind of makes you want to stop.
Q: Couldn’t you use Hollywood as a tool to get that message across?
Lee: You could, but you’d have to appeal to a lot of corporate heads. And granted, we all have fairly good consciousness and all that, but it’s sometimes hard to turn around greed. It’s an uphill battle.
Q: Do you think it’s done positive things for the island, to portray Hawaii in a positive light?
Lee: I think it’s done a little bit for the artistic culture, the hula and things like that. It promoted some musicians, the guy who did the last soundtrack for it, it gave him some notoriety. But when you say for Hawaii, it hasn’t helped the people, but it’s made the island more popular, maybe more accessible in some ways on an international level.
Q: What do you think will make people gravitate towards buying the sequel on dvd?
Lee: I think there’s was a lot of charm with the first film, and a lot of heart. There was something gentle about it and that’s hard to find in movies these days. I think something like this when you have characters with genuineness, I think people want that. I think they’re starving for it. I think that’s what the whole Lilo & Stitch idea is based on, Ohana means family and all that.
Q: Do you think that’s the film’s main message?
Lee: I think overall, yeah. I think that’s what was really pushed hard in the first film and people want to try and convey that to children. Maybe they can have a spark of reunion or communication within the family. We’re all very proud of that type of feeling.