Stiers and McDonald on Lilo & Stitch 2


David Ogden Stiers, the voice of Jumba, and Kevin McDonald, the voice of Pleakley, talked to about Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch at the DVD launch party in Oahu, Hawaii:

Q: How excited were you find out that they were doing a sequel?

Stiers & McDonald: I was very excited and look forward to any other movies they ask me to do. (laugh)

Q: You must have loved recreating the popularity of the first one.

Stiers: Yeah, sort of. A bunch of actors that had never worked together before did the first iteration of this franchise and liked each other enormously, and liked the project so much that they all agreed to be on board for the series. What launched the series was a 2 hour movie-this is actually number 3– that went directly to DVD. I think we just love the notion of the peace, the idea of Ohana appealed to me, the notion of making a family work and repairing a family that wasn’t doing all that well. That’s a great thing to offer kids as a possibility.

McDonald: I could be wrong, because I’m wrong quite often, but isn’t Lilo & Stitch the last traditionally animated movie that was a hit?

Stiers: Yeah. I think I heard that.

McDonald: There’s something special about that too, that it might be the last ever in the history of the world traditionally animated movie to find a mass audience.

Q: I don’t think perhaps the regular people that pay money to go to the theaters or in this case, rent DVDs, would think in those terms, but they must think in terms of what they enjoyed about the first one, that would make them want to take this off the shelves. What do you think that is?

McDonald: The first one was honestly good. It was honestly good and it was funny and sad and it was about something, about family. I think it didn’t matter that it wasn’t CGI. Also, it looked beautiful, it was the first watercolor movie in several years. Is Lilo & Stitch 2 water color? I don’t even know.

Stiers: I don’t know. If they found a way to computer generate watercolor, it was very convincing. You’ve seen it?

McDonald: Yes.

Stiers: And you didn’t know?

McDonald: No.

Stiers: Then it’s that good.

McDonald: Wow, that is good.

Stiers: What really caught me about the first movie was the onscreen relationship between Lilo and Nani. I thought that was one of the most truthful, tough, compelling relationships I had ever seen between drawn characters. And they were so important to each other and it was so tough to stay together and maintain their little family, that the way they found to keep it whole was to keep and approve other family members.

Q: It’s a tough trick to pull when you’re not all acting together, isn’t it?

McDonald: It sounds tough, but it isn’t somehow. It works, they know what to do and have been doing it for so long, that it honestly seems like we’re working well together. Especially Jumba and Pleakley, they’re like a comedy team, like a Laurel and Hardy type thing. So I would think, ‘oh, they must have been in the same room together’, but they’re not. It seems like we have chemistry with each other. Of course we don’t in real life.

Stiers: No, no thank god for that. (laughs)

Q: Does it limit your improv skills at all?

McDonald: No, they really want you to improv, to the point where I should probably go to the Writers Guild. No, they’re really good that way. It is limited but if you’re lucky, you get a good one line off.

Stiers: We were lucky.

Q: I understand the technical reasons for doing it, but would you prefer for it to be more of an ensemble effort than going in a solo sense?

Stiers: Actually no, because it winds up being an ensemble piece. The feeling is that you trust the people who have been doing it forever. You do the individual scene in a single recording booth and then afterwards you can’t get used to it and can’t imagine another way. It would degenerate so quickly.

McDonald: Both ways are good and both ways are bad. Bad is a bad word. I do another cartoon called “Catscratch” on Nickelodeon and they put all of us in the same room and it’s the most fun ever, but they must have so much trouble editing everything. But I probably ad-lib better when I’m by myself.

Q: Do you think there’s any chance for a Sky High 2?

McDonald: They were saying that all the way through and they’re declaring it a hit, so I hope so. It was a lot of fun, although maybe it’s hard for me to judge since I was in it. But they are talking about a sequel, and I hope it happens.

Q: Are you as excited about re-exploring this movie as a DVD as you would be if it were a theatrical release?

Stiers: It’s not my notion that the original film, TV series, and straight-to-DVD movie are all separate entities. I tend to think of them in terms of the life of the characters, and that these are expressions of and extensions of an originally very good idea. So no, it doesn’t trouble me that it’s straight to DVD, I just regret having to say goodbye to the character. There is an element of sadness to that.

Q: Why are you so convinced that it’s over?

Stiers: That’s what I’ve heard. I keep waiting for someone who can do something about it, to start a series for Kevin and me. Jumba and Pleakley, I like that.

Q: Are you ever shocked when you see your animated selves on screen?

McDonald: Take away one of my eyes, add a couple of tongues, I think I do look like that. I think they somehow drew our personality into it, so I’m not shocked. I wish I was (laughs).

Stiers: On the other hand, I’m convinced that’s Kevin, but I see no similarities between Jumba and myself.