CS Interview: Sarah Silverman on her return as Vanellope in Ralph Breaks the Internet
ComingSoon.net was fortunate enough to sit down with the cast and filmmakers behind the highly anticipated upcoming Disney sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet. Check out the whole chat below!
In 2012 the world was introduced to a very different kind of animated film. Instead of telling the typical story of a hero rising to the challenge and saving the day, we witnessed the existential crisis of video game baddie known as “Wreck it Ralph” as he attempted to switch teams, take home a medal, and gain the status of champion. While he still retained the title of villain in the end, Ralph gained a glitchy new friend in Vanellope, a racer from neighboring arcade game Sugar Rush, and re-entered his homeland as as a well respected citizen alongside Fix-It Felix and crew.
Now, back again six years later, Ralph and Vanellope have a brand new story to tell. As can be expected, this sweet little cartoon duo have become the best of friends over time, but a new addition to the arcade is about to open some unexpected doors. A Wi-Fi router has just been plugged into gaming central station, allowing Ralph and Vanellope to travel into some very intriguing uncharted territory for the very first time: the internet. Ralph is just about as hesitant as Vanellope is excited, because although this little princess may be ready for unforeseen adventures, Ralph is afraid of losing his dearest friend in the midst of all these growing pains.
ComingSoon.net: So it has been about six years since the last Wreck It Ralph movie, when you got the call for a sequel, where you into the idea? Did you always feel there was more material to explore?
Sarah Silverman: Yeah I mean it’s about relationship dynamics and the human condition, it’s not like, “Well what are we gonna talk about!?” It’s pretty much like tackling stuff like feelings, like insecurity, friendships and how they change and morph and is it okay, and guilt. So they’re kind of themes that are really relevant to everyone, whether you’re three or ninety-three, you’re growing in a perfect world, growing and changing and worried about the people that might be left behind. Feeling guilty about your own ambitions or joys if they don’t include your friends.
CS: How does the intimidation of the internet act as a vehicle to explore the insecurities brewing within Ralph and Vanellope’s relationship?
Sarah: I mean it’s such a perfect metaphor and also just totally on the nose, just that the internet is this vast expanse and it’s also these funhouse mirrors. With Ralph and his insecurity, it becomes really like the antagonist of the movie for him because he’s fighting his own insecurity and his wish that his friend be happy, but also that his friend not leave him. The kind of monster that that can be inside us and that we all are made up of feelings. That’s all that we are. Sometimes they’re not our best selves, but they’re still essential and we still deserve love and only if we kind of take it on can we move past it. And just that the internet, if you let it, is kind of a constant bombardment of conflicting ideas and opinions and anger and misplaced rage and it’s so chaotic.
CS: It’s really refreshing to have animated characters, especially a princess, who has flaws.
Sarah: It is nice that role models can be these imperfect beings because nobody is perfect and that she had something she could teach the princesses, this little kid, just like the idea of what Disney princesses has changed and she just walks in and she’s like hey, you can have an attainable waist and wear comfortable clothes, you don’t have to be uncomfortable to deserve love or be liked. And that she has a role model in Gal Gadot’s character Shank. It really just hit so many buttons of the human existence, the human condition, these kind of existential quandaries of what is friendship and what is love, what is care? How is that expressed and can friendship maintain itself if it changes? Sometimes we grow apart, sometimes we grow and change, but it’s scary! Feelings are scary and all the different transitions of life can be really scary. For Ralph, he’s afraid, and it’s a very human thing to be afraid of change. Vanellope, however, sees this place and wants to explore it, she sees a whole new chapter of her life in it, and Ralph wants to maintain what he knows. In a way, you look at the country and it’s very relevant. It’s like this push and pull of people who want progress and people who want what they know and what’s familiar. Those are two very human things.
CS: For sure, and that’s something that’s relatable to all age groups.
Sarah: Yeah! Like I feel like when I say that it sounds like a hard sell, like honestly I don’t know if the movie is your cup of tea or not, but it really is, it’s for you. It’s so layered with so many meanings.
CS: I’m not sure how official this is, but I liked that you added something very special to your princess — she’s a Jewish princess.
Sarah: It wasn’t something that was sanctioned by Disney or anything, it just came up online and I announced that she was Jewish and it just became canon. Like, why not? Vanellope von Schweetz maybe? Austrian Jew, I’ve got a whole backstory for her. But yeah, why not? I feel so close to her, I have such love for her, it’s almost like I get to play my inner child. She’s me. Why not make her a Jewish Disney princess?
CS: I know that a lot of voice actors like to record alone, but John C. Reilly prefers to have his co-stars in the room with him. How do you think your onscreen presence with him benefits from collaborating in such a unique way behind the scenes?
Sarah: It brings so much to it. There’s so many moments that we wouldn’t have had if we didn’t record together. We improvise, we collaborate with the writers and talk about the scenes in the moment and things will just come up in the moment. We’re trying to make each other laugh, and also just so much of acting is reacting to your scene partner, so if they’re not there it just loses this kind of soul. I mean it’s funny, I can’t even imagine not doing it with John because it bears so much fruit and watching it, so many little noises and moments just come from looking at each other in the eye.
CS: Was there anything specific that wasn’t in the story before that you two improvised during one of these sessions?
Sarah: There are so many things! But I haven’t seen it yet actually. I’ve only seen little bits and pieces while recording it, but not the entire finished film. John and I agreed to see the whole thing together for the very first time on Monday. So we’ll see what made it, what’s in there. I remember the first time I couldn’t believe the improvs that made it in.
CS: What makes you laugh?
Sarah: I like really aggressively dumb, silly, low brow specific weird stuff. One of my favorite movies is called Where’s Papa? You should check it out. It’s 1970, Ruth Gordon, George Segal, John and I were just talking about it. Carl Reiner I think wrote it and he directed it. It’s so weird! The first ten minutes doesn’t even have any lines. It’s so brilliant, so ahead of its time. But you know, anything Steve Martin, anything Albert Brooks. I don’t watch a lot of comedies when I relax because comedy isn’t relaxing to me. I can relax with a nice murder mystery.
Ralph Breaks the Internet arrives on November 21.