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Zach Levi: Tangled’s Bad Boy

Oct 28, 2010

Cute actor Zach Levi of TV’s fun spy series Chuck and the popular movie Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel might just be the biggest Disney fan of them all. When he took on the voice role of Rapunzel’s love Flynn Rider in the new 3-D animated adventure Tangled, it was a lifelong dream come true for the talented actor/singer. As a kid, Zach could quote entire scenes from Disney films and had a blast entertaining his classmates doing impressions and voices.

Zach recently told Kidzworld that he was overjoyed to get to sing as well as voice a character in the new film, having performed on stage in various musicals growing up.

Who knew that this guy has an amazing, powerful singing voice? Even Mandy Moore, who voices Rapunzel in the movie and does a beautiful duet with Zach in the film, was blown away and tells us: “I was so floored with his voice. I remember, we went in to a rehearsal room at Disney to learn the song together, and the first time he opened his mouth my jaw was on the ground. I was like, ‘Oh my God.’”

We tell Zach this. Is he blushing? He says he thinks he sounded “nasally and annoying.” He’s too modest! Let’s sit down and get the insider story from this multi-talented and very friendly star.

Kidzworld: Rapunzel is the one trapped in a tower but if it were Zach, what would you do to pass the time and what would you want in there with you?

Zach Levi: My XBox, all my video games. I’d have to have all that stuff … I’d have to have all my technology, computer, iPad, iPhone. All that stuff keeps me busy. Oh, and a ping-pong table. I’d need that.

Kidzworld: Uh Zach, you’re locked in the tower alone. Who are you going to play ping pong with?

Zach Levi: [laughing] Well, I could play with my chameleon [from the film]. I could play with Pascal.

Kidzworld: That’s right. That little guy can do almost anything. How are you most like your character Flynn and how very different?

Zach Levi: I’d like to believe that I’m not self-obsessed, self-absorbed, arrogant, egomaniacal and vain like he is so that’s how I’d say we are different. But, he’s a fun character. He’s witty and charming and I hope I’m those things. I suppose by saying I’m witty and charming, I’m taking on the egomaniac thing but we’ll work that out. He’s got a good heart. He’s taken on this persona because he had a dream when he was a kid and I can relate to that.

Kidzworld: What was your dream?

Zach Levi: I had a dream of doing exactly what I’m doing right now.

Kidzworld: One of the messages of this film is that once your dream is fulfilled, you should get a new one so, now that you are living your childhood dream, what is a new one for you?

Zach Levi: If somebody came to me after seeing this film [and wanted me to sing], that would be great. I did a duet with Katharine McPhee not too long ago. They approached me to do that. I don’t advertise it that much but maybe that’s my next dream, my music.

Kidzworld: Chuck sings! Awesome. Were you very physical in the booth while recording the voice?

Zach Levi: I try to be as physical as I can but you can only go so far without ruining the take because you are making too much noise off mic but I try to be as animated as I can.

Kidzworld: Did you actually do Flynn’s “smolder” lady-killer look then?

Zach Levi: [laughs] Yes, I believe I did.

Kidzworld: You have two sisters so was handling women like Rapunzel; spunky women with their minds made up, already part of your experience?

Zach Levi: [laughs] Absolutely. Between my two sisters, my cousin Nikki … my two aunts, my mom and my grandma, I’m surrounded by estrogen so being able to deal with spunky, fiery women is every other day with me. Even on Chuck, dealing with [the] Sarah [character]. She’s a strong, kick-butt girl so, no matter where I go…

Kidzworld: Bad boy Flynn wants to live on an island with piles of money. What would your fantasy be?

Zach Levi: Sans the pile of money or spend it in a good way, but to have an island and put a whole community on there and have all my friends and we could all live on an island like Lost, that would be awesome.

Kidzworld: So, unlike Flynn, you would share it?

Zach Levi: Oh yeah. What would be the point of living on an island alone? You’d get lonely.

Kidzworld: Describe recording the love song in the movie with Mandy Moore and a full orchestra.

Zach Levi: It was so magical. I’d never done a professional music recording before. I have friends who are musicians or music producers so I’d been in their studios before but as far as me, this is my job and I’m coming in here to record this, this was the first time I’d ever done that. It was unbelievable. And Mandy is so talented!

Kidzworld: If you could record an album and sing your favorite songs, what would be on it?

Zach Levi: I have so many influences musically; things that I love so much. There would be a little Frank Sinatra, John Foggerty, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Michael Jackson.

Kidzworld: If you could create a Glee episode, which artist’s songs would be featured and which ones would you personally like to perform?

Zach Levi: Oh I’d let them choose it. Anybody. That would be amazing!

Kidzworld: What Disney animated movies impressed you as a kid?

Zach Levi: All of them. If I had to pick a favorite, I’d say Aladdin. He was the first guy hero we had as little boys. The movie was so good and so funny and Robin Williams as the genie is maybe the greatest character ever.

Kidzworld: Okay… Flynn says he likes brunettes. For Zach, is it blondes, brunettes or redheads?

Zach Levi: I don’t know. Honestly I’ve had girlfriends that were brunettes, blondes and redheads. It’s not so much a preference in that regard. I think people make a bigger deal of that than they should. That can change.

Kidzworld: I feel that the story could have just ended where Rapunzel’s mom and dad, include Flynn in their family hug, accepting him. In modern times do we have to always say that a couple got married and “lived happily ever after”?

Zach Levi: Maybe not but if we ended there it would have ended the film on a very sober note, not a downer but that is a misty moment and you want to send everybody out celebrating.

Lynn Barker, an editor and entertainment journalist for several websites, magazines and newspapers, has been active in the entertainment industry for many years.

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