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Jim Carrey and James Marsden Go "Sonic" - The Hedgehog Hits Big Screen

The actors play the worst and best of humanity in this action comedy.

Feb 12, 2020

Based on the ‘90’s Sega game and following spin-off comics and TV animation, Sonic the Hedgehog is finally coming to the big movie screen. Discovering and protecting the very fast, blue alien is big city cop turned small town sheriff Tom Wachowski played by James Marsden. Talented comic actor Jim Carrey fills the overly confident shoes of brilliant scientist Ivo Robotnik, a mega-egotist out to grab the little alien and harness his power for conquest.

Jim Carrey as Dr. RobotnikJim Carrey as Dr. RobotnikCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

These two experienced actors had a blast working together and seem to have an admiration society/bromance going. They talk about their young experiences with the Sonic game, their characters, working together and what the movie has to say about tolerance and embracing differences. Check it out!

Sonic The Hedgehog - "Becoming Robotnik"

 

Q: Were both of you familiar with the world of Sonic?

  • Jim: I knew, when I got the call to do this movie that Sonic was a game. I think I had played it once or twice and, after I got the call, I started playing it with my grandson who humiliated me constantly and the really fun part was I got to see how smart and clued-in he was. These games have turned kids into jet pilots. They’re quick and their reflexes are awesome. He’s nine years old and likes to trash talk me. I put money in the swear jar. I’m actually a lot like Robotnik when we play.
  • James: I was there for the dawn and birth of the video game console so I was very familiar with Sonic and at the time it was a Sega vs. Nintendo thing “Mario” versus “Sonic” and so I spent a lot of time playing the game then my kids, another generation, spent many hours playing the game. It’s cool to see it finally make its way to the big screen.

It's frustrating when you don't fit inIt's frustrating when you don't fit inCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: What do you think the Sonic character represents?

  • Jim: I think he represents the power of innocence, the power of play, the electricity in a pure soul who is just living his life because there is fun to be had. That’s my philosophy about life. You have to find something to do in life that not only serves people but serves you in your heart and makes you feel like a child. I get to wake up every day and do what I love. That’s the dream for everybody.
  • James: There is a nice element of this superhero if you will, living in the shadows observing in a sweet and innocent way. The audience gets to watch him growing ties with these people. There are relationships forming that aren’t necessarily reciprocal. There’s a child-like innocence to Sonic in this movie. It’s fun to watch him observe people. He’s like a young teen.

James as Tom with Sonic and Tom's wifeJames as Tom with Sonic and Tom's wifeCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: Jim, what was interesting about playing Dr. Robotnik?

  • Jim: The wonderful thing about Robotnik is he signifies a lot of the insane ego (we see) in all different realms of life; the greed, the avarice the self-centeredness, the lack of a conscience. He is a madman with a triple-digit I.Q. Like a lot of those clever genius folks in Silicon Valley, that’s not a microchip on his shoulder. It’s a quantum database of bitterness and he hates society because he wasn’t nurtured. He wasn’t loved and this is what happens to a genius like that when they have no guidance. He hates the world because the world abandoned him. Sonic is a power that he needs because if you control the power grid, you control the world.

The world looks different to RobotnikThe world looks different to RobotnikCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: What were the challenges of bringing the character to life on screen?

  • Jim: He’s a wonderful character to play and of course, with his 300 I.Q., it took me a week and a half to prepare (laughs). All it really comes down to is that he wants to be special to somebody only it’s gone into megalomania for him. He was to be special and the king to everyone.  He’s a tiny piece of nothing in his own mind who has blown himself into gargantuan proportions. But there is smart and there is spiritually dumb. He just lives through his invention.

Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is definitely a little nuts!Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is definitely a little nuts!Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
  • He wants to control humanity with his machines. I just played him as an ego out of control. He constantly acts like there is a spotlight on him. This became a physical dance. That’s why we have that dance sequence in it. It’s very edgy and the music “Evil Grows”, is a cool song that I grew up with but I didn’t know if it was big in America (Jim is Canadian). They all knew the song. It was the perfect thing for Robotnik. We found out while shooting in Vancouver that it was by a Vancouver band that had written and recorded the song.

Robotnik is good at getting things his wayRobotnik is good at getting things his wayCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: James, tell us about Sheriff Tom.

  • James: Sonic comes along and Tom is at a time in his life when he is looking for meaning and purpose and someone to really help, a life to save and yes, he is this little blue alien hedgehog so it takes Tom a second to get his mind wrapped around that but there is something about Sonic that makes Tom feel he has to take care of him. You start to see Tom fulfilling his destiny kind of by accident.  This little blue creature comes into his life and gives him purpose.

James plays Tom, a small town SheriffJames plays Tom, a small town SheriffCourtesy of Paramount Pictures
  • Tom is, at his core, a very good guy. He does the right thing. He’s got a good, sweet moral code. He lives in a really small town and there is a curiosity in him that takes him outside of Green Hills in his mind but he has a great affection and love for the people of the town that he protects. He’s a small town cop who wants to mean more, to challenge himself more. He has to do a little soul searching and find out who he really is.

Tom (James Marsden) tries to help little SonicTom (James Marsden) tries to help little SonicCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: Jim, what was fun about playing Robotnik?

  • Jim: It’s a great, fun part to do. You get into the gizmos and the gadgets and fly around on his ship and they’ve got that on a crane. They are manipulating it and you’ve just got to imagine what’s happening. I really enjoyed it.

Robotnik in his fun shipRobotnik in his fun shipCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: James, what excited you about the story?

  • James: I think the story we’re telling is a cool one because it takes this iconic video game character and puts him into the real world here on Earth with us. There are elements of Superman in there, not an outcast but this character who is in an alien land who is curious about humanity, people and the lifestyles they lead but he feels like he has a secret. He’s too much for this world.

Protecting Sonic is dangerous!Protecting Sonic is dangerous!Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: Jim, how was working with cast and crew?

  • Jim: They are a great bunch, a wonderful, creative group of people. Everybody was open. I make tons of mistakes so I don’t have any problem with people making mistakes and it’s a collective thing. The more fun you generate on that set, the more fun comes through the camera and arrests the people watching. To me, a movie like this is silly fun. There are themes that are serious in a way too.

Friends don't have to look alike.Friends don't have to look alike.Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: How was working together?

  • Jim: Well, James is not only a good-looking guy but a good guy, a down deep real good guy, creative and open.
  • James: Jim really is one of the actors I looked up to the most growing up in this business and even before that watching his stand up. They say ‘Don’t meet your heroes’ but I’m glad I got to meet my hero. It’s a joy to be on the receiving end of all of Jim’s antics, all the performance stuff he comes up with on set. To be looking at him in the eye when he’s shouting at you and throwing himself on the floor, it’s vintage Jim Carrey and such a joy to watch. It’s fun to see him have fun. It’s great to get in the sandbox and have a good time with Jim.

The government hires Dr. Robotnik to capture SonicThe government hires Dr. Robotnik to capture SonicCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Q: What are the messages and themes of the film?

  • James: There’s a real statement about welcoming spirits and souls and individuals even if they are very different than what we are or than what we are used to seeing. This isn’t a huge message movie but there is a real sweetness and innocence to Sonic. He represents the child in all of us. Tom finds his real purpose in being a friend to this creature that maybe a lot of people would be scared of. He wants to belong and be accepted for who he is.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

See Sonic the Hedgehog in theaters Friday, February 14th

Do You Know Sonic?

Have you played the games, read the comics or seen Sonic on TV? What is your take on the character? Are you a fan of James or Jim? Share your feelings by leaving a comment or write about it on your Kidzworld profile page.

By: Lynn Barker