We caught up with the voice cast of Incredibles 2 – Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson and Craig T. Nelson – whose characters experience a few revelations in the hit sequel.
Twelve years after earning two Oscars for his beloved animated movie The Incredibles in 2004, #MeToo and #TimesUp had not yet entered into our lexicon when Pixar writer/director Brad Bird set about creating a sequel to his story about a suburban family of undercover superheroes.
When audiences last met the Parrs, they still represented the traditional family unit with Mr. Parr/Mr. Incredible firmly poised as patriarch and breadwinner, Mrs Parr/Elastigirl staying home and caring for their three kids, Dash, Violet and baby Jack-Jack.
But a lot has changed in this timely sequel, which picks up literally moments after we last left the Parrs, pooling the family’s diverse superhero resources in their bid to defeat the evil “Underminer”.
As the successful director behind Ratatouille, Tomorrowland and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Bird may be many things, but he does not profess to hold a crystal ball; as shocked as anyone that Incredibles 2 has proven so prescient in his decision to re-cast Elastigirl as a super-mom, effectively the Parr family’s breadwinner.
With most of the original Incredibles voice cast returning for the sequel, the cast was slow to catch on too.
“It was a while before I truly realised what I was really going to get to do in the sequel,” admits Holly Hunter (Elastigirl) when STACK meets with her in West Hollywood.
“Of course I was really thrilled – but it was like a retroactive thrill. It wasn’t until a few months before I started gleefully singing, during our recording sessions, about how great my part was,” admits the celebrated actress, who earned an Oscar for her role in The Piano.
In common with the rest of the voice talent, Hunter vocalised lines, which didn’t necessarily reveal the sequel’s final narrative until months later.
“To me it was just really fun. I don’t think this was meant as a message movie in any way. I think it’s purely luck of the draw that it happens to dovetail with #Metoo and #TimesUp. But obviously, time is up, okay?!” she laughs.
“I feel that way, personally. And it’s so serendipitously reflected in this particular movie. But at the same time, it’s all about character revelation, period. Everybody is having revelations, including Jack-Jack. All the characters are revelations to the audience, and to themselves, so I’m no exception as Elastigirl,” says the actress, no newcomer to the superhero phenomenon, featuring in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice two years ago.
Reprising his Incredibles role as Lucius Best/Frozone, Samuel L. Jackson is more accustomed to being recognised on the street for any number of his more visible roles including Pulp Fiction, Avengers or Star Wars.
“Kids never come up to me for The Incredibles – their parents do,” he quips. “And then they try to make the kid know who you are, ‘That’s Frozone honey!’ And they’re looking at you like, ‘You don’t have blue suit on and you’re not making ice stuff. So, nah…’ And so then they have to give them a catchphrase. But they don’t know who we are from Adam. They have no idea who we are in our real selves.”
At 74, Craig T. Nelson, the voice of Mr. Incredible, agrees that he is far removed from any kids’ perception of a superhero dad.
“It’s embarrassing really,” he deadpans. “You know the moms or dads are saying, ‘Look Billy that’s Mr. Incredible there.’ And the kid is just staring at you. You don’t look anything like… It’s just really embarrassing.”
As with many of Pixar’s animated movies, Incredibles 2 is not just for the kids.
“I think we probably all felt that way about the first one,” says Hunter. “That it wasn’t just a kids’ movie. In a way this one is even more not a kids movie, although kids totally dig it.
“This movie has a complexity that is really astonishing in that it’s got like five different movies and they all work in concert with each other. It’s an incredibly sophisticated fabric that’s been woven together with themes that are so relatable to adults.”
Incredibles 2 is in cinemas on June 14.