STACK catches up with Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez, reprising their roles in the spooky monster franchise for a third time in Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation.
Their characters, Johnny and Mavis, are now married with kids, and the third film takes them out of Transylvania and onboard a summer cruise.
Is third time a charm? Or maybe a curse?
ANDY: I’m going to say charm – definitely.
What’s different this time around?
ANDY: The setting obviously is different – and the release date! It’s no longer Halloween. But hopefully the key elements of the first two are still intact. The first two certainly struck a chord with kids and families who enjoyed them, so the goal is to deliver on that promise once again.
How does the humour change for a millennial audience?
ANDY: I think there’s basic things in movies that kids just enjoy which has nothing to do with the era – maybe the pace gets a little faster as each generation gets inundated with more and more TV and movies. I think kids get sarcasm more from a younger age. In this post-Spongebob era where things really starting becoming manic and rapid-fire, they can stick with a faster pace.
So where are Mavis and Johnny in this third phase of their relationship, now with kids onboard?
ANDY: They’re pretty good. I think they’re trying to enjoy their vacation time and just trying to help Drac along with his personal life. That’s the main focus on this ‘Monster Cruise’.
Does this movie make the idea of a cruise more – or less – enticing?
ANDY: I feel like the movie makes it more enticing than it would personally for me. Contrary to my own song, I don’t think I would enjoy spending too much time on a boat. I also I get sea-sick.
Any time when you’re forced to spend long hours with family and friends can be difficult, yes?
ANDY: Sure, like when I go on tour with my band, and you get jammed into a small space together, you have to try and stay out of each other’s way a little bit, emotionally and be thoughtful and stuff like that. But with families – it’s all out the window.
If you were given the choice between flying on Gremlin Air or Space-X, which would you choose?
ANDY: I’d rather go Space-X. But I’m a big fan of the live-action movie Gremlins so if it was them, I would take that instead.
Selena, what does your character Mavis teach your young fans?
SELENA: I think Mavis is relatively responsible. The first one was her breaking out of her shell a little bit and I think in general she cares. She’s got a kind heart and wants everyone to be happy. Hopefully that’s a good influence.
Mavis is better behaved than her father, Drac…
SELENA: Yes, I would feel very uncomfortable if either one of my parents did Tinder or any kind of online [dating] thing. I guess that’s the parent-kid relationship. Also my parents were separated, so the whole dating experience for me was super awkward – I didn’t want them to be with anyone. Just me!
Growing up, which monster movies terrified you?
ANDY: I was afraid of Freddy Krueger. When someone told me the premise of that film: He gets you while you’re asleep in your dreams… I was terrified because how can you protect against that? That definitely messed me up for a while.
SELENA: Mine was Chucky. I was terrified that the doll might be hiding in my closet.
Is there a reason you don’t actually sing in the Hotel Transylvania films?
SELENA: I keep it pretty separate. If I’m doing music with something, I’ll let it just be about me contributing a song but I don’t think it really makes sense for my character to have a song in the Hotel Transylvania stories.
Andy, do you share any musical synergy with Selena?
ANDY: I think it goes without saying that my door is always open to Selena! We’re both influenced by pop music.
What was the first record you ever bought?
ANDY: The first full album I ever bought was actually bootlegged cassettes at the flea market in Berkeley. On the same day – and this is not a lie! – I got Licensed to Ill by Beastie Boys and Run-DMC’s Raising Hell. That was a good day for me. My first CD was the Boyz n the Hood soundtrack.
SELENA: The first one I bought for myself was Usher’s Confessions because I wasn’t allowed to have it, so I bought it at Walmart by myself. The actual first CD that I got was Britney.
Is it hard not to do adult jokes when you’re working on a family movie?
ANDY: They cut them out . . . But you have to do them to get them out of your system when you’re recording, but you know that they won’t use them.
Is it easier to act when you’re only a voice and you’re working in a sound booth rather than in front of the camera?
ANDY: Its freeing in a way because you don’t care about what you look like and you‘re also not worried that you‘re going to be judged on the acting as much, because audiences are going to be looking at a different person when they watch the movie. So when the director asks you to push it further and take it bigger and less nuanced, it’s a safer environment to do that.
Do you see yourself staying with the Hotel Transylvania franchise?
ANDY: If they keep making ‘em, I’ll still do it! I would certainly never go on the record saying that I don’t want to do something.
Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation is in cinemas on June 28.