INTERVIEW: Johnny Depp Calls RANGO Set Ludicrous

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Johnny Depp at RANGO movie premiere

Johnny Depp is no stranger to voicing animated characters in a recording booth but in RANGO, his latest voice over role as a lizard, his Pirates of the Caribbean and RANGO director Gore Verbinski took his actors out of the booth and into a regional theater-style set to act out scenes together which Johnny Depp called "ludicrous" and "ridiculous."

Listen to interview below.

In a press conference for RANGO in Beverly Hills recently, Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers), Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine), and Gore Verbinski spoke about their experience while on set for the live-action director's first foray into an animated film. Johnny Depp was not a fan of taking the voice over acting to a live set which had never been done before on an animated film.

Johnny Depp called himself "lazy" and at first would have preferred to voice Rango in a recording booth but after playing out the scenes in a "regional theater at it's worst" scenario, he admitted the process worked out for the best. Their performances captured on camera served as "emotion capture" rather than motion capture which the animators used for their characters. However, Johnny wasn't the only one who thought the whole set up was strange for a movie set. His RANGO co-star Harry Dean Stanton, known for his quirkiness, came up to Johnny to express his own doubts. "This is a weird gig," Stanton told Johnny on set.

Isla Fisher who plays Rango's love interest Beans, feels Verbinski's method worked well to bring out the "humanity" of the Western town critters. Abigail Breslin, the fourteen-year old Academy Award nominee, enjoyed the group experience rather than being in an "isolating booth." The teen did find it odd, however, to be wearing a black wig that gave her a rash and toting a real gun around set to give her the feel of her character Priscilla.

RANGO director Gore Verbinski did not want to approach his first animated film like most computer generated movies.  The Pirates of the Caribbean director sought to bring live action elements into the mix during the voice over recording process. "We're not going to think of this as an animated movie. We're going to think of it as a six-foot tall lizard and I got a camera on my shoulder and photographing him perform this scene with these other people." Verbinski brought along special effects house and first-time animators Industrial Light and Magic to help create the world of RANGO.

RANGO is in theaters March 4, 2011.

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