Animation and Anime

Quint interviews Patton Oswalt about all things Pixar and RATATOUILLE!!!

Published at: Nov. 23, 2009, 11:45 p.m. CST

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. You’re going to love this interview. Big words… but you gotta give it to Patton Oswalt for filling this interview with vulgarity. I interviewed him for Pixar’s RATATOUILLE, so here is a rarity in the entertainment journalism world… an R-rated interview for a G-rated movie. There are some spoilers, but I put a warning before the big one toward the end of the interview, so don’t be too scared to read the below. We go over so much territory, I’m not even going to bother trying to summarize it for you folks. As Hunter S. Thompson once said, you bought the ticket, now take the ride…



Quint: I loved it when you were announced as the lead voice in a Pixar movie... my instant reaction was like, “they heard this guy’s stand up right?”

Patton Oswalt: You know, that’s exactly what happened, Brad Bird said he was driving along and some radio station was playing my first album and he listened to the whole thing and said “This is the rat,” and played it for the Disney people and they were like “He’s… talking about pussies and vaginas and…” [Brad Bird said] ”Don’t worry about that, just listen to the voice….” And, you know it was that geeky passion I have for things… for comics… and movies… and food… that he was like “That is what Remy is.” That’s kind of how it happened. I wish I had a better story, but it sounds so unreal that yeah “You’re going to be the lead in a Pixar movie and Brad Bird is directing it and that is why they are giving you the role…”

Quint: I can’t imagine anybody else being able to go to the Disney board and saying, “I want this guy… listen to his pussy jokes…”

Patton Oswalt: Well, I didn’t know how many fans I had at Pixar, like they’d all been to my shows in San Francisco, a lot of the animators and stuff, so they were really positive, especially when I went in. I went in on one day just to kind of do stand up for them and do a Q&A and tell stories and they filmed me and a lot of my mannerisms. The way that I talk and use my hands are in Remy, which is really odd to see, because there is acting in the movie where I have to stop myself because I’ll go “Man, I’m an amazing actor… wait a minute I’m not doing any of this…The animators are the great actors here.” So you know, that’s always weird.

Quint: Well, one thing Pixar always delivers is attention to detail… I noticed their work the first time I saw 10 minutes of footage. I think I was at ShoWest for that…

Patton Oswalt: Oh that’s right, yeah.

Quint: I saw that a long long time ago, but they… what I loved about it was seeing the Pixar detail, the stuff when he’s like when he’s like “Can you hear it? Can you understand me? I’m not a good cook am I?” and you know, it’s just the small little character movement when Remy shrugs….

Patton Oswalt: Yeah, that little… yeah, he doesn’t… Well also isn’t it cool how even the inanimate stuff is a character? We were talking about how the floor of the kitchen, the way the tiles are kind of warped and bent, like you know that floor’s history and see the hot soup that got spilt on it and then got cleaned up and the cold winters and the hot summers where everything was shifting. And the stones of the streets of Paris… like everything has a biography. Does that make sense?

Quint: Yeah, definitely.

Patton Oswalt: And that’s personality. The animators have to build from the ground up and Brad Bird told me something really interesting, he said “When you do computer animation, the computer wants everything to be brand new and clean and straight lines. You have to teach it what aging and weather and human traffic do to things, because it will try to correct all of that and make everything really clean and perfect.”

Quint: That’s Pixar. They handle that kind of detail so well. Obviously you’re a geek, you’re like me, so and getting the job and saying “I get to be the lead of a Pixar movie,” must have been a landmark…

Patton Oswalt: Getting to go to Emeryville was like… That was a bigger career moment for me than getting the job, so it was like “Wow, I’m glad I was a stand up, I got to go fly up to Emeryville and see the campus…” so everything else is like icing on a cake that’s already iced and the cake is on a jet ski that’s sitting on a pile of diamonds. That’s what this is like at this point.

Quint: What’s it like? I know Moriarty’s been there, but I’ve never had the pleasure…

Patton Oswalt: Oh dude… you’ll eventually go there. It’s amazing. It is this super really cool… it’s like Willy Wonka’s factory, but without the creepiness. And everyone gets to decorate their own cubicles. It’s all people who don’t want to buy things, they want to make their own stuff, like “I’ve made this! This is the only thing that exists!” So everything has this weird uniqueness to it. I’ve worked in a lot of buildings. I used to work for MTV. I hate buildings that have “the fun touch,” because usually the reason it has “the fun touch,” is because it clearly is a horrible place to work and they’re going out of their way to make it look really fun. It’s clearly this very planned out fun whereas Emeryville, the campus, is clearly… there’s no fun touch… the place is fun anyway. There’s sloppiness in the corners. It’s really a lived in and weird kind of place and they have this room where whenever people go on trips and they find some weird trinket or bumper sticker or something odd, it doesn’t matter if it has anything to do with the movie they’re working on, they just pile it on this huge table and you can just wander through the room and just look at stuff. It’s like the way artists keep morgues of like, “I don’t know where I’m going to use this, but that looks so cool I’ve got to remember that.”

Quint: Yeah, Ray Bradbury did that.

Patton Oswalt: Yes! That’s what they do on a huge scale and then each cubicle has its own… One looks like a cave andthere’s one cubicle that, and I forget who this artist is… the cubicle itself is so boring and normal looking that it really kind of stands out, like he’s going out of his way not to do anything to it, but he has the bust of Shakespeare from the BATMAN show and when you click it back and hit the button this wall opens and there’s a speakeasy. They have a speakeasy and a little mini-casino hidden behind one of the cubicles that they go in and there’s like 20’s jazz music playing and they just drink and shoot craps. I was like “What the fuck?” And again, their writers take computer classes, the computer programmers can take writing and filmmaking classes. There are life sculpture classes. They want everyone understanding the entire process rather than a bunch of specialists that don’t quite mesh with each other, so it’s much better when a writer is talking to a computer guy and actually understands. “I know what he’s saying when he’s like ‘We have this much memory and we’ve got to coax the computer…’” You know what I mean? They all know each other’s jobs. It’s really cool and they are encouraged, like “Learn stuff you don’t know anything about… just fuck around…” It’s just so awesome.

Quint: I actually have talked to one of the PR people at Pixar and I almost went out there once. I visited ILM once and you know, that was a geek dream for me even though the visit was around a shitty movie. They had me out for VAN HELSING…

[Oswalt makes a goofy noise]

Quint: But I still got to see the Endor matte paintings and the…

Patton Oswalt: Hell yeah!

Quint: I’m like, “Yeah, fuck it. I hate the movie, but…”

Patton Oswalt: “Fuck it. Look at all this stuff…”

Quint: But I actually got in touch with the Pixar rep the day after I left the San Francisco area and she was like “Yeah, come on down…” So, just missed it.

Patton Oswalt: Eventually you will get to go there.

Quint: I hope so.

Patton Oswalt: It’s so much fun.

Quint: Now how set was RATATOUILLE when you joined up?

Patton Oswalt: I think it was in a lot of flux. They had a director who left and Brad Bird came in. I know the script went through some really crazy re-tweakings; there are a lot of scenes I did that then got changed or just weren’t in the movie or there were plot points that just got “*click* that’s gone now, that’s not happening.” We went to the cast and crew screening in San Francisco and Steve Jobs told us “I would like to say that this movie is… it’s really a miracle that you guys pulled this off, but there’s nothing miraculous about what you did. You guys are most skillful, best people, and of course you all pulled together and just got everything done, so there’s nothing supernatural about this - we have the best people working here.” He was just like… he was more emotionally shaky because of that, like “I can’t believe the level of artisans we are working with here.” That’s what’s stunning.

Quint: It seems that Pixar, even when they’re at their absolute worst, they are so much better than the competition. I just felt there was this effortless quality about it. It’s like watching a tennis pro or watching some poker professional – they just make it look so easy…

Patton Oswalt: Yeah. I remember we went to go eat at The French Laundry, which is one of the best meals I’ve ever had, and then I started reading about Thomas Keller and it’s that same thing. This guy is like a Don. Every single meal he serves, he really wants to kind of change people’s lives and it looks so effortless the way they do it. It seems so simple, but the amount of thought and heart and sweat that goes into it… I haven’t seen an outfit like Pixar since the early early Disney animation outfits, the way they would just “We make money, so we can make more movies,” it’s not the other way around.

Quint: Right, the Frank and Ollie years.

Patton Oswalt: Yeah “It’s just, that’s all we want to do” or the early TERMITE TERRACE, you know the Warner stuff. They’re making seven minute cartoons to be shown in front of movies, but they are like “We are going to keep taking these giant steps forward.” And also, the Archers – Michael Powell and Emmeric Pressburger, you know, the time that they had, you know with COLONEL BLIMP and STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN… every single movie is a hard right turn, a complete technical and emotional leap forward… a leap forward in storytelling and it seems so effortless. It looks like their movies were made by eight different studios you know? It’s amazing and that’s how Pixar is – every one of their movies is a hard right from their last movie. There really isn’t a Pixar formula, that’s the other thing that people are so attracted to, you’re guaranteed you’re going to get something you’ve never seen before and you’re going to get everyone working at the top of their game for you, you know?

Quint: Yeah, and I think it was such a genius move to bring Brad Bird into the fold.

Patton Oswalt: I know!

Quint: Just seeing how he got treated on IRON GIANT, it’s great to see that he found a home where he can actually…

Patton Oswalt: And think like after IRON GIANT… I still can’t get over… I own the deluxe DVD that I re-bought after owning the regular DVD and I just can’t get over what an absolutely genius film that is and how it was such a disaster financially for that studio, because they had this masterpiece and they fumbled it. It’s like giving the Glengarry leads to Alan Arkin in that movie and watching him fuck it up. I remember I was at a party a few months ago and some woman… it was right before… who put out OPEN SEASON? Was that Sony?

Quint: Yeah, I think it was Sony.

Patton Oswalt: She said “ Yeah, that Brad Bird, he’s been fired from like every single studio, because he just absolutely will not compromise anything, like anything… there’s no such thing as ‘Well give then a little of this and they’ll give you this’ – he goes, “No, I just want everything I want” and he won’t back down.” And at first I thought she was kind of badmouthing him, then she’s like “Look how it’s paid off, now people are just happy to get out of his way.” I just love that… just look at his body of work now, it’s flawless. Where’s the bad stuff? Even the great directors will go “Well, that didn’t quite work.” He doesn’t have the “Well, that doesn’t quite work,” movie. Yeah… it’s weird.

Quint: How hands on was he with you?

Patton Oswalt: Totally. And that’s the other thing, people are like “That must have sucked being alone in a booth like that.” I was never alone, because I was with Brad Bird. He’s got the entire movie, all the characters, in his head. He can lead in with any character… he’ll come at you like Brian Dennehy and suddenly Brian Dennehy is yelling at you. He’ll come at you like Linguini, just pleading with you “What do you…” He’ll come at you like Emile, who by the way is… you know I’m very flattered that I’m even at all memorable in this movie with nothing but scene stealers, because you’ve got Pete Sohn who is so great as Emile and he was so great to play against, because I would hear the voice recordings and he’s just so sweet and you love him, but he’s so exasperating. Of course Ian Holm as Skinner… good lord he’s so fucking funny and then Peter O’Toole and Lou Romano is just so sweet they really nailed Janeane [Garofalo] just perfectly, that kind of flinty exterior, but inside she’s sentimental and sweet, you know, but she’s got to kind of hide it. She’s just perfect.

Quint: Well yeah and she pulled off the French accent. That’s not easy to do.

Patton Oswalt: And you’re really rooting for her and Will Arnett is amazing as Horst, the evil, well not evil, but scary German chef, but all those people were in the booth with me. I was face to face with all of them, because I was with Brad Bird. Plus he knew all these weird techniques, like something he would do…

[Patton stands up, walks to me and grabs my wrist]

Patton Oswalt: … just say a line like “Oh I don’t really know if that’s what I want to do right now,” and I’ll show you what he’d do, but just say that kind of quiet.

Quint: Oh, I don’t really know if th-

[Patton jerks my arm, causing my voice to skip]

Patton Oswalt: …and as you’re saying it… it changes your performance. They dumped water on me head when I’m going down the (sewer). I’m literally [makes weird gurgling noise] gurgling on water, I was soaked. He would hug me. He would kind of get behind me while I was talking and give me like a little shove and it would change… he just knows. He’s such a student of animation. It’s like the way that a samurai memorizes every single possible sword move that you can encounter or like a chess master has every game ever played in his head, you know. He knows every cartoon and who did what and it’s just amazing.

Quint: I’ve talked to him a couple of times. I had an IRON GIANT one-sheet and after my first interview with him I couldn’t resist asking him to sign it…

Patton Oswalt: Why not? That’s a movie that forty or fifty years from now people will watch it and go “This was a huge hit wasn’t it?” and you’ll go, “No, it wasn’t.” And beyond the fact that I’m in it, I think RATATOUILLE is going to… because really watching the movie kind of re-inspired me and re-connected me as what I want to do as a stand up and eventually as a filmmaker. It is the Pixar philosophy… with food and criticism and I’m reading a lot of early reviews and everyone is like “Well, they kind of make critics to look out like assholes…” No, actually they are saying that critics are very vital, but if they do it a certain way. It’s like saying chefs are very vital, but not if you’re cranking out shit like the Olive Garden does… You know what I mean? So that’s kind of what they’re trying to say… just be vital in what you do and hold out for the good stuff.

Quint: Yeah, I mentioned that in my review, but I mentioned it only in that I think a lot of critics will take it the wrong way…

Patton Oswalt: Well… especially a lot of those critics… this isn’t what you’re doing, but you know those critics who go on junkets just so they can get free stuff and then they… you know those stories about “Um… it’s an amazing rollercoaster ride.. who wants to put their name on this?” and they’ll just take it. Or the ones that just love to rip things apart, but again, those are the ones that suck anyways, so who cares?

Quint: Yeah.

Patton Oswalt: There’s always… there’s a group of critics out there like Heather Havrilesky and Anthony Lane… I mean there’s a whole lot of them and I still think Roger Ebert… that clearly just love movies and if they trash something it’s not like they are going “Oh fuck this,” they’re so disappointed. They go into every movie going “Oh I hope this is great” you know? It’s like when people go “You must like it, you’re always trashing these comic book movies,” and I’m like, “No, I don’t.” Every one I go into… CATWOMAN… GHOST RIDER…I want them all to be great. I’m hoping they’ll be amazing. I don’t walk in going “I hope this sucks, so I can bitch about it…” I want great comic book movies, you know? I want them all to be four stars. I’m rooting for them so hard to be great every single time… Whenever they announce one, like Halle Berry is Catwoman, you know what? I hope they do it great. I can totally see that. I’m rooting for it. I’m rooting for her to win, you know? I just… ugh… it drives me nuts…

Quint: Well, we’ve got one opening this weekend…

Patton Oswalt: What’s opening this weekend?

Quint: FANTASTIC FOUR 2.

Patton Oswalt: Oh God… I haven’t even… I’ve been so sleep schedule fucked up I don’t know what’s going on anymore. Have you seen FANTASTIC FOUR 2 yet? I haven’t heard anything about it?

Quint: My expectations are low…

Patton Oswalt: I’m hoping it’s great.

Quint: Yeah, totally. Just for…

Patton Oswalt: I’m hoping that because it’s Silver Surfer…

Quint: The Silver Surfer stuff is supposed to be amazing.

Patton Oswalt: I love Michael Chiklis. My friend Brian Posehn’s in it. I want it to be great. I’m hoping and praying. You want to hear something? You’ll love this… I don’t know if you can stick this in the interview – and I cannot remember who said this to me. It was one of those days when I had like literally 19 interviews, like one after another, so I’m talking to one guy and everyone I’ve talked to has loved this movie and I think that they’re so relieved, because it’s clear that they’ve been watching all these summer movies and it’s just crap after crap after crap. And they’re treating this movie like an oasis. “It really treated me like I was smart” and they were really happy. So one guy I was talking to, he was saying “This movie was terrific. I mean this is one of the best movies of the summer… it’s just 90% perfect… it’s so almost there…” and I’m like “What’s wrong?” He says “It could have used a song,” and I’m like “What??” “See I saw this amazing film last summer called HOODWINKED… amazing animated movie and they had this song in it that I liked.” He’s just naming these songs that are in these sound tracks and, “You see these Shrek movies and there’s like a Raconteurs song,” and “couldn’t they just put like a song in there that I liked?” And I go “There was a score by Michael Giacchino that was totally original and he wrote a song that’s…” and he goes “Yeah, but I don’t know that. I’ve never heard it before.” So I told this story to Brad Bird and he was like, “Did you ask him when he saw STAR WARS if he was upset by the John William’s score? Like, couldn’t you have put Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On’ in here or The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia…. like something I know that I can kind of enjoy?” That was his reaction to this. “Can’t there just be a song I know?” “Why don’t you just bring you iPod to the theater and just… when there’s a slow scene, just pop it in and either listen to a Blink 182 song or a Gwen Stefani. And then you’ll be happy…” What the fuck? Then Brad was saying “You should have told him that he saw an early cut that they’re going to have Ratt’s Round and Round as the main theme.”

[Both Guys Laugh]

Patton Oswalt: I bet if I told him that, that would be in the review “and by the way Ratt’s Round and Round is a great rocking tune, so look for it!”

Quint: That’s awesome.

Patton Oswalt: I mean, it’s like a completely originally score from the ground up, recorded with an actual orchestra, you know like cut by Donnie Wallen, like THE guy who did fucking BONNIE AND CLYDE…. like everything. BULLITT… and this guy was like “I wish there was a song I knew… you know? Can’t there be a Nelly song in there?” Anyways… sorry…

Quint: No no [laughing]…

Patton Oswalt: It’s amazing… make sure to put that in your interview… “You know what I hate…” you got to put in little parenthesis “I’d hate to disagree with Patton, but I really could have used the Smashing Pumpkins Despite All My Rage… I’m still just a rat in a cage.” There’s some comedian I forget… oh that’s right his name is Boris Hamilton, who’s like “Does Will Smith write songs or does he just find old 70’s funk tunes just to go “Ah hah yeah…” every now and then, and then say the name of a city… “Galveston.”

[Both Laugh]

Quint: Yeah, I can’t listen to my funk CD without thinking of MEN IN BLACK…

Patton Oswalt: I know! What the fuck? Although I love MEN IN BLACK. You know, everyone gives Will Smith a lot of shit and I think that’s because he’s always in these serious action movies, but whenever he does like a romantic comedy or a comedic action movie or HITCH, he really is good at that.

Quint: Yeah.

Patton Oswalt: And you forget that that is really hard to pull off. Most people actually can’t and I think that because it’s so easy for him, he’s like “This isn’t valuable”… it’s like “No no, that’s actually really valuable. You should do more shit like that, because most people cannot pull that off…”

Quint: Well, I think he’s a good actor too, like I wasn’t a huge fan of THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, but he was good in it.

Patton Oswalt: He was great in that!

Quint: Same thing with ALI, you know? ALI I thought wasn’t a complete success, but it was a complete success in terms of what Will Smith did.

Patton Oswalt: Right, but I think he thinks he should be doing those serious Oscar craving films. It’s like “No, you should be doing these very light romantic comedies, because notice how most of them fail and yours are always huge hits, because you’re doing something that’s nearly impossible to do.” But he was good in INDEPENDENCE DAY though, like he was one of the saving graces of that movie. He makes it. I thought MEN IN BLACK would have collapsed had it not had been him in there, you know, so there you go… anyways sorry.

Quint: That’s fine. This is great.

Patton Oswalt: And notice how MEN IN BLACK II didn’t work, because that’s where he’s all like glum and suddenly like “Oh I’m living this….” Wait wait wait, Will Smith doesn’t do that! That’s what’s kind of cool, he can cope with a lot of weirdness with a wise-crack and its like “Wow, you’re really rooting for that guy.” I don’t want to see him sad like “Oh man, I’m really… I don’t have any relationship…” It’s like “Whoa, stop…” It’s like watching Belushi in ANIMAL HOUSE in the middle of the movie “I got to get sober guys, this is really bad…” Whoa… no! I like him drinking and running into things… the fuck is he doing?

Quint: So what’s next? You have BALLS OF FURY coming up, right?

Patton Oswalt: I have one scene in that…

Quint: But aren’t you like one of the main…

Patton Oswalt: I’m one of the obstacles for him… but you know that’s Lennon and Garant and those guys are such good comedy writers and directors, because they bring in people and then they just get out of their way. They’re really good at spotting me. You watch RENO 911 and the work I do with Toby Huss and David Koechner, especially Nick Swardson, where they just bring these people in and just let them do what they do and they’re actually happy to kind of lean back and let the scene get out of their hands, because they’re so confident in their own abilities. You don’t really see that a lot. You see a lot of people fighting for “This is still my show” and they’re like “Hey, let it run off the rails a little bit… it’ll come back to us” and that movie was constantly just weirdos just popping in and fucking with them, which was great. So yeah, they love stuff like that.

Quint: I talked to them last year at Comic-Con and they’re just so funny and just so down to earth.

Patton Oswalt: They are so down to earth. They are so like… you know these are guys that are writing movies that make 300 hundred million dollars and they’re like… I hang out with Tom and his wife all the time and they have this nice little house, you know, kind of off Melrose and he goes “I don’t want to end up with a house that’s going to force me to do stuff I’m not excited about,” so right now they can write these huge movies and then its like “Good, now do your own thing for a while,” you know what I mean?

Quint: Yeah.

Patton Oswalt: They’re in a perfect position.

Quint: You got anything else? You have a new CD right?

Patton Oswalt: Yeah, the new CD comes out July 10th. Give me your mailing address; I’ll have them send you an advance copy.



Quint: I’d love to hear it, because I was there when you recorded it here…

Patton Oswalt: Right here in Austin! I did a show last night at Emo’s, it was so much fun. I had forgotten how… we were a little worried because we were in Houston last night [turns to mumbling]…. [Laughing] We were in Houston the night before and I forgot how ridiculous Austin crowds are and they are one of those crowds that I remember when the Comedians of Comedy came through here and then after the show we were all kind of so high on how great the crowd was. They were kind of saying “Do not get used to this,” like “This is an exception… don’t make the mistake that this is where you are skill level-wise, because you’re not!” This is a crowd that is so fucking cool… and all the Cap City shows were great.

Quint: Yeah, cool man.

Patton Oswalt: Cool and you already talked to Janeane or…?

Quint: No, not yet.

Patton Oswalt: I think we should switch, she’s doing a round table so…

Quint: Yeah. I can’t do round-tables, man…

Patton Oswalt: Yeah, fuck that…

Quint: Like Comic-Con, I’ve lost some awesome interviews not accepting round table interviews, but I think it’s worth it to hold out for the one on ones. It’s the junket mentality that you’re talking about… I can’t do it.

Patton Oswalt: Those people… it’s like a job, but you guys, all you guys at Ain’t It Cool, you remind me of the writers of Creem Magazine, where you are really interested in film, not just “I got to sit down with a celebrity.” You’re like me, I’m way more interested… like the animators at Pixar to me, are bigger celebrities than people like George Clooney or Tom Hanks. You know, the guy is like “I did the rain…” “Oh fuck, you did the…” Remember when we are escaping out of the farmhouse and it’s starting to rain, but it’s summertime so there’s still a sun? It’s like “Oh wait a minute, I’ve seen that so many times in real life, but I’ve never seen it on film…” Unless you’re set up and ready to go, you can’t just capture that and they got that – that summer rain starting. It was so weird… and the French countryside… they went to France and took film and pictures and everything of… talk to Sharon Calahan, the Director of Photography and the lighting… when her credit comes up it gets such a huge round of applause because she goes “Uncooked food looks different than cooked food… a wet grape is monumentally different from a dry one” and all that stuff matters. It’ll matter when you’re picking food to cook and weather looks different. You feel rain coming in on that scene, you feel like it’s going to rain.

Quint: It’s all in the details. I mean look at Remy’s face. He’s definitely a cartoon character, but one thing that immediately struck me the first time I saw some footage, was when he’s running and then he’s stopped and he’s looking up at something and you can see his little rat heart beating, like, 100 miles per hour.

Patton Oswalt: Yeah, you see the little heart beating…

Quint: Yeah, you see even when they’re not running they beat so much quicker you know?



[Some serious spoilers are in this next chunk… tread lightly…]



Patton Oswalt: And I also love how until Linguini looks at him straight on in that jar, everything from Remy’s perspective is that weird giant kind of warped perspective and that’s where they link and go “Oh, we’re the same person.” It’s just that whole thing about trusting that a rat instinctively has got to avoid a chef, because they’ll try to kill them, a chef has got to avoid a rat, they both know that and they’ve got to get over those hurdles and help each other out. It’s really sweet. I really got a little misty eyed when his father showed up with the family and they’re all like “Hey what can we do? We don’t know how, but we can sort of just try our best,” and you’re like “Oh this is great… they’re going to try to make this thing work.” It is so cool. I love that, you know? And also the scene where… remember when Linguini wakes up after taking Remy home and he’s like “He left? He stole my…” then you look over and he’s making a little omelet, you’re like “Oh this is such a sweet…” you know? Oh damn, how about this scene at the end where (Ego eats the Ratatouille) I’ve never seen a scene like that where you’re laughing and you’re also really touched at the exact same moment and everyone I talk to, they laugh and cry equal amounts at that moment and it’s so beautiful and so funny and then they cut over to Skinner [laughs]. Remember when Skinner eats it and his face is like [weird noises as Patton goes from orgasmic ecstasy to anger and back again]. It’s everything at the same time and that’s just that the animators are great actors. They get all that stuff down, you know?



[Spoilery segment over]



Quint: I’m looking forward to seeing it with a full audience tonight.

Patton Oswalt: So, is Vern going to be there?

Quint: No, he’s in Seattle I think. I’ve never met Vern, but he’s my favorite writer on the site.

Patton Oswalt: He’s so good. I wish he would review more often or I wish that they would… because his reviews get read so often… although he is so harsh, so it’s tough to tell studios “Hey, let Vern see your movie...” but he’s not a guy going like “Oh, I’m going to write a mean review…” It always comes from disappointment… he wants movies to be great, you know?

Quint: Yeah.

Patton Oswalt: If there are holes (in the interview), email me and…

Quint: I will let you fill my holes...

Patton Oswalt: Well now… (he turns to the Disney rep) Can we have a few more minutes alone? (Laughs)

Quint: I even showered and everything…



Talking to Patton is so much fun. He’s just a movie geek, albeit one that is always hilariously funny. You know, at the end there when we just kind of trailed off talking about comic book movies and Will Smith… I loved that stuff. I’d really be down for just chatting movies with Oswalt. You know, where we don’t have the obligation of covering a movie he’s pushing or anything. Just a nice, geeky interview about movies past and present. That’d be a fun read, I think. Still got tons more in the pipeline, including my interview with Janeane Garofalo. Keep an eye peeled, squirts! Thanks again to intern Muldoon for slaving over the transcription. I’ve gotten a ton of response about my trip to London next week. Lots of good ideas and offers for pub meet-ups. I’ll get back to as many as I can over this weekend, so if you wrote in, look for a response sometime in the next couple of days. -Quint quint@aintitcool.com



Readers Talkback

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  • June 16, 2007, 4:20 p.m. CST

    first?

    by gunslinger7000

    could it be?

  • June 16, 2007, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Great interview!

    by ldm882

    Well done Quint!

  • June 16, 2007, 4:40 p.m. CST

    I Heart Patton Oswalt

    by Birdys Piano Teacher

    His stand-up is great and I love that he's doing his own thing and finally people are noticing. Long live Comedians of Comedy!

  • June 16, 2007, 4:48 p.m. CST

    nice

    by Dollar Bird

    That was a pretty great interview. Oswalt is a favorite, so that helps, but kudos to Quint and the Gang for making sure every last drop of movie geekdom got left in. I loved Oswalt's candor, too. It's refreshing. And, nice little shout out for Vern.

  • June 16, 2007, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Patton Oswalt should have starred in:

    by mrfan

    I Am Legend

  • June 16, 2007, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Great interview

    by Bob of the Shire

    Oh yes it is.

  • June 16, 2007, 5:41 p.m. CST

    i love the touch of oswalt asking about vern

    by Holodigm

    very nice tongue-in-cheek reference to himself

  • June 16, 2007, 5:51 p.m. CST

    He already worked for Disney several times before!

    by DerLanghaarige

    He is the voice of Professor Dementor in "Kim Possible", so what was their problem?

  • June 16, 2007, 6:01 p.m. CST

    Oswalt is not Vern, Holodigm...

    by Alonzo Mosely

    You are getting your reviewers mixed up. Vern is a real, breathing person... Now maybe Patton just might be a certain occasional reviewer for this site, and maybe even his mother, but Vern he ain't...

  • June 16, 2007, 6:15 p.m. CST

    I cannot wait

    by Pr_Frink

    Not only is he the lead in a Pixar flim but he has a new CD coming out next month. One of the funniest people alive today.

  • June 16, 2007, 6:39 p.m. CST

    Love the album cover

    by I Own You

    Reminds me of some of the classic stuff from the seventies

  • June 16, 2007, 6:51 p.m. CST

    Patton Oswalt is my Effin hero man

    by chiahead

    What a great interview!! Thanks!!

  • June 16, 2007, 6:55 p.m. CST

    MAY PATTON OSWALT CONTINUE TO EAT

    by Pound Sand

    Great interview. Stuff like this balances out all the Toshiba HD-DVD shilling nonsense.

  • June 16, 2007, 7:34 p.m. CST

    thanks for the spoiler !!!!! :(

    by ludmir88

    i just save 10 bucks thank you again. .....suckers!!!

  • June 16, 2007, 7:45 p.m. CST

    youtube clip of Patton

    by BadMrWonka

    the video is terrible, but this litle bit about listening to the chipmunks records in slow-mo is HILARIOUS...<p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R69_mZj6YWo

  • June 16, 2007, 8:16 p.m. CST

    Patton: Your picture above looks like Stephen Hawking

    by Pound Sand

    Just get the voice synthesizer, and go whole hog.

  • June 16, 2007, 9:50 p.m. CST

    One of Disney's best ever...

    by JackIsLost

    In the same league as "Pinocchio" and far ahead of anything else released this year. Another Oscar for Bird...

  • June 16, 2007, 11:25 p.m. CST

    Looking forward to the movie but...

    by Boondock Devil

    ..I hate the fact that I'll be sitting in a theater with dozens of loud sugar-snortin' kids and parents who either don't have the common sense to threaten to back over puppies with their minivans unless they're quiet. Other than that it should be a good time.

  • June 16, 2007, 11:57 p.m. CST

    Yeah

    by The Funketeer

    I hate it when I go to a kids movie and there's kids there. What are those parents thinking?

  • June 17, 2007, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Reading is good.

    by Boondock Devil

    No problem with kids; just the ones who decide it's more fun to bounce around on top of the seats and talking loudly while their parents just sit back and glare at you for having the seeds to actually shush their child. So I stand by my puppy-squashing minivans.

  • June 17, 2007, 12:12 a.m. CST

    Seeing it with kids tonight....

    by JackIsLost

    Was a lot of fun. Now, granted, kids can be annoying but I am more forgiving of them than annoying adults. And their enthusiasm for the movie was infectious. One of the most exciting times I ever had at the movies was when I saw JURASSIC PARK when I was 11 and at the end, everyone applauded wildly. Looking back, I can see the flaws in that film more clearly. But tonight, at the end of RATATOUILLE, once again the kids burst into applause and I joined them, even though I do think it's silly b/c it's not like Brad Bird is in the balcony taking a bow. But I just totally caved to the kid's enjoyment, only this time I know I will be looking back on this film and knowing it's quality will be untarnished forever. A must see.

  • June 17, 2007, 1:39 a.m. CST

    Saw this tonight....

    by Playkins

    It was UNBELIEVABLE. Leaps and bounds better than "Cars", in both complexity and visuals. They managed to stay away from the typical "outcast/misfit gone good" cliche and created characters with slightl more selfish motives that end up having a place in the world. The realization of a CG Paris was breathtaking. Although it was really from a rat's eye-view that showed little more than street level, there were some gorgeous panoramas that were hyper-real in appearance. The character animation was so good that I had to occasionally remind myself that it was animation, not because it was photoreal, but because it looked so natural. Can't recommend this one enough.

  • June 17, 2007, 2:04 a.m. CST

    Nice "Stairway to Heaven" shout out.

    by Bungion Boy

    aka "A Matter of Life and Death." One of my favorite films. I've been waiting for years for Criterion to get that thing on dvd. Now I love Patton even more. I too saw "Ratatouille" tonight and thought it was wonderful. So many of my friends are ripping on it for looking too cute and childish. Is it any less childish than the story of a fish who is looking for his son? This ranks up with "Toy Story 2" and "The Incredibles" as one of Pixar's best. I loved every minute and can't wait to see it again. Hope it doesn't get too creamed by Transformers. This should be opening on the 27th instead of Die Hard. It could use the extra 2 days.

  • June 17, 2007, 2:06 a.m. CST

    Nice "Stairway to Heaven" shout out.

    by Bungion Boy

    aka "A Matter of Life and Death." One of my favorite films. I've been waiting for years for Criterion to get that thing on dvd. Now I love Patton even more. I too saw "Ratatouille" tonight and thought it was wonderful. So many of my friends are ripping on it for looking too cute and childish. Is it any less childish than the story of a fish who is looking for his son? This ranks up with "Toy Story 2" and "The Incredibles" as one of Pixar's best. I loved every minute and can't wait to see it again. Hope it doesn't get too creamed by Transformers. This should be opening on the 27th instead of Die Hard. It could use the extra 2 days.

  • June 17, 2007, 6:52 a.m. CST

    im sorry to say it die hard looks terrible

    by supercowbell 4 cant stop the cowbell

    maybe its just the commericals. ill still see it though no doubt. just please be great PLEASE

  • June 17, 2007, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Couldn't give a rat's ass...

    by football

    NEXT...

  • June 17, 2007, 12:06 p.m. CST

    WHAT? NO SMASHMOUTH?

    by half vader

    Forget this crap!

  • June 17, 2007, 12:20 p.m. CST

    football:

    by Playkins

    So- a legitimately good movie comes along and.....you don't care.

  • June 17, 2007, 3:37 p.m. CST

    "Quint: Yeah, I can’t listen to my funk CD"

    by GiveMeAnFinBreak

    "... without thinking of MEN IN BLACK…" I hear what you're saying... but 'my funk CD?' as in Time-Life 'I'm chalk white but I want to appear less so' sampler? As in 'I'm really only comfortable having one funk CD in my collection'?? Sorry, that stuck out.

  • June 17, 2007, 3:42 p.m. CST

    S1LENCE...

    by GiveMeAnFinBreak

    Bush and Cheney had Thompson silenced. It's true. ... okay, so it's a dubious conspiracy theory. Even still, that's the way he wanted to go. Who are you to trash that? If I recall correctly, HST had a choice between slow, painful death by cancer or a quick (in his eyes, noble) death by handgun.

  • June 17, 2007, 4:21 p.m. CST

    The trailer for this movie...

    by barnaby jones

    played before Pirates 3 and the full theatre was silent throughout. One word - BORING. Wall-E on the other hand looks like it could be the E.T for a new generation of kids.

  • June 17, 2007, 4:33 p.m. CST

    jones:

    by Playkins

    So you haven't seen it )other than the trailer). And you're saying it's boring. The Audience FULL of kids I saw it with last night thought otherwise, and they actually saw the movie. There were a group of kids in front of me that laughed almost the entire movie.

  • June 17, 2007, 4:34 p.m. CST

    oh-

    by Playkins

    I don't inderstand your appraisal of Wall-E. That trailer doesn't have enough of ANYTHING to make any sort of judgement.

  • June 17, 2007, 4:43 p.m. CST

    I hope Wall-E is great....

    by JackIsLost

    But the teaser shows absolutely NOTHING other than a robot that looks vaguely like Johnny #5 compacting trash and then looking up to the stars. In a side note, I hope all the parts of metal he is compacting are the remains of the CARS (cause that movie sucked).

  • June 17, 2007, 4:55 p.m. CST

    And that speaks volumes don't you think ?

    by barnaby jones

    The two shots in the wall-E piece sparked way more interest for me than anything in the full length trailer for Ratatouille. As for the comment on the audience, i'm just telling you what the reaction was and my opinion on the TRAILER. I'm perfectly open to it being a good movie.

  • June 17, 2007, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Actually, playkins, I admire Bird's work...

    by football

    .. and think he's made 3 excellent cgi movies. Though I'm not a great fan of this genre and have no intention of seeing Dreck 3 or Even Happier Feet 2, I don't mind the odd cartoon such as Invincibles. Do I get excited by them? No. Do I think there's one too many being churned out in hope of a fast buck without the quality? Yes I do. Sometimes I swear these movies are just being made so as to pay off Robin Williams' therapy bills. Maybe I'm wrong about this one and I do hope it's better than Cars as I prefer Pixar over Dreamwrecks. Thing is I'm just not excited by this one as I should be. Maybe I'm just getting old.

  • June 17, 2007, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Die Hard is going to be a blast too

    by barnaby jones

    hopfully !

  • June 18, 2007, 1:12 a.m. CST

    Wall-E's garbage cube

    by half vader

    I thought for a second there I saw Boo's disguise, but no. I'll bet you a hundred bucks it's in ONE of those cubes though!

  • June 18, 2007, 3:48 a.m. CST

    Jackie Earle Haley is Rorschach!

    by DOGSOUP

    Wait..who?

  • June 18, 2007, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Suicide is painless. It brings on many changes

    by Borgnine JR

    but I can take or leave it if I please. And you can do the same thing...if you please. Let's remake M*A*S*H with Patton as Radar!

  • June 20, 2007, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Sometimes Suicide..

    by Lour Reed luvs Frank Zappa

    can work, especially if it's euthanasia. I think under the right circumstances, like when death is inevitable or very, very likely due to some illness, a person should have the choice to end his/her life early. That doesn't necessarily make them honorable or cowardly, it's just a choice. In my case.. if I knew that I didn't have much to look forward to, I would do it not only to end the suffering but also to save my loved ones money, to make sure they can benefit the most from my death. I think it's selfish to try and live just a couple months / years longer when you know you'll die, using up all of your money instead of using it helpfully. And anyways when a family member or someone close to me dies, as has happened many times, I try to look at it in a positive light.. if I were in their position I wouldn't want the people I loved to grieve for me, I'd want them to be happy and enjoy their lives.. so suicide or not, at that stage it's all the same, better to pass the life savings on than use it on hospital bills.

  • June 20, 2007, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Patton Oswalt

    by Cobbio

    Good interview, Quint! Always great to hear from Patton, even though I only really know him from his CD. Which is hilarious. I've never watched an entire episode of "Reno 911," but I probably will now that I know Patton occasionally guest stars.<p> I'm excited to see "Ratatouille".

  • June 20, 2007, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Also

    by Cobbio

    Also, I think opinions about suicide are based on very personal experiences with it. It's not bullshit, per se, since lots of people around the world take the plunge into non-being, but it's also (sometimes) good for people in extreme pain to re-examine things and try to find a way to cope. Both approaches are valid, in my opinion.<p> But isn't a "Ratatouille" thread? Deep dark issues attack!

  • June 20, 2007, 10:31 p.m. CST

    A DAMN SHAME.....

    by Playkins

    That a topic like SUICIDE has hijacked the talkback for such a brilliant animated film. Proof positive that 90% of the people on talkback come to bitch and argue about incindiary crap. Next topic to argue about: ABORTION & THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. Begin!

  • June 21, 2007, 8:38 p.m. CST

    Funny that he mentioned Vern...

    by team america

    ...considering that Vern has had some unkind words for Patton's Neil Cumpston persona in the past. I can't say I blame him, though - I'd take a Vern review over a Cumpston any day of the week.<p>That said, though, Patton Oswalt is still one of the funniest motherfuckers working today. I can't wait to see this movie.