Thursday afternoon — thanks to the miracle of Twitter — I got “Drive” star Albert Brooks on the phone for a half hour to talk about his work in Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive.” The performance is really stirring the circuit up as Brooks lights up the campaign trail with his trademark humor and charm.
That interview will land in a few days, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to discuss a few other, extraneous things with Brooks about his work on other features and his wonderful presence on the social networking site that hooked us up. So over the next couple of days, I thought I’d drop in a few of those nuggets on the way to the big piece itself next week.
Today, it’s all about “Finding Nemo” and Brooks’s place in the Pixar family. The film is still my favorite Pixar effort, and for a long time it was the studio’s most financially successful film. Indeed, it was the highest-grossing animated feature of all time until “Shrek 2” knocked it off its perch a year later. (This year, due to re-release, “The Lion King” has also leap-frogged it, while “Toy Story 3” became Pixar’s all time box office champ last year.) “Finding Nemo” is also one of the Pixar films that hasn’t been sullied (no pun intended — if you caught that, that is) by a sequel. But Brooks has some choice thoughts on that in today’s pull quote.
“It’s interesting because it gets you an audience of little children. That’s really what’s interesting. I just finished working in Judd Apatow’s movie and in the movie, my character, through in vitro, has these young triplets that are just like, ‘Where did they come from?’ So these little kids who played the triplets would not know me from Adam except when their mother says, ‘That’s Marlin.’ Their eyes open.
“In the first couple of years, women would come up to me in the supermarket with a cell phone and say, ‘Please, just say, ‘No, Nemo, no, I’m just buying cereal.’ Please, please!’ And they had their kid on the other end of the phone. This happened like 80 times. ‘Alright, give me the phone. ‘Look out, Nemo!” And then you’d hear a scream on the other end and the kid would get all confused, thinking his mother was in the ocean.
“It’s sort of like being a toy to a little child. And that just wouldn’t exist if not that. But listen, they’re an amazing company. I don’t know, I guess they’ll never make another ‘Nemo.’ I see they’re making another ‘Monsters, Inc.’ I had a wonderful idea for them. I swear to God I think there could be a great sequel to ‘Nemo’ where the fish never will leave home. He just won’t leave. ‘Getting Rid of Nemo.’ Right, ‘You’re 30 years old! Get out of here!'”
“Drive” (the polar opposite of “Finding Nemo”) is currently playing in theaters nationwide.