Craig Robinson discusses working on his first grand scale, CGI film
Known for his comic turn as the bouncer with a heart in Knocked Up, and TV roles in shows like Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm, Craig Robinson can now add enormous, CGI disaster movie with his turn as a cameraman in Dragon Wars (D-War).
Based on the Korean legend, unknown creatures will return and devastate the planet. Reporter Ethan Kendrick is called in to investigate the matter, and he arrives at the conclusion that a girl stricken with a mysterious illness named Sarah is suppose to help him. The Imoogi makes its way to Los Angeles, wreaking havoc and destruction. With the entire city under arms, will Ethan and Sarah make it in time to save the people of Los Angeles?
Robinson recently called us to discuss the film and his career.
Could you describe your character Bruce in Dragon Wars (D-War)?
Craig Robinson: Yeah, I'm a cameraman who's good friends with the reporter, Ethan (Jason Behr), who's the star of the show. I love him but I do think he's crazy because he believes in this Imoogi legend that he heard as a child. I'm like, "Dude, you should let it go by now, come on. We're grown men, stop thinking about a girl and the snakes and dragons."
What was it that attracted you to Dragon Wars (D-War)?
Craig Robinson: Well, they sent a DVD of some of the CGI that had been completed and some of the battle scenes that had been done. It was just like, wow, how in the world are you going to fit me into that? Hell yeah, I want to be a part of this. It was just an exciting ride from start to finish.
Going back to what you said about the CGI, what's it like having to act with things that aren't really there? Is that where you just let the imagination really take over?
Craig Robinson: You hit the nail on the head, yes, it's all about imagination and timing. The hardest part would probably be the timing, when and where the monster strikes or screams. The imagination was just, you just let go and do what you do, normally, as an actor. I imagine 24 hours a day we're all just going off on different characters and imagining what's going on around us when there's nothing there.
You said you saw the CGI in the early stages, what'd you think when you saw the final film?
Craig Robinson: It was magnificent. You're gonna see some things you've never seen before, monsters fighting each other, it's going to be grand. It's a very grand scale thing.
What is it about disaster films that really seem to be catching fire with people? You have Transformers that did really well... why do you think it seems like people want to see this kind of thing?
Craig Robinson: Who just doesn't want to knock stuff over? Knock the computer off the desk and let out their frustrations? We get some solace in seeing it done before us. Everybody goes to the movies and you get yourself in the character's shoes, you get to go away for a little while. I don't know if it's the timing of it but that's the way I feel.
What was your favorite part of doing this film?
Craig Robinson: It would be... can I get sappy? Can I say making the friendships and getting cool with everyone; Jason Behr is my brother. It was just a great experience all around. Going over to Korea to premiere the movie seeing Seoul, that whole part of it, and seeing how they get down over there. Then there's talk of going to Japan to premiere it. It's just an amazing ride from front to back and I'm looking forward to seeing it do well here in the states and whatever else we've got to do with it.
It seems like you're very comfortable doing comedic material, did you see doing Dragon Wars (D-War) as kind of a nice change of pace to that? Now you have a big, disaster, knock things over film on your resume?
Craig Robinson: It's actually to get some different looks going, you know? Now I have my fantasy, action genre covered. Dragons, snakes and monsters so it was cool. I have some comic relief in there and so do my buddies Billy Gardell and Retta. So it's entertaining all the way through.
What do you have coming up next? I know you're doing The Pineapple Express, that sounds awesome.
Craig Robinson: It is. We've got to wait until August 8 of next year for it to come out but that should be right on time with the way Apatow's productions are going. I got Wild Card coming out around Christmas. I play a singer. I'm on the internet, "Mr. Robinson's Driving School" on MSN.com. You should check it out.
Dragon Wars (D-War) comes to theaters in limited release on September 14 from Freestyle Releasing.