The young actor talks about his role, his co-stars and future projects.
Drake Bell might not be a household name... unless that household has adolescents. Drake starred in the Nickelodeon program Drake & Josh, with co-star Josh Peck for three seasons and his popularity on that show helped secure his lead role in Superhero Movie. I had the chance to talk with this young actor over the phone about the movie and some new future projects.
How did you first become involved in this project?
Drake Bell: They kinda came to me. The writer and producer Craig (Mazin) and David Zucker, they have kids, who were avid viewers of Drake & Josh. I think they were looking for a kid for this part and they were looking for somebody who could play that superhero character but could also be a bumbling idiot when he's not in the costume. They just came to me because they liked Drake & Josh. It's very physical, a lot like the stuff we do on Drake & Josh.
Is taking this on kind of like taking a break from all the kids stuff, so to speak?
Drake Bell: Yeah, yeah. It's still very in the vein of that younger era, but it's not kidsy. It's still a youthful movie though. It's great because I grew up on Airplane! and The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad and that kind of humor, and Top Secret! and all that stuff, so that's what I love. But, to actually be able to do this with Leslie Nielsen, I'm not just doing a spoof movie, I'm actually running dialogue with the king of it. Having David Zucker and Craig Mazin is awesome. To have Zucker there, laughing at you it's just like, 'What? I grew up on all the crap you wrote, man!' So it's a trip.
Do you think your fans from Drake & Josh will be attracted to this movie as well? Will there be any crossover?
Drake Bell: Oh absolutely. Yeah, definitely. This movie is definitely goes to more the 18 and up, or 16 and up, but there is a lot of stuff here that the Drake & Josh audience will just eat up.
I interviewed Sara Paxton recently and it sounded like she just had a blast on this movie. What was it like working with her?
Drake Bell: It was awesome. We had a lot of fun, just because the fact of what we were doing was nonsense. Half the stuff we were doing and saying was just absurd, so to be able to do that with a great group of people was just a blast all day. It was great.
The supporting cast is just huge. You have everyone from Pamela Anderson to Tracey Morgan...
Drake Bell: Oh yeah man. Tracey Morgan was such a blast to work with. He was awesome. Working with Christopher McDonald, he's just amazing. It's really cool. We had a lot of people. Simon Rex came in and did a little bit and it was just a great group of people. They all really loved the idea and they were all having fun. I got to hear a bunch of old SNL stories, so it was great.
You're basically playing a version of Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man. Was there any pressure stepping into that kind of a shadow with this role?
Drake Bell: No, I didn't feel like that at all. It is spoofing Tobey Maguire's character, but these characters take on a life of their own. Sara's character, she's dimmer than Mary Jane. She's a little bit more of the blonde airhead. But no, I didn't feel any pressure. It's not like I was doing Spider-Man 3 and Tobey had done 1 and 2, you know.
Yeah, that's true. Obviously, the comic-book adaptations are just huge business now. Do you think a spoof like this would attract a regular comic-book fanboy?
Drake Bell: Actually, I really do. The main thing is Spider-Man 3, but we spoof Batman and X-Men and Fantastic Four. If there's a superhero movie, we're spoofing it. There's a scene where we go through Xavier's School for the Gifted and there's just a bunch of different types of superheroes doing just absurd things. Wolverine shaving his legs with his blades, just crazy stuff like that. I think comic book fans will still get a kick out of it.
Drake Bell: Yeah. The Drake & Josh, we're going into production in June or July, something like that. We're just going to do a little movie-of-the-week for the network, which is great because the show's been done and I haven't gotten to work with Josh and it was just like, 'Let's get back together and play around.' So that's going to be fun. That should air at the end of the year. I think they're trying to go a Christmas episode, because we never tackled Christmas on Drake & Josh. We were talking to Dan (Schnieder), the executive producer. Actually, Josh and I called him separately and we both said, 'We wanna work together again. Let's just do something.' So we just got this project together so we could get back together and hang out. We got all the old crew back there so it's just like a reunion. College, I'm not sure of the release date on that, because they keep shifting that around, but that's definitely more for the older audience. It's rated R. It's fun, if you like that quirky humor and partying. Gary Owen is in it and he's just really funny. Andrew Caldwell from Drillbit Taylor, he's just so funny it's ridiculous. He's like a mini John Candy or something, man. He's just hilarious.
Is there anything you're eyeing up for the future? Maybe some dream project you're looking out for?
Drake Bell: No, not really. I'm working on my record right now, so hopefully I'll be getting into that heavier as the months go on. That's pretty much it, yeah.
Finally, I read that you got into acting randomly when your dad asked you when you were 5 years old if you wanted to be an actor. Where do you think you'd be doing today if your dad hadn't asked that?
Drake Bell: Oh man. I have no clue what I'd be doing right now. I don't like anything else, just acting and music. Maybe I would've gotten into music, you know. I don't know if I would've had like a garage band somewhere in Orange County or if I would've tried to get signed or what. I don't know. I'm glad you asked me.
Well, that's about all I have for you, Drake. Thanks a lot for your time.
Drake Bell: Cool. Thank you.
Superhero Movie will be released in theaters on March 28.