Comedian Paul Rodriguez sits down with The Knockturnal to talk about Paramount’s upcoming film Clifford The Big Red Dog.
The Knockturnal: Why do so many kids and even adults gravitate towards Clifford?
Paul Rodriguez: There’s something lovable about this dog you gotta understand we are working with an animated dog but these guys are so good they make you believe it. I think there’s something special about dogs and there are two kinds of people, those who like dogs and those who like cats, I have both, but you grow up with memories about your dog. You can be forgiven if you hurt a human being but if you hurt a dog, no one will like you; if you hurt a dog its almost like a sin that’s unforgiving because who hasn’t in their past had a dog, and when you have one these dogs become part of your life you.
The Knockturnal: This project is way different from stand-comedy, what made you say “I want to be a part of this film”?
Paul Rodriguez: My agency says this is good company to be with and everyone has been great! The director works in a way that I like, and I think that’s why they got comedians because the script says to do this but the director goes “if you can think of something funnier then do it and a lot of us have found things, for example, in a big scene that me and Horatio Sanz from Saturday Night live do”. Paramount is taking lots of care to make sure this movie is acceptable and fun.
The Knockturnal: How has your prior experience prepared you for this role?
Paul Rodriguez: I’ve been in about 50 flicks and after a while, you get a sense of who this audience is and I think people are gonna find it funny.
The Knockturnal: Without giving anything away, what is your favorite piece of dialogue?
Paul Rodriguez: The best dialogue is from Horatio and I, we play two brothers who run this little bodega and when we’re in Harlem, the company spends money for us to get an accent coach to see how they were. We went to a bodega and we heard how the Puerto Ricans talk and you know, I’m Mexican American and Horatio’s from Chile, but we started listening to them and you find out they have certain kind of rhythm so that’s how we play it, two brothers who run this little deli where the dog comes in and we become apart this team running around all over the city.
The Knockturnal: How has your family reacted to you being a part of this film?
Paul Rodriguez: They’re so excited, I’m going to take my granddaughter… she goes “Is it coming out? are you finished? I’m like, “No you gotta wait a year!” she’s like “No! A year? I won’t be a kid no more!” But overall it’s been great I’m a little homesick I wanna go back to LA, its been some rain, delays but its a small price to pay and I thank God for the opportunity.
The Knockturnal: How are the special effects going to bring this film to life?
Paul Rodriguez: Well, everyone knows about Clifford they have expectations about Clifford they go is “it all a cartoon” and the answer is no they are going to use the latest animation to bring it to life. We were in the laboratory and I was going there to help them so we can do this fight and the director goes “Don’t get to close because Clifford has a tail,you have to hide from the tail!” The most hard part is imagining this dog. They show you a picture of it but you have to imagine it and pretend to touch it.
The Knockturnal: Is working with special effects challenging for you?
Paul Rodriguez: Yea, because the real star of the movie is the dog, Clifford. I won’t give it away but bring plenty of kleenex to the movie because the way this little girl reacts to this dog it shows her talent. There’s a scene where the dog goes into a lab and she thinks he’s dead and she cries over him and I’m standing there and I know its a movie but I start crying. It’s just the love she has for this animal.
This fall, heroes don’t get any bigger. Check out the new trailer for Clifford the Big Red Dog, coming to the BIG screen September 17.
The Knockturnal: What do you think will be the reactions after Clifford premieres?
Paul Rodriguez: I think it’s going to be great I think people will enjoy it, its totally a farce and it’s a chance to take your kids. You know a lot of movies you cant take her kids but this movie is very inclusive one of the scenes were shot during the gay pride parade and the director was cool about it, he was like I’m just going to shoot some of it, and we’ll find a way to put it in. There’s also, a scene where the dog goes through New York and the parade and people are screaming.