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Williams is happy with ‘Happy Feet Two’
Question of the Day
Robin Williams wants everyone to know that he’s happy. When fans stop the actor-comedian to snap a photo with him on their cellphones, Mr. Williams said he usually always obliges, but often finds people complain that something seems wrong with him - even though he’s smiling.
“I think people always want zany, goofy [expletive] from me,” said Mr. Williams, who recently returned from a honeymoon to France with new wife, graphic designer Susan Schneider. “It takes a lot of energy to do that. If you do that all the time, you’ll burn out.”
Mr. Williams, who underwent surgery to replace an aortic valve in 2009, is far from retirement, but he acknowledges that he is taking it easier even though he is playing two separate parts in “Happy Feet Two” to be released Friday.
The funnyman reprises his roles as chivalrous Adelie penguin Ramon and bombastic rockhopper Lovelace in the follow-up to the 2006 Oscar-winning animated film about singing-and-dancing penguins. The 3-D sequel finds Ramon attempting to woo a sultry bird named Carmen (voiced by Sofia Vergara), while Lovelace is hyping a “flying penguin” named Sven (Hank Azaria).
Mr. Williams acknowledged there is pressure involved with making a sequel.
“Well, you have to do it better than the first time to make it worthwhile, not just for the sake of the franchise,” he said. “[Director] George [Miller] kicked it hard. I asked him after he saw it what he thought, and he said, ‘Well, I don’t know, but I think it’s better.’ I said, ‘I think so, too.’ He used the technology, performances, everything, and took it to a new level.”
Known for his improvisational skills, Mr. Williams said he had a chance to use them while recording for the movie in Australia.
“There was one moment as Lovelace where I started speaking in tongues. I got so kind of crazy that I almost passed out,” he said.
He said Mr. Miller told him to keep it up.
“I told him that if I kept going, I would fall down. I just started doing this Baptist hymnal thing. ‘Hmmmmhmmmmhmmmm.’ I think that’s actually what led to the gospel song that’s in the movie.
“There are just these times when you’re in the sound booth working together and just really having fun,” Mr. Williams said. “Being in the same room with people and creating something together is a good thing.”
Mr. Williams said life is changing now that his children are grown.
“It’s quiet,” he said. “I just saw my daughter, Zelda, the other night. My oldest son is married, and my youngest son just went off to college. It’s like they’ve left the Earth’s gravity, and I’m watching them. “There he gooooes!” I’m just so proud.
“I don’t have a college degree, and my father didn’t have a college degree, so when my son, Zachary, graduated from college, I said, “My boy’s got learnin’!”
As for what’s next, Mr. Williams said there likely will be more movies in his future, but he doesn’t necessarily want the lead.
“I want to do a movie, but it has to be the right movie, whether it’s independent or a studio movie,” he said. “I’m much more open to being a supporting actor right now. At the age of 60, I’ll be second fiddle. Fine. I’m happy to do it.”
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
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