WRECK-IT RALPH directed by Rich Moore, written by Jennifer Lee and Phil Johnston, with the voices of John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch. A Disney release. 93 minutes. Opens Friday (November 2). For venues and times, see Movies.
In all fairness, Jack McBrayer is already pretty animated. Between the broad smile and the Georgia accent, the veteran of Chicago's Second City (and three-time Emmy nominee for his role as Kenneth the Page on 30 Rock) is already a little larger than life.
But right now he's sitting peaceably in a suite at the Shangri-La doing press for Disney's new CG comedy, Wreck-It Ralph. McBrayer plays Fix-It Felix Jr., the hero of a Donkey Kong knock-off who ventures outside of his game when his adversary, Wreck-It Ralph, decides he wants to be the hero.
McBrayer's done quite a bit of voice work, turning up in Despicable Me and in a recurring role on Phineas And Ferb, but this is his most substantial part yet - and, he feels, the most collaborative.
"I got to do a session with John [C. Reilly], I got to do a session with Jane [Lynch]," he says. "Those were especially fun for me, because we were just goofin' around. They do let you improvise quite a bit on those."
McBrayer's preference for bouncing off his cast-mates doesn't come as a shock; after all, he trained in improv comedy and clearly thrives as an ensemble player on 30 Rock. But voice work can be particularly exhausting.
"So much of the time it's just you and a microphone," he says. "So I don't even know at what energy somebody's doin' their other lines in the scene. We might be coming from two different places, and I think it only helps when you're able to just be present and connect like that."
I have to ask McBrayer about the last season of 30 Rock, which is still shooting in New York. What's it like to know that this is it?
"It's a 13-episode season, and we're on [episode] eight already," he says with obvious melancholy. "I don't know what's gonna happen. It's gonna be weird."
McBrayer says he doesn't know what he'll be doing after he puts away Kenneth's page jacket. But he's open to suggestions.
"I just wanna work on a fun project with fun people," he says. "I know the bar has been set very high in terms of 30 Rock, so I need to be emotionally prepared. I realize that whatever creative forces I'm working with next time might not be the exact same as 30 Rock's - and I either need to embrace that or be prepared to keep looking."