Disclosure: Thanks to Disney, Marvel & Dreamworks, I was sent on an all expense paid trip including airfare, hotel accommodations & transportation while in Los Angeles. However, all opinions stated are 100% my own.
One of the interviews I've been asked about a lot is the one we had for Zachary Levi. The wait is over ladies & gents! It's finally here! 😀 So, as you guys know with all my #ThorDarkWorldEvent talk, we were able to interview Zachary Levi before the premiere of Thor: The Dark World. I know many know & love him from Chuck but if you haven't seen the show & still think he looks familiar – it's probably because you've seen him with your kids in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.
I have to admit, I was fangirling again. When he walked in, I was just like O_o wow. And then, he spoke & he was everything I thought he would be – funny, charming, and such a great story teller. Just check out his answers below & you'll see he loves to go into detail with his answers. Not that I, or anyone else in the room, minded. I had no idea that he was originally cast as Fandral & didn't get to play him until Thor: The Dark World & I loved hearing about his experience at the Oscars. Super fun interview!
Weeks before the #ThorDarkWorldEvent, we asked everyone to send in questions for Zachary through Twitter & Facebook. Please note that it was a short interview with 25 bloggers so sadly, not all questions were able to get asked. Lots of fun & great questions were asked though – check out the interview below!
Q : I have a fan question, how battered and bruised do you get and what the remedy is to the pain?
ZL : Ha…Doing what exactly? I dare say. I didn’t get that battered and bruised. I think I dislocated a rib at one point, but that was a freak accident. Then probably the worst thing that happened to me was I slammed my finger in my trailer door. Which is incredibly unglamorous. Ice and alcohol, that’s pretty much how you deal with that. It was a really well oiled machine of a set. Our stunt coordinators and everybody was like incredibly good and dialed in. And I never at one point felt like I was at risk of getting incredibly injured. I also wasn’t doing nearly as much stuff as Chris was doing. Chris has the lion share of all the action in that movie. And then myself, and Ray, and Tadd, and Jamie we all have some really fun stuff to kind of kick into that. But I was reasonably safe and didn’t get too hurt.
Q : Were you nervous about taking this role and being apart of this huge franchise?
ZL : I was nervous about coming in and having any ill-will if there was going to be any ill-will from any of the rest of the cast, knowing that Josh had played it in the first film. Some of the cast knew, Tom knew and I think Jamie did. I’ve known Jamie for a while because I was originally going to be Fandral and then Chuck got in the way and I wasn’t able to do it. And then Josh was able to play the role and did a fantastic job. But not everybody knew that. And so I didn’t want to feel like the guy who’s coming in and like taking somebody else’s job away. But his job, his role on Once Upon a Time conflicted so that happened to me and that happened to him and came back around.
That was the only thing I was kind of nervous about. Being apart of the Marvel Universe is nothing to be nervous about. I think you should just celebrate that. Like you get to be apart of this incredible comic book, lineage and family and universe that they’ve built, which is incredible, you know. One of the first days on set Tom gave me a big hug and said, welcome, glad you were finally able to come and do this. I felt that love from everybody. I wasn’t nervous beyond that.
Q : Well my daughter is four and she’s very much in love with Flynn Rider.
ZL : Oh fanta…Well you tell her Eugene Fitzherbert said, hi.
Q : I will. Did you bring a little bit of Flynn Riders charm to your role?
ZL : You know, you bring a little bit of yourself to every role you do. I think that it’s really just kind of a matter of, is this a charming character, is it not, is he a loyal character, is he not, is he trust worthy, is he loving, is he menacing, is he strong, is he weak, is he nerdy. I mean, I feel like I’ve played my share of nerdy characters and that’s an easy dial for me. But Flynn Rider was a dream come true. I mean, I grew up doing nothing but watching Disney cartoons and movies, and particularly musicals, and loving all of them, and dreaming about getting to do just that.
So the fact, what was interesting is when I first auditioned for Flynn Rider, he was English, he had a British accent. They were still kind of deciding is he going to have a British accent or not or whatever. So the original Flynn Rider and Fandral the Dashing are much more similar than people realize. And then Flynn ended up becoming much more my own kind of intonation voice. And Fandral, there’s a parallel in the charm, I think, with the two of them. But Fandral is very much more British. Well he’s Asgardean, but they all speak with British accents. So I don’t know. So Bris-Gardian, I don’t know what that would be.
Q : Were you a fan of the comics before this?
ZL : Was I a fan of Thor before this or-or comics in general?
Q : The Marvels?
ZL : Absolutely. Absolutely. All of it, yeah. I was really big in X-Men, the whole kind of mutant category, like X-Men, X-Factor, and X-Force, New Mutants, all that kind of stuff I really, really loved. Spider-Man, Iron Man to an extent, Captain America. I went through phases depending on how old I was or what I was into at the time. I’d be like, yeah, I’m kind of done with that, now I really want to focus on these characters. The mutants were always kind of like, to me the most relatable. Because you felt like as a kid, you thought, well maybe I have that in me it just hasn’t manifested yet. You know what I mean? Like I can get to a place and eventually I’ll realize, I am super human and this’ll be great. Thor is a very unique Marvel character amongst all the comics books because he’s not somebody who was irregular guy who was thrust into extraordinary situations. He’s a god. And how do you relate to that guy?
And I think Marvel’s done a very good job in trying to, how do you bring down a god? How do you bring your god to Earth, just as guardian demigod, how do you bring him down to earth and make him relatable to human beings? And they’ve done a great job by bringing Jane into that in the first movie. And that he falls for a human and that he was able to kind of realize what it is to be human through her, a little bit. And the other humans that he interacts with and encounters in the first movie and that just continues through the Avengers and the second movie. Kudos to Marvel for kind of understanding that he’s a difficult character to relate with on the surface. He’s not a human being. Almost every other Marvel character is a human being. But I still read Thor as well. Yeah, and the Avengers, I mean when you get everybody in one comic, you’re like, well it’s one stop shop, I love this, it’s easy.
Q : So how was it performing the Tangled song at the Oscars?
ZL : The most nerve-racking experience of my life. I’m surprised I didn’t wet myself at any point during that. It was a dream come true but a dream that I didn’t even realize that I had until it was happening. As a performer, I’ve dreamed about performing on Broadway, and now I’ve finally gotten to do that now, which is incredible and I’m so incredibly blessed to have that opportunity in my life. I’ve been so blessed on every level. I literally, since I was a little kid, all I wanted to do was entertain people and do film, and television, and theater at the highest level and it just, God continues to go, here you go, here you go, here you go, here you go. And I know that doesn’t happen for most people in the world, so I don’t take that lightly. I don’t think most people sit around as a kid, or even as an adult going, you know what I really dream about doing is singing at the Oscars, it’s such a weird niche little thing. And then I got to do it, and I was like, oh my God, not only am I doing something that very few people get to do, I’m doing something that very few people even think about ever doing in their life.
And it’s monumental, you’re doing it in front of the largest audience that ever see anything televised. And thank God nobody told me that. My publicist has the presence of mind to not tell me that a billion people were going to be watching that particular telecast worldwide. It was nerve-racking enough. You come out, everyone you could ever dream about wanting to work with or hire you or not hire you, depending on how bad you might bomb. Haley Berry’s sitting in the front. I mean, basically all I was thinking was, don’t look at Haley, don’t look at Haley, don’t look at Haley, don’t look at Haley, Haley, Haley, Haley, Haley, Haley, Haley, Haley, don’t look at Haley. It’s very intimidating, she’s a beautiful woman. We rehearsed it a lot, I was very nervous. And then we rehearsed it in the Kodiak. And I prayed about it a lot and I was like all right, I’m cool, I got peace about this, we’re going to do good. We sounded good in rehearsal, no problem. We saw all the cardboard cutouts of everybody that’s going to be in those seats, including Haley. It’s like, all right, don’t look at that one in the front. I was really calm and a lot, a lot of peace. That day comes around and I’m doing the red carpet at the Oscars. I’m like, oh my gosh, this is insane.
Talking to Ryan Seacrest, good ole Ry Ry. Then I get in there and we’re watching, and I’m like, wow, I’m at the Oscars, and as an actor it’s the biggest thing you could every be apart of. And I’m like sitting amongst the crews of The Fighter and there was another incredible movie that they were sitting, I mean, I was like right in the middle of all of them. So as they were winning their awards, I’m like, oh that’s great, that’s great, congratulations! Don’t worry you don’t know me, its fine. And then all of a sudden I get the cue, you’re going to be on in about ten minutes. So then they pull me from the crowd and I go up, and I’m like, okay, I’m cool, I’m cool. And Kevin Spacey introduces Randy Newman. And because we had rehearsed it, I knew Kevin Spacey comes out and introduces Randy Newman. And Randy does his bit. And then Kevin comes back out and says, and from Tangled, here comes, Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi. So Randy’s beginning to finish his song, and it starts dawning on me, I’m like, all right, so he’s going to be done and then Kevin walks out on the stage. And says, and from Tangled, my heart starts just like pounding out of my chest. I’m like, oh my God, I don’t know, I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I’m looking for a stage manager, like can I get like a couple more minutes, is that all right? And you can’t because it’s like its live and its happening.
And you just go into auto pilot and you kind of blackout a little bit. Not only was I not in all, not on top of saying don’t look at Haley, all I was saying was just look at Mandy, look at Mandy, look at Mandy. And I’m looking at Mandy, I’m looking at Mandy, and then we turn on this look, just look into the lights, they’re shining down. You can’t see anybody because it’s so bright. And you just, you finish it, and to try and finish strong. I felt like, you know what, hey, we got through it. I look over and if you look at the footage, I kind of look over at her and I kind of wink at her and smile at her like, hey we did it, we made it through it. It wasn’t any crazy, crazy mess ups or anything. Although I didn’t feel slightly good about it until later when I watched. And I was like, you know what, that was pretty good, that was pretty good.
Q : It was very good.
ZL : Oh thank you very much. I appreciate that. So that was the experience, the very long version of that, sorry.
Q : So coming from Chuck and Flynn, I love them.
ZL : Thank you very much.
Q : What’s it like to now play such a badass?
ZL : Badass is what it feels like. I got to do some really, really fun stuff as Chuck and kissed a lot of beautiful women. And I had some great fight scenes and all that stuff but I’m already kind of a thin, lankier, limber guy. So the difference between me and a Jason Saythumb is very evident. Hey, he’s like a world class athlete who also knows what, martial arts, right? He’s about, I don’t know, a foot shorter than me and like stocky and so when he throws a punch it’s snappy. It’s real, real snappy. And when I was Chuck with nerdy and floppy hair and whatever I’m doing, and I learn kung fu, it’s the nerdy version of Kung fu. It’s not the coolest version of Kung fu. But still very fun to do. So I kind, I got a taste of that and I got it on a pretty regular basis because we did a lot of fights. The stuff I love doing the most on Chuck was not even the fights as much as just the-the kind of stunts. Like I loved running and jumping over things and swinging on things and hanging on things and being dangled off a ten story balcony with me and Adam as we then begin to fall into a pool and spoiler alert if you’ve never seen it.
Q : Seen them all.
ZL : Oh, seen them all. They’re on Netflix now which is fantastic, they finally made it to Netflix. But to get to be a guy who is definitively a badass is just fun. And then he’s blonde and British. British Asgardean, whatever that is again. I’ve had some people tweet me internationally where the movie’s now already been released and I’ve seen some tweets like, "I didn’t know it was you until the credits. And I was like, oh my God, that was the guy who played Chuck." And to me, that’s the greatest thing I could ever hear. I think any actor hopes that your performance and your look and whatever you do is so kind of transcendent that people don’t know that it’s you, they’re just lost in whatever the character is until the end. And even with Tangled, although it’s a lot easier to not know whose doing something in an animated movie but a lot of friends didn’t know I did Tangled until it got to the end of the movie. And they’re like, wow, Zac did that voice. So to play Fandral is a real treat. It’s very different. I really hope I get to do it again, I hope I get to play more roles like that.
Q : For my three daughters, do the smolder?
ZL : *does the smolder* I can’t do it as well Flynn does it, I can’t.
Q : Do you have to do any extra training to get you more in shape for this role?
ZL : No, what’s interesting is that I was on like a really strict workout regimen until I got to London. And then I tried on my wardrobe for the first time and I realized nobody will ever be able to tell whether I’m ripped or not. I thought, oh, we’re doing a superhero movie but I am covered, I’m literally like from here, I got this big old collar, you’ll see. You don’t see any skin other than my face. I’m even wearing gloves, like, you don’t even see my finger. So the whole point of working out for the purposes of being aesthetic was like, well I don’t really need to do that. And then once I learned my fight choreography I realized that I was more than capable of doing that in my physical state. So then my training just became drinking beers and eating chips, thank you Elmer Fudd.
Q : What was the most challenging aspect of taking on this role of Fandral?
ZL : I think probably just deciding to step into the shoes that somebody else has already started. I’m very much about respect and respecting people in my world and in my vocation. Whether I got cast in that before or whatever, it doesn’t matter. Ultimately fate had it that Josh played that role and I didn’t. I wanted to do right by him, I wanted to do right by Marvel, I wanted to do right by the cast, and do my own take on it. I didn’t want to emulate what he did. But I also wanted to do him right through that process. And he’s an incredibly sweet guy. We got to talk right before I shipped off to London. I saw him at Comic Con and he was incredibly kind, he and Jennifer. We all caught up and laughed about it. We had an incredible team that was teaching us all of our stunts and all of our choreography. I’m sure there was somebody who could have done it far better than I. But I felt pretty good. I really just wanted to bring the character that I always had in my mind since I auditioned for it the very first time, for the first one. I had a very definitive idea of who I thought he would be. And, um, and I’m just glad that that finally got to come to fruition, you know. I really hope that you guys enjoy it.
After the interview, he was nice enough to take a picture with all 25 bloggers & he went on his way to the premiere. We actually saw him a couple of times at the premiere & he was signing autographs by himself – so down to earth & sweet – he definitely deserves all the success that comes his way! Seriously, I don't think there's anyone who's more deserving. It's obvious this man loves what he does, appreciates it all & his fans.
If you haven't already, be sure to watch Thor: The Dark World – which is out in theaters NOW & see how Zachary does portraying Fandral! 🙂