John Goodman

Monsters, Inc.

Interviewed by Alec Cawthorne

What's different about doing an animated film?

You don't have to shave. You just read into a microphone. Usually at the end of a four-hour session I'm wiped out. It takes a lot of physicality... I mean, I get pretty tired just sitting up.

Billy Crystal said that he asked to work in the recording studio with you. Is that unusual in animation?

It rarely happens. I don't know if they ever do it at all, but, usually you're by yourself... but when Billy and I got together, the energy just went through the roof, so it was great.

How was the chemistry from the beginning?

It was very, very good. It was weird - the movie I did before was "The Emperor's New Groove" with David Spade, and I never saw him the whole time I was doing it.

How long did it take to record the part?

Two and a half years. Like, every couple of months you read, they rewrite, you come back in, they've animated more stuff - they usually videotape you while you're reading it - so they'll incorporate some gestures and some facial expressions into it.

Would you agree that this film actually taps into some primal stuff?

Yes, it's the best stuff. You can trace it down to some universal truth. This happens to be that the power of laughter and love would beat out the power of fear every time. You know, I hate to sound corny about it but it's true, and I think that's what this movie is about.

What was your favourite cartoon growing up?

I liked Popeye. When I was a kid, I loved Popeye, but the old ones, the real old ones. I hated Woody Woodpecker and Scooby-Doo, but I was a cartoon freak. So when my daughter was born I went out and got all this stuff, so we could have something in common... TV is the best babysitter.