Now that I’ve gotten to do a few of these round table interviews with other “mom” bloggers (though, truth be told, some of the writers that come from the big company owned sites aren’t actually moms, but still fab), whoever walks in the room — whether it’s the director, producer, writer or the actor — they all seem slightly intimidated at first — which cracks me up. Almost like they pulled an “Alvin” and are about to face down the moms who will give them an earful. Last spring it stuck out when we apparently made Jim Carrey nervous (really? Ohhh really!) and Jason Lee, the star of the new ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED in theaters nationwide December 16th was no exception either. After seeing an advanced screening, Breezy Mama had the opportunity to get in my own questions (guess who wanted to know if he wanted more kids… among several others), but below is what went down during the terrifying (ahem) mom blog round table while talking to Jason about parenting, his dream role, his professional skateboarding past (yes, Alex, I got that in for you), Up All Night and his role with the vacationing Chipmunks and Chipettes turning a luxury cruise liner into their personal playground, until they become ‘chipwrecked’ on a remote island.
Have your kids [Pilot Inspektor, 8, and Casper, 3] seen it?
No. We’re going to a screening soon.
Are they fans of the first two [movies]?
Totally, yes. My daughter is only three, but she’s catching on to the whole thing now from the first one on DVD.
As a parent, do you have any moments where you relate to Dave Seville’s screaming at Alvin?
Oh, boy. Are you kidding? Yes, my daughter of three. “Mama, mama, mama, dada, dada,” of course all that. “Okay, what is it? Uh-huh. Okay, totally. Okay, cool. All right.” “Dada, one more thing, one more thing.” “Oh, but it’s two hours past your bedtime. We really have to go to sleep now.” “Okay, just one more thing.” It’s so Alvin. But, then there’s that sweetness of Theodore in there, too, where you can’t not let them say one more thing because she’s so adorable.
Do they ever ask you where the chipmunks are, or do they have any issue with that illusion?
When I was filming the first one [Alvin and the Chipmunks], my son very much thought they were real and so I tried to keep him away from the set. But, the couple of times that he did come to the set, I would have to say, “Oh, the chipmunks are on a break,” or “They’ve gone back to the hotel or something to get massages.”
When you did the first one [Alvin and the Chipmunks], did you envision that you’d end up doing three, or did you have any idea?
No. No, because some movies work and some don’t. You really never know. And then, the second one and then they said there would be a third one, and there probably will be a fourth one, I think.
Do people ask you to do the, “Alvin?”
They do, yes.
Do you oblige?
Yes. It’s strange, because it’s just me yelling Alvin. It’s not like Homer Simpson. The guy who plays Homer’s voice, who puts on the voice. It’s just me yelling Alvin, right?It’s certainly really adorable when the kids recognize me on the street and say, “Are you Dave?”
Is that the draw to you for doing family movies? Because we were all talking about kind of the real cross section of your work. One blogger was saying, “Oh, I want to wear my Stillwater [band from Almost Famous] t-shirt.” And we were talking about how you’ve done TV also.
Well, I’ve always had the take on acting as being a profession. And an actor is a performer, right? And so, he or she performs TV, movies, drama, comedy. Some people do theater. Some people do musicals. I really like that about acting.
Michael C. Hall [Dexter, Six Feet Under], I met with him once on some project a long time ago that I was trying to develop. And I didn’t know, but he’s a singer and he comes from a big theater background and a big musical background. And this movie that I was trying to get made was music-based and he really wanted to be a part of it. And I was like, “But you kill people. You’re Dexter.”
He’s says, “No, but I’m musical”.
I like that about acting. And then, also having kids, certainly I like that something as iconic as the Chipmunks I get to give to them. And then, they have those movies for their kids as well. That’s cool.
I like that I’ve done all the Kevin Smith stuff. I’ve worked with guys like Cameron Crowe. I’ve done some dramatic stuff. I’ve done the kids stuff. My Name is Earl stuff was a huge part of my life. I just have a kind of big, all over the place résumé as a working actor. That’s appealing to me.
Is there anything you haven’t done yet that you’d like to?
I’d like to work with the Coen brothers. I still dream about that and I still never get a call from them. They were a big part of why I became an actor. I really like their movies and their sense of humor. And I really liked their tone, the worlds that they create, Raising Arizona and whatnot. And I was like, “Man, I want to be in this stuff. This is kind of crazy and cool. I want to be a part of this acting thing.” They were a big inspiration for that.
Since Christina Applegate was in the Chipmunks, too, did that have anything to do with you going on Up All Night?
No, that was just them reaching out to me. I said I was totally into it. And I’ve been having a blast on that show. I’ve done four episodes now, and I may be doing more.
Did you see Christina Applegate at all for the Chipmunks?
No. They go and record that after the fact.
Did you grow up watching the Chipmunks?
I know I did, the cartoon was on Saturday mornings.
Yes. And I’d buy their records as a kid, too. I remember buying Chipmunk Punk. That had Blondie on it. And what else did it have on it? It had, randomly, My Sharona, “M-M-My Sharona, duh, duh, duh, uh-uh.” I remember saving up and buying that.
Are you skateboarding still?
I still do that, yes.
You do? And is your son into skating, too?
Yes, we skate together. It’s very cool.
How old is he?
Eight. He’s really into that. It’s cool to be able to give him that, one day play baseball at the park and then the next day we’re skateboarding together. It’s kind of a nice mix of things we get to do together because of that.
Do you think your three year old will be interested in skating at all?
She pushes around on her butt, which is really cute. She’s got a little bit of that tomboy in her. It’s the older brother thing, having an older brother. She’s very much into her dolls. But, if there’s wrestling happening, she wants to get into that, too.
When did it switch for you that you wanted to be an actor?
I was in my early 20s maybe, 22 or something, from watching movies like Raising Arizona. And I had auditioned for a couple of Pepsi commercials and things like that.
But, it never really happened and I was still very much doing the skateboarding thing. And then, I thought, “Oh, if I really want to do this, I have to focus and concentrate on it and be serious about it.” And I had a friend at the time who’s still my manger to this day, which is a very cool story.
She knew the casting director for Mallrats which was Kevin’s [Director Kevin Smith] second movie. And she got me in on that. So, the whole saying of you got to know somebody is very true.
And from that, Kevin Smith somehow, even though I was so green I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, he saw something and let me be in the movie.
And nobody before that had ever said, “Oh, you should be a comedian”? Because your sense of humor is so palpable.
I think so, maybe. But, I didn’t really understand what that meant. And I was too locked up in skateboarding. That was my world.
Will you ever work on a project that incorporates the two?
I’d like to, yes. Nothing’s been done yet really legitimately about the world of skateboarding, not overly commercially done because it is an interesting world. Unfortunately, you do have certain people with not the best upbringings who do get into alcohol and drugs. And just like in music, unfortunately you find a lot of that in the world of skateboarding.
But, at the same time, you find the kids that stop doing that stuff. And you have more community skate parks now and all kids want to do is that. Once you get locked into it, it’s like its own drug. And it’s like, “Wow.” And that did a lot for shaping my life, because I had something that I was so excited about I didn’t want to do anything else. And I got to travel from that.
So, it’s a really interesting culture that is, in some ways, a little misunderstood. The talent it takes to be a skateboarder is just incredible, what these guys are doing these days. You have 13-year-old kids that can do the most insane things that we couldn’t do in my time, in the late ’80s, early ’90s.
Back in our day?
Yes. It’s incredible what these skaters are doing now. And a lot of these guys are making millions of dollars a year now, 19-year-old skateboarders. It’s a pretty cool business. It’d be interesting to explore it maybe in documentary style or something. That whole world is interesting.
And without sounding insulting, you look like you lost a lot of weight when you were in Up All Night. Did you just grow or is that some new routine?
Yes, I changed my lifestyle. I gave up a lot of things and started exercising. I used to smoke cigarettes and, we all like our wine and beer and things like that. I gave all that up and I just got on a very strict diet and started exercising, cycling and running. And I dropped about 35 pounds.
It’s not my imagination. I’m not insulting you.
No. And also, too, just trying to be a little bit more fit and healthy. I’m 41 now and I have kids and I want to keep working. And I like being able to be fit enough to be diverse as an actor.
And the Earl [My Name is Earl] thing was great. It totally worked being a little frumpy and mustache-y. But, I think it makes things like Up All Night a little bit more realistic if I’m not the sort of portlier Earl. That doesn’t really look like Ava [Maya Rudolph in Up All Night] would kind of go out with a guy like that.
And yes, it feels great. It really feels great to have a good clean diet.
Do you think you’ll have more kids?
How big of a family would you like to have?
As many. It doesn’t matter.
With your eight year old, how much room do you give him? Just like the movie where Simon is saying, “Give Alvin a little space,”.
I think the greatest success I’ve had as a parent is treating my kids like they’re my friends, in that I kind of look at it like they’re just like us but smaller, and they have points of view, feelings, opinions. They have things to say. They get upset and frustrated just like we do when things don’t go our way.
And all of those weird things that have trickled over from generation to generation from my mom’s era, which was kids are to be seen and not heard, all that weird stuff that still has trickled over into this generation even. I try to do everything but that.
As a result, we feel like we’re a part of a family, a group. And it’s not like we’re up here and the kids are down here. And it’s done a lot for their character, absolutely.
Check out MY starring role (cough, cough) with the Chipmunks here:
(If the video does not appear — click here!)
For Breezy Mama’s ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED review — click here!
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