Bill Hader is everywhere these days – everywhere except the one place many people probably still expect to find him. After eight years on SNL, Hader followed fellow castmates Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis out the door, leaving the sketch show in the hands of a new wave of aspiring comedians - find out how the new kids did by reading our SNL season premiere review.
Nowadays you will spot Hader’s face in a variety of T Mobile commercials; appearing here on there in other TV shows (The Mindy Project, The Awesomes); and of course, continuing to expand his already burgeoning film career, with upcoming roles on both the comedic AND dramatic sides of the fence. In short: since leaving his late-night slot, it’s become a prime time to be Bill Hader.
We sat down with Hader back during Comic-Con 2013 to talk about one film on his slate - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, in which he voices the main character, Flynn Lockwood. Sony’s animated sequel to hit film by Phil Lord and Chris Miller – who broke the live-action lane wide open with their follow up film, the 21 Jump Street remake – had to find new visionaries to craft it; Lord and Miller have since moved on to live-action comedy directing - like the upcoming sequel 22 Jump Street or the new TV series Brooklyn Nine-Nine (read our review) – leaving Cloudy 2 in the hands of untested directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn.
With a story about the a machine that turns food into pun-heavy animal creatures – “foodamiles” – there certainly seems to be more fluff than wit or substance in Cloudy 2 (read our review) – but that didn’t stop it from winning the box office on opening weekend, thereby adding another win to Hader’s filmography, alongside films like Superbad and Tropic Thunder.
We talked to the actor about working in animation, live-action, and what life in general has been like since leaving SNL:
Screenrant: Let’s talk about Cloudy 2; when I was looking at this the first thing that popped in my mind, when I just got the initial premise of this sequel is…did you guys have improvisational freedom to come up with some of the names for these “Foodamiles”?
Bill Hader: no, no that was all the writers I had nothing to do with that. That was like I’d show up and they’d go, ‘this is called foodamiles, here’s what they do.’ So I had no input on foodamiles that was all those guys.
Screenrant: Now for the sequel you have a different creative team coming in. You have the writers of Horrible Bosses working on the script, which suggests kind of a new tone. How do you know feel about the new tone, humor, story and the comedy?
Bill Hader: It’s just a bigger scope movie; the first one was contained a little bit and this one is still in Swallow Falls but now Swallow Falls is like a “Jurassic Park” type thing, it just looks different. Where the first movie was much more like “Armageddon” a disaster movie this more like “Jurassic Park” and some parts of it reminds me of “Gremlins” it’s more of a creature movie. I like it. It’s just the scope is huge.
Screenrant: But to you, the voice actor, it’s still the same scale…
Bill Hader: Yes, same scale: me being in the booth. For me personally, I’m still in the booth. Well they did expand the booth, it’s like a giant—no it’s like the size of this room. [Laughs]
Screenrant: The directors of the first Cloudy, Phil and Chris, they’ve kind of moved on and kind of transitioned to live-action comed. Have you talked with them about maybe doing a live-action movie?
Bill Hader: Oh yes, I would love to do something with those guys. We got along so well on the first one. I think those guys are so funny. I thought what they did with “21 Jump Street” was great – they did a really good job with it. I just moved back to LA last week so I’m a little tired. So I’ve been doing stuff for this and then my wife’s movie all that stuff so it’s been exhausting.
Screenrant: A little birdie told me that there was a script that was done already for the Les Grossman movie—
Bill Hader: –I don’t know about that. Mike Bacall was working on one but I don’t know what happened with that. I don’t know if that’s still happening or not. I know Mike Bacalll wrote “21 Jump Street” and “Scott Pilgrim” those movies and he was working on [Les Grossman], but I don’t know what happened with it. I actually saw—this was back when ‘Mission Impossible 4′ was gonna come out—I saw Tom Cruise and we talked about it. I asked, ‘what’s going on with that?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know’ cause we both had heard about it…
Screenrant: While we’re sticking with the rumor mill: You were also rumored for a [role in a] Baywatch movie?
Bill Hader: Yea, I’ve never read anything. I don’t know anything; don’t believe what you read on the internet. I think what happened was that Tom Lin and Bin Grant – who are really funny guys – are working on a Baywatch movie script and I think they were interested in me being in it and they were doing press and mentioned it and they mentioned my name and it got misconstrued that I was attached to it.
Screenrant: Well, switching gears: how has it been adjusting to post-SNL life?
Bill Hader: Good. It’s been nice. I’ve been having a nice time.
Screenrant: At first were you a little panicky everytime you got up on a Monday? Thinking, ‘I gotta go, I need an idea!’
Bill Hader: No it’s been nice, very chill and very relaxing—not relaxing…it’s just been crazy because we live in LA now, we have a house and a backyard… it’s just different. I have land, am a land renter now…it’s been nice. They always say that you don’t really feel it until you come back the next season. Amy Poehler says you watch it and it’s like watching your own funeral – you’re kind of like, ‘oh everyone is moving on without me.’
I once missed a show and I was home watching dealing with a medical problem and I was watching at home and it was weird watching the show without me. I was like, ‘Fuck that’s weird.’ I was still in a pre-tape [segment] so I don’t think anyone didn’t know I was there.
Screenrant: It must be much different to be able to let ideas, characters, stuff like that develop over more time.
Bill Hader: Yea but there’s something about that pressure that it has to go on that Saturday that you have to hop to it.
Screenrant: Random tangent: I don’t know if you remember, it’s kind of a funny story: About two years ago I was here for [the movie] Paul and we ended up on the same flight it was like a connecting flight…
Bill Hader: Oh I was going to Utah, yea.
Screenrant: and we were going into a remote part of the airport and I think you thought that I was like stalking you.
Bill Hader: Oh no! [laughs]
Screenrant: But there were only two gates…
Bill Hader: I was going to Idaho probably…
Screenrant: Yes! And I was like ‘ah, this is going to be bad’ because I thought, ‘I’m going to New York’ and I thought for sure you were going back to New York.
Bill Hader: Oh that’s hilarious. I probably don’t get too nervous about that stuff. Actually I take it back: I do get nervous about that stuff.
Screenrant: Any other projects you want to talk about?
Bill Hader: My wife has a movie coming out this week called ‘The To Do List’ [Read our Review] she wrote and directed. [It features] Aubrey Plaza, me and a bunch of other people, that’s really funny. And then I do a movie with Kristen Wiig called ‘Skeleton Twins’ it’s a drama I’m really excited about. That’s going to hopefully play at some festivals; the Duplass brothers produced it.
Screenrant: What’s it about?
Bill Hader: Kristen and I play two estranged twins and we kind of reconnect after ten years. It’s good it was great to work on. It’s a drama but a lot of fun to work on… the guy who directed it is this guy, Craig Johnson, he wrote and directed it. He’s just awesome; that guy’s great.
Screenrant: sounds good, good luck with it.
Bill Hader: Thanks [Pauses]… I’ll see you at the airport.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is now in theaters.
SNL just premiered its new (Hader-less) season. Catch it Saturday nights on NBC.