Josh Gad has had something of a meteoric rise as an actor in the past few years. In 2011, he co-starred in a little Broadway show you may have heard of called The Book of Mormon. Since then, he was in one of the most successful movies of the past few years (Frozen) as well as a number of comedies (The Internship, The Wedding Ringer) and dramas (Jobs, Wish I Was Here).
In Pixels, he plays the younger friend to Adam Sandler and Kevin James’ characters, Ludlow Lemonsoff, a retro arcade gamer and conspiracy theorist who figures out that aliens have come to Earth in the form of arcade game characters.
We recently sat down with Gad and talked about Pixels, his love of video games (he was more of a Nintendo kid than an arcade kid), the possibility of him reprising his role in the inevitable Book of Mormon movie, and Frozen 2.
What drew you to Pixels? Was it working with Adam Sandler, was it the video games, was it Peter Dinklage and his amazing mullet?
I think it was all of the above. I mean, I’m a product of the ’80s. Some of the movies that define me were Gremlins and Goonies, both of which were written by our maestro, Chris Columbus. And it felt like it had that thing, right? It had that Amblin nostalgic feel to it. And that’s what immediately attracted me to it. The idea of working with this great cast and this amazing creative team was a huge draw as well, but – the fun of doing a movie about my favorite period, that’s what really drew me to it.
Great. Obviously, this movie is very much about video games. Did you have a favorite video game from the arcade era?
Yeah, I mean – for me, in terms of the arcade era, Pac-Man and Galaga were my games that I loved. But I was more the Nintendo generation. Born in ’81. So sort of as the arcade movement hit its fever pitch and the home game console took over, I was more of a Super Mario, Zelda, Tetris Gameboy guy, than I was sort of that arcade guy.
Fair enough. You’ve obviously been in a few big movies before. Frozen was a huge movie, but it was animated. What was it like to be in such a big live-action film project – a blockbuster type movie.
It’s so thrilling because – especially with a movie like this, it speaks to the inner geek in all of us. And like…running through the streets of “New York” – we were shooting in Toronto – from a giant Pac-Man and getting to shoot laser guns at falling centipedes. That is like – you dream about that kind of stuff as a kid. It’s what you pretend to do as a kid. And then suddenly you’re getting paid to do it as an adult and it’s really fun.
There was talk a while back about a Book of Mormon movie. Do you know anything about that? Do you know if you’d like to reprise your role on the big screen?
I don’t know if audiences would buy a 34-year-old man as an 18-year-old missionary on screen –
I don’t know, man.
But – I would literally read the phone book for Trey [Parker] and Matt [Stone]. I mean, I think that the work that they did, along with Bobby Lopez, on that show was incredible. I’m sure eventually there will be a movie, I don’t know what it will be, but when they feel like there’s a purpose for it, I’m sure you’ll hear about it.
Last question – Frozen 2 is officially a thing. It’s officially being developed. Can you tell us anything about it? Like literally the smallest detail will suffice.
I can tell you that it’s…gonna be a movie.
That’s about all I know. [Laughter] I really don’t – they’re keeping me in the clear as much as you. I wish I had any breaking news, but I don’t.
Pixels hits theaters July 24th, 2015.