Role Mommy interviews Danny DeVito
This Friday, March 2nd Dr. Seuss' The Lorax opens in theaters! The animated adventure follows the journey of a 12-year-old as he searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world. Danny DeVito lends his vocal talents to the iconic title character of the Lorax and Rolemommy sat down with him to discuss going green at home and going orange on screen....
Question: We asked Danny if he read The Lorax to his kids when they were little?
Mr. Danny DeVito: Yes. Well, I have three kids so we started out with all the books without any words and mostly the really cool pictures And then, we started moving into the picture books with words, and that natural progression took us right to Dr. Seuss because especially when you come home at night and you've been working and you want to read the kids to sleep and give them that book in the bed, and you can sit there and go and da-da-da-da-da-ba-ba-ba-da-da-da-boom-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-dum you know? But, Dr. Seuss always gave you a really cool story. And so, we did all of the normal Green Eggs and Ham and the this and the that. We also loved Horton Hears a Who and then, of course, when we got hip to The Lorax, it was really cool.
Question: We asked Danny what did you think about The Lorax character before you took on the role and did you indentify with him?
And so, a lot of people don't know about Dr. Seuss. It's kind of subversive a little bit in a way because it's not just a simple message. It's a message about the environment and there are controversial things in it, and same thing with Matilda, which I like. I like that there's a little bit of an edge to it. It's not just a simple story.
And The Lorax, I didn't identify with the character as much as I dug him. I thought he was really cute and cool. And it wasn't until two years ago or so when Chris Melandandri [Producer] called me and asked me if I would be interested.
Question: It's no secret that you resemble The Lorax in real life so we were wondering if you ever thought about growing a huge mustache to get in to character?
Mr. Danny DeVito: Yes. I didn't think I'd ever get it quite as beautiful as The Lorax's mustache. That guy's been living in that stump for a long time.
Question: Now that you have played the role of The Lorax, do you feel an even great responsibility to speak for the trees?
Mr. Danny DeVito: Yes. I've never been as environmentally wacky as my friend Ed Begley [Actor, Environmentalist]. He's my dear friend. But, I was one of the first people back in the days when they gave you the EV1 car, the zero emissions car, I was one of the first people to rent that car. Rhea [Perlman] actually rented it for me for Father's Day, and I loved it, and I drove it everywhere. I own right now, and it's out in the parking lot, a Leaf, which is an amazing car. It's a Nissan car. They're building factories right now for the batteries and for the parts and everything in the United States. But, the greatest thing about it is there are zero emissions, I plug it in at my house at night. You have to put a 220 in or some line because it charges it faster. And I plug it in.
And the other thing we don't have in my house is napkins. We have cloth napkins in my house. We just started about a year ago. At Christmastime, we bought everybody in the house reuseable water bottles, all the people, even the people who work around the house to come in, we give them their own bottle with their name on it. And they fill it up. We have filtered water, and we fill it up with tap because water is going to be the real big issue.
Question: Do you see any of your children in the characters of Ted or in Audrey in The Lorax?
Mr. Danny DeVito: Yes, in the film. Well, I've seen my son look do-eyed at a young woman and win her over. He's a romantic. And my daughters are also. I don't know how it is with you guys, but in our family, the girls talk to me and we have a great relationship. They're 28 and 26 now, and both have boyfriends. But, we've never talked about anything like dating or what would you. I gave them all kinds of really good advice, and Rhea too has given them all kinds of good advice.And you all know what that advice is because you're all aware of the fact that it's a different world out there, and we have to make sure our kids are protected in every way and give them the opportunity to be protected. I thought that was a sweet romance in the movie and done really well. The younger guy and the girl who he looks up that he really likes. And there you go. Just looking at it now in hindsight, you say romance and matters of the heart can really change the world.
Question: How depressing would it be for The Lorax in the real world?
Mr. Danny DeVito: Yes, it was bad when I had to let the animals find some other place to live. That was pretty sad.
It is a mirror in a way to what's happening all over the world, in the rainforests and in our country. And the more we can protect parks and trees and it's not an "anti logging" message at all because the main thing is what the Once-ler didn't do and how he redeemed himself was saving that seed.
And when he gave the seed to the kid to take to plant, that's the message really of the movie, for us to be aware of the fact that we can make a difference, and we can still be commercially viable, and we can still do all the things that we naturally do as long as we're not hurting the environment.