Along with interviewing the members of Kiss at Comic-Con last week as part of the roundtable interviews for Scooby-Doo! And Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery, I had the chance to sit down with most of the cast from the film. In this interview, Matthew Lillard, voice of Shaggy, talks all about how it is to be voicing such an iconic character in pop culture and directing Fat Kid Rules the World.
Q: When they told you that they wanted to do a film with Kiss, what was your first reaction to this?
Matthew Lillard: What the f***?!. What was my first reaction. I don’t know for some reason, oddly it made sense to me, because of the history of pulling people in and the history of these guest stars out of nowhere. From like ’68 on they’ve always had these weird guest stars. It made sense. They’re such great cross-promoters…So yeah, it kinda made sense to me. They’re really bright. I think that it makes sense. They’re increasing the brand. It was a fun interaction for us. It’s a world that, they’re spooky in their own way. Gene Simmons is super creepy…he’s makeup, he’s makeup! It seemed to make sense.
Q: Do you think your Shaggy voice has evolved from when you did live action to now in animation?
Lillard: Oh, god. I don’t know. Do you have an opinion?
Reporter: I’m not really sure. They sound pretty close. You had it pretty much.
Lillard: I will say that there are definitely times where I feel like I’m getting lazy because I do it so often, I do it so quickly. Before it was so, not labored, but it was a choice. Everyday I’d work on it, everyday I’d go to work and I had Casey on a thirty minute loop of just his voice pulled from episodes. So maybe a little. Maybe it’s gotten a little lazy, but I think I know it better now. I know the (idiosympatic) kind of beats that I have as Shaggy that I think really help make Shaggy. I also feel like I protect the character. I know the character so well. I feel like it comes to time to run, he wouldn’t say this, that there’s a defense of something I take great pride in. Passing the torch from one actor to another, and only having two of us do it in our lives, is a super humbling thing, to go from Casey and then own it for all this time. It’s been really humbling. I love it.
Chris Salce: Did you ever know that you were going to do it for so long, and when you found out, how did you feel about that?
Lillard: It’s so funny cause early on, I was asked to sweeten the Casey Kasem film that he had done, and was like, I don’t feel comfortable doing that, but when Casey started doing it, let me know, and I’d love to take over. I don’t think I realized that it would be this long. I was like, I did the first ones, a movie, which was like an animated film. We did three animated films a year. We do an ongoing cartoon every two year cycle. We’re always doing commercials, or a video game. There’s always some aspect of it. To be quite frank, I don’t have a job. I don’t work a lot. It feels like I do, but the reality is that, as most actors are relatively successful, quote unquote, you kind of like work a lot, and then you don’t work for a while. You ebb and flow. It’s nice to have something that you A: can feed your kids with, when push comes to shove you at least have this job, and that you go in and it’s like a touchdown. Mom and dad, husband, and you’re like, that’s what I do, that’s what we do, and we get to go to work. It’s nice to have this thing that you continue to go back to and you work with great people. Grey Griffin is a legend. Frank Welker is the original voice of Fred, and now plays Scooby Doo, and he’s amazing, and you bring in this rich talent. We sit in a booth and we bulls*** with each other, and we have a no cell phone rule, so we put the cell phones down and interact, and it’s great.
Q: What do you think most people misinterpret about Shaggy?
Lillard: That he’s a stoner. I don’t think he’s a stoner. There’s this whole idea of this counter-culture kind of beatnik, he is a beatnik back in the day, this idea that he’s this weird drug addict. I don’t get it. I don’t think that’s true.
Q: Fat Kid Rules the World is such a great film…
Lillard: Yes! Oh my god, I want to hug your face. I’m going to hug your face box forever. You think I’m kidding. I’m going to come over there and squeeze your noggin.
Reporter: I’m just curious if you have any plans to direct again?
Lillard: That’s all I want to do…thank you. I’m directing two plays that are going to Edinborough theater Fringe Festival that I’m really proud of. The idea of directing a movie, I sold my soul plenty as an actor, and I have this weird idea of not doing that as a director. I’m trying to find stuff that means something to me that I can tell a story that I care about. That movie to me was hugely powerful because I felt like that represented me as a kid. I loved it. Thank you for acknowledging it’s existence. Thank you, so much. Bye guys, thank you. Take it easy.
Scooby-Doo! And Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery is available now.