Exclusive Interview with Charlie Day on ‘Pacific Rim’ and Guillermo del Toro

Charlie Day Exclusive Pacific Rim Interview
Charlie Day stars in ‘Pacific Rim’ (Photo © Warner Bros Pictures)
Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) gets professorial as a scientist investigating giant Kaiju (huge creatures who are destroying coastal cities) in the sci-fi action thriller, Pacific Rim, from writer/director Guillermo del Toro. And while his character is charged with helping to find a way to beat the beasts, Day also provides the film with some much-needed comic relief between all of the massive creature vs robot fight sequences. Talking about his role, Day tell us that the finished film is even better than he could have anticipated.

Was Pacific Rim everything you imagined a big movie to be?

Charlie Day: “It definitely surpassed my imagination in every way. I think we all have this sort of misconception about these big movies, that you go to a studio and they cover you with ping pong balls and you stand in front of a green screen. It couldn’t have been more different than that. Every time I went to work, there was some massive, elaborate set that Guillermo had designed that was practical, whether the ceiling was caving in in the middle of the shot or there was going to be a car that was flipped over my head. It was really a roller coaster ride of every time I thought that a set or sequence was massive, we did something even bigger, more over the top.”

How about as far as the scale of production and wait time?

Charlie Day: “Yeah, it moved faster than I thought. Of course I’m used to moving extraordinarily fast with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia but I was surprised at how quickly they were able to set up these huge sequences and I think they were oftentimes doing two things at once, a B camera unit doing some other massive thing and Guillermo would bounce around. They were as quick as they were massive.”

What was the laboratory set like?

Charlie Day: “The laboratory set was incredible. Everything was practical. All those organs were made out of…I’m not sure I want to ask what they were made out of. They moved, they oozed, they pussed, they secreted. There were lots of little jars of things that all seemed and smelled a little too real, and everything worked, all sorts of buttons and knobs. It was a really exquisite set.”

How did Guillermo direct you?

Charlie Day: “Well, there are almost two different parts of the movie for me. There’s the beginning part of the movie where he was a little bit hands off and I think I’ve been told that this is rare for him, where he would let me be sort of loose and rough around the edges and try things different ways. Then as I get more beat up and the experience becomes more harrowing for the character, then we get a little bit more detailed and more and more specific. He would describe some of the action that he wanted you to do, something physical he would walk you through how he saw your body being in a way, almost like directing the actual physicality sometimes.”

How long did it take to put on the Kaiju tattoos?

Charlie Day: “Let’s see, the first couple times it was about three, three and a half hours in the makeup chair but then they developed a technique to do it slightly quicker, so I think all in all it only took about an hour or two.”

Do you imagine it would still be a cool thing to be a fan of these Kaijus even if it were really apocalyptic?

Charlie Day: “I do imagine that there would be people who would be fans of the Kaiju, even if it were apocalyptic. I think there’s always a fascination with death and destruction that people have.”

– By Fred Topel

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