The Bob’s Burgers Movie sees the original cast from the long-running TV series come to the big screen in a fun and colourful musical. To celebrate the animated series making its big Hollywood debut, we sat down with H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, and Larry Murphy, who voice the flick’s leading characters Bob, Linda and Teddy, respectively.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie was first announced in 2017 and is directed by Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman. While keeping the tone and charm from the Fox show, the film throws the Belcher family into a tense murder mystery and financial troubles that could end with the loss of their beloved restaurant. With the help of his wife Linda and friend Teddy, Bob Belcher must find a way to sell some burgers before it is too late and solve a murder down on Ocean Avenue.
In our interview with Benjamin, Roberts, and Murphy, we discuss what it was like recording the animated movie during a global pandemic, its musical influences, and their future hopes for a potential Chipotle episode in upcoming seasons.
The Digital Fix: Hi guys. This is so big for me. I love Bob’s Burgers, and it’s so nice to actually see your faces. I was really struck by how the film just flung a murder straight into the story, and I wanted to know, what was your reaction when you first read the script?
H. Jon Benjamin: I was like, just excited to find out that we were going to make a movie, I guess. It had been talked about a little bit here and there, but I guess you never really expect, you know, a show to get that opportunity.
So, I sort of figured it was going to be in some form of musical, but when I found out about the murder mystery element, I thought that worked really well. So yeah, I don’t love murder in real life. I’m against it. But I was happy. I was happy that it was included in some fashion in the movie.
Speaking about musicals, John Linda must have had a great time in this movie as she is the singing enthusiast in the TV series. Obviously, the songs seemed very scripted in this film, but do you ever improvise your musical moments in the series?
John Roberts: Absolutely, yes! And, you know, since the beginning, since the first season, Loren’s always been very gracious and just let us kind of go off a little bit. And I often break out into song in real life, too.
So you know, but the movie was like a whole other level. I think the show has also gotten gradually more advanced with the music; we have musical teams now. So, it’s always a pleasure for me to sing, especially as Linda. I hope I’ve gotten better at it over the years because I think that the songs have gotten more advanced and bigger.
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HJB: But I think Linda was a big impetus for music in the show, really? Yeah, like Loren Bouchard, the creator of the show, is very musical. He always wrote music, even for his shows that he did before.
But I think John started sort of doing what he does in real life in the booth, which is sort of humming tunes and making up lyrics for, like, the Thanksgiving song or something. Is that in the script or not?
JR: No! But yeah, Loren would just let us go and, yeah, Lauren is a very musical person, and I am too. I make music too. So it was just an extra dream part of an already amazing job.
You guys made this movie during COVID-19. How was that? Was it a different experience from your normal recording setup?
HJB: Well, it was, it was a lot different because I think when they announced that we were going to make a movie, it was pre-pandemic. I think we all assumed we were going to work the same way we always work, which is sort of together or at least on the whole everybody working together.
So when the pandemic hit, they did have to change the entire process of how we recorded. I mean, I recorded in my closet, and like everybody had to record independently, which was very different from the way we normally do it. And that was an adjustment we had to make.
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But fortunately, they had two years to do that. So we kind of work through it. And they finally found a way to get everybody to record together.
All of your characters have become iconic. You guys have been making the show now for ten years. Especially the three of you, Bob, Teddy, and Linda, your dynamic is very, very recognisable.
HJB: We’re the adults.
(laughs) Exactly, and Teddy is basically part of the marriage between Bob and Linda at this point.
Larry Murphy: He is an invasive species and adulterer. Next season, get rid of him.
HJB: He is a lamprey.
LM: He is like a lamprey. That’s a symbiotic relationship. He’s more like a carp that’s introduced and won’t go away.
Why do you think people love this series so much?
JR: I think the writing is amazing. We have great writers. And I think the cast I mean, we’re very; we fit very well together. So just the marriage of that alone, but I think that the characters are fun. You know, different episodes will focus on different characters, and it keeps it fresh. And it’s a lovable show. There’s a lot of love and a lot of things that people can maybe identify in themselves – little quirky things that are funny.
Yeah, it’s funny that you mention people identifying with the characters because I’ve seen it all over social media. People often post, ‘oh, this Bob’s Burgers character is my spirit animal’. I want to go around the room and ask: which character do you identify the most with?
HJB: Probably Tina, I think. Yeah.
JR: You picked Tina, Jon?
HJB: I’m a little bit of a Tina.
JR: You like butts?
HJB: I don’t mind. I do like butts.
LM: Is it zombies that you like, Jon?
HJB: I like zombies, I like butts, and I’m very anxious all the time.
JR: Well, I would say that I’m also Tina. I love butts, and I’m so anxious.
Okay, so you got two Tina’s. Larry, you’re up. Is it gonna be a third Tina pick?
LM: I think in real life, I’m more like Bob. Trying to aspire to make it, to the detriment of everyone. Trying to aspire for something, some kind of perfection. Something like striving for perfectionism. And so yeah, and failing.
The really nice thing about this movie as well is that it ties back into the show and reminds you that this isn’t the end of the story. We’re waiting for season 13 to come out. What do you think the future of Bob’s Burgers looks like now that the movie is finished?
JR: Well, I have to say; hopefully, Covid is kind of, you know, becoming more manageable, and we’re able to be all together again, and the writers will be all together. I think it’s going to be exciting, and a lot of energy is going to come out of that alone.
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But I think that there’s so many more stories to tell with these characters. The world is so rich and fun that I think that there’ll be more of the same. Of just good writing and finding out more about these characters and their family.
LM: I think the real positive, though, is that I don’t think any of us really, or at least we do a good job of disguising it, but we’re not tired of each other.
LM: So yeah, that’s a big plus
HJB: I can see Bob’s Burgers getting bought out by like Chipotle, and then they all work there. Bob has to work. Something like that.
JR: As the manager.
HJB: Not even the manager just like a… just like the line chef.
That sounds like a dark episode. (laughs)
LM: Yeah, a dark fantasy episode.
JR: It’s like a Bob fever dream nightmare,
HJB: I’m always thinking about how to tie in with Chipotle.
So, what you are telling me is that Bob from Bob’s Burgers is actually a Chipotle fan?
HJB: (laughs) I didn’t say I was a fan. But I do always try to plug it.
JR: I’m going to plug the Impossible Burger, which is a kinder, more gentler plant-based burger.
Thank you guys so much for speaking to me. It was lovely.
All: Thanks so much!
JR: Bye bye
The Bob’s Burgers Movie is out in cinemas now