In the world of the animated movie, Ron’s Gone Wrong friendship has been redefined by the invention of B-Bots. These tiny robots are part smart device, part digital pet, and your “best friend of the box”. Or at least they are for most kids, but for our hero, Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer), owning a B-Bot is just a dream.
Or it was just a dream because, after a disastrous birthday, Barney’s dad (Ed Helms) goes out and gets his son what he wants most in the world, his very own B-Bot. Unfortunately, poor planning on the part of Barney’s dad leads to him getting a broken bot that literally fell off the back of a truck. Unlike other B-Bots, this tiny robot has a name, Ron (Zach Galifianakis), and a whole host of bigger problems as well.
Can Barney and Ron get along? Well, you’ll have to watch Ron’s Gone Wrong to find out, but before you do. How about reading our interview with the family movie’s star Jack Dylan Grazer where we discuss recording with Galifianakis, what made him want to voice Barney and the special trick he devised to sound like a 13-year-old boy.
The Digital Fix: Jack, I loved the film and what it had to say about friendship and loneliness. Are those themes what made you want to voice Barney?
Jack Dylan Grazer: Pretty much. Yeah. Also, I guess I related to him on a personal level. I remember what it felt like to go on to the join recess, and you’re the only one without the thing that everybody else had the air pods or iPod Nano. So I definitely could relate to that.
Do you think that’s going to speak to kids who go see this?
JDG: I think so. I because I really everybody’s going to have been there, or felt like the oddball, the odd one out, the ugly duck? Yeah, that’s a classic Underdog Story. And I think kind of all of us are on the hero’s journey, and we all kind of feel like the underdog at least once in our lives.
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Were you recording Barney during the pandemic? What was that like for you?
JDG: Well, I was recording during the pandemic, yes, as well. But I had started recording this back in 2017 when I was 13. The biggest challenge as an 18-year-old was having to replicate my 13-year-old prepubescent voice was tough to do.
What tricks did you use to get that voice back? Were you sucking helium?
JDG: [Laugh] Yeah, lots of helium. I stood on my tippy toes and, like, push my thumb. [mimes pushing his thumbs into his hands] And if I did this, it works. I was like, [high falsetto voice] ‘Oh, no’ [laughs].
If you’ve been working on this since 2017, did you get to record with Zach then?
JDG: I recorded with Zach more than a year ago, maybe, yeah, maybe it was two years ago that I recorded with him? We had like two sessions together. And that was really fun. Super fun.
This is the second animated film you’ve done this year, we had Luca earlier this year. Are there differences in how you approach voice acting to a live-action performance?
Yeah, and you know, it’s kind of less pressure, in my opinion. I think it’s cool. It’s cool because you don’t have to memorise your lines, which is there, just right there. And that’s a nice thing.
No, I’m kidding. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s a whole other type of animal. I love it. I really enjoy it. It’s super fun. And yeah, I hope to do more animated animation projects.
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Cool. If there was a sequel, would you come back and play Barney again?
Yeah, of course. Of course. Yeah. Absolutely.
Even though you’d have to be doing the thumb trick all over again?
[Laughs] I’d do the thumb trick all over again, and it’s five more years under the belt. Yeah.
Maybe they’ll age Barney up for you?
Yeah, maybe. That’d be really nice of them if they could do that.
Ron’s Gone Wrong hits cinemas here in the UK on October 15 and the US on October 22.