Did you find it more difficult to get into the character when you’re voice acting?
Not really no, development of the character was pretty much the same as what I’d do in an on-camera thing. But then here you are just standing in front of a microphone and you need to convey so much: pathos, emotions that are necessary for conveying the thought. And all you have is your voice. So it does take a skill, the years of creating characters helps; all the actors who I worked with on this, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban and Jeff Goldblum, we’ve all been doing this for quite a while now… So it’s not unusual for us. But mainly it was so powerful because of Wes. He’s such an auteur: I knew when I was going to read his script, his descriptions would be enough of a springboard to because he’s a person with such sharp attention to detail. And it was. I understood Chief from the beginning: a throwaway dog, a mutt with no home, no identity.
What do you think it is about the world of Wes Anderson that’s so magical but relatable?
A lot of Wes’ films have Chief’s sort of theme to them: people searching for identity, searching for where they belong in society, in their family structure. It’s instantly recognisable and relatable: what’s my destiny, where am I supposed to go, who am I supposed to be with, it’s a feeling we all know. The friends you make are different from the family you’re given… It kind of keeps moving, and as you mature that changes, just as it does with his characters. All of those things are inherent in his scripts.