Exclusive: Wil Wheaton Interview

     February 21, 2009

Written by Jonah

Recently, ultra fanboy and actor Wil Wheaton took some time out of his schedule to talk about Cartoon Network’s Batman: the Brave and the Bold. He also had a few things to say about his own geekiness—including my favorite story about ANYONE’S love for Ghostbusters–and how much he’s looking forward to JJ. Abrams’ Trek. The Warner peeps were also kind enough to offer up some stills and video featuring the Red Hood who will appear on B & B in the coming weeks.

Jonah: How does working on Brave and the Bold compare to working on Teen Titans?

Wil: It’s quite similar, actually. We all work together in the same room, which I think makes a huge difference, dramatically, and we all have a lot of fun doing it. It’s also great to be working on a show that, like Teen Titans, can be enjoyed by kids and their parents. It’s not that often that a show works on multiple levels, and I’m lucky to be part of two of them.

Jonah: For many people in our generation, you are Gordie and Wesley, how has this affected what roles you’ve chosen since?

Wil: I’m wish I was one of the few actors who has the luxury of choosing roles, but I haven’t gotten there, yet. However, being associated with two kind, sensitive characters has made it a lot of fun to play characters you love to hate, or who are just straight-up evil, bad guys. I guess the audience expects me to play roles like Gordie and Wesley, so it makes it especially shocking when I’m playing a guy who is, you know, killing people like my recent serial killer role.

Jonah: You’ve seriously embraced the culture of geek chic, what is the nerdiest thing you’ve ever done? ?

Wil: I run the Geeks Group at Propeller.com, and we were talking about this precise subject a few months ago. I’ve done a lot of nerdy and geeky things in my life, but this was my geekiest childhood memory.

I was obsessed with “Ghostbusters”. It ran at the Rainbow Theater in Tujunga for a couple of months when it was released, and my friends and I went there every weekend to see it. Sometimes, we stayed through the double feature to watch it a third time. I got it into my head that I was going to build a Ghostbusters costume – not for Halloween, just to have. I went to Thrifty with a bunch of change and photocopied the Ghostbusters logo from the cover of my Ghostbusters RPG rulebook, using the “reduce and enlarge” functions to make different sizes for my shoulders and front pocket.

Then I took some Crayola markers and used them to draw all over some Styrofoam blocks, which I attached to my backpack. Then, I assembled my Megatron into a gun (including the stock and sight) and connected it to the proton pack using some surgical tubing.

Because that wasn’t excessive enough, I built that scanner thing Egon used in the library out of a toilet paper tube and a single chopstick that I cut in half. I covered the sticks with black dots to represent the lights, and used string to create a tiny pulley system that would raise and lower them, just like in the movie. I also made a trap out of a Vans shoebox, connected to a controller (probably an empty box of strike-anywhere matches) via more surgical tubing. We had a lot of surgical tubing, because my dad worked in a hospital.

I didn’t get to have a headquarters or an Ecto 1, but I did play the soundtrack on my record player in my bedroom over and over and over again (probably driving my parents crazy) while I wore my costume and did my best to reenact the movie – by myself – on an almost daily basis. I didn’t have a particular character that I played all the way through; I’d switch roles so I could deliver the best dialog. I think I played Venkman the most, but I remember doing entire scenes, jumping from character to character, because there was more than just one funny line in it. I wonder if this ever disturbed my parents. If my kid was doing what I did, I’d be thrilled that he was using his imagination so much, but also a little worried at the level of commitment.

Jonah: It seems everyone who ever did Trek wants to be in JJ Abrams little movie, have you made your case for making an appearance in future films?

Wil: I can’t wait to see JJ’s movie, and if there’s ever room for me in the new Star Trek universe, I’d love to put on the pointy sideburns again, but it’s not something I’m actively pursuing.

Jonah: Which fans are the best and worst fans, i.e. Trek, Star Wars, comic fans?

Will: Are you trying to get me killed, man!?

Jonah: What does the future hold for Wil Wheaton? The Onion, metroblog, suicide girls, and your own legendary blog-the list goes on and on-when will you actually run the entire internet?

Wil: That’s very kind, but I’m just doing my best to create stuff that doesn’t suck, and is worth the time people spend reading it.

Jonah: Tell our readers about your upcoming projects!

Wil: Well, as a writer, I’m working on a collection of fiction short stories and novellas, and I’ll be releasing the Season One of my humorous TNG reviews, which I started doing for TV Squad a couple years ago. We also just released the audio version of my book The Happiest Days of Our Lives, and Subterranean Press will release a special, limited, expanded edition later this year. As a voice actor, I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be returning to some of the shows I did last year, plus I’m on a couple episodes of Family Guy. As an on-camera actor, I’m just hoping that SAG and the AMPTP can reach an agreement without a strike, so we can all keep working.

Jonah: Back to Batman: The Brave and The Bold. What can you tell us about upcoming episodes/ stars?

Wil: In “Fall of the Blue Beetle” I voice Ted Kord, the Silver Age Blue Beetle after he is discovered hiding out on Science Island by Will Friedle’s Blue Beetle. There’s lots of action, and plenty of robot battles alongside Batman to entertain any fan. I know there is a great two episode story arc coming up that they screened at the New York Comic Con.

Batman: The Brave and The Bold airs on Cartoon Network.

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