Movie Interview: Ken Jeong – The Dog Days Of Scoob!, Or Mutt-See Viewing

October 10, 2020

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Scoob! reveals how lifelong friends Scooby and Shaggy first met and how they joined with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form the famous Mystery Inc. Now, with hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever: a plot to unleash the ghost
dog Cerberus upon the world. Ken Jeong voices Dynomutt.


What is your first memory of Scooby-Doo?

Watching Scooby-Doo as a kid, growing up on the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. I loved it.  I gather a lot of the cast feels that way, too; it was just something that was part of the fabric of our childhood. The Scooby gang is like part of the lexicon. I have 12-year-old twin girls, and I showed them the trailer and they’re interested and invested already, so I do think that Scooby-Doo resonates with every generation.


So being part of Scooby’s origin story is something special for you?

Absolutely. Especially with the cast involved and the script, which I loved.  It really captured the tone of it.


You’re starring as the superhero robotic dog Dynomutt?

It really is an honor to play an iconic character like Dynomutt, who I grew up with, by the way. I grew up with Blue Falcon and Dynomutt cartoons, too, so I knew exactly who Dynomutt was and I think that this updated take on Blue Falcon is perfect. When they told me Mark Wahlberg was voicing Blue Falcon, I immediately started laughing. I could hear his voice when I read the script. I worked with Wahlberg before [in Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain] and we’re friends – and he’s so funny. This role is tailor-made for him. It’s nice to be a duo with him, at least in the animated universe. In many ways, I feel like Dynomutt is the voice of reason in this story, which I love. As an actor, as a performer, it gives me another opportunity to exercise my own performing chops.


What is the essence of Dynomutt’s charm? What is likeable about him?

I think what’s likeable about him is his confidence. I mean, he’s not only the moral compass of the Dynomutt/Blue Falcon team, he’s the actual compass. Physically, he probably could transform into a compass, and then he’s the one who knows how to approach a problem, how to attack a problem, how to solve a problem. But I think that he also gains some perspective, too. From Dynomutt’s point of view, this whole adventure shines a light on the relationship between him and Blue Falcon. It gives him a deeper appreciation, a deeper perspective, so the Dynomutt character still has an arc where he can grow and, in an organic way, have a deeper understanding of what Blue Falcon is going through.


That was a thoughtful analysis! Let’s go from that to something silly. If you could have any of Dynomutt’s powers, what would you want? 

I think his ability to be in control while always being himself. Sometimes life is stressful, so it would be nice to always have that best version of yourself, and it’s rare that I get to play a character like that. I think the hardest thing in comedy is to be an anchor in the scene sometimes, especially if you’re so used to delivering the punchlines. In basketball terms, you need to know how to pass the ball or do the pick and roll, and really, an important part of comedy is being able to anchor a scene. So I kept that in mind the whole time I was doing it. The older I get, and the more mature I get in my career, the more I want to be able to do both. It’s important for me to take professional pride in doing both.


A big part of the story is about the bond between best friends Scooby and Shaggy, or simply a boy and his dog. Is that something that you can personally relate to?

Yes, absolutely. We got a puppy, just coincidentally, recently. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a dog – I’ve had pets, but never a dog before – and it’s all about the care and developing trust between the puppy and our family.  One of the great things about Scoob! is that it’s universal when you’re talking about loyalty, and friendship, and trust.  All those things you can learn from a pet. Which is why I think Scoob! is relevant today because all those themes still apply and the relationship between Shaggy and Scooby truly is the heart of this movie. Their origin story, I think, everybody can relate to.


Can you please touch on the process? Did you work with the director and the animators to develop Dynomutt? Did you look at storyboards? 

Yes, all those things. The first day of filming is always either the most challenging or the most exciting, because you’re kind of shaping the character from the outset, and it’s fun. Then you come in the second time, after all the actors have done their first rounds of voice-over and see where the direction is going. I have to say that first day we voiced the character was, I think, one of the best first days of any animated project I have done because we were all excited about it and we all kind of got it from the get-go, and that’s really nice. That’s rare. There was a fluidity to this process that was smoother than other projects I’ve done. We all just knew the character, and I think that’s a tribute to how well known Scooby-Doo and characters like Dynomutt are, and it’s a testament to the brand. Also, I think the script was well written.


Did you read with [director] Tony Cervone?

He’s great. I remember that first day that Tony and I, and one of the writers and one of the producers were all together and we were all pitching in. He’s very collaborative.


Is there anything special you did to get into the Dynomutt character?

I think everyone’s got their own process. For me, I have to read it a few times. It’s like anything, even on a movie set, even with live action. I’m a big believer in rehearsals. You just have to keep rehearsing it and getting in the flow. It’s always about finding the flow.


One last thing. Everyone knows Scooby-Doo is a real snack hound. What are your go-to snacks?  

Everything, from chips to chocolate. You name it. Whatever my feeling is, I’ll eat it.

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