I recently got the chance to talk to Rich Fulcher about his role in ‘Arthur Christmas’. Here, Rich talks about how he got involved in the project in the first place and what’s coming up for him in 2012…
Hey Rich. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Arthur Christmas’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
It is basically an adventure story where Santa’s son Arthur, attempts to deliver a present (a bicycle) that was never received. There are family issues as well, where Santa is finding it difficult to retire and pass along his job to his eldest son Steve. There’s something there for the entire feuding family.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I walk around and make elf sounds……basically I’m an elf.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I know Julia Davis very well. She is very violent towards me and through her I met the director and co-writer Sarah Smith and got to know co-writer Peter Baynham. Although to this day, I have no idea if this is why I was asked to be in the film. I think it’s because they needed some American voices as well.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
I think it’s approaching the high-tech nature of Santa’s annual mission in a unique way. Most films and stories give the massive gift-giving thing short shrift. Santa goes out, drops off the gifts, boom, he’s done. Even the ‘Grinch’ just went to one village. But I’ve always wondered about how difficult that would be. It’s the whole freakin world. Amazon can’t deliver a book in three days, let alone two billions gifts in one night.
The film stars James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton and Ashley Jensen – with Sarah Smith onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? I imagine since it’s an animated, a lot of the time was spent in a booth (?) – what was the production of the film like for you?
I would like to say I played poker with Hugh and James and we played practical jokes on each other, but I was in a booth for half a day in London, apart from most of the other actors. Sarah actually directed us from L.A. a la Peter Jackson. But it was still fun. I drank water and everything.
Let’s talk a bit about you Rich. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I was trained as a lawyer but I hated it and didn’t want to get caught up into practicing after I graduated law school. I had always been interested in comedy, so I decided to enroll in classes at Second City and Improv Olympic in Chicago. The rest is non-history.
Being a successful actor that you are, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Big breaks are often the result of little ones. Just work as much as you can with people you like and the rest will follow. And don’t set a timetable, if you enjoy doing it, who needs a timetable? It only freaks you out.
You’ve been in a number of different TV series’ and films – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with so far and which project has been your favourite to work on? I imagine ‘The Mighty Boosh’ must rate high up there…
Don’t make me choose! ‘The Mighty Boosh’ was amazing because they are all my friends as well. It’s that whole realization of that dream of mucking around with friends and getting paid for it. There’s nothing better. Matt Berry is great to work with and always makes me guffaw. ‘Snuff Box’ was an amazing project because we weren’t hampered at all creatively. Others are Matt Walsh, Rob Riggle, Jay Johnstone, Eric Stonestreet……the list is too long to mention and I’ll be in trouble for omitting people I’m sure.
If you could invite three guests to dinner – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
I would definitely have Hunter S. Thompson. I wouldn’t be able to understand him, but I’d just watch in addled amazement. My grandmother, because she was always making me laugh. She was very Old World and you had to get her permission to use electricity. Finally, I’d have Richard Nixon. HST hated him but I think I could get them to break down barriers and open up to each other.
If you were stranded on a desert island – what three things could you not live without?
MSNBC. It’s a political TV channel in the U.S. I’m truly addicted to it. Also, I’m assuming that there’s reception. Second, I’d need a good pillow. Sand and coconuts do not make good pillows, and third, crab sticks! I love crab sticks and could eat them constantly until I turn into one.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
Matt Berry and I are working on a project together for Adult Swim in the U.S. which is a Victorian detective comedy. We are currently in the writing stages. I am also performing a ‘live’ adaptation of my book ‘Tiny Acts Of Rebellion’ in London and hope to develop something for TV. Finally, I am building an entire Ikea bookshelf with my mouth.
Thanks for the interview!