After introducing himself as the loveable, bar-owning oaf who shares his name on the cult FX comedy series It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, 37 year old actor Charlie Day has since been able to translate his distinctive, flighty performance style to the big screen, starring in 2011’s Horrible Bosses and 2010’s Going The Distance, and, more recently, as the wisecracking scientist Dr. Geiszler in Gullermo del Toro’s big budget science-fiction epic, Pacific Rim. Pedestrian recently caught up with the convivial New York born actor, writer and producer to discuss the magic of working with del Toro, what he would be doing if he wasn’t acting, and three reasons why you should watch his latest movie.
So Charlie, congratulations. I really love the character. I mean, it’s so wonderful to see a big blockbuster film with such a comedic aspects in the story. Isn’t it refreshing to have one that has a sense of humor? Look, we’ve been seeing some great blockbusters, but very often they are so incredibly serious. And this movie is serious when it has to be, but it also has a sense of humor, and some levity. And obviously, they wanted me to provide some of that, and it was great to get to do that.
For me, Dr. Geiszler, your character, is the one that people can relate the most, because he’s a little crazy. I mean, he’s a researcher, but he’s also very human. He’s not militaristic…Unless you look fantastic, it’s hard to relate to those guys with their abs and their great jaw lines.
You look very good yourself. Well, I’m wearing black, which really slims you down. But it’s a mess under here. You don’t want to see it. But, yeah, he’s flawed. And I think most of us feel flawed. And it’s fun to watch the flawed guy get to be a hero.
Tell us about the character. Yeah, well, he starts out this pretty arrogant, cocky guy, and he thinks he’s got all the answers. And he does. But then he takes some real risks, and he faces some fears. You can tell he’s scared to do it in that moment. And he does this mind-drifting thing, at potentially, the expense of his life. And he has success. And through that success, he takes to the streets to really see, “Well, I need to find out more, and get more research, and get more answers, and figure out how to stop these creatures.” And he becomes a bit of the hero that he always dreamt he could be.
So how much are you like Dr. Geiszler? Just give me the glasses, and then I’m the guy. I guess there are definitely parts of me that are maybe more like Dr. Geiszler than say, Dale from Horrible Bosses. But I don’t think I’m as smart as the man. He’s an actual intelligent man, and I just pretend to be one.
The Kaiju are so scary. And you get the opportunity to go into the brain of this. Are you a little out there now? Yeah, well, I was out there before, and I’m further out there now. But, yes, it was fun to explore those worlds, and see the drawings that Guillermo [del Toro] had for what you were going be seeing. And to live in this crazy, fantastical, over-the-top world.
So I just spoke with Guillermo del Toro. When I left his room, I wanted to hug everybody. He’s got great energy. Did you feel that way during production? Yeah, absolutely. And you love him, and you want to be in his fold forever, and be in all his movies, and have dinner at his house and play with his toys. And it’s a very infectious personality. You know, Guillermo has not lost that little kid inside himself, that for so many of us, gets squashed down and suppressed. And he brings that little kid to these movies, and he makes these fantastical worlds. And then you get to relive and re- experience that joy, that awe, that spectacle, for life that he clearly has on a daily basis. He’s certainly not, like, a New York cynic.
So Charlie, can you give me three reasons to see the movie besides the fact that you are in it and play Dr. Geiszler? Okay. Aside from the fact that I’m Dr. Geiszler in this movie, it’s an original movie. You’re not seeing another comic book hero. This is an original world, an original concept. And it’s nice to see something new. So go see the movie, because it’s a whole new thing. You haven’t seen it before. It’s the largest, most action-packed, over-the-top, gigantic movie ever made. And throughout the course of the history of cinema, we’ve been going to see movies because of spectacle. You know, someone creates Godzilla, then you want to go see it. Then, just when you thought we couldn’t do it any bigger, and be surprised by anything anymore, Guillermo makes this crazy, over-the-top, amazing, wonderful movie, that’s two. Two good reasons. Three, it’s actually fun and funny, and not boring, and brooding, and taking itself too seriously in every moment of the film. It’s an enjoyable, fun ride.
The creatures have incredible presence. This is why you go to see a big blockbuster. It’s fun, you can have some popcorn…But every now and then, you want some spectacle. But you also want that spectacle to be good. And you want the movie to be good. And this one, I think, personally, it’s got both.
So from all the things you could have done, why did you start working as an actor so young? Oh, well, I really am not good at anything else. There was very little out there for me to do. And you don’t want me waiting tables, because I’m going to get your order wrong.
Pacific Rim is now available to own on Blu-ray for $44.95 and on DVD for $39.95.