In The Croods, Clark Duke is Thunk, the son of Nicolas Cage’s Grug – a caveman whose family is one of the last of their kind. The world is changing, and Grug doesn’t like it. As The Croods lands on DVD and Blu-Ray, Duke phoned us for an exclusive interview where he talked about his character and how he isn’t the brightest bulb on the tree. But, he cautioned, as a voice actor, you have to be careful to not go too far.
Duke is currently blowing up. After making a splash in Hot Tub Time Machine and Kick-Ass, he scored a role as a regular cast member on the last two seasons of The Office. This past summer saw him in Kick-Ass 2 and currently, he has A.C.O.D. coming soon in theaters, as well as just having finished shooting Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
Duke dishes The Croods and how his first foray into animation has him set on an “animation work” uniform (it will surprise) as well as what it means to him to work with Nicolas Cage twice now, and never have shared a scene!
Movie Fanatic: You don’t play the smartest of characters. Was it fun for you to go to that place?
Clark Duke: It was always a balancing act to figure out how dumb he was. Like, did he know certain words? Did he know how to behave in any given situation? I had never done animation before, so I had a blast with it.
Movie Fanatic: Is working in animation working a different muscle? How different was it for you from live action?
Clark Duke: I liked it a lot. It’s kind of bizarre because you do most of it alone. I liked it because I could do whatever I wanted. You can go nuts. You can wear whatever you want to work like cowboy hats and sweatpants.
Movie Fanatic: [Laughs] That’s quite an image.
Clark Duke: That’s my official animation uniform!
Movie Fanatic: What was it about the story of The Croods that you wanted to dive in and do this one?
Clark Duke: It was nice to do an all-ages family movie for one thing. I’ve only done R-rated movies otherwise. I thought it was really relatable to families and everyone of all ages, really. I really liked how the movie looked. I was struck by the handheld camera work. I have never really seen that in animation before. The design of the whole thing, Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders did an amazing job.
Movie Fanatic: Did you have any preliminary drawings of your characters, and if so, how did that help in finding the voice?
Clark Duke: Totally, seeing the initial drawings of how big he’s supposed to be gave it a little bit of physicality on how to play this big, kind of Baby Huey-type of character. He doesn’t know how to use his own body because he’s so big and bumbling.
Movie Fanatic: Were there any special tricks you used?
Clark Duke: Yeah, actually! I would put food in my mouth all the time because it seems like my character was eating stuff a lot. I would keep whatever was around in my mouth. Heck, I was even biting on my arm a lot [laughs].
Movie Fanatic: What does it mean to you to be in your second Nicolas Cage movie, after Kick-Ass?
Clark Duke: I love it, although I didn’t share any scenes with him in Kick-Ass and never shared the booth with him on The Croods. So, one of these days I will share a scene with Nic Cage! I met him at Comic-Con when we were promoting Kick-Ass -- that was the only time I’ve ever met the guy! And yet, I’ve done all this work with him [laughs]. The one time I met him, he was great.
Movie Fanatic: The Croods found quite an audience and was a huge hit. What would you like to see your character get into in the sequel?
Clark Duke: It’s such a big open world for him, it’ll be interesting to see if he’s aged and learned anything. But, I doubt it [laughs].
Movie Fanatic: Now that The Croods is coming out on DVD and Blu-Ray, what does it mean to you that there’s this second chance for people to discover, and re-discover your film?
Clark Duke: It definitely feels like a transitional period for movies with VOD and all that. It’s shifting away from traditional distribution. Any way you can reach more people to watch your movies is a very good thing.