Ratzenberger Works the Cocktails
06.27.08 by REELZ
Jill Simonian is a correspondent for Dailies (ReelzChannel TV, weeknights @ 6PM ET), and occasionally shares stories from the field. This week: WALL-E
No, we're not talking drunken stoopers.
In WALL-E, John Ratzenberger's character -- "John" -- is a human floating around in space. But Ratzenberger himself has his feet planted firmly on the ground. After putting his friendly-but-know-it-all mailman Cliff Clavin from TV's Cheers to rest in 1993, Ratzenberger quickly –- and affectionately -- became Disney-Pixar's "good luck charm." Since 1995's Toy Story, he's been the only actor to voice a role in every Disney-Pixar movie to date. (After Hamm the Piggy Bank, P.T. Flea, Abominable Snowman, Fish School, Underminer, Mack, Mustafa... finally he gets to play a "John!")
At the junket for this impeccably-animated sci-fi love story last weekend, Ratzenberger himself told me that "feeling like a rabbit's foot" is a good thing. But when I asked WALL-E director/writer (and Pixar's ninth employee) Andrew Stanton about it, I found out how Ratzenberger pulled off this feat:
To become Pixar's pet he simply went to cocktails with Toy Story's creative team after the press junket for that movie 13 years ago. As Stanton recalled, the team invited the entire cast to meet at the hotel bar for celebratory drinks that night after their interviews were over, and Ratzenberger was the only actor who showed up. Amazing. Stanton and the rest of the Pixar team appreciated his down-to-Earth personality that night, so they wrote a part for him in 1998's A Bug's Life, and the rest is history.
Finally! The secret to having a steady gig for the rest of your life! (I guess all that work from Cheers paid off?) Drinks, anyone?