Bill Hader has one of the more enviable resumes in Hollywood: Among his many credits, he’s served as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” worked as a creative consultant on “South Park,” co-wrote a Spider-Man comic book with Seth Meyers, starred in Judd Apatow films like “Trainwreck,” voiced Fear in the animated film “Inside Out” while also working behind the scenes at Pixar, and now plays one of the giants in Steven Spielberg’s “The BFG.”
But being one of the sound-makers behind the adorable droid BB-8 in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” may be the one that out-cools them all.
Speaking with Spinoff Online at the premiere of his latest film, Hader admitted he didn’t lobby for his “Star Wars” role.
“BB-8 came out as just J.J. Abrams being a nice guy – that’s just from being friends with J.J. Abrams,” he said. “I didn’t, like, try to get that part or whatever. I had no idea it existed. He called me and said, ‘So yeah, he’s this BB-8 thing …’ and I watched the movie and I’m like, ‘Oh, he's like the new R2-D2.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.” But it was a blast. It was a total blast!”
Hader confessed he wasn’t sure how fellow comedic actor and BB-8 “vocal consultant” Ben Schwartz (“House of Lies,” “Parks and Recreation”) was involved, as they didn’t work together – and Hader almost didn’t get the gig.
“I don’t know how Ben fit into the mix. I think I came after him,” he said. “J.J. brought me in and I did a voice, and we kind of all agreed it wasn’t working. It wasn’t a voice with words. It was a weird sound. It wasn’t really working.”
“And then, months later – like, the movie came out in December, so in October or November or something – he called me and he goes, ‘Hey, we figured out BB-8,’” Hader continued. “And what it is was a talk box, like the Peter Frampton Talk Box, connected to an iPad that had an app on it that made a bunch of weird sounds. So he did the sounds, and I sat off to the side and we just sat and watched the picture, and I did all that … and that was it!”
The actor was pleased to add Spielberg to the list of filmmakers he’s collaborated with, playing The Bloodbottler, a 50-foot giant who serves as second-in-command to the ferocious Fleshlumpeater.
“He’s so calm and chill and just wanted us to have fun,” Hader said. “He loves actors, and just how kind of flowing the production goes, just his control over things – it’s like this weird combination of being in control, but also being open at the same time. He’s just really fascinating to watch.”
Disney’s “The BFG” opens today nationwide.