It's been 14 years in the real world for since Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles was released, but for the Parr family and their neighbors, almost no time has passed at all -- and things haven't gotten any easier for superheroes.
Luckily, they've got some new friends to come to their aide: friends like the smooth-talking Winston Deavor, voiced by comedian and Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk, who harbors a deep affection for everything incredible, no matter how illegal it may be.
But Winston may not be exactly what he seems -- and Odenkirk is well aware of just how tricky it is to garner trust for the new guy, especially when that new guy wears a slick suit and happens to have more money than he knows what to do with. CBR sat down with the actor at the Incredibles 2 press junket in Los Angeles to talk about the challenges of portraying an earnest fan, dealing with tropes and the evolutionary process Winston underwent from writer/director Brad Bird's screenplay to the finished product.
CBR: So, your character in Incredibles 2 -- we'll call him a fanboy...
Bob Odenkirk: Though at first when you meet him, you're not sure if he really means what he says.
Exactly! That's really what I wanted to start here -- there's a trope in superhero stories where we see fans who break bad. The fan who becomes possessive of what they want from their favorite things -- Syndrome in the original Incredibles is a great example of this phenomena, really. Was that something you considered? Was that a challenge that you faced when building this character to keep him earnest?
I think the journey that Brad Bird went on writing this character was exactly what you're talking about, because I saw over the course of the four or five rewrites that I interacted with that the character became more genuine. It doesn't change how he's introduced. That first scene didn't change. It's just his energy became less questionable, more unflagging. He never lost his exuberant joy at working with and pulling off this plan. And I loved that. I love that.
It's kind of a switcheroo, right? It tricks you because the first time you meet them you're like, this is, he's definitely the villain, he's definitely the bad guy -- and I don't want to give it away to audiences who are maybe reading this -- but I think [viewers] will be surprised at where it goes, because there is a villain. It's not who you think it is, I would say.
Now, you've been involved in franchises with very passionate fan bases. Is that something that you've encountered, or have you learned anything being on the receiving end of that level of fandom attention?
The hardest thing to tell sometimes is whether the person is earnest in their love for the project, or if they're one of those fringe people just trying to cash in. They can look very similar for a while, and you have to be careful because you might think someone is trying to use you, or use the fame of the project to advanced themselves financially or whatever, but really they just really love you and your work or the show or the movie. So you've got to approach people with the notion that there are genuine, right? It's a hard thing to do. You can't always tell what things really mean to people. It's actually really strange.
Even something like Breaking Bad, which is dark and violent and is about a person doing bad things -- some people, it's saved their lives in a way. Maybe it got them through a medical treatment and kept their mind off what they were going through, you know? You can't always tell what will inspire people. So you have to approach it and you have to hear people's appreciation with at least a sense that it might be utterly genuine.