If you ask H. Jon Benjamin, he’s no Sterling Archer. On the other hand, he is Sterling Archer.
Benjamin, of course, provides the distinctively warbly voice of the eponymous world’s most dangerous spy at the center of FX’s “Archer,” which closes out its sixth season tonight, April 2. But during a conference call with the press to promote the finale, the actor made it clear that if a live-action “Archer” movie is ever made, he expects someone like Henry Cavill would get the call to star before him. That said, there is one legendary icon he would like to bring to life on the big screen — even if he doesn’t look the part.
On the remaining frontiers, after the finale introduces an unexpected environment, that Archer has left to explore:
H. Jon Benjamin: Wow, there’s like nowhere left, right? Now he’s going inside the human body, and I wouldn’t have thought of that one. He’s been in space and in the ocean… I’m trying to think — back to the womb? I don’t know where else he could go besides, he’d have to reverse time, maybe. Time travel? That’s the only dimension he hasn’t covered yet.
I think actually, this season, it sort of did kind of go back to a little bit more of the way it used to be until the finale. But [creator] Adam Reed is always trying to push the stories. For sure, I think there’s been little elements that have gotten weirder, a little weirder, and more surreal. I think that’s good.
On whether Archer should think about his own mortality a little more, now that he’s a father:
Yes. I think it’s evident in the show that it’s a consideration for him now. I can only speak from experience, I didn’t care about my kid until he was, like, nine, so he’s got time. That’s maybe not so good to say. But he can’t read — he’s 12 — so he’ll never read this. I think there’s always, especially considering the way he had his child, he is slowly improving from the last child he had. Progress is slow, but life is pretty short.
Archer, I think he’s got to pick up the pace as far as self-examining and figuring out how to get his life on track. But I’m not sure that will ever happen in the show. But like I said, he’s got some time to while his daughter’s still a baby. Maybe try and speed up some actualization.
On the effect of Abbiejean on Archer’s mindset:
I think the underlying plot element in this story, or certainly the underlying emotional element in the story, is Abbiejean’s existence and how it affects Archer’s relationship with Lana, which I think is the principal relationship in his life, and the one I think he needs to keep going. I think they did a really good job with it, because it’s complicated for Archer to change so radically, even when you have a kid. I think a lot of people think that change is easy, just by the sake of having a kid, but in actuality, it’s not.
He’s making progress. Hopefully it will catch up, but she’s going to be a mess. I think if I were to tack on a real life trajectory for Abbiejean, she’ll be a mess. Lana is, compared to Archer, is pretty stable. She’s probably the most stable character in the whole show.
On how much of his own personality he brings into the character:
Well, I don’t know. I really don’t know. I’m not totally like Archer in real life, although I think I have my moments. I clearly possess some of his qualities. We have the same voice. I can get pretty loud and mean to people at times. So, sure, I’m definitely a little bit like him. I’m a little more demure in real life. I don’t want to get hit. I can’t get into a fight — that wouldn’t be good for me.
On which Archer characters he’d pal around with in real life:
Oh man, that’s rough. Maybe — I can’t see myself hanging out with Archer. That would be — although I have hung with people like him in my past. But at this point, I couldn’t keep up, and wouldn’t want to. And I’m not going to hang out with Krieger! I’ll go with a safe bet and say I’ll hang out with Cyril, although it wouldn’t be that much fun. I could see a movie with him, maybe grab a glass of wine.
I don’t think anybody would hang out with Krieger, I don’t think, right? You’d just be, like, “Immediately call the cops.” And be like, “I met a guy who’s just going to kill people.”
On his casting choice for a live-action “Archer” movie:
Well, definitely not me. Let’s say, Paul Giamatti, he kind of looks like me. No, no, that wouldn’t work. I don’t know — that’s a tough one. There are a lot of handsome actors out there. I saw a trailer for the British spy movie that’s coming out recently that had a guy that kind of looks exactly like Archer. He seemed like he had the attitude, I just don’t know what his name is — you have to figure out who it is for me. I think it is “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” The guy who’s going to be in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” the movie, the reboot.
That being said, there’s certainly been talk about making an animated movie of “Archer.” I know people have brought it up. I guess that would be up to a consortium of people who would give the money to do it, and I don’t mean to make that sound nefarious. Yes, I feel like they would strive to make an animated feature before they would make a live action one, I would think, just because the show’s for the fans and the show.
On a pitch for an animated “Archer” film:
Wow, that’s a tall task. Yes, that’s a tough one, to pitch an “Archer” movie. I would have to, I feel like I would let Adam Reed do that for me. I’d go to the meeting and I’d bring the full cutout version of “Archer” and stand behind it and talk to help sell it.
But as far as a plot goes, I don’t know. That’s a tough movie to make. I feel like you’d have to go think really crazy about what mission you’d want to focus on for them. You have to give me a little time on this. That’s a big ask. Plus, I don’t want to ruin it. I don’t want to say some dumb idea, and then they’ll never be able to sell the movie because I said that.
On his all time favorite TV finale:
From any TV show? I sometimes I like to say “St. Elsewhere,” just because it’s so — but I didn’t really like it. But I think I ironically started to like it, and then I talked about — and I use it as a reference all the time. If I’m in any situation where I’m talking about a TV finale, that the whole thing was a — as I remember it, “St. Elsewhere” was a hospital building in a snow globe, and the whole thing was a dream of a boy with mental disabilities. I just thought that was pretty good. So I have to say, I’m dating myself: “St. Elsewhere.” But let’s face it, we’re all going to die.
On the dream superhero movie he’d love to be a part of:
I don’t know — I always like Sub-Mariner. That’s the one movie they never made. Maybe that’s for a reason, because nobody likes Sub-Mariner except for me. But I feel like maybe they’ll never make Sub-Mariner. But I would love to be Sub-Mariner — especially with my real body! That would be so weird, be a real Jewish, middle-aged Sub-Mariner.
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