John C. Reilly describes video-game villain Wreck-It-Ralph as sharp, witty… and possibly a working model of Keynesian economic theories. As long as Ralph is "Gonna Wreck It!", Fix-It Felix Jr. will have a job, well, fixing it. We approached voice actor John C. Reilly about our theory, and also talked about the rules of this world.
Minor spoilers ahead…
What's your favorite video game?
John C. Reilly: I don't play a lot of video games these days. Space Invaders used to be my favorite video game. I would say the one I still enjoy playing is Galaga.
When is the last time you played Galaga?
John C. Reilly: I played it about two weeks at the pizza place by my house.
Was Ralph always going to be a Donkey Kong like character? Were there other ideas for what Ralph could have been, any other video game icons?
John C. Reilly: They were working on it for a long time before I was asked to be involved. I knew that he was going to be a bad guy, and that he was going to wreck stuff. What life form he was going to take was kind of up in the air when I signed on. He was going to be this kind of caveman looking guy for a second. At one point he was this one-horned, yellow skinned weird alien looking thing. And then he settled into the kind of bumpkin that he is.
One of my favorite things in this movie was the townsfolk inside of the Wreck-it-Ralph game. They all move in a jerky 8-bit fashion - did you know that was going to happen? What other details did you like that Wreck-It-Ralph added?
John C. Reilly: We had a lot of conversations about what the rules of the universe was going to be in the game. There's different levels of stuff, and there's a consistency throughout each game. There's what the characters act like when they're playing the game, and what they act like behind the scenes, when they're sort of letting their hair down, there's a little more fluidity to their movement then.
There's a lot of heart between your character and Vanellope von Schweetz but it's not a romantic relationship. Can you describe the bond these two characters have?
John C. Reilly: They're kind of Older Brother, Younger Sister. Kind of [does voices] "Shut up - no, you shut up." I think one of the reasons they are both so grumpy with each other is that they're both on a fairly selfish quest. She wants a racer, he wants to get this medal. And the only reason that they come together. The only real reason they come together, at first, is because they think the other person might help them accomplish that goal. And of course as they get to know each other, they realize they care about each other.
Now hear me out… is Wreck-It-Ralph really a story about Keynesian economics because he tears down buildings and thus creates jobs for fix-it felix jr? So he's a job creator because he forces felix to build infrastructure?
John C. Reilly: You're really getting deep into this. Were you smoking anything at the time you came up with this [theory]? I mean, yeah… Yeah, I guess so. That's one of the things that you learn in the movie. That's the reason the characters are forbidden from leaving their games because the games then cease to exist.
There are a lot of rules in this world. Like if you're left in the game, and your game is unplugged you disappear forever. What was your favorite rule Wreck-it-Ralph made up?
John C. Reilly: I thought it was kind of clever that they set up this rule, that if you die in another game, that is not your own, you die in real life.