Astro Boy star Kristen Bell explains why we'll fall in love with the movie's robot hero, in this exclusive video interview. And at the movie's panel, the director revealed Samuel L. Jackson is playing a killer robot.
In the movie's panel, director David Bowers revealed that Samuel L. Jackson will be playing a robot named Zog, a mean junkyard robot, who has a small but pivotal role in the film. In general, Bowers said the new movie sticks very close to the original and features a "very emotional" origin story. Astro Boy may have been created in the 1950s, but he's very modern for his time.
So Bell plays Cora, a new character who's not in the original series, who becomes a foil for Astro Boy. She's suspicious of him at first, but eventually they form a great friendship. Cora is "sassy and opinionated," and has a very hard exterior but a soft interior.
Apparently the film includes the classic lines "Status of bodily fluids: Sudden release." and "I've got machine guns in my butt."
In the roundtable interviews after the panel, we asked Bell and Astro Boy actor Freddie Highmore about the Pinocchio factor. Why are so many robot stories about robots that want to be human, and how do you bring something new to that story.
I think there is the basis in Pinocchio [is] the fact that you've got a kid who is human but wants to be accepted as a normal kid. But there's a barrier stopping him from doing so. Pinocchio is made of wood and in Astro Boy he's a robot. I think the reason that theme seems to reoccur is because we all have something different about us, and that's why we can identify with Astro Boy as well. We've all got something that makes us stick out. We try to — not completely smother it — but use it in a way that makes us able to fit in with our surroundings, at the same time. We all want to be accepted as just another normal human being, in a group of human beings, in society, or in Astro Boy's case, in a family.
I think it's also a lot about not looking at what makes you different, but what makes you unique. [Laughs] Soundbite, deal with it.