Ron’s Gone Wrong is 20th Century Studios newest animated film set in the not too distant future. In the world of Ron’s Gone Wrong kids all have a B-Bot meant to help them make friends, but Barney’s doesn’t quite work the way it is supposed to. Ron’s Gone Wrong takes a look at real friendship in the age of social media.
The Illuminerdi had the opportunity to attend the Ron’s Gone Wrong virtual press conference where Sarah Smith, co-writer and director, and Peter Baynham, co-writer, talked about the inspiration behind Ron’s Gone Wrong.
“For me, it sounds ridiculous for an animated movie, but actually the idea of it came to me when I saw Her, the Spike Jonze film, and I thought, I’ve got to make a movie like that for my three-year-old. Who is sitting there immersed in her iPad, believing every single thing that she’s reading or hearing on it, including which is the best fabric softener, etc.
And, for me, I don’t know why people make movies for grownups, right? Who do we really care most about in our lives? It’s our children and our families. And I, as a filmmaker, want to make movies that I can watch with my kids. That is proper ‘movie’ movies, with ideas that are sophisticated, something for us to talk about and obviously hilarious.
And so, the two things going on in my household is my kid going through, as all children do, the issues of friendship, and at the same time us as parents going, how do we help them in this world in which friendship is mediated by technology? So that was my emotional worthy reason for wanting to make the film. And then when I pitched the idea of it to Pete, and he said, well, how about if the device is basically an idiot that can’t get upstairs? So, Pete brought the comedy idiot in!”
Peter Baynham explained why he wanted to use the concept of malfunctioning technology as the comedic element of Ron’s Gone Wrong.
“I was really excited to have a story because, once Sarah mentioned this, we talked about a boy and robot story. You look at them and they’re all set in some imagined future. And we thought, no, have this now because that’s what kids and adults and everyone is going through now. And then, like we said, like Sarah said, to have this being an idiot. You know, this kid and it’s everyone, I’m like this with a printer, I want to throw it out the window because it doesn’t work.
And I remember being as a kid, I would get some crap version of what every kid gets. And you’re just so frustrated and to have a friend that doesn’t actually function, that’s not connected to the internet, that’s got four percent of its download. That just became a fantastic, you know, it’s funny, just a clownish character, but then it’s a blank canvas, and then he can gradually go along. And I think, with Ron, what Zach did so brilliantly was to then take this character, that’s almost blank, and just keeps repeating things back to you, but then that to become this comedic joy. It was just such a fun, fun thing to take on.”
ZACH GALIFAINAKIS TALKS ABOUT THE CHALLENGES IN FINDING RON’S VOICE FOR RON’S GONE WRONG
While the broken robot likely began as strictly comedic, it grew into a much deeper part of the character in Ron’s Gone Wrong. Zach Galifianakis talked about finding the right voice for Ron during the press conference. He explained that it couldn’t sound robotic, but he couldn’t be very emotional in his performance either.
“I think that, that was a joint effort, to find that voice. Sometimes I would be too emotional, I think, and then I would get feedback from the booth like, “That’s too…we’re hearing a little crack of emotion there”. And I thought, “God, I think I’m doing this wrong.”
I saw the buyer’s remorse in Sarah’s face. No. But I think honestly, it was a little tricky just to find it because you don’t want to do a robot. Obviously, they didn’t want that. They wanted more of my voice. But then how do you walk that line of not too much emotion, but likeable or lovable? So, I had a lot of help, really, because I needed it.
Also, it’s a tone thing too, in an animated thing there’s a lot of it. There’s a lot of imagination that’s required in the beginning, because you don’t see a lot of visual stuff quite at the beginning. You’ve been told what’s happening and that’s a little bit of it. Sometimes it’s a little challenge, but honestly, I had help and they were very patient with me, which was, you know, when you don’t know what you’re doing like me, it’s helpful.”
Zach managed an impressive balancing act with his performance in Ron’s Gone Wrong managing to infuse the performance with pathos while still sounding authentically like a robot. The team behind Ron’s Gone Wrong is clearly passionate about the film and the message behind it. The film seems to have a lot of personal meaning for the creators which shines through on screen while still being a truly hilarious depiction of an unlikely, but true friendship.
Ron’s Gone Wrong is set to hit theaters October 22, 2021. Are you going to see Ron’s Gone Wrong? What do you think about Sarah Smith and Peter Baynham’s inspiration for the film? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media.