(PCM) Sitting in a sound booth to perform the voice of the Troll Guy Diamond, film, TV and theater actor Kunal Nayyar tried to imagine how his movie “Trolls” would be when completed.
The 35-year-old Nayyar is one versatile actor. In “Trolls,” he plays a gray glittery Troll, who is always naked. He recently finished starring in a play in London’s West End, and he is best known for his major role of astrophysicist Raj in TV’s multi-Emmy-award-winning show, “The Big Bang Theory.”
“Trolls,” is about a group of overly optimistic singing, dancing and hugging Trolls get together there seems to be no limit to what they can achieve, despite any obstacles that get in their way.
This is the extremely uplifting message of “Trolls,” the new smart, funny, and irreverent comedy about the search for happiness, and just how far some of us will go to get it. From Dreamworks and 20th Century Fox, the movie opened Friday, just in time for the upcoming holiday season.
In addition, there’s the hair –bright, candy-colored coifs grown to gravity-defying heights, the hallmark and crowning glory of Trolls everywhere.
The movie includes a great deal of toe-tapping music, including several new songs written by Justin Timberlake. The glittery computer-animated film transports audiences to a fast-paced,eye-popping, and colorful world of singing and dancing Trolls; led by Princess Poppy, and the comically pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have Trolls in their stomachs.
After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious, curmudgeonly Branch, (Timberlake), set off on a journey to rescue her many Troll friends, each with his or her own unique personality.
Their mission is full of hair-raising adventure and mishaps; as this mismatched duo try to tolerate each other long enough to get the job done. The extensive A-list voice cast in the film, includes: James Corden, Gwen Stefani, Chrstine Baranski, Jeffrey Tambor, and Zooey Deschanel.
PCM: I wanted to tell you that I saw “Trolls” the other day with my 10-year-old son, it was an adorable,colorful movie that made me sing and dance all the way home
Kunal Nayyar: Well, that’s wonderful. You sound very excited about it.
PCM: Yes. I am very excited. So tell me, what do you like most about this movie?
KN: I think what I appreciate most is the message that love can conquer hate and the fact that you can bring your children and your parents — several generations of one family — and still have a wonderful time, the music, the dancing. It’s a feel great movie; to be honest. It’s a great movie, and we don’t have a lot of movies like this right now, and I think it’s going to make all of us feel wonderful.
PCM: Were you familiar with trolls? I actually played with them when I was a little girl and have fond memories of doing so.
KN: I knew the trolls. I didn’t play with them, but I knew, of course, of the dolls and the hair. But when this came about I didn’t know that it was going to be such a wonderful, beautiful,and glitzy musical, which is one of the treats that people are going to find very exciting; that it’s not only just an animation movie, but the music is incredible.
PCM: I agree. I definitely agree.Everybody was dancing in their seats and dancing up and down the aisles on their way out of the movie theater.
KN: I love to hear that.
PCM: Now, one of the messages that I heard, and you’ve already eluded to, is happiness is already there,sometimes you need someone to help you find it. Do you agree with that? Do you believe that?
KN: Absolutely. I think that it’s a reminder that we all need because, as human beings, we’re not perfect, and we go through times in our life when we need a reminder, and when you’re surrounded by people who remind you that things always work out in the end.
PCM: Would you say in general,since we’re talking about optimism, that you’re more of a glass half full than a glass half empty kind of guy?
KN: I’ve never completely understood that phrase to be honest, but I would absolutely say I’m someone who is an optimistic person.
PCM: Okay, makes sense. Now you’ve had an amazing career so far, and you’re still young, but I’m sure there have been rejections and things that didn’t work out.
KN: Yes, absolutely. To be optimistic,to be happy are things that are beyond success and failure. I think that if you’re successful, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be happy, and if you’re not successful, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be sad. I think we have to understand that success is not based on your bank account or your balance sheet or how many awards you have won, but it’s going to be based on the legacy that you leave behind; all the happiness, love, and charity. That’s what I value as important.
PCM: How did you wrap your head around your character; your very glittery character?
KN: Well, in the early stages, I didn’t know exactly what this character was going to be. I sat with Walt and Mike in the studio, and we tried to discover this guy that they wanted me to play, and I think what we settled on was really a close version of who I am as a person, which I think is always a lot more effective than just playing a character. Going into this I didn’t know what to expect. So figuring this out is something we only found together in the studio.
PCM: Now, I understand after speaking to other voice actors on films like this that you don’t always record together. Did you record alone or were you with any of your co-stars?
KN: I recorded alone with the directors and the producers.
PCM: I’m assuming you have seen the final version of the movie. How is that different from what you may have expected or imagined?
KN: To be honest, when you watch the movie, it’s difficult to imagine that world without seeing it; if that makes any sense. I think that when I saw it for the first time I was incredibly surprised at how alive the environment felt. I didn’t know how much of nature and sort of the fuzzy insects, and the animals, and the hair, and the glitter,you know without watching the ambition, it was always difficult to imagine, but when I saw it, it all came together in my mind.
PCM: I’m sure when you were younger you thought about some success and some kind of career, and it’s really become very big and very exciting with Big Bang and some of your movies and animation and theater, what’s kind of the sweetest part of all of it if you can boil it down?
KN: It’s a good question. I think when you’re right in this like I am just I’m living my life, it’s difficult sometimes to take a step back and say what the sweetest point of it was or is. I think I’m so consumed by waking up every morning and trying to be better as an actor or be better as a person or be a better husband or better at everything that I think maybe not it’s not the best thing, but I think that I’m not sure really what the sweetest moment was.
PCM: Does anything come to mind?
KN: To be completely honest, one of the sweetest moments was having my parents being so proud of me. I think that would be the sweetest moment of this ride. Maybe that fame hasn’t changed me as much as you would think it would; or something that I’ve managed to be able to stay the same person and having them be proud of that. Maybe that’s the sweetest thing about all of this.
PCM: Switching gears for a moment, are you close friends with your Big Bang co-stars?
KN: Yes, we’re a family.Definitely, very, very close.
PCM: Well, you talked about your parents being proud, so what’s it like kind of watching the show or taking them with you on that part of that ride
KN: That’s fun to watch them to sort of see this world and still be themselves, which I think is hilarious because, obviously, they might not understand all the etiquette about this Hollywood world; because they will always just be my parents, which I think is very sweet. They love the show, obviously. They’re very proud of Big Bang, and they’re dying to see Trolls; which I think they’re going to be proud of. So it’s extremely fun for us. We dreamt about all this together, so sharing it as a family is really wonderful. We dreamt about all of this as a family. I’m sure my parents dreamt about their children going off and doing things that they’re proud of, so it’s really fun to share it with them.
PCM: Why do you want people to see Trolls? What do you hope they’ll get out of it?
KN: I think that the world really needs a dose of glitter and happiness and music, and I think in whatever mood you come in; whatever is going on in your life or in your day, when you come and watch this movie you’re going to leave a better person, a happier person, a person that believes in love, a person that believes in sort of the true essence of what humanity is about, and I think that’s what this movie is going to provide for everyone.
PCM: If I gave you a couple hours where you really didn’t have to do anything work-wise, would you be listening to music, would you go hiking, how would you spend those couple hours chilling out?
KN: I’d probably go play some golf.
PCM: Are you any good at the game?
KN: I mean it’s golf; is anyone any good? It depends on the day.
PCM: Do you have anything else coming up besides Big Bang Theory, anything on the horizon?
KN: Well, not yet. I just finished a play in London in the West End with Jesse Eisenberg, which we did this summer, and when I finished that I started shooting Big Bang in August, so that’s sort of what I’m consumed with for now. Oh, and my book that came out last year just came out in paperback called, “Yes, My Accent Is Real.” After that, I’m not really sure. But I can honestly say I love all of it.
PCM: How do you stay the same person and not have success kind of go to your head?
KN: I think it’s about the people that you surround yourself with. I’ve had the same friends, I’ve had for the longest time before Big Bang Theory, and before any of this. I think being surrounded by people who know you, who you trust, who you’re loyal to, who are loyal to you, these are the people who will continue to keep you grounded because it’s an industry that can build you up and tear you down, and you have to be ready for both the highs and the lows, and the only way to do that is to surround yourself with people who knew you before you were anything, and my friends always keep me grounded. To them, I’m just Kunal, and to my family, I’m just Kunal, and that’s the most important thing.