Directed by Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska and written by franchise creator Genndy Tartakovsky, the animated feature film Hotel Transylvania: Transformania follows Drac (this time voiced by Brian Hull, taking over for Adam Sandler) and his monster pals as Van Helsing’s “Monsterification Ray” transforms them all into humans and Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg) into a monster. Racing around the globe to find a cure that will set them back to who they’re supposed to be, Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez, who’s also an executive producer) tries to help them sort it all out before their transformations become permanent, forever altering them.
During this press conference to promote what is being billed as the final chapter of the Hotel Transylvania film series, co-stars Samberg and Gomez talked about Johnny’s unique transformation, touching on real things in a crazy way, the fun of playing characters they’ve gotten to know over ten years, the surprise of having this franchise continue on for so long, and what they’ll miss most about playing these characters and working with each other.
Question: Andy, how much were you aware of what your new character design would look like and what was your reaction to seeing your new design?
ANDY SAMBERG: I love the new design. Johnny becomes monsterificationized, I believe is the correct word. He basically goes full Burning Man backpacker meets Godzilla, which is something that I dreamed about looking like, as a child, anyhow. It was a dream come true for me.
Selena, we’ve loved watching Mavis grow and mature over the last three films. What can fans expect from her, this time around?
SELENA GOMEZ: It’s been such a pleasure, playing this character and growing up. It was so long ago when this started and I was in a different phase of my life, so it’s wonderful to be able to grow with this character. She’s always worrying, and that matches my personality really well. I just want things to run smoothly. I actually understand what it’s like to have differences between family members. It’s nice that we’re touching on such a real thing, but in such a crazy way. It’s fun.
You’ve brought this outsider character to life for awhile now. What advice do you have for those who, in real life, are struggling to fit in and to be like everyone else?
GOMEZ: That’s a loaded question. I could give you the, “Believe in yourself,” kind of answer, but it’s a challenge. Every day, you wake up and sometimes you can’t sit there and make a choice. Sometimes you do feel those feelings, and I think it’s important to take moments and breaks from social media, personally. I think it’s just nice to be present and be with yourself for a bit. You don’t need a lot of friends and a lot of people around you to be cool. I have four friends and I think we’re the coolest. We’re definitely not, but it feels that way when we’re together.
Andy, what are the challenges in trying to bring comedic timing to an animated role?
SAMBERG: It’s not particularly challenging. We’re on the fourth one. You’ve seen the style of animation they do, which in my opinion, is one of the greatest things about these movies. It’s so fun and exaggerated, and obviously kids love it, but when I watch it, it just makes me giggle to see the expressions and gesticulations they give all of the characters. This time around, doing the recording, you pretty much know that they want you to go huge and insane, and then they are gonna push that even further with the way they animate it. It’s very freeing. You’re not gonna get a note like, “Come on, buddy, that was too much.”
GOMEZ: It’s never too much.
SAMBERG: Yeah, you never bring it down.
Andy, did you ever think this franchise would last this long and lead to three sequels, like it has?
SAMBERG: No, but I’m glad. I’m really glad it did. The reason is because kids love them so much. That’s the real bottom line with these movies, which makes it such an easy call. They’re just so infused with joy and positivity. Everyone grew up loving these classic monsters. It’s a new spin on it and it’s really fun for families. That’s why it’s endured.
If this is the final Hotel Transylvania movie, what will you miss most?
SAMBERG: I don’t like to admit that it’s over. If we say it’s done, we’re just caving to Sony. I don’t know. I’ll miss it all. It’s been such a fun thing to do. I’ll miss the junkets.
GOMEZ: I didn’t enjoy working with Andy at all, actually. No. I remember that I was really excited to meet Andy because I’d watched all of SNL growing up. The first time, being able to sit down with him, he made it so fun and easy. If anything, he’s helped me relax more and feel a little bit more normal. He also had my back when they asked me a dating question at a junket. I don’t do those and Andy answered for me, which was nice.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is available to stream at Prime Video on January 14th.
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