Patton Oswalt is your favorite actor who knows everything. But where? The Star Wars filibuster about Parks and Recreation? A cameo as a video employee at Seinfeld? The best of young adults? Remy de Ratatouille? Yes, yes, yes and absolutely yes.
Oswalt has been a lot of fun on the big and small screens for decades, and is now delving deeper into the Marvel universe. The comic is no stranger to the realm of superheroes (don’t forget SHIELD Agents), but is a star, writer, and executive producer of the new MODOK on Hulu (May 21), an adult-oriented animated series focused on the titular supervillain who wants to take over the world while being undeniably fallible and relatable. Part Age of Ultron, part Pinky and the Brain, feels completely like Patton Oswalt.
And from what he tells us, it looks like it won’t be his last Marvel project.
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It’s been a while a lover of cinemas and movies. What do you think of the return of theaters?
I’m happy! I can not wait. I want to see a movie with strangers in the dark, be part of that massive mind. You have different reactions to a movie. There’s your reaction, but when you see other people reacting to a movie around you, it’s so exciting.
What excites you the most when you re-enter the cinema?
The lights just go out and the movie starts and this screen takes over the world.
MODOK from Marvel is billed as an “adult” series. What kind of adult content can we expect?
Definitely some of the violence, some of the motivations. He goes into the most embarrassing and sticky areas of being a supervillain, but also wanting to live a normal life and how that sometimes disagrees with you.
Does it feel different from some other comic-related things you’ve done?
Well, he wrote a lot, so it was different. I didn’t just go in and read lines. I had my opinion on what was to be said and what was to be done. It just seemed like a much more initial process to me.
Did he feel like your baby?
Definitely. I had so much more.
How did you feel about getting into it?
Writing it, producing it, being much more practical with all aspects. Marvel is such a massive playground, a toy box to go and stay in, so we’ll see what else they let me do.
Yes, it’s a big sandbox. You’re so good with the camera and as a voice actor. Are there any you prefer?
No, I like what a good project it is. So if it happens to be voice-over or live action – whatever is interesting to me, that’s what I want to do.
I talked to friends over the weekend and said, “I’m going to interview Patton Oswalt, that’s amazing!” Two people knew who you were and they were so battered, and then everyone else asked, “What is it about?” What do you think is your level of fame?
[Laughs] My level of fame is “It’s not you … What was …” That’s my level of fame.
It’s more than my level of fame!
It’s actually a good level. This level is fine.
So can you go to the supermarket?
You still go to a movie, you go to a bookstore. I’m happy.
Are there any movies or shows that people shout at when they see you on the street?
It depends on where you are. It could be King of Queens, it could be Ratatouille.
I think a lot of people don’t realize that you’ve been devoting your time to the show for a long time. You were on Seinfeld. What was different about working in the 90s compared to now?
I think now everyone has to be their own brand just for all social media. You were then hired to do a job and you tried to do the best job you could, but you had no responsibility to constantly sell it, promote it, and share assets. Now it is: be part of the promotional machine.
Do you do Instagram?
I have a Twitter, and that’s it.
This interview has been edited for more content and clarity.
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