Up’s Jordan Nagai talks Mr. Fredrickson, wilderness, and Africa!

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Thu, Nov 5 - 7:29 pm EDT | 8 years ago by
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    Jordan Nagai The delightful family movie “Up” hits DVD and Blu-ray on Nov. 10, 2009. I thought it was a really well done movie; a little sad in spots (ok, downright weepy!), but a great movie with lots to say. Read my review of “Up” here.

    I caught up with Jordan Nagai, who voices the part of Russell the Wilderness Explorer in the film. He’s enthusiastic and energetic – not unlike his on-screen counterpart – and they even look alike, don’t they?

    Read on for Jordan’s thoughts on making “Up” and running an obstacle course before his recording sessions.

    Tell us about your new movie, “Up.”

    “Up” is about a young wilderness explorer called Russell. Russell needs his last wilderness explorer badge – the Assisting The Elderly Badge – so he goes to his elderly neighbor, Mr. Fredricksen, to see if he can get it.

    What happens when Russell meets Mr. Fredricksen?

    Mr. Fredricksen has just lost his wife and he is about to lose his house, so he decides to go on an adventure by attaching balloons to his home. He sails into the sky, but Russell accidentally goes along for the ride.

    More after the jump…

    jordan_nagai_russell_upTell us a little about Russell?

    Russell is an active, enthusiastic and determined 8-year-old boy. He loves animals and he loves the wilderness, so he has a great time exploring when they land near Paradise Falls. Russell is a funny, helpful and smart boy — and he wants to get this last badge to please his father.

    What is Mr. Fredricksen like?

    Mr. Fredricksen is grumpy and he doesn’t like going outside. Russell loves being outside and he loves running around, so they’re opposites. Russell has only been to museums. He’s never experienced the forest for real, so this is his first trip into a wilderness.

    What are your favorite things about Russell?

    I like the way that he’s funny. He makes a lot of jokes, and he sometimes shows off what he knows from his wilderness explorer camp. He shows Carl – Mr. Fredricksen – different knots and the different calls of animals.

    Are you anything like Russell? 

    We both love animals and I’m pretty determined at getting things that I really want. I’d love to explore the wilderness too!

    How did you get the part of Russell?

    The principal at my school sent out an email to all students saying there was an audition for 9 and 10 year old boys. My brother was 9 years old at the time and he went to the audition, so I went along with him. Even though I was only 7 years old, I was allowed to do the audition, too. I did several auditions after that, and finally, I got the part!

    Was it hard recording your voice in the sound booth?

    It wasn’t very difficult, but I had to repeat the same lines over and over again. I also had to stand for a long time, so it was a little tiring. The director – Pete Docter (read my Q&A here) – tried to make it easier for me, so I took a lot of breaks. I had a lot of fun recording the voice!

    Did you do anything special to prepare for the recording sessions?

    Before some recordings, I’d do jumping jacks or I’d run around the studio to pump up my energy. When I needed to be excited, Pete would make obstacle courses for me to run around, too!

    What was your funniest moment from the recording sessions?

    There was one time when I needed to laugh, so Pete held me upside down and tickled me. That was really funny.

    Is it weird to hear your voice coming out of a cartoon character?

    It’s pretty weird, but it’s cool too.

    What do your friends think of your new fame?

    They are all very excited for me. We went to see the movie together on opening day. They like the movie a lot, and they think that I’m very lucky.

    Have you always wanted to be an actor?

    It wasn’t my plan, but I really enjoyed working on “Up.” 

    What other films would you like to star in?

    “Toy Story” would be a great movie to work on. My brother and I have always liked “Toy Story.” I think it’s really cool when the toys come alive and have their own adventure.

    What do you like to do in your spare time?

    I like to swim and play basketball. I also love judo. I like the drum and the guitar!

    Russell heads off to South America in the movie … Is there any place you’d like to visit?

    I would like to go to Africa. I want to go on safari and see the wild animals, like the cheetah. That would be very cool!

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    Images: ©Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved; INF

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