FSM Media

by Dianna Ranere

Interview | Zazie Beetz and Lilly Singh from The Bad Guys

Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz) in DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

This Friday, April 22nd, The Bad Guys hits theaters.

After a lifetime of legendary heists, notorious criminals Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Shark and Ms. Tarantula are finally caught. To avoid a prison sentence, the animal outlaws must pull off their most challenging con yet — becoming model citizens. Under the tutelage of their mentor, Professor Marmalade, the dubious gang sets out to fool the world that they’re turning good.

Lilly Singh and Zazie Beetz attend a special photo call for The Bad Guys on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 in West Hollywood, CA. (photo:Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

I was invited along with other bloggers to interview Zazie Beetz who played Diane Foxington and Lilly Singh who played Tiffany Fluffit.

Marc Maron as Mr. Snake and Sam Rockwell as Mr. Wolf in The Bad Guys

If you could be any other character in the film besides the one that you are, who would it be and why?

Lilly Singh: I 100% would be Diane. I would literally be
Foxington because she’s so hot and cool and I want to be her.

Zazie Beetz: I think I would really like to play Snake because I just feel like he’s really going through it and having a hard time. I kind of want to be there for him and with him.

Did you have a favorite scene in the movie?


DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

Zazie Beetz: I love the scene when Mr. Wolf is saving the kitty, it just kind of made me emotional. I don’t know, it kind of really hit me hard. Much harder than I expected. I have a cat and the way she was meowing, it was like, oh, that’s my cat.

Lilly Singh: I thought what was most enjoyable for me was all the comedy that made me laugh out loud. I knew it was going to be good, it was gonna be funny, but, as an adult, I was like, oh, maybe I’ll think it’s cute, but I thought it was hysterical at moments.

One of the themes in the film is judgment, and for young girls, or young women, we have to deal with that a lot. What would be your advice for young women having to deal with judgment?

Zazie Beetz: I think, and this is actually sort of what I took away from the film, are these other people aren’t leading your life. So, you really kind of have to dictate what you want to do and what you want to bring into the world. I do find any time that you do feel like you want to do something a little different or new and other people are naysaying, just go for it. The people that accept that you — are the people that you end up also attracting in your life. You end up opening so much more for yourself and you find out that you’re so much more resilient than you thought you were. Then, that judgment almost feels negligible.

Lilly Singh: I think, for me, I’ve analyzed judgment a lot, having a career, and I’m sure you might agree. You’re bloggers. There’s a lot of people online that have a lot of opinions. So, a lot of my career was founded on just people commenting on every part of my life, and so I had to really think about judgment and analyze it and what I concluded was that judgment involves someone else telling me what they think the truth is and then, the reason it would get to me was because I would then give them permission to tell me that. So, I would give people who have never met me permission to tell me who I was. So, in that equation the part where someone else tells me something — that’s probably not gonna change. I can’t control that person. But what I can control is me giving that person permission. That’s what I’ve been trying to work on. So that’s really what has helped me, not giving them (people) that power and instead placing that power within me.

What does this movie teach to the viewer?

DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

Lilly Singh: I think this movie is so timely especially with the internet and just the way headlines and media and all that stuff goes on down today, everything is usually very black and white. It’s usually good-bad, yes-no, wrong-right, and I don’t think humans can operate in these extremes. I don’t think people belong in one category or the other. I think people exist in this gray area of they need context and I think this movie teaches you that bad guys aren’t just bad. Everyone has context. Everyone deserves context. Everyone has lived experiences and I think we owe it to ourselves to treat each other like human beings and even though these are all animals in the movie, I think it is really about human nature and how we love to easily define and label.

Zazie Beetz: I completely agree with that. I also think that this movie encourages you to, you know, to be your highest self in whatever format that is, and to not allow an expectation or a narrative around you to dictate what you’re going to do with your life. I think that it encourages, as we were sort of discussing before, breaking out of molds that were made for you and to create your own mold and I think that that’s important as well.

What was the hardest challenge of making this movie?

Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz) and Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell) Piranha (Anthony Ramos) in DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

Zazie Beetz: I think the hardest challenge for me was finding Diane’s voice. It took a few sessions before we really honed in on her character and making her nuanced and introducing her background into who she is today. For me, I’m always, like, you can always feel when you’re like, oh, it’s not quite working and we’re trying to figure it out and so the first two sessions, it was like I don’t know if we’re totally landing this character. Once we finally did it was so clear and then we ended up kind of re-taping a bunch of stuff. So, for me, that I think was the hardest part for me.

Lilly Singh: I think, for me coming from the interwebs, I’m not used to things taking so long. You know what I mean? And so, we’ve been doing this voice-over work for like three years, probably. So, it took such a long time to do and each time I would do session, I’d be like wait, what is this scene about? Like, what is this part of the story? Animation is really, really hard work but that was tough for me to put myself back in that headspace again, after months and months would go by in between sessions.

What advice would you give to someone who would want to go into voice acting?

Lilly Singh voices Tiffany Fluffit in DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

Lilly Singh: I would say for me what makes voice acting really fun is giving myself the permission to play and be free. That’s why I love voice work so much. Because you’re not restricted by someone else’s performance. You’re not restricted by gravity or physical sets. You really can make this world, in your mind, and you can take things as high and low and outrageous as you want to make them. I would say my advice would be, if you want to get into voice acting, try to practice that principle in other things in your life — of being free and letting your imagination soar.

Whether it’s like trying new things, whether it’s how you hang out with your friends, or the types of conversations you have. Really open yourself up and that’ll really help in voice work.

How do the both of you relate to your characters?

(from left) Tiffany Fluffit (Lilly Singh) and Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade) in DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

Zazie Beetz: I would hope that I’m a good person like Diane, but that I can also not take everything so seriously. I think it can be easy to want to be good morally and want to do this and be the best at everything. But I think it’s important to remain grounded and to also understand that having, sort of, a mischievousness about you can also be an asset and I think that all character traits have a place in the world.

Lilly Singh: My answer is less eloquent. We’re both really extra. My character and I are so extra. We’re both over the top. I think I tapped into a lot of my earlier YouTube days when I did Tiffany, which is like the extreme expressions and the lots of hand motions and the exciting tone and cadence that’s kind of roller coaster. Like, oh my God, you won’t believe this! This is amazing! To try to get people’s attention, which is like kind of YouTube, in a way. So, I think I tapped into a lot of just that performative exciting, over-
the-top, crazy energy.

Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz) in DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

Were you able to adlib any of your lines?

Zazie Beetz:
I would be hard-pressed to find a scene that doesn’t have that. I think that is, sort of, the whole point, in voice work and I think in who they chose to cast. I think they really wanted us to flavor the characters. I feel like, for Diane, as I mentioned earlier, it took some time to find her and I think through play and through me, just riffing and throwing things in there and just changing my tone and changing lines, off the cuff, is what ultimately allowed us to really chisel her into who she is now. And, yes, so, I would say all the scenes. Especially, for me the ones with the Mr. Wolf character, where it’s really, it’s like bantering. It’s just kind of back and forth and the reactions have to feel quite fresh, so I think we would just throw stuff in.

Lilly Singh: Yes, and just to add on, I think the team and Pierre, the director, is so open to people playing. You know, it’s like, how would you do it? Add your own flare to it. So, I felt super welcomed and comfortable riffing and adding a little bit of flavor to all the lines, because creativity was the goal at the end of the day and no one was really precious about, like the exact words on the page, as long it felt right, which is always a nice work with.


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