Music

Josh Gad: "The 1980s reminds people of a happier period"

Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf in Frozen, thaws out as he reminisces about the Cold War and joystick battles with everyday geeks

You are best known (and maybe always will be) as the voice of Olaf the snowman in Frozen. Are you tired of people asking if you like warm hugs yet?

Getting there.

Moving on then, you’re starring in Pixels, where computer game characters are invading Earth…

In 1982 there’s a video game competition in which my, Adam Sandler’s, Peter Dinklage’s and Kevin James’ characters compete. Nasa puts footage from that in a space capsule. Cut to present day, aliens have received the message and misinterpreted it as a declaration of war. So they come and attack us, taking on the form of videogames like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.

Why would aliens do that?

Well, here’s the real question – why wouldn’t they do that?

Fair point. What was your favourite game growing up?

I was more of a Nintendo guy. For me it was Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!, things like that. When I was young my brothers would drag me to this place called Grand Prix Race-O-Rama in Florida. It was a massive arcade and we would all gather round and cheer people on as they tried to break high scores. I remember that period vividly.

The film relies on a lot of nostalgia from the 1980s. It has taken a while but why has that decade finally become cool?

We’re living in a disconcerting era and that was a more innocent time. When you’re waking up to some of the terrible news stories we endure, people are looking for escapism. The 1980s reminds people of a happier period, and it’s good to get lost in that.

Were the 1980s really any less disconcerting?

I always laugh about the fact people forget about the Cold War, Iran-Contra and the spread of HIV… We always look back and go – oh those were the years, what’s happened?!

Is it nice for a film to have normal people saving the world?

It is a nice change of pace. There are so many superhero movies now, so many sequels. These are just everyday geeks whose superpower is that they’re really good with a joystick.

That is not the kind of superpower that would get you into the Avengers.

I don’t know, we’re quickly running out of Avengers and superpowers. I can’t even keep track of who does what any more.

Your character Ludlow falls in love with a computer game character brought to life. Which fictional character would you like to be real so you could hit on them?

Jessica Rabbit is the one I certainly had a crush on growing up. A very sexy and sultry woman – a rabbit in this case.

Good choice. Mine would probably be Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

Your dream will come true in two years.

Oh yes, Disney is making a live action version and you are in it. Will it really be my dream come true?

It’s really incredible and magical. It has captured everything that audiences would hope for and it does so in a way that is absolutely reverential to the original but manages to carve out its own path as well.

Speaking of Disney princesses, which would you choose – Elsa or Anna?

Oh I can’t answer that question, they’re like sisters to me! That’s incestuous.

Pixels is out now in cinemas

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