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THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE

About The Production

Now the question on everyone's minds was who could possibly embody the former Miss Transylvania Natasha Fatale and fellow No-Goodnik Boris Badenov on the big screen?

Rosenthal admits, "In terms of Natasha, there were some obvious choices, but Rene wasn't the most obvious. When Kenny and I were working on the script, we had always envisioned Rene in some way, so we were thrilled to find out she was interested."

"At the table reading, I was so nervous," Russo recalls. "I walked in the door and there was June Foray. She did the original voice of Natasha and I thought, ‘Oh good, they have June here to make me look like an idiot. I asked June if she could read a couple of lines for me, and she did, she was so gracious. So I got the accent down, the Russian accent, for which I lowered my voice."

And there were just a handful of people who could emulate Boris in a real specific way," continues Rosenthal, "but when we looked around, Jason was our first and only choice."

As the resident villain, "the world's greatest No-Goodnik," who has never quite been able to rid the world of Moose and Squirrel (poor schnooknik!), the role of Badenov presented Alexander with quite a challenge.

"It was very hard to work with Rene. She's very tall, and I find that difficult," jokes Alexander, who may have been born to play the bumbling European rogue. "Actually, we were like two little kids. It was very similar to working with Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld, the difference being that Julia and I had nine years of rapport. Rene and I had about nine weeks!"

Russo compares their pairing to, "a classic comedy team. Jason's just so easy to work with, so responsive. If I did something improvised, he was right there. He's great with improvisation. When we started the first day, I realized we were good together, that we played it well together, and that was fun!"

Alexander continues, "It was a very nice, easy, loose, fun relationship. And, thank God, because we we're joined at the hip for the entire film."

The role of the demonic dictator—one of the nastiest villains in the history of children's television—whose plan for world domination hinges on the elimination of Rocky and Bullwinkle and the creation of a TV network so awful, that its programming will vegetate viewers, was not an obvious choice for De Niro.

"When we developed the project, I always told Bob, ‘You can be Fearless Leader,' just thinking that it could be a role that he could have fun with," Rosenthal admits. "Remember, a number of actors had done the Batman movies and Dick Tracy, and Bob always thought it would have been fun to do those kinds of characters, cartoon-like roles. So, I guess we always had him in mind.

Like his fellow actors, De Niro had limited interaction opposite his invisible co-stars. "Actually, Boris and Natasha were pretty fortunate in that we didn't have too much exchange with Rocky and Bullwinkle," Alexander submits. "You know, stage training kind of prepares you for that. If you're doing monologues, talking to people that aren't really there, it's not that daunting."

"I've had some experience with material like this," Alexander continues. "I don't know that Bob ever has, so for him, it was a whole new world and maybe required more effort for him to be silly. I can be silly at the drop of a hat. And, my reputation was not on the line. His was, so I think he was a little "verklempt" as we say. But we had a really fun time with him. He did become a rather imposing Fearless Leader."

Adds Russo, "I was fortunate because I got to do most of my work with Jason and Robert. I think the h

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