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MONSTERS VS. ALIENS

Federal Government, Armed Forces
Gallaxhar is the power-hungry alien commander bent on annihilating the Earth's population and replacing the inhabitants with countless clones of himself. He can and will fire a beam that decimates anything in its path.

Letterman asserts, "He's the ultimate megalomaniac, because he wants to take over the universe with copies of himself. We thought Rainn Wilson would be so perfect, as he could give a new take on that alien overlord villain thing. We really wanted Gallaxhar to be a unique villain.”

Wilson himself discloses, "This has been an incredible process, because I've never done an animated film before. Early on, we were just playing around with the character and trying to find it. At first, the alien was much more comedic and we did a lot of funny voice stuff. And then they realized that no—especially in the second half of the movie—he's got to be a real threat; they wanted the voice to be much more menacing and evil. So we took the stuff that we had been playing with and focused it into a force of pure megalomaniacal evil. That's kind of where it came from.”

The process of creating and recording Gallaxhar soon took on a yin and yang component, as the actor and the filmmakers began to trade ideas. According to Vernon: "Rainn actually came in and really helped with the character and the dialogue—it was a springboard back-and-forth. He would say something, it would put another line in our head, he would springboard off of that, and it was a lot of great give-and-take with him.” Adds Wilson, "I love what they can do in animation, because usually, the stakes are very high. I mean here, the stakes are life and death…the survival of the planet Earth—and they took it very seriously, but yet, there is such silliness at the same time, and such absurdity. I love it when life and death just flips into something really silly.”

Life and death issues handled in a humorous fashion…fertile ground from which to develop the character of The President. To voice the Leader of the Free World, one actor the filmmakers did not immediately consider—Stephen Colbert. Rob Letterman explains how that bit of casting came about: "Before Stephen Colbert was the ‘Stephen Colbert' he is today, we watched his White House press corps roast of George W. Bush. He was so amazing that we had to immediately fly out to meet him. We went into his office and said that we wanted to do this animated movie, and nobody was asking him to do movies at the time. He was the nicest guy—and had all this great stuff in his library, this collection of gadgets and toys. He really connected with the characters and got all the references that we had in the film. It was just the perfect meeting. He said, ‘Yes' on the spot.”

Colbert doesn't deny it, but he does admit, "I'm not qualified to play The President. I'm qualified to play a cartoon president. There's a big difference. I hope. He's loud. He's very sure of his decisions…but not sure of his information. But he doesn't keep the information from coloring his decisions. He easily panics, which is nice. And he's quick to apologize.”

Colbert's razor-sharp wit was also given free reign to ad-lib during the recording of his scenes, and often, gems would emerge, several of which wound up in the film. In one sequence, once the alien robot begins the attack, The President pulls out a pistol and, firing at the invader, screams, "Eat lead, alien robot!” When the bullets have no effect, he counters, "Huh, apparently, they eat lead.” Letterman says, "We were always animating around things that just came out during Stephen's recording sessions.” But how did Colbert find an appropriately presidential voice? "To find a voice for The President, I tried to be just as declarative and as authoritative as I could without actually thinking about anything I was saying. The result:

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