News

Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers Star Andy Samberg on Making a Film That Rewards Superfans

The goal with the extremely meta comedy was to make "something we would, personally, really want to watch" says Samberg, who plays the goofy Chip to John Mulaney's more pragmatic Dale.

by | May 20, 2022 | Comments

Just when you think you can’t handle one more of Hollywood’s blatant attempts at capitalizing on a known IP through reboots and projects about lesser-known characters, something comes along that may actually make it work.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, which premieres May 20 on Disney+, tries this hat trick with a film that’s both a send-up of this trend as well as a look at the changing scape of animation in general. (In addition to briefly reprising his Lion King role as Pumba the warthog, Seth Rogen plays a motion-capture Viking dwarf from the early 2000s era of animated films and games who can never quite make eye contact.)

“When I’m making a movie like this, I’m trying to make it a crowd pleaser, so to speak,” film director Akiva Schaffer told Rotten Tomatoes of adapting Dan Gregor and Doug Mand’s extremely meta script about two cartoon chipmunks who live in a world where humans and animated characters coexist and who are also former best friends and former stars of their own show, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers — an actual show that did exist for three seasons on The Disney Channel. But in this world, Chip and Dale aren’t two anthropomorphic chipmunk detectives who solve crimes; they are two anthropomorphic chipmunks who once played characters who solved crimes.


(L-R): Dale (voiced by Andy Samberg) and Chip (voiced by John Mulaney) in Disney's live-action CHIP 'N DALE: RESCUE RANGERS, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

Schaffer means he wanted to create “90 minutes where the audience is very much in mind” and that even though the movie is streaming in homes, he wanted the “feeling of being in a big theater with a bunch of people reacting to the surprises and enjoying it together.”

To add to the meta-ness, Schaffer’s frequent collaborator and childhood friend Andy Samberg voices the character of Chip, the more carefree and goofy contrast to the John Mulaney–voiced Dale.

“This movie is right in line with a lot of stuff we’ve done in the past,” Samberg said, “Which is to say, we like making stuff that rewards people like us, who are people that like to watch a lot of stuff and know a lot about it and are huge fans of things. I think Kiv did with this what we what we always try to do, which is make something we would, personally, really want to watch after watching almost everything ever.”

It’s a kid’s movie, but it stays away from obvious material geared toward kids, meaning a toilet is only used for dramatic purposes and only once mention of the word “fart.” Schaffer says that there was “it was a conscious decision to take note of bathroom humor.”

In the film, the chipmunk friends have gone their separate ways since their show’s cancellation: Chip still trying to make a name for himself on the autograph-hound circuit where he hangs out with other has-beens like an earlier iteration of Sonic the Hedgehog from the 2020 film (voiced by Tim Robinson and not Ben Schwartz, who actually does voice the character in those films) and Dale killing it as a mild-mannered insurance salesman whose one true friend is his dog.

But cartoons are starting to disappear, including their friend Monterey Jack (Eric Bana). So Chip and a reluctant Dale team with KiKi Layne’s Ellie Whitfield, a rookie detective and avid Rescue Rangers fan, to try to crack the case.


Kiki Layne as "Ellie" in Disney's live-action CHIP 'N DALE: RESCUE RANGERS, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Hilary Bronwyn Gayle, SMPSP. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Hilary Bronwyn Gayle, SMPS/Disney Enterprises Inc.)

In real life, Rescue Rangers was a bit before 30-year-old Layne’s time. But the actress, who grew up on Nickelodeon cartoons like Rugrats and Hey Arnold!, said the beauty of this film is that “they grounded these animated characters in the real world. So we see them navigating real-world things that we all deal with, whether it be making sure you get home in time to feed your dog, or being at a job that you don’t really like.”

The film required a different skill set than her previous work in more serious dramas like If Beale Street Could Talk or Native Son, and she had to fully trust Schaffer’s vision.

“I was literally just looking at a piece of tape on the wall and being told, ‘OK, the green tape is Chip and the pink tape is Dale,'” she said.

But, she said, “something as real and human as looking at what does a friendship look like 30 years later and being able to connect to those really human things helped me to do my job a bit better.”

It’s also a show about two actors who can no longer get work in the industry; something that has not gone unnoticed by the actors or director — especially considering Samberg and Schaffer made their 2016 mockumentary music industry comedy Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping with their third childhood friend and frequent collaborator, Jorma Taccone.


(L-R): Dale (voiced by Andy Samberg) and Chip (voiced by John Mulaney) in Disney's live-action CHIP 'N DALE: RESCUE RANGERS, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

Rescue Rangers is more a story about friendship, but Samberg laughed that “Akiva loves projects about the industry. That’s what he’s gravitated toward. He’s a student of it.”

Layne added, “As an actor navigating this wild wild business, there were so many things that they referenced that I just feel. I understand what it’s like when you’re just waiting for your agents to call.”

It’s also the latest in a series of projects that feature Samberg playing a character wearing a Hawaiian shirt (the others include the rom-com Palm Springs and an episode of his comedy TV series Brooklyn Nine-Nine). Samberg has resigned himself to the comparisons, noting that “at least I wasn’t physically on camera this time.”

Schaffer and Samberg are also aware of the inevitable comparisons the film will have to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the seminal 1988 film that also mixes human and cartoon characters from various studios and also involves disappearing ‘toons. It’s so unavoidable that Roger, and his dance moves, are even referenced in Rescue Rangers.

“It was super important to me from the day I read the script to the finishing day to get a lot of third-party IP in there,” Schaffer said of the choice to not just use Disney or Fox-owned imagery. He also mentioned how expensive it was to make Roger Rabbit because of the licensing deals and that he’s happy for comparisons “as long as the comparisons are nice and fair…[because] it is the gold standard.”

The biggest irony of doing a film that’s a comeback story that makes fun of reboots and comeback stories is that there is probably already talk of a sequel. When asked, Schaffer joked, “We just announced that this is just chapter one of eight to 10. It depends if we can split the last one … and Harry Potter the last book.”

Layne pointed out that the Rescue Rangers ends with her character going in a direction that seems like an obvious jumping-off point for a sequel. As to who she’s like to see show up in that film, she laughed, “If Phil and Lil [from Rugrats] made an appearance, I would probably faint.”

 


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

facebook cooking golden globe awards based on movie crime drama werewolf Funimation Academy Awards Food Network VICE anthology AMC 94th Oscars YouTube Premium El Rey WGN NYCC Travel Channel Horror SXSW 2022 RT History a nightmare on elm street wonder woman RT21 BBC reviews scary Brie Larson Best Director hist versus Ovation Extras Ghostbusters AMC Plus Chernobyl Pride Month E3 mcc jamie lee curtis worst blockbuster Cartoon Network summer TV docuseries Schedule women live action video on demand SDCC Mudbound sequels summer TV preview Rocky FX spinoff Star Trek new zealand biopic venice rotten critics Interview DC Universe historical drama what to watch singing competition stoner international HBO Max Musical TCM italian trophy cartoon Marvel medical drama Watching Series Apple new york kong comics comiccon football TCA 2017 Trophy Talk Reality Disney+ Disney Plus feel good Best Actor romance green book Holidays Quiz Video Games Trivia TV halloween vs. streamig renewed TV shows The Purge 1990s Sony Pictures Star Wars sports Apple TV Plus Valentine's Day aliens revenge classics anime TruTV telelvision Reality Competition ID ABC Creative Arts Emmys TLC unscripted 72 Emmy Awards natural history cancelled TV shows spanish language parents Podcast Thanksgiving emmy awards Animation joker Television Critics Association scene in color Comic-Con@Home 2021 MSNBC ratings children's TV disaster 2019 adventure franchise zombie 2020 witnail Year in Review Tomatazos Mary Poppins Returns Disney Channel The Walt Disney Company TCA screenings Masterpiece Mindy Kaling slasher Pacific Islander Certified Fresh Set visit TV movies Oscar japan Superheroe Starz Oscars Family Image Comics legend adaptation rt labs critics edition BET Marvel Television Hulu comic books APB dc 93rd Oscars ViacomCBS Calendar justice league king kong transformers Tarantino scary movies batman 2016 television vampires South by Southwest Film Festival Nat Geo cinemax Opinion Exclusive Video Premiere Dates Comic Book book Crunchyroll Summer crime DirecTV fast and furious The CW MGM CW Seed Bravo Arrowverse independent docudrama nbcuniversal zero dark thirty Comedy Central superman Biopics X-Men theme song Awards Tour slashers australia Comedy MCU YouTube Kids & Family sag awards Alien The Academy Sneak Peek game show Freeform laika American Society of Cinematographers Best and Worst Peacock japanese remakes 2018 kaiju Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Baby Yoda Instagram Live Sundance Now Paramount Pictures Columbia Pictures heist movie name the review Best Picture rom-coms Sundance Best Actress Captain marvel Anna Paquin movies prank Winners jurassic park USA VOD TNT reboot festival harry potter 71st Emmy Awards GoT Nickelodeon Marathons Geeked Week posters Black Mirror dramedy spain VH1 tv talk CBS All Access kids Classic Film Rom-Com cats comic 2015 Black History Month San Diego Comic-Con finale A&E Winter TV spanish Cannes science fiction Avengers criterion Fantasy Spring TV Neflix USA Network crossover Pirates Vudu PaleyFest technology 73rd Emmy Awards mutant IMDb TV award winner Prime Video First Reviews GLAAD Disney Rock Adult Swim OneApp Emmys Amazon Prime Paramount Network Elton John foreign BET Awards teaser Netflix Christmas movies Native pirates of the caribbean quibi Universal Pictures casting marvel cinematic universe Showtime Film Festival Broadway Pixar spy thriller TCA Awards child's play asian-american Box Office PBS The Walking Dead politics king arthur zombies Ellie Kemper psychological thriller 99% CBS DGA deadpool Dark Horse Comics young adult summer preview Disney streaming service 90s Acorn TV ABC Family serial killer travel know your critic stop motion Britbox 21st Century Fox Emmy Nominations canceled Tags: Comedy LGBT Amazon trailers supernatural live event worst movies dogs National Geographic fresh die hard ABC Signature news Action Sony black 007 screen actors guild Fall TV Syfy Trailer game of thrones strong female leads indiana jones New York Comic Con festivals Netflix broadcast Song of Ice and Fire Mystery Fox News Wes Anderson First Look cancelled TV series Turner LGBTQ Discovery Channel hispanic stand-up comedy twilight basketball 2021 romantic comedy TV One FX on Hulu sequel Comics on TV TBS true crime hollywood scene in color series 24 frames blaxploitation thriller 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards rt labs scene in color film series Film cancelled streaming police drama Disney Plus mockumentary Crackle olympics political drama composers spider-man Superheroes 4/20 toronto Binge Guide Polls and Games sopranos Christmas Nominations biography series HFPA Musicals 2017 Lionsgate high school directors dexter Drama Logo boxing Awards Hollywood Foreign Press Association SXSW book adaptation Hallmark Christmas movies christmas movies miniseries Toys chucky Paramount Legendary obi wan hispanic heritage month movie critic resources See It Skip It Fox Searchlight 79th Golden Globes Awards cults Mary poppins breaking bad obituary Mary Tyler Moore Writers Guild of America video leaderboard boxoffice Heroines Western target scene in color 45 Warner Bros. lord of the rings SundanceTV Spectrum Originals saw Lifetime NBA Music Martial Arts mob Lucasfilm A24 GIFs E! black comedy HBO dark diversity free movies Tubi Pop TV Pop YA Indigenous comic book movie social media doctor who 20th Century Fox interviews Rocketman mission: impossible dceu TIFF The Arrangement archives war History Universal comedies gangster halloween tv Tumblr robots discovery Star Wars Celebration royal family Epix ghosts nature DC streaming service Teen Turner Classic Movies aapi dreamworks nfl debate Amazon Prime Video hidden camera crime thriller documentary BBC America streaming movies Women's History Month Walt Disney Pictures YouTube Red suspense cops Tokyo Olympics satire The Witch Stephen King universal monsters Grammys art house documentaries canceled TV shows Red Carpet films french rt archives elevated horror BAFTA Sci-Fi TCA Winter 2020 NBC FXX Countdown Fargo Infographic spider-verse adenture ESPN Paramount Plus marvel comics toy story period drama new star wars movies razzies sitcom superhero WarnerMedia Amazon Studios Cosplay golden globes best target IFC blockbusters Apple TV+ Shondaland Hear Us Out genre Super Bowl Country action-comedy cancelled television james bond cars TV Land President Hallmark all-time south america Spike rotten movies we love Pet Sematary indie godzilla binge scorecard dragons Focus Features MTV BBC One Election TV renewals Shudder space Television Academy DC Comics OWN Marvel Studios talk show CNN FOX Photos IFC Films PlayStation latino Endgame concert Character Guide Esquire monster movies HBO Go Holiday psycho Lifetime Christmas movies CMT richard e. Grant animated popular Sundance TV comic book movies ITV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt