Interview with Clark Duke

Born in Arkansas, Clark Duke first gained attention at age seven with a featured role in the CBS comedy “Hearts Afire,” which starred John Ritter and Markie Post. A decade after the show ended he teamed up with buddy Michael Cera for the Internet series “The Clark and Michael Show.” He returned to television as the star of the long running show “Greek.” He also found time to appear in such films as “Superbad” and “Kick-Ass,” as well as snagging a starring role in the comedy “Hot Tub Time Machine.” His next film, which opens today, is “A Thousand Words,” which also stars Eddie Murphy and Cliff Curtis. Duke recently took some time to sit down with Media Mikes and talk about his new film, Eddie Murphy’s body double and the “Kick Ass” sequel that may or may not be in the works.

Mike Smith: Give us a quick bio of Aaron Wiseberger, your character in “A Thousand Words.”
Clark Duke: Aaron is Jack McCall’s (Murphy) assistant. He’s very meek and constantly terrified about losing his job at the beginning of the film. But by the end he’s taken on some of the more brash qualities of Jack. It was a lot of fun to play.

MS: When I was your age Eddie Murphy was the biggest star on the planet and is a true comedy legend. Did you have any worries about working with him?
CD: Of course there are nerves because you are working with such an icon. But I think that makes you better. To have that jittery feeling…the first day on the set I was so nervous that I introduced myself to his body double! I thought it was Eddie. I should add that Eddie has a guy that looks JUST like him. It’s almost unnerving how much he looks like him. It was just like “Bowfinger.” Here’s a guy that looks exactly like Eddie Murphy but it isn’t Eddie Murphy! (laughs)

MS: You did a lot of writing and directing while working on “The Clark and MichaelShow.” Is that something you’d like to pursue more in the future?
CD: Yes. 100%. That’s kind of what I went to college for. It’s what I’d like to end up doing long term. I’m actually working on a feature script right now so I’m definitely ready to go forward.

MS: Since you mentioned college are you ever approached by fans about a possible “Greek” reunion?
CD: No. I can’t imagine that happening.

MS: Mark Millar just announced that “Kick-Ass 2” starts filming this summer. Are you going to be involved in this? (NOTE: Millar, who created the comic book “Kick-Ass,” told The Daily Record newspaper that the sequel would start shooting this summer)
CD: I can’t really talk about that…he confirmed it publicly?

MS: Yes, last week.
CD: Wow…all I can tell you is that I very much hope that’s true.

MS: What projects do you have coming up next?
CD: Well, apparently “Kick-Ass 2!” (laughs) And I’m going to start a new movie next week in Atlanta. I’m also doing a voice in an animated movie for Dreamworks called “The Croods.” It stars Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and a bunch of other cool people.

MS: Have you already finished the voice work for the film?
CD: I’m actually still working on it. I have been for a year or two. These things take a pretty staggering amount of time. But I did get a tour of the Dreamworks animation facility in Glendale (California). It’s pretty incredible the scope of the operation…how many hundreds of people it takes to make one of those movies.

MS: How do you keep your performance fresh when you do a character for that long?
CD: It stays fresh because you may go a few months at a time before you work on it again. You don’t really have a chance to get burned out. It’s such a fun pleasure to go in and just mess around. A lot of times you’re recording by yourself…you can do as many takes as you want. As many ways as you want. You just keep trying stuff until somebody in the other room laughs. I really liked doing it. I had done a little voice stuff for Seth Green on “Robot Chicken” but never on such a grand scale. I didn’t see any of the animation attached to my voice until a couple of weeks ago and it was pretty awesome! They animate the character around all of your different vocal ticks and pauses. It’s hard to explain…it’s kind of like having your own trading card or action figure. A weird sensation but a pretty cool one.

MS: Thanks for your time. I hope Mark Millar wasn’t teasing everybody.
CD: (laughs) Me too!

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