The surprise hit of 2020 is Sonic The Hedgehog, a smart kids movie based on the SEGA videogame character. Given the state of the world at the moment, Paramount Home Entertainment has debuted the film early for purchase (it became available for purchase on digital March 31st). The film will be soon available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and for rental on-demand or disc May 19th.
Powered with incredible speed, Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz), aka The Blue Blur, embraces his new home on earth. That is until he accidentally knocks out the power grid and sparks the attention of super-uncool evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Now it’s super-villain vs. super-sonic in an all-out race across the globe to stop Robotnik from using his unique power for world domination. Sonic teams up with The Donut Lord, aka Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), to save the planet in this action-packed hit that’s fun for the whole family.
The Digital*, 4K Ultra HD, and Blu-ray releases are packed with exciting bonus features: see Sonic the Hedgehog’s next adventure around the world in a new animation; get more of Sonic in deleted scenes; laugh at the hilarious blooper reel; explore the origins of the legendary blue hedgehog; see Jim Carrey bring Dr. Robotnik to life; watch along with excellent commentary by director Jeff Fowler and the voice of Sonic, Ben Schwartz; and more! Plus, for a limited time, the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray combo packs will include a printed, limited edition comic book featuring an adventure with Sonic and The Donut Lord.
The 4K Ultra HD Digital and 4K Ultra HD disc releases present the film in Dolby Vision®, which brings entertainment to life through ultra-vivid picture quality with spectacular colours, highlights that are up to 40 times brighter, and blacks that are ten times darker. The film also boasts a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home to place audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.
Canadian actor Lee Majdoub (Agent Stone) discusses Jeff Fowler’s Sonic The Hedgehog, and his scenes with Jim Carrey in this phone interview conducted on the afternoon of April 8th.
What’s an average timeframe for someone like yourself, an actor, to be talking about a project? Do you feel like this is sort of right on time? Or a little bit delayed because of the Sonic CGI rework?
Lee Madjoub: “It would. I mean, there was a little bit of a push, right? Three months I think it was? To February 2020. Initially was supposed to be out in November. And then it was February. And then it had such an amazing, amazing response. You know, it didn’t really affect me. That stuff doesn’t affect me as an actor much. You know, it was fortunate. I mean, the times lined up perfectly for me.”
Right on. Well listen, my six-year-old watched my screener this morning, and he laughed a lot through it. So you’ve hit the mark on the target audience.
“That’s awesome. I saw the movie for the first time at the premiere from beginning to end. And we had a lot of kids there, too, from some not-for-profit organizations. And to hear their laughter and the engagement with that movie? It warms your heart to know that that’s a movie that you were part of.”
Have you been involved with a kids’ franchise before? Is this your first dive in?
“I think my first dive in, to be honest. I can’t quite remember off the top of my head. If I was it was a while back. Yeah. As far as movie franchises or anything, Sonic is the first one.”
How did you become involved with Sonic? Was it a traditional auditioning process for you or is there a bit more of a story behind that?
“No, it was the traditional audition process. I mean, we didn’t have many details. The working title for it was was Casino Night. So a lot of people didn’t quite know what they were auditioning for. And fortunately, I used to play the game when I was a kid. And I was like, ‘this reminds me of something. I think there was a level and Sonic called Casino Night on the Sega Genesis.’ And my agent’s assistant is also a gamer. And he was like, ‘dude, I think this is Sonic.’ So I had a little bit of an advantage just based on my gaming background going in. And then the audition scenes were; ‘the doctor thinks you’re basic’ scene and the scene where I run in to check and see if Robotnik is ok after James Marsden’s character Tom punches him.
Your scenes are pretty much all with Jim Carrey; Dr. Robotnik. You must have had an idea in your head of what it was going to be like working with him. Was it like you thought? Or was it was completely different?
“You know, here’s the thing; a lot of times, you get told to be careful about meeting your heroes. They’re going to let you down. But with Jim, it was the absolute total opposite. You know what I mean? He was so generous and so gracious. And a big heart. And you just feed off of that energy. You know, for me, I try not to expect anything. If you go in and you expect anything, you kind of set yourself up for resentment. I try not to expect that. And I prep myself as much as possible. You know, I’ve had the experiences on past sets where you show up, and nobody talks to you whatsoever. So you’re there to do your job, and then you leave. You know you don’t say hi. You don’t do anything. And those are tough sets to work on for sure. So I think I was fortunate having had that experience.
So I was going into Sonic like, ‘All right. You know what? I’m going to expect the absolute minimum and just do my job and get out of here.’ And dude, it was unbelievable. Like everybody on that set was so positive. Jeff Fowler just ran that set beautifully. You know, our producer, Toby Ascher, you know, he’s a big Sonic fan too, just as much as Jeff Fowler was. Big Jim Carrey fans as well. So we all clicked on that level. And then, you know, Jim shows up, and he’s Jim Carrey, and he’s doing his thing. And there were a few times where, you know, I catch myself just in awe of what he was doing. It was just it was just amazing. And it was a dream come true for me. Ace Ventura, to this day, is one of my favourite movies.”
How much of your interactions with him were scripted and how much of that went to improv?
“So a lot of it was scripted and then evolved. You know what I mean? So, what was on the page helped us get the idea of what their relationship was. And then in discussions with Jeff and our amazing writers, and Jim, we kind of started to evolve that relationship a little bit. Just from Jim’s perspective, he was like, look, you know, Robotnik hates humans. He loves robots. So Agents Stone has to be there for a reason. You know, maybe he knows what Robotnik is going to do before he does it and everything like that. And we started to kind of build this relationship. And I was then allowed to improv with Jim. So we built this amazing dynamic where, you know, there’s a little bit of admiration, there’s a little bit of judgment on Stone’s part towards Robotnik, which I love those little moments. And I think they kind of rely on each other. I think they need each other more than Robotnik thinks he does, you know?”
So that scene where he literally grabs you by the mandible. Was that written down, or was that improve?
“Ok. So all of the abuse was improvised. Like eventually, you know, we kind of came up with it. So how that evolved, initially in the writing, he’s supposed to be kind of flustered. Robotnik is supposedly flustered or frustrated. And Jim was like, I think Robotnik would just be pissed off. I think he’d be angry. Stone’s not doing his job. Sonic got away. James Marsden got away. I’d want to do something to your face or something.’ And I was like, all right, what do you have in mind? He’s like, ‘can I grab you by your jaw?’ I started laughing. I was like, Yeah, absolutely, you can grab me by the jaw. And then we rehearsed it.
All of that stuff, too, is so extremely rehearsed. Jim is so precise and so safe. I never once felt like like I was in danger or anything. You know, it was it was just a ton of fun, and trying to keep a straight face and not break, you know, during these moments and everything. The throat shot, too. That wasn’t on the page. You know, the pinning Stone to the wall wasn’t on the page either. All of those things were kind of established when we would talk it out and everything.”
Cool. And now you’ll always have that. That’s your party line. Jim Carrey grabbed me by the jaw once.
“Right? Yeah. Many takes of that. Many takes of it. It was like 72 times. No, it wasn’t 72. (laughs)”
How long were you on set for then when you were filming? Were you there for a week or two?
“Yeah, I was. I was there for about ten shooting days. So two weeks.”
And you didn’t have to do any re-shoots around the CGI being redone. Did that affect you at all in that fashion?
“No, no. None of that affected us whatsoever. I think the only stuff that needed tweaking was anything Sonic was in. Or any CG background stuff.”
So did all of your scenes remain in the final version of the film? Was everything that you filmed there or is there going to be some nuggets on the physical release?
“You know what? Like 99 percent of the stuff I did is in the movie. I’m so fortunate. Like there’s little moments, you know what I mean? Like there’s that scene when they’re in the sheriff’s office, and they’re talking to Wade. When he’s on the phone, there’s like a little moment that for pacing was cut out. But it was basically Robotnik just mouthing for Wade to stretch it out and Robotnik stretching, like he’s stretching his arms and you know, doing the Jim Carrey thing. And I’m behind him also copying his stretches to save time. So that was like a fun little thing for us. But it totally makes sense for pacing why it didn’t make it in. And then there was like a little ten-second clip that I popped up on a monitor while Robotnik is in his little egg-pod. But again, for pacing, it didn’t make sense to have it in there. So, you know, I’m not mad about those little things.”
All right. I’m going to flip over to Fringe. I’m a huge Fringe fan. And I saw that you did an episode of that show.
Do you have a story behind doing that you can maybe share?
“So I played a paramedic, and I think it was one of my first roles in Vancouver when I moved out here. And, you know, we rehearsed and rehearsed. And the actors were unbelievably supportive of me there. Because I had like these like crazy health things. Like, you know, blood pressures of 190 over 110. It just just jamming all that out. And they were super supportive. And fortunately, I didn’t flub anything.”
(laughs) Awesome, man.
“You don’t want to flub around THEM, man!” (laughs)
Cool. I really liked Sonic. And like I said, huge Fringe fan. I appreciate you taking the time, and stay safe out there.
“Thanks, Mike. You, too.”
BONUS FEATURES ON DIGITAL, 4K ULTRA HD COMBO, & BLU-RAY COMBO
– Commentary by director Jeff Fowler and the voice of Sonic, Ben Schwartz
– Around the world in 80 Seconds—See Sonic’s next adventure!
– Deleted Scenes – Director Jeff Fowler introduces deleted scenes
– Bloopers – Laugh along with Jim Carrey and the cast
– “Speed Me Up” music video
– For the Love of Sonic – Jim Carrey and the cast discuss what Sonic the Hedgehog means to them
– Building Robotnik with Jim Carrey – See Jim Carrey bring super-villain, Dr. Robotnik, to life
– The Blue Blur: Origins of Sonic – Explore the origins of the legendary Blue Blur
– Sonic On Set – Visit the set with the voice of Sonic, Ben Schwartz