Americans and New Zealanders aren’t the only ones who can do epic fantasy.
CraveOnline: Tell us about your character in Dragon Wars?
Craig Robinson: I play Bruce. He is a cameraman to a reporter. They’re also dear friends who Bruce also thinks is crazy, but he supports him still.
CraveOnline: Did you learn how to work and operate a camera?
Craig Robinson: A little bit. A little bit there. I got a little advice from a buddy, Matt, over at the Office. He said, "Do not hold the camera this way" and he put his hand over the camera. "That’s the first thing people want to do and it’s not right so do not do it like that." And of course there’s a shot of me doing it exactly the wrong way.
CraveOnline: When things get action packed in the movie, do you get any guns?
Craig Robinson: I do get a gun and I shoot at the evil general. I can’t tell you what happens but I definitely get to play a little bit with it.
CraveOnline: That’s pretty cool.
Craig Robinson: No doubt about it. We would slay the dragons and monsters and I get to shoot at things.
CraveOnline: Did you do any training for the weapons?
Craig Robinson: No, they handed it to me and just said go.
CraveOnline: How did the Koreans get
Craig Robinson: Hyung-rae Shim is making his first movie and he’s got a great sense of humor. He’s a big time comedian over there in Korean first, before he came. So I don’t know. He came down here, shot downtown LA, the monsters wreaking havoc all over it.
CraveOnline: A lot of movies would double
Craig Robinson: Oh yeah, yeah. He came and did it so we were in
CraveOnline: What was it like on the set with the massive scale (pun intended) of the project?
Craig Robinson: It was pretty cool. I mean, we had a big gigantic green screen and things of that nature. We had to act against that and that’s really all about using your imagination and putting timing with it. There were driving scenes where we were scooting away from the monster. Then the fighting and the shooting. A lot of action going on.
CraveOnline: Did you have any actual debris falling around you?
Craig Robinson: No, I did not. I did not. I don’t know who did but I wasn’t in any debris scenes.
CraveOnline: Have you seen the finished product with completed effects?
Craig Robinson: Yes, I saw it when we went to premiere it in
CraveOnline: Was it like you expected when you imagined it?
Craig Robinson: Not as far as the dragons. The dragons look way different than your typical run of the mill dragons that you’ve seen fire breathing. So they were a lot different but since I had seen a bunch of the other monsters, they were sort of like I imagined.
CraveOnline: Be honest. Are you the token black guy?
Craig Robinson: Yes, absolutely. No, I’m playing a cameraman. I wouldn’t say token but if you want to go that route, sure.
CraveOnline: Well, it’s an honorable position at this point.
Craig Robinson: All right, then.
CraveOnline: How much of this story and legend did you know going in?
Craig Robinson: Zero. I didn’t know until they sent me the DVD with CGI that had been completed. From the early battle scenes, in terms of the story 500 years ago, then I was just so engrossed by the project that after just seeing that, it was like okay. So then I went in and learned all about the story and what was going on. I went, "All right, there’s some tradition here."
CraveOnline: Can you wrap your mind around the whole time/reincarnation legend of it?
Craig Robinson: Well, reincarnation is Buddhist philosophy. It is complex but it’s deep. It’s a cool thing to see.
CraveOnline: Are you in The Office this season?
Craig Robinson: Yeah. I’m contracted to do half the episodes of the season.
CraveOnline: How many have you shot so far?
Craig Robinson: So far, I’ve shot one and I’ve got one I’m shooting next week. Then the following week I’ll be in another one.
CraveOnline: What’s happening for Darryl so far?
Craig Robinson: Oh man, we just read one Lieberstein wrote and it was blazing hot and funny. It was ridiculous. There’s going to be some gut busting going on.
CraveOnline: Are they still exploring racial awkwardness at that office?
Craig Robinson: Of course and there’s going to be a few surprises. It’s hard to talk about this stuff without giving it away but yeah, everything is still the same.
CraveOnline: What character do you play in Pineapple Express?
Craig Robinson: I play Matheson, who is a hit man. I’m a hitman, me and Kevin Corrigan are hit men, and we’re chasing Seth Rogen and James Franco.
CraveOnline: Is there action in that too?
Craig Robinson: Yeah. Pineapple Express has so many different elements to it. Like you have a Scarface element and then you’ve got a Cheech and Chong element. It’s just ridiculous and wonderful.
CraveOnline: With all of that going on, does it still have that Seth Rogen vibe?
Craig Robinson: Oh, you know, there’s a lot of different vibes in there but absolutely. There’s some improv, he just goes and goes. There’s no stopping. It was fun to watch him working with Franco and people from Freaks and Geeks and stuff. You can see how their years of experience together pays off.
CraveOnline: After you’d done the big budget Dragon Wars, was it harder to do their smaller scale action movie?
Craig Robinson: No. It was all fun.
CraveOnline: What do you play in Walk Hard?
Craig Robinson: I play Bobby Shad who is a singer in the old ’40s/’50s nightclubs. John C. Reilly’s character, Dewey Cox, steals all my moves and then becomes famous because he subs for me one night.
CraveOnline: Do you come back later and call him on it?
Craig Robinson: On the DVD extras but not in the movie.
CraveOnline: Do you do your own singing?
Craig Robinson: Yup.
CraveOnline: How are you as a singer?
Craig Robinson: You’re going to have to tell me when it comes out. They said I was good, so what do I know? No, it was pretty good.
CraveOnline: In your second movie with the Judd Apatow crew, do you feel like part of their family?
Craig Robinson: Yes. They’re very nice to me over there.
CraveOnline: Are things just exploding for you this year? How are things going?
Craig Robinson: Thank you. They’re going well. I’ve been very busy so I haven’t got a chance to do everything that I would have liked to have done. But there are some nice things happening such as I have a show on the internet called
CraveOnline: Has it changed your life with people recognizing you?
Craig Robinson: Yes, absolutely. I just went to
CraveOnline: When you went to
Craig Robinson: We had security all around us so we didn’t really get to hang out with the fans but we were there. We did a bunch of interviews over there and did the premiere. It was actually self-contained with our little group. So we didn’t really get to mingle with the fans much.
CraveOnline: Did you create
Craig Robinson: I didn’t create the show. It was created by Ben Silverman and Howard Owens. They brought it to my attention that they wanted me to be the star of
CraveOnline: What are you working on developing for yourself? Would it be something different than we’ve seen you in so far?
Craig Robinson: Absolutely. I get to play a thug in one of them.
CraveOnline: The Office fans are very devoted. What do people want to know about Darryl?
Craig Robinson: They really just want to touch a piece of the show. I’m a fan just with them too. They love the show so much, that’s what they do. They come up and say, "Aren’t you in The Office? I love your show." All different fans from The Office, they just want to tell me they love the show. We send it right back out there because without the fans, there’d be no us. We just appreciate that they’re getting it, a show with no laugh track and single camera, documentary style. It’s so off beat.