Kooky Conchord comes clean
By SARA STEWART
Last Updated: 5:02 AM, October 30, 2009
Posted: 12:16 AM, October 30, 2009
YOU likely know Jemaine Clement as one half of Flight of the Conchords, the New Zealand musical duo with an HBO show, a new album, "I Told You I Was Freaky," and legions of bespectacled female fans.
In Jared Hess' "Gentleman Broncos," Clement plays cartoonish sci-fi author Ronald Chevalier. On the phone from LA, he chatted with us in a less throaty voice than that of his faux-macho character.
Are you well-versed in the old sci-fi movies this one riffs on?
Yeah -- I can still remember "Krull" really well. And "Logan's Run." I had this really great "Logan's Run" poster, in fact . . . but I got it when I was 21. And I guess "Dune," but that's quite slow for a child.
It is. Have you read the book?
That's quite a big book. I've looked at it and considered it.
Did you base Chevalier's velvety voice on anyone in particular?
Well, Michael York was a reference Jared made. And one science fiction author who was a professor at my college. He had this deep, resonant voice.
What's up with your character's omnipresent Bluetooth?
I like to think he likes the look to be on the edge of technology. That's what I think when I see those guys with Bluetooths. Blueteeth?
Are you a technophile?
I'm a Luddite now. When I was young, I thought I was going to be a computer programmer. I used to spend my spare time writing computer programs in Basic.
Did you have any input into the script? Some of the jokes seem Conchords-esque.
There was some improvising. I've got a similar sense of humor. The first time I came to the States, a friend took me to see [Jared Hess' first film] "Napoleon Dynamite," and when I saw it I was almost in shock. We'd been doing that onstage -- just doing ridiculous things and saying them as if they were serious. Fairly simple, but not a lot of people were doing it then.
Do you find yourself losing your accent when you're here?
Occasionally I hear a little Americanism, especially the way you pronounce your R's. America's the only country where people have said that the New Zealand accent sounds posh or sexy or exotic. Anywhere else, it doesn't. That's why I've been spending a lot of time here.
If I visit New Zealand, can you recommend an activity unrelated to "Lord of the Rings" sightseeing?
I don't know if anything in New Zealand has nothing to do with "Lord of the Rings." Everyone is in it. People do a lot of bungee jumping in New Zealand, and there's no bungee jumping in "Lord of the Rings." But they couldhave, over that huge fiery canyon.
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