Saturday, December 4, 2021

Interview: Christian Slater and Clark Duke Talk ‘Inside Job’

Netflix’s newest animated comedy Inside Job is now streaming, and we had the opportunity to talk with two of its stars: Christian Slater and Clark Duke! The series follows the employees of Cognito, Inc., an organization responsible for committing the world’s conspiracies. Slater voices Rand Ridley, the disgraced head of Cognito, Inc. He spends his time plotting his revenge and… attempting to be a father to his daughter, Reagan. Duke voices Brett, a handsome and lovable guy who uses his frat boy energy to mask deeper insecurities. He may be in over his head at times, but he’s a valuable asset to the team nonetheless.

For many, Slater’s name is synonymous with the cult classic film Heathers. However, he has several other film and television roles under his belt. His most recent TV role aside from Inside Job is Peacock’s Dr. Death. He also stars in series such as Mr. Robot and Dirty John, among others. Slater’s other film roles include We Can Be Heroes, The Wife, and more.

Clark Duke is well-known for his role as Clark in The Office. More recently, he appears in Veronica Mars as Don, and I’m Dying Up Here as Ron Shack. Some of his film credits include Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, Bad Moms, and more.

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Read on to hear what Slater and Duke had to say about Inside Job!

Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.

Nerds & Beyond: What drew initially drew you to Inside Job?

Clark Duke: The script, you know. The script is just really funny. The characters are really well-formed, and I think that’s usually it for anything. You’re just drawn to good writing.

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Christian Slater: Yeah, me too. And I love this animation world. I love to participate in these kinds of shows and this was an outrageous character that I had a sense I could have a lot of fun with.

Nerds & Beyond: This question is for Clark. Brett is a very feel-good, lovable kind of guy, and he really grows into his role at Cognito, Inc. Why do you think a character like Brett is such an asset for the team?

Clark Duke: I think everybody else on the team has a tendency to be kind of nihilistic, so you need yin to that yang of somebody that’s just like way too naïve and happy and with the glass half full. So I think you gotta have balance.

Christian Slater: He’s like a Ted Lasso character, you know. He’s kind of gullible, and fun, and he’s got a good attitude.

Clark Duke: Yeah, he means well.

Nerds & Beyond: For Christian – Rand is like the complete opposite. He’s this very paranoid and chaotic character. How did you go about honing his personality and really leaning into that?

Christian Slater: Well, like I said, I do enjoy playing outrageous characters. Getting the opportunity to do things like this I think makes it easier for me to be calmer in my own life, you know. There’s a therapeutic quality to doing something like this. We did do this during COVID, so that was a lot of fun, having to be creative and build a recording studio in my own house. And the character was so… as much as it is voice work, there’s a physical quality to it that made me feel like I was doing some aerobic work. By the time I came out from underneath the duvet that I was working under, I’d be a sweaty mess. I guess that’s not a very attractive image, but I was working hard!

Christian Slater as Rand Ridley (L) and Lizzy Caplan as Reagan Ridley (R) in ‘Inside Job’/Netflix

Nerds & Beyond: This show really does jam every possible government conspiracy theory into it, in overt and subtler ways. Do either of you have a favorite conspiracy that pops up either as a central plotline or in the background?

Clark Duke: I really enjoyed the Grassy Noel character, the guy that kills JFK, because I like the JFK stuff, so I thought that was really fun. I enjoyed a lot that he’s this beloved character, the guy that killed JFK.

Christian Slater: [laughs] Yeah. There are so many bizarre things. I mean I guess that’s the point of it, that’s it’s so twisted and turns a lot of these conspiracy theories on their ears so much. But at some point in the future, I’d like to see Rand sit down with Elvis Presley, you know. The conspiracy theory that all these guys are still alive and living somewhere very comfortably. I’d like Rand to cross paths with some of those guys.

Nerds & Beyond: Sort of going off of that, what else is something you’d like to explore in a second season either for your characters or just the show in general?

Clark Duke: Well, we’ve already recorded another batch of eight or 10, so I don’t want to give any of that away or spoil any of that. I mean, the wacky thing is I feel like real life got so much zanier since we started the show.

Christian Slater: True.

Clark Duke: So, I feel like there’s a lot of current events of the last couple years we could just dive into because conspiracy theories basically went mainstream. So, it’s kind of the thing of like real life is always weirder than anything you can write, so maybe they can mine some of that for material.

Christian Slater: Yeah, it is interesting that we have done, like he was saying, eight or 10 more episodes. So, you know, also it is a workplace comedy. It does have all those family qualities to it, and the relationships just continue to grow. I think the relationship between Rand and Reagan certainly becomes – not to give anything away, but crazier and that much more loving as well.

Nerds & Beyond: One of my favorite aspects about this show is just how off the rails it can go sometimes. What has your experience been like so far being a part of something that really leans into that absurdity but also has quite a bit to say?

Clark Duke: So much time goes by from when you record to when you see the episode. Like I just watched some last night. It’s almost like seeing it for the first time, too, because the process of animation is so slow. So, it’s fun. I feel kind of like an audience member watching it. [laughs]

Christian Slater: Yep, me too. That’s exactly how I feel. You do record these things so long ago, and the process takes a long time, and the next thing you know, “Oh, look at this. A pleasant surprise!” I guess one of the happiest things I was feeling about it was that my wife enjoyed it. And that’s always the best meter I have to kind of gauge how things are and whether I should be proud of it or not. She really enjoyed it, so I’m very happy. 

Lizzy Caplan as Reagan Ridley (L) and Clark Duke as Brett (R) in ‘Inside Job’/Netflix

Nerds & Beyond: What do you hope viewers take away from the show?

Christian Slater: A few good laughs, some entertainment.

Clark Duke: [laughs] Yeah, I don’t know if they learn anything. [laughs]

Christian Slater: Yeah, we don’t care about that; we got a talking mushroom. I mean enjoy yourselves, guys, ‘cause here it is. [laughs]

Clark Duke: Let your hair down. Relax. You don’t have to learn anything from this.

Christian Slater: [laughs] That’s right!

Nerds & Beyond: You are also part of this really great voice cast. What has been like to work with everybody else on this show?

Clark Duke: Well… [laughs]

Christian Slater: Yeah. Lonely. Lonely! [laughs]

Clark Duke: I mean, the first like three or four – I forget now. We started the show before the pandemic, so we were doing in-person table reads at first. So, it was fun, you know, to see everybody and hear everybody. And I was a big fan of John DiMaggio’s before, and we’d never met. He’s so great.

Christian Slater: I love him so much.

Clark Duke: He’s so funny. But then COVID started, and we all went to our homes and recorded at home. So, there was not a whole lot of interaction between everybody beyond the initial table reads.

Christian Slater: Yeah, to not have that much interaction but to have it flow together as well as it does is a real testament to Shion [Takeuchi, creator] and her creative abilities.

Clark Duke: Absolutely.

Nerds & Beyond: In our final couple of minutes, do you guys have anything else you want to add?

Christian Slater: Huh… that’s always risky. [laughs]

Clark Duke: [laughing] I agree. We could get some hot takes. I got some hot takes.

Christian Slater: Sometimes less is more.

Nerds & Beyond: [laughs] Very fair. Well, that’s everything I have for you guys today. Thank you so much for taking time out of your days to do this. I really appreciate it.

Christian Slater: [shows his dog. Yeah, that’s right.] Thank you so much. There’s something for the last two minutes.

Nerds & Beyond: You can never go wrong with the dog.

Christian Slater: There you go. That’s safe.

Thank you to Christian (and his dog) and Clark for taking the time to talk with us! Inside Job is streaming now on Netflix. Stay tuned for our interview with creator Shion Takeuchi. Find our interview with star Brett Gelman here, and make sure to read our review.

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Julia
Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds. She joined the team in 2019 but has always enjoyed talking about her favorite fandoms. When she isn't writing or working, you can find her reading, watching her favorite shows and movies, and building her repertoire of Dad jokes.

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