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AL: What’s your relationship to Scooby-Doo, did you grow up watching?
NP: Oh yeah, of course. I was born in ’88, so I’m not too, I guess, young for Scooby-Doo. ‘Cause I don’t know, it seems like nowadays Scooby-Doo doesn’t have the same clout that it did back then, back when it was original Hanna-Barbera and we used to watch Saturday morning cartoons, (which) were like a big deal. I don’t think that’s a big deal anymore. But I could be out of touch. But yeah, growing up, Scooby-Doo was absolutely a part of it. I used to watch all those kinds of shows. I would watch the Flinstones, I watched the Jetsons, I watched Jonny Quest, oh man, that was good stuff too. So like all of those old Hanna-Barbera and shows of that ilk. Yeah, I loved it.
AL: And do you have a personal memory related to Scooby-Doo at all?
NP: You mean before I became Shaggy, like from my childhood? I remember, I think there was an episode about the Bermuda Triangle that freaked me out pretty bad. I really, really liked A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, that series. And just the theme song, or the intro song to A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, I could probably still to this day quote it. I could still probably remember all the words.
AL: What was your experience for the audition process for the Mystery Begins?
NP: Man, the audition process was weird. Yeah, I mean auditioning, you know, the first audition is kind of just like everything else, you go in – now there was a bit more stakes in this one just because it was for Shaggy in Scooby-Doo, and like who isn’t going to freak out when they’ve got a possible audition for that. So I went in the first time, and just did what I could for it, and I ended up getting a callback. And the second time, I just, I don’t even know if I can say it, but I remember Brian Levant, who was our director, said that, he was like “You just, he needs to be more of a stoner type.” And those weren’t his exact words, I’m not going to quote him verbatim because that’s like kind of just an easy way of saying it, but it was just hilarious to me because that’s not who I am at all. And yeah, I guess Brian Levant just saw the potential for me to be that, and you know, kind of went with it. And then throughout, you know, I ended up getting I think another callback and then after that we went to screen test and it was like a chemistry read with the other people. I think at the chemistry read, I think there was one guy there also playing for Shaggy that I was like “Oh man, that guy is totally going to get it, he’s way better suited for this.” And then I ended up getting it anyway, so yeah. I mean, pretty emotional when I found out I got it. But the audition process was just a lot of fun.
AL: And had you ever met Kate, Hayley or Robbie prior to the screen test?
NP: Um, I don’t think so. Man, I guess it’s possible. I don’t know, when you’re growing up in Hollywood and in the actors’ circles, you do end up meeting a lot of people, provided you’re in those circles. And since I was trying to associate there, I might have met them before at like a get-together or something, a party that somebody was having. But not that I specifically remember, no. We certainly didn’t become close until the movies themselves.
AL: And you mentioned that you thought that the other guy was going to get it, but was there a point when you felt in your audition and that you might get it?
NP: I mean, as confident as you can be. You know, it’s always a toss-up, because there’s a lot of times that as an actor, you go into a room and you’re like “I absolutely nailed that, goodness gracious, I killed that audition, like that was perfect, exactly what I want, everybody was laughing,” and then you never hear back from them at all. And then there are the times where you’re like “Oh wow, I completely butchered it, there’s no way I’m going to hear from them,” and then you end up booking that role. So like, I was as confident as you could be. But again, it’s best not to count your chickens before they hatch I guess.
AL: What was your reaction when you did get the call saying that you had got it?
NP: I actually remember pretty vividly. I was with my girlfriend at the time, we were just hanging out. And I got a phone call, and I didn’t know who it was from, just you know, a random number popped up. And I answered it, and they told me I got the role and I kind of said “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, thank you,” and I hung up and I literally, I think I burst into tears. Like happy tears obviously, but it was crazy. Very emotional time, I couldn’t believe it. Yeah, you’ve got to have had some of those moments in your life right, where something happens to you that you never thought would have happened.
AL: What’s your favourite thing about the character of Shaggy?
NP: I mean honestly, just kind of the innocence with which he views the world. Shaggy, Norville, whatever you want to call him, is just – as pessimistic as he is, because he’s always afraid that something’s going to happen or whatever, at the same time, he just, he views the world with such an innocence, and he has such a great attitude as far as just always knowing that he can have fun in any circumstance and like, he doesn’t ever let it really get to him, I mean, it doesn’t seem like he’s got PTSD or anything certainly, which you could. He just approaches everything from a light-hearted manner, and I really like that about him. And besides, I love food, and who doesn’t love food, so that’s great too.
AL: And was there anything in particular that you wanted to bring to your interpretation of him?
NP: You know, when bringing a cartoon character to life, there’s a lot of interpretation that has to go into it, because you can’t be a cartoon, right. But I just kind of wanted to give all that same energy, but as realistic as it could be. And again, that same innocence and what that would really look like in a human being, as opposed to in a cartoon. Still giving that character some depth, I mean obviously you can’t go too deep in that kind of thing, but yeah. Interpretive wise I just really wanted to be true to him while also bringing him more down to earth.
AL: Shaggy’s voice is obviously not your natural voice, how did you develop that?
NP: (in the Shaggy voice) Like man, I just watched a ton of the cartoons and like, I tried my best, you know?
I’m so rusty and I apologize if that offended your ears. I don’t, just like I don’t watch it every weekend, I don’t practice the voice every weekend either. But I did for a long time. I practiced that voice, I watched the cartoons over and over and over again, and tried to imitate Casey Kasem as much as possible, while still understanding that it’s my voice and it is a different take on Shaggy in general. So, yeah, I just kind of did that. I didn’t do the Matthew Lillard thing because I heard that the way he got into it was by like screaming his voice out to where he didn’t have a voice, and then what was kind of left was the Shaggy. I just kind of went into it and just when I started doing the voice, I just fell into the character at the same time, you know.
AL: And was it ever difficult to keep that up throughout all of filming?
NP: Sure, you know, there were some times where we would have to be wet and cold. There were some times when it was a really hot day, and all of those things are going to change the elasticity of your vocal cords to a degree. And so, you know, doing that it was a little tough. I drank a lot of tea with honey. It’s an old trick that singers use too, because I used to be in show and jazz choir and all that stuff when I was in school. But yeah, just keep the vocal cords loose and limber, and you know, be able to sustain it as much as possible. It was during that that I also realized exactly how much musicians go through. ‘Cause man, if you are like a professional singer/musician, whether it’s Taylor Swift or any of the really popular singers, when you’re on tour and when you’re doing that 24/7, and your entire livelihood is based on your voice, like I can’t imagine the pressure that they must feel.
AL: You touched on it a little bit, but what is it like to try and bring a cartoon character to life in a live-action movie?
NP: Honestly, it’s great. Again, you have to kind of understand your limitations, but I was also, I mean, I had Brian Levant for a director, and he’d done that before. The Flinstones movie that he did prior to our movies, he also, you know, he directed Jingle All the Way with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even that, obviously he’s not bringing a cartoon character to life, but in the premise of the show, he, you know, Arnold Schwarzenegger becomes like Turbo Man to a degree. And so, all of those kind of things, the Beethoven movies, they’re all kind of classic kids movies that have a lot of energy and light-hearted just like cartoons do, and so fortunately I just had a really, really good amount of guidance and direction on how to get there, and what it should look like.
AL: When it is such a high-energy movie, is the atmosphere on set like that as well?
NP: I mean it was for ours. I can’t say for all, because I haven’t done any acting in quite a while, kind of gave that up a long time ago. But yeah, on our sets it was great. There was, everybody was just having fun all the time. As much as we could, obviously you have a budget, a production budget, you have deadlines to meet and everything, but no, for the most part, the experiences there were amazing. And we always just tried to keep that energy and that fun going at all times.
AL: And what was the dynamic like between you, Kate, Hayley, and Robbie?
NP: Honestly, I thought we got along great. Very different people, all of us. We all have our idiosyncrasies and quirks and everything else. Things that make us unique. But we all went into it pretty well, and what’s really funny is that, I don’t know, I wouldn’t even say that all of us, who we are personally, fit the characters to a T. But we all had that in us obviously, and could bring it out. Yeah, just the dynamic between us, we were pretty close when we were filming, it was a lot of fun and we always had a good time.
AL: Who would you say you got closest with on set?
NP: Probably Katie. Katie and I have actually maintained a pretty good relationship, even now. I mean, we still kind of keep in touch every so often. Robbie and Hayley, I don’t keep in touch with them as much, I don’t know if Katie does. I’m still friends with both of them on Facebook and I love seeing Robbie’s posts, you know, when he got married and now has a kid and everything. I was super happy for him and obviously saw that, but yeah. Katie and I got pretty close at the time, and have remained pretty close as friends, it’s really nice.
AL: And did you get a chance to work with Frank Welker at all?
NP: I did. I actually did get a chance to work (with him), I think I was the only one that got to work with Frank Welker, which was crazy. And what a nice guy. We were doing some ADR, which is automated dialogue replacement. It’s like after you actually shoot the scene, if for some reason the sound wasn’t good on that particular clip, then you have to go in and they put you in this big, it’s almost like a movie theatre, like a private movie theatre, and you have a little microphone and they’ll play it back for you. And you have to repeat your lines as close to your mouth as you could. And while I was there, Frank Welker was also there. So I did get to meet him and that was crazy. And I still have a picture with him somewhere in the deep recesses of my Facebook. Still have that picture with him. I think I put bunny ears on him because why not. You know what Frank Welker has done right, like he’s prodigious in the industry.
AL: What was it like to meet him?
NP: Honestly, he’s such a cool, down to earth guy. Like there was no air of superiority, he just came at it with again, all of that same kind of cartoon energy that you can have as a person and which makes sense, because he’s been doing it forever. But yeah, he made me feel like I had always been his friend, you know. He’s a cool guy.
AL: In both of the films you got to work with some really great actors in the supporting roles, like Nichelle Nichols, and Marion Ross, etc. Did you have a favourite to work with?
NP: Jonathan Winters was a riot. Honestly, that guy was hilarious. He was sharp as an absolute tack, super witty. And yeah, that was a pretty cool one to work with. Although the thing I will say, the most freaked out I got I guess, or starstruck of any, was on the Curse of the Lake Monster, the prop master, the guy that had the prop truck and was using it, I randomly went into his truck to get something, and I think I ended up seeing the Freddy Krueger glove, like with the long claws and everything. I don’t like horror movies, I’m not a fan, but that’s pretty famous. And I said “Whoa, what is this, you just made a replica?” And he’s like “No, that’s the one we actually used on Nightmare on Elm Street.” And I went “That’s the real glove?” And he said “Yeah.” So not a person, but that was awesome.
AL: That’s crazy.
NP: Yeah, and I got to try it on and again I took a picture with it. I still have that picture somewhere. Yeah, that was pretty fun. And did you know, oh here, little piece of trivia, did you know the guy that was the stand-in, the mo-cap guy for Scooby on Curse of the Lake Monster, his name was Luke Youngblood, he was actually the announcer in the Quidditch matches in Harry Potter. So he was Scooby. I didn’t even end up finding out until later, ’cause I’m more of a Lord of the Rings guy than a Harry Potter guy, but I didn’t find that out until I think like years after we filmed it, it was like “Oh wow, that’s cool.”
AL: And out of both movies or one for each if you had one, what is your favourite scene?
NP: Hm. Honestly I think the part, the first movie by the way, I think is my favourite of the two. The Mystery Begins really was for me, I enjoy watching it more. Might have something to do with the fact that like the singing in the second movie, I don’t love listening to myself on those ones. But the first movie where I just got to say like “Well it’s nice to meet you Scooby-Doo.” That makes me smile every time. Just because it’s such a moment of purity, like that is, that’s that right. It was when Shaggy met Scooby, for all intents and purposes, of our timeline. Yeah, I really love that scene.
AL: That is a good one.
NP: And that shirt by the way, the one that I was wearing with clouds, I got to keep that after filming. It actually felt like clouds. I don’t have it anymore, cause I think eventually it got some holes in it from the dryer or something, I had to throw it away, but like that shirt, I wore it for years as a pajama shirt because it was so comfy.
AL: That is awesome!
NP: Yup. Highly recommend getting one of those.
AL: Was there a scene that was the most difficult to film?
NP: There were a few. I really liked to do my own stunts in these movies. Even though they were tough. Just because it was more fun. So like everything from in the first movie where I fall through an almost Rube Goldberg type chain of events, into the trash can and then flop onto the principal’s chair. I hurt myself a lot during that one. When I caught the frisbee in my mouth I cut my mouth open on the frisbee which wasn’t fun. And then like the whole, in Curse of the Lake Monster, when I fell into the sand trap and had to pull myself out of it again, I remember having sand in my hair, so much that I had to wash my hair I think practically a hundred times that night to get it all out. Yeah, mad respect for girls for having long hair, because mine wasn’t even that long and just goodness gracious. It takes so much work.
AL: And what was it like to do the scenes where Scooby would be present?
NP: Honestly it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. They would bring out some reference material to show how the shadows and the light would affect his fur for CGI. And then they would bring out like this little stuffed one, usually they would have it on a pole, and you would interact with that during one of the takes. And then after that, you just interacted with nothing but you would just remember what the blocking and choreography was like from when you had the stuffed animal in there. And just kind of go with that. I mean, fortunately I have a fairly good sense of imagination, so it wasn’t that bad. I greatly enjoyed it.
AL: You mentioned that you got to keep the shirt, but was there anything else that you got to keep from the set of either of the movies?
NP: Um, I mean not really. It was mostly clothing that I got to keep. Memories. Kept a lot of memories. I don’t know what else I would have kept per se, can you give me an example?
AL: Like Kate said she got to keep her flippers from the scuba scene, and I think she said her parents have the little Huckleberry Hound bobblehead that was in the Mystery Machine.
NP: Oh interesting. That’s where that went, damn that Kate! No. I don’t remember anymore. I remember that shirt, I remember, there were a couple, like I took a jacket, I think I took a pair of pants. I don’t remember taking anything much beyond that, no. Oh, actually, we did get to keep our rollerblades from the second movie.
AL: I have a couple questions specifically from Mystery Begins here, what was it like to be able to film an origin story for Scooby-Doo?
NP: That was probably the part that tripped me out the most of the whole thing. That it was an origin story. I think, correct me if I’m wrong, but the previous movies with Matt Lillard and Linda Cardellini, and Freddie Prinze Jr., and Sarah Michelle Gellar, those movies, didn’t they kind of have a little bit of an origin story to them? Like didn’t they touch on it a little bit?
AL: I think there was like a flashback scene.
NP: So, I mean, how these things go, it’s not, you can’t ever have one origin story. I mean, even if you, if you ever read comics or any of that, comic books are known for having multiple timelines and storylines for the same characters and heroes and everything. But seeing that this one was like the fully fleshed out, the whole movie was about the origin, it was pretty cool and pretty intense. Because you know that that’s probably going to become canon somewhat. And so I did feel a little bit of pressure from that standpoint. But just what was it like filming the origin story, it was awesome, it was a really big honour.
AL: And you mentioned the frisbee, but what was the filming process like for that montage after Shaggy meets Scooby, like where he steals your sandwich and things like that?
NP: Wait, am I getting the movies mixed up… okay, the montage. I remember, so there’s the frisbee catch, there was the, where I like ran around in circles and we were like holding each other’s hands, kind of doing that. That was really awkward, because that’s harder to imagine. You can’t like, because you know, the physics involved in it is normally there’d be two bodies kind of pulling against each other and in such counter balancing each other. Well I didn’t have a counter balance. So I was kind of trying to lean back as much as possible to make it look like there was a counter balance, like Scoob was on the other end. And then also jump in a circle sideways. That one was weird. And then for the frisbee one, they did have me, like they put me on a dolly and they rigged up this little thing that I laid my chest on the dolly, and then the frisbee was on a big pole that had a motor on it so it would still spin. And that’s why it ended up cutting me, because it had like kind of a sharp edge on the outside of the frisbee. But they just like pushed me towards it, and then I just had to catch it in my mouth.
AL: In the scene where Shaggy and Scooby spend the night in the freezer and then they’re frozen in the morning, was that blue look accomplished with makeup or CGI, or how did they do that?
NP: No, that was makeup. That was, actually I fell asleep in the makeup chair on that one. It was probably a good, geez, how many hours was I in the makeup chair for, I want to say it was at least two hours, probably more. My gut instinct says it was four, but yeah. I was in the makeup chair for a long time, and I just remember being really tired because I think we had shot late the night before, and so I said “Hey, can I just pass out?” and she was like “Yeah, sure.” So I did. Then I woke up and I looked and I was like “Oh my gosh, I’m Mr. Freeze.” It was cool though, it was fun.
AL: And then did you actually have to like walk around in that trash can for the disguise scene?
NP: Oh man. No, I don’t think… no, I don’t think we did. I think they had other people walk in the trash cans for us and then we just, because I’m 6’1″, I wouldn’t have fit in that trash can. So then I think they just had it stationary, and they filmed us opening up the lid and then they just CGI’d it on.
AL: And for specifics for Curse of the Lake Monster, what were your first thoughts when you read the script with the played up romances and the Velma being the witch storyline?
NP: Yeah, I mean I was like “Wow, they’re really going here, huh.” They’re going Shaggy and Velma, they’re shipping it, that’s the whole thing. It surprised me, but I was like “Sure, why not.” Sounds like fun, it was a good script. The Altiere brothers are, I really liked their writing. So yeah, I was just excited. I was excited to get to see everybody again after the hiatus we had previously and yeah. Script was great.
AL: With a character who’s as awkward as your version of Shaggy is, what was it like to act Shaggy when he’s being really interested in Velma?
NP: I mean, again, it goes back to that innocence thing. Like, look, anybody who’s old enough has had a first crush, and like what that felt like. I remember, man, I mean my first crush was a girl named Joanna, I was six years-old, living in San Pedro at the time. My dad was navy so he was stationed out here. She was my first crush, and I remember still kind of the innocence I felt in that, and I think at one point we even played Sleeping Beauty and I think I kissed her and woke her up, right. And this is like, I’m six years-old, it’s not a real kiss. But still, technically my first kiss. And so it kind of just, I went back to that and the innocence of that moment. Even though I had a crush and there’s quote unquote romantic feelings, as much as a six year-old can have, I kind of just went to that and put that forward for what Shaggy could experience too, in his first crush.
This is going to be really weird by the way, if Joanna happens to remember me, and now she like hears this interview and goes “Oh my gosh, he remembers when we were six?” That’s going to be weird.
AL: Maybe just a little bit.
AL: And at the beginning of the movie, in Shaggy’s dream sequence after school gets out, Shaggy does the limbo. Can you do the limbo?
NP: So, I’m actually, well maybe not as much anymore, because now I’m 32 and like you know. I’m practically over the hill at this point. But yeah no, I was always pretty good flexible wise, as far as back bends go and everything, so I’d like to say I’m pretty good at the limbo. Why, do you want to challenge me? Is it going down Alexa?
NP: Bring it.
AL: And what was your reaction when you found out about the various different musical numbers that were in the Curse of the Lake Monster?
NP: Yeah. So, again, I like to consider myself a singer, like I actually really enjoy singing, I’ve been told I have a good voice, and so I was excited about it at first. But then they said “Well the first one we’re going to have you do it in the Shaggy voice.” And I was like “Oh wow, okay. That’s going to be tough.” And then the second one, the I Can Be Scared With You one, originally I liked the sound, they had like a test run of it that they did through a guy that was like actually good at that genre of music, and it sounded great, I loved it. And they said “Well, you guys are going to record this.” And I was like “What? That’s way higher than my vocal register, man.” And they were like “We’ll make it work.” I’m glad they made it work, it’s not my favourite thing to listen to my own voice on but you know what, yeah. So, I don’t know. I mean, I was down with the idea, I just, it was a lot tougher than I expected.
AL: What was it like to try and sing in the Shaggy voice?
NP: As I said, it was not something I was used to doing. But at the same time, I mean, since that, and I’ve kind of always liked doing voices, but since doing that and becoming comfortable with it and everything, I now just love doing voices in general. I tell a lot of jokes, it’s one of my favourite things to do is make other people laugh. And you know, if you ever get a story or a joke where you know, “Well an Irishman, a Spaniard and a Frenchman walk into a bar,” it helps so much more when you’re able to do some semblance of an accent on all of them. And then like even for my daughter, because I have a daughter, but even for her, when I’m reading stories with her, when we’re reading books together I do what my dad did for me, and I always make a different voice for each of the characters, and really kind of bring the world to life. And she has this stuffed animal whose name is Rainbow Bunny, and I’ve made a whole persona for him, he’s sarcastic and you know, kind of rude at times but he’s a silly little thing, and she honestly, sometimes she’ll even not want to talk to me, she’ll just want to talk to him. So like, yeah, no, I’m serious. Sometimes she’ll be like “Dada, can I talk to Rainbow Bunny?” And I’m like “But…” and then I’ll be like “Yeah, sure.” And so then she’ll end up just having an hour long conversation with me as Rainbow Bunny. It’s a thing. So I’m really grateful for, you know, the Scooby-Doo thing and really getting me comfortable with doing voices and being silly.
AL: Can you also play instruments as well, because there’s a lot of sequences with you playing ukulele and guitar, and various different things?
NP: There’s a lot of sequences with me faking it. Absolutely. No, man, I really wish I could play the piano. And I actually maybe can play a little bit. I’m fairly comfortable on the piano, again, being a singer, I can at least sight read music. I’m not good by any stretch of the imagination, but no, I’m not, the instrument I play is the trachea, so to speak.
AL: I was brushing up on my research here, so in the special features on the DVD, you mention that you have quite a bit of rollerblading experience. Is that correct?
NP: Yeah, I learned, actually also in San Pedro, is when I learned to rollerblade, when I was about five or six years-old. Then later in my teenage years I actually bought a pair of like, aggressive skates, and I would go to the skate park and grind rails and go up and down the half pipe or whatever and do whatever tricks I could do. I didn’t get great at it, but I’ve rollerbladed a lot, I’ve skied and water-skied and so yeah, I felt pretty comfortable on them.
AL: Was it an easy transition then to go to dancing on rollerblades?
NP: Definitely not. That’s totally different. But I definitely had it easier than Katie. I’m sure if you asked her that question, she probably told you about it. She did not like her time on the rollerblades, or on the roller skates. Oh, Katie Kate.
AL: And out of all the musical numbers do you have a favourite? Including the side musical numbers like the rap and other sequences.
NP: You know what, I actually liked, I really did like By the Light of the Silvery Moon. Because even though it’s weird and it was tough to do singing in the voice and everything, at the same time it’s just so sweet and so pure, that whole sequence, and dreamy and everything. Kind of has a similar feel I guess to Moulin Rouge, where during the, that sequence, you know what I’m talking about, right. Not Come What May, I forget the song. But like, there’s the whole floating on the clouds and all of that. Just pure and lovey-dovey and happy.
AL: What was it like to go into a recording studio to record the songs and doing the rehearsals for the choreography?
NP: I mean, that felt pretty normal. It’s just all par for the course for an actor, right. Certain things we just kind of have to do, and get used to doing. Recording studios were definitely different, but if you’ve ever done any sort of vocal work, or voiceover work or anything, it wasn’t too bad for me. I mean, Hayley was a pro at it. But yeah, it wasn’t too bad. I think it felt really comfortable because it was the four of us together, so it wasn’t weird.
AL: And I wanted to talk about the stunts a little bit more, were there any that you didn’t do?
NP: Um, honestly, I think I did… I think maybe, no that wasn’t even me, that was Robbie. I’m sure if I went back and watched the movies again, I could maybe pick out a few that I didn’t do. But off the top of my head, I think that I probably did all of my own. With maybe the exception of one or two, but I don’t remember what they would be, I’m just trying to give myself a buffer zone. In case I’m wrong.
AL: Was there any that took a ridiculous amount of takes to get right?
NP: The sand one took a lot of takes. The trash can one took a lot of takes. Those are the two biggest. Yeah, I don’t think anything else really took a lot of takes, it was just those two that were pretty difficult. Lots of different, I think they shot a couple different camera angles on them, and each angle we did quite a few takes of. So, yeah. It might also be that those were the most rigorous and potentially painful ones. ‘Cause like one time the trash can fell over, and they were pulling it with like a steel bar, and so it fell over forwards and so I toppled over forwards, and my back, my spine went straight into the steel bar, which wasn’t a lot of fun. So maybe I’m just remembering the pain, and thinking it took more takes than it did. Who knows.
AL: Does it take a lot of confidence to be able to, you know, throw yourself into that trash can?
NP: I guess you could call it that. Yeah, no, you just do what you have to do. When the director says do it, you do it. And I mean again, I was raised by a military guy, so when my dad said jump, I said how high, sir. You know, always used to taking direction, so. I wouldn’t say confidence, I’d say willingness.
AL: What was it like to be able to recreate those more classic Scooby gags in the second film with unmasking some classic villains in the I Can Be Scared With You sequence and running through the doors?
NP: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. I was very cognizant of it happening when it was happening. And we all just enjoyed it thoroughly, because yeah, I mean those are classic gags. And so, it was fun shooting them, but most of that stuff, the magic is done in post. And so it was way more fun seeing it put together at the end. Yeah, the payoff was much better there.
AL: What was your favourite thing about being part of a Scooby-Doo project?
NP: Honestly, I mean at the time, I have to say I was more focused on myself and what it could possibly mean for my career and all that stuff. But in the subsequent years, and ever since that movie coming out, or even our first premiere, which we had a premiere in a theatre over in like Glendale, Pasadena area. And seeing all of the people so excited about it, or even when we went to Comic-Con and people were lining up at our booth just to get autographs. I think that was the biggest payoff for me. The biggest part of excitement about the whole thing was seeing how many people got smiles because of something that I did. Even just a few years ago, I was transacting business with a person, and he recognized me. And he said “Oh my gosh, wait. Nick. Are you the, I just have to ask, are you the guy that did Scooby-Doo?” And I was like “Yeah.” And he said “You have no idea how much joy you’ve brought to my family.” And that’s crazy. And now I have this, you know, a fan on YouTube by the name of Simon. And just seeing him and like how much I was able to like give him inspiration and everything, through something that I don’t even really consider a big deal for myself, I was doing a job and having fun doing it. I think that was what really made the whole experience for me.
AL: What was it like to be part of a franchise that has such a legacy, did you ever think about it and how it would still resonate today?
NP: Yeah, a little bit. Being part of a franchise that has the kind of clout that Scooby-Doo does is cool. I think that more people have been to the Moon than have played Shaggy, which is kind of just like a little factoid I sometimes throw around. But yeah, I don’t know if it ever really manifested in a big way that I considered it would, because it is such a big franchise. So I think that it just feels kind of normal to me now.
AL: Why do you think that Scooby-Doo, which is at its core, a cartoon about a mystery solving dog, why do you think it’s held up for over 50 years?
NP: I think partially because it transcends generations, you know. The adult generation sees it as something from their childhood and kids today now see it as something from their childhood and I think the fact that it’s just continued to go on and on because it’s innocent and fun and happy and you know, all ages can agree on it, I think that brings a lot of people together. And that’s what, it’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy at that point, you know. Your parents have good memories of it so they then teach it to you and then you then teach it to your kids. As long as it’s still on there it just keeps going.
AL: And there was supposed to be a third, and possibly fourth film I think after Lake Monster, and even though you’re not involved with acting anymore, if they suddenly called you wanting to reboot like an adult version of your cast, would you take it?
NP: Oh yeah. Oh absolutely I would. If nothing else, just to have all that fun again. And you know, get to see Robbie and catch up with Robbie and Hayley. As I said I keep in touch with Katie, but yeah, just to have that experience and I mean, why not. I don’t think anybody would turn that down, that would be ridiculous.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.