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Q&A: Baruchel says he lucked out with 'Dragon'

Sunday - 5/18/2014, 12:32pm  ET

actor Jay Baruchel of How to Train Your Dragon 2 poses for a portrait at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Friday, May 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

JAKE COYLE
AP Film Writer

CANNES, France (AP) -- Cannes is awash in glamorous celebrities who peacock on the festival's red carpet and confidently parade through its multitudes.

Jay Baruchel is not one of them. He may be the most uncomfortable person in Cannes.

Baruchel readily acknowledges it's "a little intense" for his tastes, which are not exactly red-carpet ready: "I don't like wearing suits or nothin'," he says.

The 32-year-old Canadian actor was in Cannes for the premiere to "How to Train Your Dragon 2," for which (like the Oscar-nominated 2010 original), he voices the main character, Hiccup, the young Viking who befriends the dragons his tribe has long slayed. Baruchel, who broke out in the Judd Apatow TV series "Undeclared," is best known for his comedies, including "Knocked Up" and last summer's "This Is the End."

The anti-Hollywood version of himself he played in that film has some truth to it. Baruchel, who speaks with a Quebecois accent, lives in his native Montreal blocks from his family. "I wish I wasn't known for hating Los Angeles because I spend a good deal of time there," he says.

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AP: I imagine that when you, your co-stars and a large model of the dragon from the film were chaotically mobbed on the Croisette in a promotional stunt Thursday, you wondered how this could be your life.

Baruchel: The entire time. Exactly -- "If my friends could see me now" type of thing. And what my life was two days ago: I look like a dirt bag more often than not. I'm in my pajama pants 12 hours a day. The biggest thing I had to do two days ago was clean the litter boxes. And here I am on the Croisette and there's people getting elbowed in the head.

AP: You've now spent some seven years on "Dragon," with a third film planned. What's that journey been like?

Baruchel: You can spend your entire career and never be part of something that's half as an important as "How to Train Your Dragon." We all knew it was a good movie, but I don't know if any of us expected to it be a global phenomenon. There're people that adore this movie in the four corners of the worlds. That's insane. I feel like I lucked out. This is my "Star Wars."

AP: It took even longer for "This Is the End," which began as a short you and Seth Rogen made years ago.

Baruchel: I really didn't think we'd pull it off. It could have gone so wrong in so many ways. The whole time I was like, "This could be like a two-hour MTV Movie Awards sketch" -- all of us playing ourselves, talking about movies.

AP: The hockey comedy you co-wrote, "Goon," has a deserved cult following.

Baruchel: In the States, it's a cult life. In Canada, it was a bona fide, massive hit. We were number one in Canada when we opened, and English-Canadian movies are never number one. ... Our American distributors (Magnolia Pictures) dropped the ball a bit, unfortunately. Their model is all about VOD, which is fine, but the movie deserved a better life. But it's achieved one. Hopefully if we get to make number two -- I was writing it in my room yesterday -- we'll get to do it properly in the States.

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Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle


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