'Ralph Breaks the Internet' alum Jack McBrayer embraces new challenges

Karen Butler
Jack McBrayer, the voice of Felix inRalph Breaks the Internet, at the film's premiere in Los Angeles on November 5. The movie is now available via DVD, Blu-ray and digital. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Jack McBrayer, the voice of Felix in"Ralph Breaks the Internet," at the film's premiere in Los Angeles on November 5. The movie is now available via DVD, Blu-ray and digital. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

March 4 (UPI) -- Ralph Breaks the Internet co-star Jack McBrayer said he admires those who leave their comfort zones and seek out new adventures, like the animated character Vanellope does in the sequel to 2012's Wreck-It Ralph.

"I always appreciate and envy people who do take a chance, do take a risk, because there is a chance of failure, but there is also the chance of great, great reward," the 30 Rock and Second City alum told UPI.


Of course, there is nothing wrong with finding a level of contentment in ordinary life, he added.

"Just a little calm and a place where you enjoy being. If you do have an itch to try something new, take a risk, go further, then I hope that your sense of comfort doesn't keep you from doing that."

The 45-year-old Georgia native is handling his promotional duties for this week's DVD, Blu-ray and digital release of Ralph Breaks the Internet by phone from his temporary home in London, where he is starring in the stage musical, Waitress, alongside Katharine McPhee, David Hunter and Shaun Prendergast.

"The rehearsal process has been a beast, but now that we're in previews and doing our shows and the cast is fantastic, I'm really having a good time," he said.


Life in a new city is taking some adjustment, however.

"I speak the language and I understand maybe 40 percent of the words spoken to me," he laughed. "It's a big city. It's super-old. I don't understand how the plugs work. There are so many little things."

As of this week when Waitress officially opens on the West End, McBrayer will no longer have to practice during the day, leaving him more free time to explore.

"To go to a museum. To go to a park. To go purchase a top sheet somewhere," he said. "I'm really looking forward to just living in London."

The show required McBrayer to try his hand at singing and dancing, something he found challenging but thrilling.

"Let's just say it is a very good thing that I am comic relief. I'm trying my best and people have been very, very forgiving because I don't think anybody's showing up to see Jack McBrayer the singer," he said.

"If they make me leave London tomorrow, then I will have done everything I've set out to do."

The actor is booked in Waitress until June, but intends to continue recording dialogue via phone for animated projects such as DuckTales, despite the eight-hour time difference between London and Los Angeles, where the TV shows are produced.


"I'll just have to do it as I'm going to sleep and as they are waking up. We can make it work," he said. "So much Red Bull, so much Red Bull, so much Red Bull!"

Waitress and Ralph Breaks the Internet are projects with uplifting messages that reflect McBrayer's innate optimism and friendliness.

"I am a fan of putting my head and my heart in a more positive space, really just for my own well-being," the actor said.

"I love that other people can appreciate and benefit from it, but at the end of the day, when I put my head on my pillow, I want to want to be proud of the choices that I've made."

While McBrayer isn't on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, he said he understands how these can be useful communication tools.

"I'm very good at keeping in contact with people, just not through social media. I'll send an email or call them on their birthday," he said. Joking about his old-fashioned habits and his age, he added: "Also, I am 1,000 years old."

Working with the same people on different projects also appeals to his fondness for face to face interaction. He is a frequent guest on the talk show, Conan, and Match Game allows him to spend time with his former 30 Rock co-star Alec Baldwin.


For Ralph Breaks the Internet, McBrayer reunited with Jane Lynch and John C. Reilly, his friends since they all appeared together in 2006's Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Ralph Breaks the Internet follows the titular hero (Reilly) and his fellow video-game character Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) as they leave their home in an arcade and enter the overwhelming world of the Internet to find a part to repair Sugar Rush, Vanellope's racing game for children.

While Ralph desperately wants to get back to the arcade where life is comfortable and predictable, Vanellope yearns to stay in the Internet and join the flashier Slaughter Race.

Left behind at the arcade are McBrayer's Fix-It Felix Jr. and Lynch's Sgt. Calhoun, the married couple who adopt 15 little girls abandoned when Sugar Rush is unplugged.

The original Ralph movie was a massive financial, critical and audience hit six years ago, which meant a sequel would have a lot to live up to.

McBrayer said he always had the "utmost trust" in the filmmakers, but was curious to see how they would top themselves.

Nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, the sequel shows how technology has changed in six short years and offers an eye-popping visual representation of what online behemoths such as Google, Amazon, YouTube and eBay might look like in a physical, city-type space.


It also includes scenes in which Vanellope visits the Oh My Disney website, and she and the animated princesses from the studio's classic movie library skewer outdated fairy-tale tropes.

"I love how people have latched on to Vanellope's story," McBrayer said.

"It really does give us so much insight into kind of a feminist outlook on things, especially, because it is a Disney movie and it makes Disney references within it, in a fun way, that we in 2018-19 can enjoy and appreciate. We get it. It's time."

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