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Patton Oswalt is your favorite actor you know from everything. But where? The Star Wars filibuster on Parks and Recreation? A cameo as a video store clerk on Seinfeld? The best thing about Young Adult? Remy from Ratatouille? Yes, yes, yes, and absolutely yes.
Oswalt has been hilarious for decades on screens big and small, and now he’s diving more deeply into the Marvel universe. The comedian is no stranger to the superhero realm (don’t forget Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), but he is a star, writer, and executive producer of the new M.O.D.O.K. on Hulu (May 21), an adult-oriented animated series centered on the titular supervillain who wants to take over the world while also being undeniably fallible and relatable. Part Age of Ultron, part Pinky and the Brain, it feels entirely Patton Oswalt.
And from what he tells us, it sounds like it won’t be his last Marvel project.
You’ve long been a lover of movie theaters and movies. What do you think about theaters coming back?
I’m happy! I can’t wait. I want to see a movie with strangers in the dark, be part of that mass mind. You get different reactions to a movie. There’s your reaction, but then when you see other people reacting to a movie around you—it’s so exciting.
What is the thing you’re most excited about when you get back into a movie theater?
Just the lights going down and the movie starting and that screen taking over the world.
Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. is billed as an “adult” series. What kind of adult content can we expect?
Definitely some of the violence, some of the motivations. It gets into the more embarrassing, stickier areas of being a supervillain, but also wanting to live a normal life and how that sometimes does not agree with you.
Does this feel different from some of the other comic-related stuff you’ve done?
Well, I was writing a lot of it, so that was different. I wasn't just coming in and reading lines. I had a say in what was going to be said and what was going to be done. It just felt like a much more from-the-ground-up process.
Did it feel like your baby?
Definitely. I had way more of myself in it.
In what way did you feel like you put yourself into it?
By writing it, producing it, being way more hands-on with every aspect of it. Marvel is such a massive playground, toy box to go romping around in so we’ll see what else they let me do.
Yeah, it’s quite the big sandbox. You’re so good on camera and as a voice actor. Is there one you prefer?
No, I just like whatever’s a good project. So if it happens to be voiceover or live action—whatever’s interesting to me, that’s what I want to do.
I talked to friends over the weekend and told them, “I’m going to interview Patton Oswalt, this is amazing!” Two people knew who you are and were so stoked, and then everyone else said, “What’s he from?” What do you think your level of fame is?
[Laughs] My level of fame is the “Aren’t you… What was the….” That’s my level of fame.
It’s more than my level of fame!
That’s actually a good level to be at. That level is fine.
So you can go to the supermarket?
Still go to a movie, still go to a bookstore. I’m happy.
Is there one movie or show people shout out when they see you on the street?
It depends where I am. It could be King of Queens, it could be Ratatouille.
I think a lot of people don’t realize you’ve been putting in your time in show business for a while. You were on Seinfeld. What was different about working in the ‘90s compared to now?
I think now everyone has to kind of be their own brand just because of all the social media. Then, you were hired to do a job, and you tried to do the best job you could, but it wasn’t on you to constantly sell it, promote it, sharing assets. Now it’s: you are part of the promotional machine.
Do you do Instagram?
I have a Twitter, and that’s it.
This interview has been edited for content and clarity.
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