Patton Oswalt on His "Hesitations" Replacing Louis C.K. in 'Secret Life of Pets 2'
Harrison Ford, Tiffany Haddish and Nick Kroll are also new additions to the sequel, which premiered in Los Angeles on Sunday.
The Secret Life of Pets sequel brings back many of the A-list voice talent from Illumination Entertainment's hit original film, with one noticeable omission: Louis C.K.
The disgraced comedian, who voiced lead character Max the Jack Russell terrier in the 2016 movie, was removed from the follow-up film in 2017 after allegations of sexual harassment. In Secret Life of Pets 2, Max is instead voiced by comedian Patton Oswalt, who admitted he didn't jump right into the decision to fill C.K.'s shoes.
"I did have some hesitations, but it was more about the story rather than the voice, so I just said, 'All right,'" Oswalt told The Hollywood Reporter on taking over the character at the film's L.A. premiere Sunday.
The actor said he was also drawn to working with Illumination studios because "when they tell stories, every single character in their movies has a story. So to be part of an ensemble where they're paying that much attention to every little character's story, even a character that's in there for just a second, you get a feeling that they're creating such a rich world and I get to play in that world."
Secret Life of Pets 2 director Chris Renaud, who also directed the first film, said that Oswalt was the right choice to replace C.K. because of his ability to balance vulnerability and sarcasm in the character.
"For Max, sarcasm is a little bit of a defense mechanism, he's very good at it but he also feels a little bit vulnerable in his world," he said. "I think Patton can really embody that. He does it in a different way than Louis but he can really nail that sensibility."
In addition to Oswalt, the sequel brought in some serious new star power with Harrison Ford as Rooster the sheepdog and Tiffany Haddish as Daisy the shih tzu.
The film marks Ford's first time working on an animated movie, which he joked was only "half as hard" as traditional acting, and came about because, "I saw the first film and I thought it would be great fun to do, and it was"
Haddish, who reunites with longtime friend Kevin Hart for the film, told THR she wanted a part in the sequel because of her love of animals, "and I thought that the first one was very funny. I love my character Daisy, she's so funny and so cute and she has a lot of courage and tenacity like I do. I have a very vivid imagination and getting the opportunity to use it and make those words come to life was everything to me."
The premiere, held at Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, Calif., also welcomed stars Hart, Eric Stonestreet, Lake Bell, Nick Kroll, Bobby Moynihan, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Eugenio Derbez and Pete Holmes. Bell, who returns as apathetic tabby cat Chloe, says that she's long been obsessed with voice acting and it's a lifelong dream to be a part of a major animated franchise, especially as her "cheeky" character.
"I think of her like a feminist and a cat in a dog's world you know, and she's very assertive and sarcastic," Bell told THR, adding that "in a time where a lot of children are exposed to really high-octane violent depictions of these animated characters, [this movie is] actually a respite to that. It's very sweet and truly smart and funny."
Busy Philipps, Pete Wentz and Donald Faison also attended the film's elaborate block party, which included a puppy and bunny petting area, a chair swing ride, carnival games, rock climbing walls, crafts and snack stations.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 hits theaters June 7.