Adam West on ‘Family Guy’

On his way to getting a star on the Walk of Fame, the actor tells us about the joys of playing himself... and Batman.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

The voice of Adam West has become so distinct that “Family Guy” hired him to play himself, and Nicolas Cage imitated him in the movie Kick-Ass. We got quite a thrill when we got to hear that voice coming over out phone line. West gave an interview from the back of his car on the way to his ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to promote “Family Guy” Volume 10 coming to DVD.

 

CraveOnline: Hello, Mr. West.

Adam West: Howdy, Fred, how are you.

CraveOnline: I’m great. I’m glad to talk to you.

Adam West: Well, thank you. I’m so delighted to be able to talk to you and to plug the “Family Guy” DVD that’s coming out soon.

CraveOnline: Can you believe it’s Volume 10 already?

Adam West: It’s hard to believe. It really goes by quickly, doesn’t it? Time flies of course an work on “Family Guy” is so enjoyable that it makes it go faster.

CraveOnline: What are your favorite episodes in Volume 10?

Adam West: I have none. I hate ‘em all. Listen, I am so impressed with the writing and the way this is done, the way Fox presents it and of course Seth MacFarlane, my dear friend, I don’t have a favorite. Unless maybe it’s the cat launcher. I say that for all of you animal cruelty people.

CraveOnline: When you read the cat launcher in the script, what did you think?

Adam West: I love ‘em all. It’s just fun to do, believe me.

CraveOnline: What’s coming up for Mayor West in the current season?

Adam West: Well, I’ve done a couple of specials in the last month and I have a driver taking me to Hollywood where I’m going to get a star on the Walk of Fame.

CraveOnline: Congratulations on the star.

Adam West: Thank you very much. I really deserve it.

CraveOnline: Was a star on the Walk of Fame your long term goal when you got into Hollywood?

Adam West: Never. When I got to Hollywood there wasn’t even a Boulevard. I’m that old. It was just a little dirt trail. I’m kidding.

CraveOnline: Where on the walk is your star?

Adam West: I’m very impressed and delighted that they chose to put me in between two of the greats. Two of the most wonderful performers who ever got in front of the camera.

CraveOnline: And they are?

Adam West: Rin Tin Tin and Daffy Duck.

CraveOnline: Is that true?

Adam West: No, get this. They put me between Judy Garland and Olivia De Havilland. Now you’re so young you might not remember either one.

CraveOnline: I’m a film buff so I know.

Adam West: They were terrific and I just feel very pleased and honored that they put me there and in front of the Guinness Book of World Records [museum.] It has a dinosaur on top. Are they trying to tell me something?

 

 

CraveOnline: Is Adam West a good mayor?

Adam West: The best! Except I can’t get a new nameplate on my desk.

CraveOnline: How does he compare with the current Republican candidates?

Adam West: I don't know who they are. No, he’d probably do just as well especially on International Clam Day. That’s when the local citizens of our choosing, somebody who’s been a great example to the rest of the town, puts on a big foam clam suit and we travel two miles offshore and he has to swim for shore. If he makes it he’s sated with clam juice the rest of the year.

CraveOnline: What kind of town is Quahog vs. where you live?

Adam West: It’s quite unusual. Where I live, I have mountains and palm trees. It’s very strange. Sometimes zombies. Quahog is a sleepy, quiet little village nestled along the eastern shore.

CraveOnline: Do you live in L.A.?

Adam West: No, I have a place in Idaho and Palm Springs, California.

CraveOnline: When did this phenomenon of Adam West playing Adam West start for you?

Adam West: Well, it started with a few shows some years ago. For example, “Love American Style,” some of those older shows like “Love Boat.” Evidently I’ve superceded the roles that I’d been playing somehow, which is good. I mean, it’s really good. How lucky could an actor get to have created roles that have caught on in popular culture so well.

CraveOnline: Is it still nice to be able to say “I’m Batman?”

Adam West: Oh, it’s fun to be an icon!

CraveOnline: That’s a good line though, huh?

Adam West: Listen, I’m out there fighting crime 24-7. At midnight I walk Hollywood Blvd. and I look at the other stars dreaming. Some day I might be able to get home.

CraveOnline: Nicolas Cage was inspired by your voice in the movie Kick-Ass. What did you think about his portrayal?

Adam West: Oh, I thought it was stupid. No, I’m kidding.  You know, Nicolas Cage is a marvelous actor and he’s a good friend. When somebody gives you a little homage like that it’s very flattering. So I was pleased of course.

CraveOnline: Did he get you right?

Adam West: He got pretty close. You know, when you get to the point in a career where you’re being imitated, it’s kind of a nice thing as you get older and you serve more time so to speak in this pursuit of showbiz.

 


CraveOnline: What do you think of all the dark gritty comic book movies now?

Adam West: Well, you know, I think there’s an enormous amount of talent, expertise and certainly money and production values, but they have this kind of dark, gothic thing going. It’s The Dark Knight. What was I? I was the Bright Knight. It was different. We played it for laughs and satire and adventure and splash and fun for the kids, perhaps for the adults. I mean, I could do a dark Batman but I don’t choose to. I’d rather deliver the laughs.

CraveOnline: What’s coming up for you after your star and more “Family Guy?”

Adam West: I think I’ll go drink heavily. My wife and I are going to a wedding in Greece of all places.

CraveOnline: What do you think of all the Batmans walking around Hollywood Blvd.?

Adam West: Hmm, I don't know what they’re selling out of their costume but I hope it’s something quaint.

CraveOnline: I hear the Adam West of “Family Guy” in your voice. Do you just speak naturally or do anything to enhance your voice?

Adam West: No, that’s what I’m trying to do for you. You don’t want the natural thing. You want some “Family Guy” fun.

CraveOnline: Is voiceover a fun job for you?

Adam West: I love to do voiceover because for me if you know what you’re doing it’s simple. No makeup, no costuming, none of the boloney. None of the egos, you don’t have to deal with all that crap. I love voiceovers.

CraveOnline: As a performance is it a good tool?

Adam West: Yes, it is. It’s kind of its own special area but it’s all acting. You know, it’s all taking the subject and taking an approach and trying to bring something fresh in.

CraveOnline: Are you still doing any more Funny or Die skits?

Adam West: I think I am, yes. That’s what I heard. Thank you for noticing that.

CraveOnline: Yeah, you like to fight people, right?

Adam West: Well, look, Adam West hits hard.

CraveOnline: What might be coming up for that?

Adam West: I’m not sure. I really am not at this point. I just go ask my agent Fred “The Anvil” Westbrook.

CraveOnline: How does it feel to have been in Hollywood long enough to have these accolades? Did you ever imagine this when you were getting started?

Adam West: Never. When I was getting started I was so busy just fighting my way through and I was under contract at Warner Brothers. I did 40 hours of color television with the late Robert Taylor as a young cop. And played a lot of villains and cowboys and all this stuff that was popular then. I never really thought about that. I was so involved just like you, thinking about the work.

CraveOnline: You got to be on a lot of the classic episodics, even an episode of “Gunsmoke.” Is there anything even like that these days for young actors?

Adam West: I don't think so. Certainly not with horses but there are other things, whether it’s medical or lawyers or whatever. If they’re lucky enough to get cast, they can cut their teeth. I was very fortunate because I worked every week when I was at Warners and much of the time out, I’ve done like 12 pilots and 50 movies.

CraveOnline: Did you know “Batman” was going to last a lifetime?

Adam West: No, there’s no way to know that but I think as something declines in the ratings or whatever, if the characters can remain interesting or fun or the audience can have some affection there, it can go on. I had a feeling if we played it on several levels, for the adults and the kids, we had a good chance to become an evergreen which indeed it has for Fox.

CraveOnline: Did you know that “Family Guy” was something that would last?

Adam West: Well, no, but I had a feeling that it was just wonderful. If you feel that and if you sense that the work you’re doing and they’re doing is exceptional, then I don’t even think about it. I just do it.

CraveOnline: Does the naughty humor of “Family Guy” appeal to your sense of humor?

Adam West: Let me ask my wife. Yes? It’s like “Two and a Half Men” but it’s not that naughty. It’s social comment, it’s satire and it does get a little close to being over the edge occasionally.