In the 14 years since the first “Incredibles” film hit theaters, there has been, to put it mildly, a nuclear explosion of superhero movies coming to the big screen.
With the sequel hitting screens on Friday, returning star Craig T. Nelson — who plays Bob Parr, aka Mr. Incredible — touched on what makes this new film stand out from the pack.
“I was impressed with its scope, and how much it’s more than just an animated film,” Nelson says. “It’s really an action film with heart. It’s got an awful lot of heart in it. And that story, I think, sets it apart. . . . It’s multilayered in the stories that [writer/director] Brad [Bird has] presented. It’s really a film for everybody.”
That story picks up from the first film, with the Underminer (Pixar good luck charm John Ratzenberger) running amok and the still illegal superheroes — including the Parr clan of Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Dash (Huck Milner), Violet (Sarah Vowell) and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile), and pal Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) — trying to stop him, to mixed results.
When a new villain pops up, there is a new push to legalize the heroes, but they want to start with Elastigirl, leaving Bob home to look after the kids.
amNewYork spoke with the 74-year-old actor, best known for his roles in the television series “Coach” and “Parenthood,” about the film.
Did you ever expect you’d take up the role of Bob again?
No, not really. I kept waiting for it and I just thought, “Well, probably they’re going to do a sequel.” And when that didn’t happen you pretty much give up. You know, what the heck. Go on to other things. And then you get totally surprised, wonderfully so, by the fact that they’re going to redo it. And then you wonder, “Well what the heck are they going to do?” because when we did the first one they didn’t have a lot of superhero movies out there. How are they going to be different? And then you get surprised again. And then you’re off and running and doing it.
There are some great scenes with Bob parenting the kids. Could you relate to him in that way?
Oh, yeah. Absolutely. The “new math” thing is totally identifiable. The different personalities of the kids and how they’re expressed. And you’re having to parent each one in kind of a different way. And I don’t even think he has that — or that he wasn’t facile enough to be able to do that in the beginning. So he’s learning as he’s going along. And he’s getting to know his kids in the process. And it’s something he hasn’t had the opportunity to do. And really it’s a great bonding sequence that they have. So that was a lot of fun. Yeah, I totally got that and had a lot of fun doing that.
You’ve worked on the New York City stage a few times. Did you enjoy living here?
I had a great time. The first thing I did was “Friends” at Manhattan Theater Club. That was in the ’80s. And then came back for “Ah, Wilderness!” at the Lincoln Center [Theater]. . . . I look back on it really fondly. It was some great times.
Where did you live when you were here?
Well, I had a couple of places. I lived at the Olcott Hotel. I don’t even know if it’s still there, next to the Dakota [The Olcott was turned into condos in 2005]. Not too far away. And then when I was at Lincoln Center, I stayed in an apartment not too far from there.
Would you ever return to the New York stage?
Yeah, I’m talking about it now with somebody. We’re kind of rolling some stuff around. I’d love to do it.