Ron’s Gone Wrong Director Wanted To Make Kid Version of Spike Jonze’s Her

Credit: 20th Century Studios.

Ron’s Gone Wrong is a 3D animated film from 20th Century Studios, and it’s coming to theaters this week. It’s directed by Sarah Smith & Jean-Philippe Vine, and it follows a socially awkward boy (voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer) wanting to fit in with everyone at school. A personal robot is all the rage, and all the kids have one, except for Barney. One day, he gets a robot named Ron (voiced by Zack Galifianakis), who can talk and becomes his only friend. The bad news is that Ron starts to malfunction, causing those around him to take notice, including the robot’s manufacturer.

Barney is voiced by Grazer, and the actor started work on Ron’s Gone Wrong in 2017 when he was 13 years old. The actor is now 18, so he has been working on the project for a while.

“It’s been a whirlwind of a process and there’s so much evolution has happened, especially with Barney and the story as a whole,” Grazer said of the film during the press conference. “I remember the script, and there were so many different people. It was a whole other ballgame when I started, but I’m so glad that I stuck around and here we are now, and I’m so thrilled.”

Ron is a hybrid of a robot and a smart device, and finding the voice was a joint effort between the filmmakers and Galifianakis.

“It was a little tricky just to find [the voice] because you don’t want to do a robot,” Galifianakis said. “Obviously, they didn’t want that. They wanted more of my voice. But then how do you walk that line of not too much emotion, but likeable or lovable? So I had a lot of help, really, because I needed it. Also, it’s a tone thing too. In an animated thing, there’s a lot of it. There’s a lot of imagination that’s required in the beginning, because you don’t see a lot of visual stuff quite at the beginning. You’ve been told what’s happening and that’s a little bit of it. Sometimes it’s a little challenge, but honestly, I had help and they were very patient with me, which was when you don’t know what you’re doing like me, it’s helpful.”

Credit: 20th Century Studios.

Barney takes a liking to fellow classmate Savannah Meades, who is voiced by Kylie Cantrall. She’s a popular girl at school and is obsessed with her image on social media.

“Social media is a huge part of this film and [Savannah’s] taking these cute selfies and she’s doing these makeup tutorials,” Cantrall said. “But I think underneath it all, she’s just a young girl trying to figure herself out, and I hope that young girls can relate to her and understand the pressures that she goes through and kind of resonate with that part of her.”

The concept for Ron’s Gone Wrong was inspired by Spike Jonze’s film, Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson.

“I’ve got to make a movie like that for my three-year-old who is sitting there immersed in her iPad, believing every single thing that she’s reading or hearing on it, including which is the best fabric softener, etc,” Smith said about Her and Ron’s Gone Wrong. “And, for me, I don’t know why people make movies for grownups, right? Who do we really care most about in our lives? It’s our children and our families. And I, as a filmmaker, want to make movies that I can watch with my kids. That is proper ‘movie’ movies, with ideas that are sophisticated, something for us to talk about and obviously hilarious.”

About Ron’s Gone Wrong

“Ron’s Gone Wrong” is the story of Barney, a socially awkward middle-schooler, and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally connected device, which is supposed to be his “Best Friend out of the Box.” Ron’s hilarious malfunctions set against the backdrop of the social media age launch them into an action-packed journey in which boy and robot come to terms with the wonderful messiness of true friendship. “Ron’s Gone Wrong” features the voices of Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Olivia Colman, Ed Helms, Justice Smith, Rob Delaney, Kylie Cantrall, Ricardo Hurtado, Marcus Scribner, Thomas Barbusca.

The film is directed by Sarah Smith & Jean-Philippe Vine, co-directed by Octavio Rodriguez, and written by Peter Baynham and Smith.

Ron’s Gone Wrong releases in theaters on October 22, 2021.

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