Hank Azaria gets in front of the camera for ‘Lovelace’

Hank Azaria stars in "Lovelace," in theaters Friday.
Hank Azaria stars in “Lovelace,” in theaters Friday. Credit: Getty Images

Hank Azaria is more often heard than seen, given that he’s about to start his 25th season as the voice of Moe, Apu, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, et al. on “The Simpsons.” But he has a long history in front of the camera as well. He can currently be seen, under impressive makeup, as Gargamel in “The Smurfs 2.” The flipside of his talents can be seen in “Lovelace,” a biopic about the making of the legendary box office juggernaut porn “Deep Throat,” in which he plays the film’s director, Jerry Damiano.

You were very young when “Deep Throat” came out. How aware of it were you then?

You heard about it. It was a big deal. I remember hearing “Deep Throat” and confusing it with Watergate. I knew it was sexual, but I obviously never saw the film, at least back then.

What attracted you to the project?

People were asking me if I had second thoughts doing it. I could imagine why Amanda [Seyfried, who plays star Linda Lovelace] might have second thoughts, with all the nudity. But I can’t imagine why anyone else would. Post-“Boogie Nights,” why would anybody hesitate? You’d think I’d been asked to do a porn.

How did you prepare for the role?

There was a lot of interview footage of this guy. He’s much like I portray him — he was very sweet and open and enthusiastic and thinking he was making art. He loved making movies, and loved pornography. It wasn’t “Oh, s—, I wanted to be a filmmaker and I got stuck here!” This guy really loved making adult movies and wanted them to be as great as they could be, almost in a childlike way.

Was it easy to get into that ‘70s vibe?

The wardrobe and the hair really did that for us. It’s hard not to feel like you’re in the ‘70s when you’re dressed head-to-toe in polyester. I found myself very grateful we’re no longer in the polyester era, even though I wore it as a kid. Boy, is that stuff uncomfortable and ridiculous. It’s like wearing plastic. It doesn’t breathe.

How do you handle that tonal switch as an actor?

You just try to play things honestly. I was depicting jerry very much as he was, how he sounded. He had his sense of humor and what he was earnest about. They did a smart thing in editing: They made it two very clear sections — here’s the happy version of what happened, and here’s the more realistic not so f—ing happy version of what happened. By doing that they avoided anybody saying this film has tonal problems. It’s true that, like life, both extremes existed at the same time. But they were smart in the way they cut it to give you one version of the story, then another.

The directors are documentarians. How is it like working with them as an actor?

I admire their documentaries. I like working for guys like that because — and maybe I was just imaging this — you get the feeling they want your performance to be very realistic. They want it true and simple. That’s always the way I like to work. You run into that in places, like television. “Who cares if it doesn’t make sense? It’s funny!” To me, it’s not funny if it doesn’t make sense. These guys never wanted to cheat the reality of the situation.

What are some of the major differences of creating a character in voicework versus live action?

With that, you’re really only revealing yourself through your voice. There’s no facial expressions or body language. There’s no memorizing. You don’t have to look a certain way. It’s easier to experiment. You just do something without discussing it first. It’s really fluid. Tape is cheap, as we like to say in the voiceover world.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Local politicians pressure DOJ to investigate Ramarley Graham…

On what would have been his 21st birthday, Ramarley Graham's mother joined elected leaders to ask the U.S. Department of Justice investigate his death.

Local

Muslim leaders welcome NYPD surveillance changes with degree…

Leaders and advocates praise the NYPD's move to shut down a unit tied to its Muslim surveillance program but say there's more left to do.

Local

PHOTOS: More than $12 million in heroin, crystal…

Authorities seized more than 44 pounds of heroin and 17 pounds of crystal meth from two stash houses this week during a Manhattan drug bust.

Local

How to donate during the blood drive at…

The Metro-North Railroad and New York Blood Center are hosting a blood drive at Grand Central Terminal Thursday.

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

Masahiro Tanaka dominates Cubs over eight shutout innings

Masahiro Tanaka certainly had no-hit caliber stuff Wednesday as he allowed just two bunt singles.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

NFL

Jets make Chris Johnson signing official

The Jets got their big-play threat as running back Chris Johnson signed a multi-year contract with the team on Wednesday.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.