Matthew Lillard, best known as Shaggy in the Scooby Doo franchise and a award-winning performance in SLC PUNK!, fell in love with the novel on which FAT KID RULES THE WORLD is based when he was tapped to record the audio book. He’d never heard of the book before, but before he finished recording it, he knew he had to adapt it for the big screen. What followed was a multi-year committment, the which he described when we spoked on October 7, 2012. Persistance, I learned, is a big part of what makes Lillard tick, and examples of it form the backbone of our conversation, which covered his love of teaching, using the small moments to tell the bigger story, and what it was like to have KID’s co-star, Billy Campbell, weep in his arms at a screening. It wasn’t until we talked about the MPAA rating that the film received, an R, that Lillard’s real passion for is project was revealed in the way he’s still smarting from what he considers an unfairly harsh rating, and his determination to get it changed when he can raise the money to do so.
FAT KID RULES THE WORLD is a sensitive and incisive film about growing up that covers such topics as despair, acceptance, and the magic of getting free pie. It follows Troy, an obese teenager rescued from suicide by Marcus, a musician with an upbeat bravado and a life that’s a mess. Troy, a lonely high-school nerd, and Marcus, a homeless high-school drop-out, are each delighted to have someone to talk to who isn’t carrying the emotional baggage from their respective pasts. Troy discovers the drums and the local underground music scene. Marcus gets a hot meal and a place to shower. And if it were all that simple, there would be no movie. The film is based on the novel by K.L. Going and co-stars Jacob Wysocki, Matt O’Leary, and Billy Campbell. Lillard directed from a script by Michael M.B. Galvin and Peter Speakman and it is his feature film directorial debut. His previous work includes singing and dancing in Kenneth Branagh’s musical version of LOVE’S LABOURS LOST, being the official voice of Scooby-Doo, and delivering an award-winning performance in SLC PUNK!. He was also a distinctive part of the ensemble cast of THE DESCENDANTS as the man with whom George Clooney’s wife is having an affair, and he can currently be seen as the man who wants to fire Clint Eastwood in TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE.