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May 1, 2013

Crystal @ SCA

Actor Discusses His Latest Film, Monsters University

On April 26th, the Cinematic Arts students attending the screening of Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University knew that a special guest was coming after the film but didn’t know who. Director of Programming at the USC School of Cinematic Arts Alex Ago told them that their guest was someone who worked at Pixar by the name of Mike Wazowski. When Billy Crystal (who voices the character Mike Wazowski) took the stage, there was a full standing ovation.

Director of Programming Alex Ago with Crystal

Crystal talked about his time working with Pixar, his long career, gave advice to students looking to work in the entertainment industry and how Monsters University came about.

“We were at John Lasseter’s birthday party and he said, ‘We have an idea for a sequel... and it’s a prequel. They are in college.’ and I said, ‘When do we start?;” said Crystal. “When the first film came out, most of you were six or seven and now, it’s for [college-aged people]. It’s for people your age.”

Crystal has had a successful career as an actor in both film and television, starring in such films as When Harry Met Sally... (1989), Analyze This (1999), Monster’s Inc. (2001) and Cars (2006) and is known for hosting the The Oscars nine times. Crystal has also served as a writer, director and producer and was one of the headliners of the Comic Relief series in the 80s, which raised funds for charitable causes.

On taking the role of Mike Wazowski, Crystal explained, “Mike Wazowski is my favorite character to play. He’s an optimist. He pushes forward and he looks like me,” he joked. “They videotape me doing the sessions and they take what I do. It’s magical to watch. Pixar does a phenomenal job.”

Monsters University tells the story of Mike (Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) as “Scaring” majors at Monsters University before they became employees of Monsters, Inc. When their competitive nature gets them ejected from the School, they follow their instincts to get back in and become legendary “scarers.”

Monsters University opens nationwide on June 21 and will be available in 3D in select theaters.