Like children, all actors really just want to be superheroes, so say "Zoom" stars Tim Allen and Courteney Cox
"I wanted to be Flash," Allen explains. "That's why this character came up ... because I read comic books when I was a kid all the time and all of them had problems. Superman was a little creepy because of the kryptonite thing. Because he could be brought down by a frickin' green rock, horrible, that Lex Luthor already seemed to have an endless supply of, so you always bring out that. But the Flash, they never really examined how fast he could go. And that's where Matt Carroll and I designed the backstory of Zoom -- is that there really is no end to how fast he can go. The balance of this shifted-skewed a little younger 'cause the real sci-fi had to have a lot of pipe laid and the studio said it would just get too long."
In "Zoom," Allen plays a washed up superhero recruited to help train a new generation of aspiring caped crusaders for a mysterious mission. Cox plays Marsha Holloway, a scientist studying these supernaturally gifted kids.
Asked what superhero she most related to growing up, Cox sheepishly asks if "Bewitched" could be considered a superhero. Allen assures her -- without asking the room of reporters to vote -- that it can.
"Just because I love witches and she was pretty and she could you know go from place to place with just a little twinkle of her nose," Cox says by way of justification.
Cox is a bit more candid when the suggestion is raised that actors respond to these superhero archetypes because they too were outcasts. After Allen kids that Cox always must have been in the popular group, she responds.
"When I was a kid I didn't feel like I fit in because -- this is really silly and I probably shouldn't say it, but, I didn't think anything was funny," Cox says, looking around to see if anybody is surprised. "So I used to go home and literally cry to my mom and my step-dad at the time... and I didn't think anything was funny -- I couldn't laugh. And all my friends thought everything was really funny and I didn't. So that was really a big thing for me to be able to learn to laugh. And then of course I got to work with Tim Allen."
Although Allen and Carroll wrote a draft of a superhero movie, the credited screenwriters on "Zoom" are Adam Rifkin and David Berenbaum, working from the book "Zoom's Academy" by Jason Lethcoe. Viewers will still get some of the same winking humor that Allen brought to "Galaxy Quest."
"This was all about that," Allen admits. "But it was a real tough sell because 'Galaxy Quest' was real delicate, and the parody reality of it. And I'm saying it out of respect for Sony, because it was tough to tell them that this was what it was all about. The underlying thing and there's still -- and I'm being even conservative -- 85 percent of the 'Galaxy Quest'-ish look at Superheroes is still in this. They still wanted to skew it so kids would understand but they left a lot of the adult references in it."
And what powers would our actors want to have if they were super?
"I'd like to fly," Cox says simply.
For his part, Allen returns to the speedy gift his Zoom character borrowed from the Flash.
"He can run faster than the speed of light," Allen says of Zoom. "He has no limit to how fast he can move and he con back inter-dimensionally. He doesn't really know his power. That's why new suit came on the one that [co-star Chevy Chase] designed. The chafing so he wouldn't explode. If you ran that fast, the chafing -- your ass would explode. So I wanted to avoid that scene, which I'd love to do personally. [He mimics running and then, well, having his rear explode.] 'Arrrghhh!' But that's the power I'd like to have. Spider-Man's cool, too. That swinging through New York City is cool, but Spider-Man can get hurt, you know?"
"Zoom" opens everywhere on Friday, Aug. 11.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times