Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Fran Drescher, Keegan-Michael Key, and David Spade bid a perfect kids' franchise goodbye.


'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Cast Talk About the Bittersweet Finale

by Ian Spelling
Originally Published: 

Well, this sucks! It’s time, after a decade, to say goodbye, farewell, and thank you to the Hotel Transylvania film franchise. The animated monster comedies made for perfect family fare and featured the voices of Adam Sandler as Dracula, Selena Gomez as his daughter, Mavis, and Andy Samberg as Johnny, a human who falls in love with Mavis. Sandler, Gomez, and Samberg all returned for Hotel Transylvania 2 and Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, joined by Kevin James as Frank (Frankenstein), David Spade as Griffin (The Invisible Man), Steve Buscemi, and Molly Shannon as Wayne and Wanda (married werewolves), Keegan-Michael Key as Murray the Mummy, and Fran Drescher as Eunice (Bride of Frankenstein). The films unfold at Hotel Transylvania, which is owned by Dracula and serves as a place where monsters of every ilk can get away from it all, especially humans.

The latest – and reportedly last – Hotel Transylvania adventure is Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, set to stream January 14 on Amazon Prime Video. Sony, which produces the films, understandably sold Transformania to Amazon rather than take the considerable risk of releasing it theatrically during the latest wave of the pandemic. Sandler and James are not involved, replaced by Brian Hull and Asher Blinkoff, respectively, but everyone else is back. Also returning are Kathryn Hahn and Jim Gaffigan, who debuted in Summer Vacation as Dracula’s wife, Ericka (Van Helsing), and Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Bright, fun, fast-paced, and occasionally touching, Transformania kicks off with a “monsterfication ray” turning the monsters into humans and Johnny into a monster. And so begins a race against the clock to reverse the ray’s effects. Fatherly is pleased to share an exclusive clip from Transformania, which you can watch above!

We also recently participated in a roundtable with Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Fran Drescher, Keegan-Michael Key, and David Spade. Here are seven frightful, amusing, and emotional takeaways from the conversation.

David Spade’s Invisible Man becomes visible, and pre-release images freaked out the Hotel Transylvania fan base.Spade: I play Griffin, this woman, who is sort of a bit of a scene-stealer. (Everyone laughs). No… they showed me Griffin during (production) and I was a bit surprised. They (also) put out some pictures of Griffin, and I guess it wasn’t what people thought because they wanted Griffin to be better looking, like Bradley Cooper or something. I’m like, “Griffin’s this goofy dingdong that hangs out with the monsters. A little out of shape. Red hair.” They were looking for more of a Prince Harry or something. I think it’s funnier that Griffin looks funnier because it’s for kids and families, and I think cartoons should be funny-looking. So, I’m 100% into my Griffin.Gomez and Drescher have brought their outsider characters to life for nearly 10 years. So, what advice do they have for people in real life who are struggling to fit in and be like everyone else?Gomez: Oh, man, that’s a good, loaded question. I could give you the “Believe in yourself” kind of answer. I think it’s a challenge, right? Every day you wake up, and sometimes you can’t sit there and make a choice. Sometimes you do feel those feelings and I think it’s important to take moments and breaks from social media, personally. I think it’s just nice to be present and be with yourself for a bit. But that doesn’t mean that you need to have a lot of friends and a lot of people around you to be cool. I have four friends and I think we’re the coolest. Drescher: I think the most attractive thing you can be is yourself and not give into peer pressure, not feel like you have to be like anybody else, so you have to twist yourself into a pretzel because you think that’s what somebody else expects you to be. Every single day, the more you practice self-confidence and loving exactly who you want (to be), and doing exactly what makes your heart sing and nothing else, then you’re on the right path to living a really successful life, successful in a sense of being happy both inside and (outwardly). Making kindness and compassion your compass is also something that brings value to your life and to those you touch.Samberg doesn’t consider voicing Johnny all that complicated, especially after a quartet of films, but that didn’t make the experience any less fun.Samberg: It’s not particularly challenging. We’re on the fourth one here. Not to like deflect, but you’ve seen the style of animation they do, which, in my opinion, is one of the greatest things about these movies. It’s so fun and exaggerated and, obviously, kids love it. When I watched it, it makes me giggle just seeing the expressions and the gesticulations they give all the characters. So, this time around, doing the recording, you pretty much know they want you to go huge and insane, and then they are going to push that even further with the way they animate it. It’s very freeing. You know that there’s no, “Look, buddy, come on, that was too much.”Mavis has grown and matured over the course of the Hotel Transylvania movies, much like Gomez herself. The singer-actress-cooking show host was just 19 in 2012 when she replaced the previously announced Miley Cyrus as the first film’s leading lady. Gomez: It’s been such a pleasure playing this character and also growing up, because it’s so long ago. I was in a different phase of my life. So, it’s actually wonderful to be able to grow with this character. She’s definitely tough and she’s not always demanded to be as big (as the other monster characters; remember, she is a vampire). She’s always worrying, and that matches my personality really well. (laughs). I just want things to run smoothly. I actually understand what it’s like to have differences between family members and things like that. It’s nice that we’re touching on such a real thing, but in such a crazy way. It’s fun.Key has lent his voice to numerous animated projects. In addition to playing Murray the Mummy in Hotel Transylvania 2, 3 and 4, he’s been heard in the likes of The Lego Movie, The Angry Birds Movie, Storks, Bob’s Burgers, Toy Story 4, SuperMansion, The Lion King, Archer, and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, as well as the upcoming Pinocchio. Clearly, the man likes the gig.Key: I would say the most rewarding part, to actually go back to what Andy was saying, is that concept of not having any limitations, especially in these movies. The look of the characters is so exaggerated. Anything that you would have been busted for on a live-action movie, you don’t have to worry about. That is the best thing. It reminds me of being a kid. When you’re a kid and you’d play with other friends, your imagination went everywhere. There’d be times you’re out on the field and playing and screaming, and all of that abandon. You get to channel that again as an adult when you’re doing animated films. And it’s not only not frowned upon, it’s encouraged. That’s my favorite thing about working in this space.Adam Sandler voiced Dracula in the first three films and produced them as well. For reasons that have not been made public, Sandler did not return for Transformania. Veteran voice actor Brian Hull goes for the jugular in the new movie, having actually previously voiced Dracula in Monster Pets: A Hotel Transylvania Short Film. Drescher and Spade credit Hull for stepping in seamlessly.Drescher: I think he did an amazing job. It’s kind of lucky that… Adam didn’t really sound like Adam. Dracula is kind of an imitate-able voice. I don’t really think that the fans are going to even notice, quite frankly. When the (first) movie was being developed, at its early stages, and the first couple (of movies), Adam played a really important part in its development, producing and everything, and making it as quality as it is, working with writers from SNL and all of that. But the voice itself is the voice of Dracula.Spade: I think at first you knew Selena and Sandler, and this funny idea for a movie. Then, once you see it, all these other characters come in. Then, the second one, now it’s a whole moving world of a bunch of pieces. So, it’s a little easier. There’s a lot of focus on Mavis and (Johnny), so I think (Hull) does a great job of holding up his end. I think Adam was doing three movies anyway this year. I’m glad they did a fourth and I’m glad it worked out.From all indications, Transformania will shut the coffin on the Hotel Transylvania franchise. Key, speaking for the entire cast, is sad to see it end.Key: I’m going to miss the final products that we always see. The movies are really, really done on such a high level. It’s the rhythm of the movies, and the spirit behind them that really, really moves me. So, in a way, I’m saying I’m going to miss seeing them because, if indeed this is the last one, I’m going to miss seeing a new one when a new one comes out because they’re always really, really, really well done.Hotel Transylvania: Transformania will begin streaming on January 14 on Amazon Prime Video.

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