Jason Lee sits down with Mumtastic to talk about fatherhood and reprising his role as Dave Seville in ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked’.
The celebrity dad and talented actor, best known for My Name is Earl, Almost Famous, and The Incredibles, heads back to the big screen on December 16th for the third installment of the wildly popular Alvin & the Chipmunks films (the only Rated G family film out this holiday season!). Jason, dad to Pilot, 8, and Casper, 3, sat down with us in Los Angeles last week to talk kids, Alvin, and getting fit.
Jason says that he tried to keep the “magic” of Alvin and the Chipmunks alive for his son, who was just 4 when filming for the first movie was underway: “When I was filming the first one, my son very much thought they were real and so I tried to keep him away from the set.But, the couple of times that he did come to the set, I would have to say, ‘Oh, the chipmunks are on a break’ or ‘They’ve gone back to the hotel or something to get massages’.
On being a fan of the Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon when he was younger: “Yes. And I’d buy their records as a kid, too. I remember buying Chipmunk Punk. That had Blondie on it. It had, randomly, My Sharona. I remember saving up and buying that.”
Jason spends his down time as a professional photographer and he hopes to publish a book someday: “That’s my sort of get away from everything is I travel a lot and take pictures. I road trip. I shoot film still and I archive all my images, and I have thousands of slides and various negatives and things laying around. So, one of these days I’ll start to edit and put out a book. But, in the meantime, that’s a nice getaway for me.”
Also a huge part of Jason’s life outside of acting is skateboarding. He was a professional skateboarder until he started acting and is a co-founder of Stereo Skateboards. Jason has been enjoying being able to share that passion with his son: “He’s really into that. It’s cool to be able to give him that, one day play baseball at the park and then the next day we’re skateboarding together. It’s kind of a nice mix of things we get to do together because of that.” His three year old is catching the fever, too. “She pushes around on her butt, which is really cute. She’s got a little bit of that tomboy in her. It’s the older brother thing, having an older brother. She’s very much into her dolls. But, if there’s wrestling happening, she wants to get into that, too.”
Jason shares that his secret to great parenting is being a friend to his kids and treating them with equality and respect: “I think the greatest success I’ve had as a parent is treating my kids like they’re my friends, in that I kind of look at it like they’re just like us but smaller, and they have points of view, feelings, opinions. They have things to say. They get upset and frustrated just like we do when things don’t go our way. My son is very mature for his age and he’s very much his own little dude. And he comes to me and says, “Dad, I’m having a hard time with this.” And I say, “Okay. Well, let’s talk about it.” I think if you open up dialog with your kids it does enormous things versus sort of just treating them as kids. And all of those weird things that have trickled over from generation to generation from my mum’s era, which was kids are to be seen and not heard, all that weird stuff that still has trickled over into this generation even. I try to do everything but that. And as a result, we feel like we’re a part of a family, a group. And it’s done a lot for their character, absolutely.
Despite that, he says he CAN relate to Dave Seville’s moments of screaming “Alvin!”: He shared: “Oh, boy.; Are you kidding? Yes, my daughter of three. “Mama, mama, mama, dada, dada,” of course all that. “Okay, what is it? Uh-huh. Okay, totally. Okay, cool. All right.” “Dada, one more thing, one more thing.” “Oh, but it’s two hours past your bedtime. We really have to go to sleep now.” “Okay, just one more thing.” It’s so Alvin. But, then there’s that sweetness of Theodore in there, too, where you can’t not let them say one more thing because she’s so adorable. “
He also shared that he’d definitely love to have more kids – any number is good with him!
On his new trim and toned physique: “Yes, I changed my lifestyle. I gave up a lot of things and started exercising. I used to smoke cigarettes and, we all like our wine and beer and things like that. I gave all that up and I just got on a very strict diet and started exercising, cycling and running. And I dropped about 35 pounds. I’m 41 now and I have kids and I want to keep working. And I like being able to be fit enough to be diverse as an actor.”
More Alvin to come! Stay tuned for our take on the movie, plus interviews with Ross Bagdasarian Jr., the son of Alvin and the Chipmunks’ creator, and also director Mike Mitchell!