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Interview: A.J. Buckley talks The Good Dinosaur

Irish-born Canadian actor A.J. Buckley plays Nash, a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the Disney Pixar film The Good Dinosaur, which comes to Blu Ray and DVD on February 23rd. We spoke with Buckley via phone from Los Angeles, and learned that the energy he brings to the film is the same as the energy that he carries with him at all times. A new father, Buckley is working on a diaper bag for men.

Scene Creek: When they thought about a southern T-Rex, they decided that you were their man?

A.J. Buckley: I popped right into their minds! They’ve been a fan of my work when I was on Justified and unbeknownst to me, when the time that Justified was airing, they were looking for the third and final piece of the T-Rex family. Because Anna Paquin had been cast, and I guess that they had sampled my voice from Justified and then it seemed to fit the family, so I never imagined a character like Danny Crowe in a family Pixar movie.

S.C: And Anna Paquin is Canadian-born too!

A.J.B: I know. We’re representing!

S.C: How much did you enjoy working with director Peter Sohn?

A.J.B: He’s everything that he seems to be. Such a genuinely good person, and he has a passion for this story and I think that this comes across. You know, when you do these projects, in the early stages, not very much is animated, but his passion and his vision for the project was very easy to get behind. He knew the ins and outs of every character.

S.C: Is it true that you met your fellow cast only when doing press?

A.J.B: Yes, and I have been such a fan of Sam Elliott’s, who is so solid in everything that he does. Sam Elliott is one of the coolest guys that you will ever meet.

S.C: When you were doing the recording, it was just you and Peter in the studio?

A.J.B: Yeah, just me and Pete and that was it. You know, he was read the lines of all the other characters. And he had a vision in his head of how Sam and Anna would voice the characters, which is absolutely genius to me that he could hear the comedic beats and stuff.

S.C: What was your process for Nash?

A.J.B: He had hired me from Danny Crowe, but when we had got there, it had been a year since I played Danny, so I was trying to find where his voice was, and I realized that during Justified I had chewing tobacco, and the way that my mouth was positioned, and there happened to be a bunch of Jolly Ranchers on the table, so I stuck some in my mouth, and put my lips in the position of chewing tobacco and out Nash came.

The Good Dinosaur is now available on home entertainment from Disney Canada.