The Bad Guys Needed Mr. Wolf To Be George Clooney-Ish Without Actually Casting George Clooney

As the wise Zangief of "Street Fighter" once said, "You are bad guy but this does not mean you are bad, guy." In the new family-friendly animated adventure comedy, "The Bad Guys," DreamWorks has arranged a group of criminal animals to put Zangief's words to the test, as Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell), Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos), Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), and Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina) attempt to avoid prison by pulling off their greatest con yet –becoming good guys – or at least fooling the world into thinking they've turned a new leaf. Guinea pig philanthropist Professor Rupert Marmalade IV (Richard Ayoade) is the one who comes up with the plan, promising to help the crew improve their public image and learn how to be good in exchange for their help freeing a legion of guinea pigs from an experimental lab.

The group is led by Wolf, who has all of the makings of a criminal mastermind. He's charming, he's slick, and he's willing and able to do just about anything to pull off a heist. At the same time, he's also the one who starts to have second thoughts regarding a life of crime, and sees potential in the group bettering themselves. After years of being bad for the thrill of it, he does a good deed and is called a "Good Boy" by a stranger, eliciting a feeling of euphoria for the very first time and wanting to recapture that sensation as much as possible. He's kind of like if Danny Ocean of "Ocean's Eleven" joined forces with the titular "Fantastic Mr. Fox." Weird, considering both of those characters are played by George Clooney.

More than just a clone of Clooney

If Mr. Wolf was giving off Clooney vibes, it's because this characterization was by design. In a recent interview with Pierre Perifel, "The Bad Guys" director confesses that Mr. Wolf was always supposed to feel like a character Clooney could play, without being an exact copy of George Clooney: 

"Wolf was supposed to be that kind of charming guy, and the usual suspect would have been George Clooney ... If we want George Clooney, we'll get George Clooney, but we wanted him to be more than that." 

In addition to his performance as Mr. Fox, Clooney has also famously lent his voice to Dr. Gouache in "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut" as well as voicing the Marsh family dog, Sparky, on the "South Park" TV series. Instead of grabbing Clooney, however, they cast the brilliant Sam Rockwell to capture the Clooney energy but create a character all his own.

"We knew he was great anyway but we wanted him as Mr. Wolf because he was exactly the right cast as this character," said Perifel. Rockwell absolutely nailed his performance in the film adaptation of the Australian graphic novel series of the same name, bringing heart, hilarity, and a whole lot of Clooney energy to the part of Mr. Wolf. The fact Rockwell was directed by Clooney in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" probably didn't hurt.

"The Bad Guys" opens on April 22, 2022.