Let’s briefly interrupt our True Blood, Bachelorette, and singing shows coverage to focus on all of that wholesome stuff the kids are watching. InsideTV parents and babysitters alike have probably heard of Nickelodeon’s resident heartthrob Drake Bell, the floppy-haired actor/musician with enough Kids’ Choice Awards to fill the lengthiest of mantels. The former Drake & Josh star is set to star in the July 9 live-action version of the network’s long-running cartoon, The Fairly OddParents. Entertainment Weekly spoke to Bell about growing up, his burgeoning music career, and bringing one of Nickelodeon’s most iconic cartoons to life.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Can you give us a basic rundown of A Fairly Odd Movie?
DRAKE BELL: We are bringing the cartoon to life! The story takes place in the future, which is interesting. Timmy is now a grown-up, he’s 23 years old, and he is doing everything he can to stay a kid so he doesn’t lose his godparents. When you grow up or you fall in love, then you lose your fairy godparents. He’s doing whatever he can to stay at home. He rides his bike to school, and he’s still in the fifth grade even though he’s 23.
How do you think fans of the cartoon will react to the live-action translation?
They portray the characters like they just jumped off the cartoon! The girl that played Vicky was amazing. Jorgen Von Strangle, the parents, the teacher, Mr. Crocker. It’s unreal how well these actors portray these cartoon characters. I’m really excited to see what [fans] think of the movie.
What did you think of the end result, mixing the live-action with the CGI fairies?
They did a really great job on it. You know, the CGI sometimes can just ruin the movie; it can take you out of the movie. But I was so impressed when I saw this, how good the CGI is. You’re brought into the movie; you’re not taken out of it at all.
With your comic background on Drake and Josh, how was it working alongside Cheryl Hines and Jason Alexander?
Oh, I’m such a huge Curb Your Enthusiasm fan. I love Seinfeld, I’m obviously a Larry David fan. And they were really great people to work with. Really down to earth. It was a great vibe on set.
You’ve been a Nick favorite for the better part of a decade. Has your Drake and Josh fan base stayed with you after the show’s run?
There’s such a love out there. If I open up my mentions on Twitter right now, 90 percent of them will be, “Where is Drake and Josh?” “When is it coming back?” Which is something I would love to do one day, if Josh is up for it. I’d love to get the Beatles back together, you know?
What’s the latest on your music career?
I released my EP today, called A Reminder, and the single came out last week. There’s a video up on YouTube. We’re going to go out to Gramercy Theater on Thursday here in New York, and when we get home, we’re playing the Rose Bowl. On July 13, we kick off our Latin America tour, all over Mexico, Latin America and all that. The Latin American fan base is out of this world.
You have started to make the big-screen transition, mostly in family comedies. Is there any desire to enter the more adult world of dark comedy and drama?
I’m not adamantly searching for that meaty Taxi Driver role or anything like that. If it comes around, fantastic. If not, I’m having a blast doing what I’m doing. I’d love to start developing a television show. Create it, produce it, write it, and direct it. Well, maybe not write it. I’m about to go on tour, I just finished this record, and I just finished a movie up in Canada. It’s panning out nicely.
A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner! will air on Nickelodeon at 8 p.m. on July 9.