Never have there been five friends as infamous as The Bad Guys—dashing pickpocket Mr. Wolf (Academy Award® winner Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), seen-it-all safecracker Mr. Snake (Marc Maron, GLOW), chill master-of-disguise Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson, Hot Tub Time Machine franchise), short-fused “muscle” Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos, In the Heights) and sharp-tongued expert hacker Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina, Crazy Rich Asians), aka “Webs.”
In the new action comedy from DreamWorks Animation, The Bad Guys will go good, the blockbuster Scholastic book series by Aaron Blabey, a crackerjack criminal crew of animal outlaws are about to attempt their most challenging con yet—becoming model citizens.
In the film, Awkwafina is the only female member of the gang and doesn’t cut the guys any slack. In Aaron Blabey’s book series, Tarantula is actually a “Mr.” But when adapting the story for the screen, Blabey was supportive of the filmmakers switching the character to be a kick-butt female techie. Producer Rebecca Huntley has loved audiences’ reception to Ms. Tarantula. “One of the surprising things was how parents responded to the fact that Ms. Tarantula was representing women and girls in S.T.E.M. She’s a cool, confident hacker, and to have audiences see her as a role model in that regard was wonderful.”
Additionally, Awkwafina admired how deftly the source material and the script balanced joyful imagination and poignant themes. “The story is pretty existential, and these are characters with sincere dilemmas,” Awkwafina says. “It is symbolic of how we, as humans, see ourselves, how society does and how we embody that—until we realize that we don’t have to be defined by certain things. I like the way that The Bad Guys plays with aspects of good and bad. Those are two terms that we see misconstrued all the time. We see people that look bad but aren’t, as well as people who look good but aren’t.”
She was thrilled to join such a brilliant group of fellow voice performers, as well as occasionally work alongside them—a rarity in animation. “This is a stacked cast of brilliant actors, and I’m a huge fan of all my fellow Bad Guys,” Awkwafina says.
From Dreamworks Animation, The Bad Guys is a Universal Pictures International release and will open in local cinemas on April 27.