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Comedian and actor Ricky Gervais meets with Kidsday

Ricky Gervais with Kidsday reporters Ty McKenzie, Olivia

Ricky Gervais with Kidsday reporters Ty McKenzie, Olivia Healy, Nicholas Houlder and Gabriela Rivas, all from Copiague Middle School, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan on Dec. 12, 2014. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We interviewed comedian and actor Ricky Gervais when he was in Manhattan recently. We loved him in the movies "Muppets Most Wanted" and "Night at the Museum" and look forward to him doing the voice of Mole in the movie "Wind in the Willows," which comes out next year.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to go for a run, I like running. I live near the woods so I run in the woods. I have a cat that I like to play with and sit on my lap and keep me warm. I like TV and I like playing with friends. That is the best thing, you will always want to do that.

What happens when you make a mistake with your lines in a movie or show?

I laugh and I ruin the take. That is my favorite thing in the world, laughing. It is the best feeling in the world. I don't mind if I make a mistake. It is just fun. Other people mind, but I don't. If other people are annoyed, that makes me laugh as well.

Which do you like more -- performing or writing?

I like both. I love writing, but I often come up with things that I can use when I perform because I do stand-up. So I am writing and performing and that is just for me. But I also like writing for other people when I do a TV show or a film, I write for everyone. If I have to do only one for the rest of my life I would probably choose the writing. Because you can do that when you are really old and you get to sit down, but with acting, sometimes you have to stand up and walk. I will do whichever one I can do sitting down.

What was it like working on the movie "Muppets Most Wanted"?

Amazing. It was so much better than actors and they are never late. The frog is never late. I have loved the Muppets since I was your age. I loved them all but I loved the new guy Constantine. He is my favorite. He is an angry evil frog. That is another one of my favorite things: friends, laughing, and evil frogs. It was so much fun. I love those little guys because I am a big kid.

What is it like to hear your voice on a video game?

Yeah . . . I wish I had a better voice. I sound a bit squeaky; stupid. I want to sound like Liam Neeson. It is always higher than I think it is. In my head I am quite cool, but then when I see it on the telly I am not cool. It is a surprise.

If you weren't in show business, what job would you like to have?

Probably something academic. I was going that route. I was doing sciences. I went to the university. I wanted to be a scientist and a marine biologist, then a vet, then a doctor. Then I went to the university and I decided I wanted to be a rock star instead. I woke up after the university, and said this isn't working out. When I wasn't making enough money to eat because of the music, I got a normal job. I needed to eat because I was wasting away. I got a normal job and it was in an office. I worked in an office for 10 years, and I wasn't an actor, and I wrote a sitcom about me working in the office. So I did it that way. I went for an audition once and didn't get it, and I thought this isn't working out, either. So I decided to write myself a part if I wanted to be an actor. So that inspired me to write about what I actually did. I probably would have been a teacher or a doctor or something like that. Yeah, I said I could have been a doctor. I probably could have been a brain surgeon or something like that.

What would you do to prepare for your role?

Wow, that is a difficult one. If we are being honest, I don't. I look at the lines. OK, sometimes I look at them. I sometimes think I am not a real actor. Like some people are, and they really like their art. I feel like a bit of an impostor. I am more of a comedian, really. I always feel like I have stolen an actor's role. That is why I don't do many films. For the films I get, they hire me because of what I do. It is not like I change my whole self like a Daniel Day-Lewis. "Derek" is the first one that is a real change. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses so you can sort of play on those. and then you can fall into the role you were born to do.

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