Brad Bird, Patton Oswalt On Cooking Up 'Ratatouille' Director Brad Bird decided to cast comedian Patton Oswalt as the film's leading rat after watching him perform a stand-up routine about a steak restaurant. He says Oswalt, a serious foodie himself, was "perfect for Remy."

Brad Bird, Patton Oswalt On Cooking Up 'Ratatouille'

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

It's become a FRESH AIR tradition to do a theme week at the end of August, leading into Labor Day weekend. We've done blues week, country music week, hip-hop week, animal week, and this week it's food; interviews about why bananas don't always taste the way they used to, going undercover as a food critic, the possibility of test-tube meat, an archival interview with Julia Child and so on.

We wanted to come up with a good title for the week, and everything we've come up with is somewhere between not bad and bad. To give you some idea, we've had pot luck week, smorgasbord, food for thought, FRESH AIR con queso, my dinner with Terry, chew on this and of course FRESH AIR eats it.

So we thought you might have some better ideas. If you do, tweet us with the hashtag #freshairfoodweek - that's one word. If we like your suggestion we'll use it and credit you on air. We'll also make a list of the best suggestions on our Tumblr, If you haven't used Tumblr yet, that's spelled T-U-M-B-L-R.

Let's start off whatever-it's-called week with an all-you-can-eat moment. Comic and actor Patton Oswalt has a great bit he does inspired by a commercial for the Black Angus restaurant chain. This is from our 2007 interview, after the release of the animated film "Ratatouille." Oswalt did the lead voice of the rat-turned-chef.

(Soundbite of archived audio)

Mr. PATTON OSWALT (Comedian): Black Angus used to be a very friendly restaurant where I'd come in and have a steak and have a baked potato. It'll be a good time. And you go, that sounds fine.

And then over the past few years, the commercials have turned into this, like, gauntlet of threatening food, where it doesn't even look pleasant anymore. And there's this - it sounds like an initiation rite now: At Black Angus, well start you off with an appetizer platter, featuring five jumbo, deep-fried Gulf shrimp served with a side of our butter and cheese cream soup and 15 of our potato bacon bombs and a big bowl of pork cracklins.

And you're like, you know, we're each going to split that. No, you'll each get your own. And we'll take you to our mile-long soup and salad bar with our He-Man five head of iceberg lettuce salad, served in a canoe with 18 pounds of ranch dressing and, what the heck, four cheese burgers.

It's like oh, man, you know what? I just - how about I'll just get a little mixed green salad? Hey, I'll put on a dress and curtsy before I bring you a mixed green, buddy. Why are you yelling at me?

And it just keeps - it just never ends.

GROSS: That was comic and actor Patton Oswalt.

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