When it comes to animated high jinks in college, you usually think of keg stands and panty raids. With the prequel Monsters University, though, Pixar is matriculating two of its most beloved creations. Blue fur ball Sulley (voiced by John Goodman) and walking martini olive Mike (Billy Crystal) weren’t always the best of buddies, especially when they were first learning how to frighten youngsters. ”Mike goes about scaring from an academic standpoint,” says Goodman, ”and Sulley’s more of a natural.”
Goodman was glad to return to the recording booth with Crystal. ”I just try to hang on and follow Billy. It usually winds up with me trying to hold in my laughter,” he says. And just because they’re off camera doesn’t mean things don’t get physical. ”I put my whole body into it. There’s a lot of what I call ‘grunt work,’ which is literally grunting and falling down.” The story — which features familiar college tropes like fraternity pranks and a hard-nosed dean (Helen Mirren) — draws on numerous cinematic college romps, including one that Goodman starred in nearly 30 years ago. ”I’d say it’s more Revenge of the Nerds than anything,” he says.