How the ''SpongeBob'' movie snagged Scarlett Johansson - The ''SquarePants'' creator also dishes on reeling in Jeffrey Tambor and Alec Baldwin

By Gregory Kirschling
Updated April 09, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

She held her own opposite Bill Murray in Lost in Translation, but what will happen when Scarlett Johansson (inset) teams with a certain invertebrate in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, due out Nov. 19? She’ll play Mindy, the mermaid daughter of King Neptune. SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg explains this and other casting coups.

Scarlett’s a SpongeBob fan?

She really likes cartoons. She told me she’s a huge Ren & Stimpy fan, too.

How’d you hook Jeffrey Tambor to play Neptune?

The king is bald — that’s his big insecurity. Jeffrey saw the character and said, ”This is me.”

And Alec Baldwin voices the bad guy.

He’s a hitman named Dennis, who’s hired by plankton to kill SpongeBob. He actually did it over the phone from New York, so it was pretty easy for him.

So he literally phoned it in?

I wouldn’t say that about his performance. [Laughs] He might be mad if we said that. Technically, it was like he was in another booth in the studio.

No beloved characters die in the third act, right?

I’m not gonna talk about any of that right now. It’s a happy ending.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

  • Movie
  • PG
  • 82 minutes
  • Stephen Hillenburg
  • Sherm Cohen