ARCHER: Talking with H. Jon Benjamin – Sterling Archer himself!

Every year I look forward to the next season of ARCHER and every year I am thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with the voice of Sterling Archer – H. Jon Benjamin. Benjamin is not only the voice of Sterling Archer but also is part of the Fox animated series Bob’s Burgers (which I confess to also enjoying).

Let’s get right to it!

ARCHER has almost done it all, is there anything you would like to see him do?

Wow, there’s like nowhere left, right? Now he’s going inside the human body and I wouldn’t have thought of that one. He’s been in space and in the ocean. I’m trying to think, back to the womb? I don’t know where else he could go besides, he’d have to reverse time maybe. Time travel? That’s the only dimension he hasn’t covered yet.

Are you enjoying each season with how far out the show goes or perhaps would you like it to be a regular spy series?

I think actually this season, it sort of did kind of go back to a little bit more of the way it used to be until the finale. But Adam Reed is always trying to push the stories. For sure I think there’s been little elements that have gotten weirder, a little weirder, and more surreal. I think that’s good. Got to go somewhere.

Archer is finally a dad! How do you think he sees this for his life? I mean he seems to be rethinking a lot of things along with his own mortality or maybe he’s not – what do you think?

I think it’s evident in the show that he’s definitely, it’s a consideration for him now. I can only speak from experience, I didn’t care about my kid until he was like nine, so he’s got time. That’s maybe not so good to say. But he can’t read, he’s twelve, so he’ll never read this. I think there’s always— especially considering the way he had his child, he is slowly improving from the last child he had. Progress is slow, but life is pretty short. Archer, I think he’s got to pick up the pace as far as self-examining and figuring out how to get his life on track. But I’m not sure that will ever happen in the show. But like I said, he’s got some time to while his daughter’s still a baby. Maybe try and speed up some actualization.

If you could, who out of the ARCHER gang would you really hang out with?

Oh man, that’s rough. Maybe, I can’t see myself hanging out with Archer. That would be— although I have hung with people like him in my past. But at this point I couldn’t keep up, and wouldn’t want to. I would have to go with— and I’m not going to hang out with Krieger. I’ll go with a safe bet and say I’ll hang out with Cyril, although it wouldn’t be that much fun. I could see a movie with him, maybe grab a glass of wine.

Krieger is a little scary!

I don’t think anybody would hang out with Krieger, I don’t think, right? You’d just be, like immediately call the cops. And be like, I met a guy who’s just going to kill people.

If they made ARCHER into a movie, who would get the gem role of Sterling Archer?

H. Jon Well, definitely not me. Let’s say, Paul Giamatti, he kind of looks like me. No, no, that wouldn’t work. I don’t know, that a tough one. There is a lot of handsome actors out there. I saw a trailer for the British spy movie that’s coming out recently that had a guy that kind of looks exactly like Archer. He seemed like he had the attitude, I just don’t know what his name is. So it can, but you have to figure out who it is for me. I think it is The Man from U.N.C.L.E. That being said, the guy who’s going to be in The Man from U.N.C.L.E, the movie. Reboot. That being said, there’s certainly been talk about making an animated movie of Archer. I know people have brought it up. I guess that would be up to a consortium of people who would give the money to do it, and I don’t mean to make that sound nefarious. I feel like they would strive to make an animated feature before they would make a live action one. I would think, just because the show’s for the fans and the show.

If you could chose a favorite finale from any television show, what would it be?

Oh, from any TV show? From any TV show? I sometimes I like to say St. Elsewhere just because it’s so— but I didn’t really like it. But I think I ironically started to like it and then I talked about—and I use it as a reference all the time. If I’m in any situation where I’m talking about a TV finale, that the whole thing was a— as I remember it, a, St. Elsewhere was a hospital building in a snow globe. And the whole thing was a dream of a boy with mental disabilities. I just thought that was pretty good. So I have to say, I’m dating myself, St. Elsewhere. But let’s face it, we’re all going to die.

Favorite ARCHER finale so far?

Oh, wow. I liked the Sealab one. But I think probably my favorite would have been “Archer Vice”, where it wrapped up that whole season arc. I thought that was really smart, and I didn’t know what was coming until I read the script. That was cool to figure out why the whole thing was a sideways plot by Malory; which makes total sense considering her character. So I liked that a lot, so I’ll say that one.

There are twists and turns this season, anything you can share? Yes. I’m going to toe the line and say, I can’t say what’s going to happen. But mainly because I have no recollection. But let’s go with, I can’t say.

How much fun has it been working on these episodes?

It’s great. I had him read his, sort of ventured into this territory before with the Sealab finale and when they go to space. A lot of some of that stuff comes from allusions to shows and scenarios from fiction that he’s liked. Animation allows you to do that.

For Archer, it seems to work. I guess some of the crazy, and he certainly has a science fiction bent. And so whenever he can let that creep in, he does. Certainly not in the first four seasons, but I think now that Archer is getting on in years, it’s like he’s letting that loose a little bit. I think it’s fun. I always like it.

There has been comparisons between Archer and Buster Bluth from the series Arrested Development, how would Archer react to Buster do you think?

I regrettably have never watched Arrested Development, and I keep meaning to watch it. I had friends who were on it. I know Judy, and my friend David Cross was on it. The only time I watched it was with David Cross and his girlfriend at his house, one episode. I remember being too drunk to recollect what I saw. But I keep meaning to go back and watch the whole thing, so now I look forward to that. Someday I will watch all the Arrested Developments. So, I know who that is, but I can’t speak to the question because I don’t know all what’s on. I’ve got to wait to find out who Buster Bluth is. Archers so much more arrogant, self-confident.

If Archer could switch with someone else from the cast, who would you want it to be?

Out of the cast, probably Pam. I like Pam. Pam says the craziest sh**, and I’m a big Pam fan. Then I’d get to do my famous southern accent.

Which Pam do you prefer, Season 5 Pam or coke addict Pam?

I like regular Pam the best. I like Pam the way she is. I like office Pam more than crazy coke adult Pam.

Judy Greer has a part in Ant-Man, is there a superhero you’d like to be part of?

I don’t know. I always like Sub-Mariner. That’s the one movie they never made. Maybe that’s for a reason because nobody likes Sub-Mariner except for me. But I feel like maybe they’ll never make Sub-Mariner. But I would love to be Sub-Mariner, especially with my real body. That would be so weird, be a real Jewish, middle-aged Sub-Mariner.

Do you think there is something of your own personality that you bring to Archer?

Well, I don’t know I think I have my moments. I clearly possess some of his qualities. We have the same voice. I can get pretty loud, and mean to people at times. So, sure, I’m definitely a little bit like him. I’m a little more demure in real life. I don’t want to get hit. I can’t get into a fight, that wouldn’t be good for me.

Finally, how do you think Abbiejean has affected Archer?

I think the underlying plot element in this story, or certainly the underlying emotional element in the story is Abbiejean’s existence. And how it affects Archer’s relationship with Lana, which I think is the principal relationship in his life, and the one I think he needs to keep going. I think they did a really good job with it because it’s complicated for Archer to change so radically, even when you have a kid.

I think a lot of people think that change is easy, just by the sake of having a kid, but in actuality it’s not. Like I said before earlier to somebody, he’s making [indiscernible] progress. Hopefully it will catch up, but she’s going to be a mess. I think if I were to tack on a real life trajectory for Abbiejean, she’ll be a mess. Lana is, compared to Archer, is pretty stable. She’s probably the most stable character in the whole show. And I don’t think she’s anything like Malory, so that’s good.

ARCHER’s sixth season finishes this Thursday at 10 p.m. on FX and as thrilled as I am it’s also a maddening day! Having Sterling Archer and the gang around every week is a highlight but I anticipate mayhem and laughter when the next season comes.

Thanks to H. Jon Benjamin himself, the voice of Sterling Archer and all the cast for giving us laughs, shocks, and more laughs galore!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.