An interview with J. P. Manoux, a.k.a. EuroTrip’s Robot Man

Thursday July 14th 2011

J. P. Manoux is best known for playing Dr. Dustin Crenshaw on ER. He has also appeared in films such as Knocked Up and The Island and played the iconic ‘Robot Man’ in EuroTrip.

How did you get the part of Robot Man?
I remember auditioning in a Hollywood casting office, as I would for most other projects. Somebody said that the film’s producers had already auditioned street performers from all over Europe (the casting of whom would have been more affordable), but that they all seemed to take their… um, craft… too seriously. Whereas I just did a few robot moves and whatever nonsense was described in the few pages provided. Didn’t get a chance to read the full hilarious script until I was on a plane to Prague a couple of days later. I suspect the unwarranted mime pedigree that goes with a name like ‘Jean-Paul Manoux’ may have had something to do with my landing the role.

How was Prague?
I only worked one day, but was there for a full week, which was wonderful. Without question, one of the most beautiful, romantic cities in the world. Can’t wait to return.

How did you get so good at being a robot? Was their a sense of competition between you and Scott Mechlowicz on set?
As a kid in the ’70s, I used to watch Shields and Yarnell’s variety show [pictured right] and try to imitate their ‘Robots at Breakfast’ routine. I also have three surgical staples in my right shoulder, which technically makes me a cyborg, which is almost the same thing as a robot. And yes, there was some real competition! Scott surprised us all when he brought his robot “A” game to set. The sweat you see on my brow is not entirely heavy makeup and layered tights related.

You also had a small part as a mime on ER years before you became a recurring character. Why are you being typecast as a street performer?
I was doing a little show called To Kill a Mime when that part came up. A buddy and I produced the play as a goof, but Noah Wyle saw it and then recommended me when the next ER script called for a mime. Here’s hoping EuroTrip marked the end of this casting pattern.

Your scene is probably the most well-known in the film. Do people every recognise you from it?
They do sometimes, which is remarkable to me. Tom Lennon (from Reno 911!) reports that he is often mistakenly credited with the performance. He is more than welcome to take all praise/beatings on my behalf.

When did you last watch EuroTrip?
Years ago. Wish I could watch it with you guys tonight! Cheers.