In 2009, Rovio Entertainment released the worldwide phenomenon which got the world to keep their thumbs on their smart phones; The Angry Birds! In 2010, twelve million copies of the game were downloaded from the App Store. It is easy to see that the angry birds have had a marvelous impact on our planet. An impact so large that it got Columbia pictures to assemble a comedic powerhouse cast in this summer's upcoming animated feature, THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE!
In the film, we follow Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis, Horrible Bosses, We Are The Millers, SNL), an angry bird who ironically is a black sheep living on an island of happy-go-lucky birds. After a series of unfortunate events, Red is sent to an anger management session where he meets fellow angry birds, Chuck (voiced by Josh Gad, Frozen, Book Of Mormon) and Bomb (Danny McBride, Eastbound and Down, Pineapple Express). The island is invaded by an army of green pigs led by Leonard (voiced by Bill Hader, SNL, Trainwreck) who swears that they come in peace. However, they end up stealing the bird's greatest treasure...their eggs! Red, Chuck and Bomb must lead their fellow birds together to get revenge on the pigs and show them the perks of being an angry bird!
We were lucky enough to visit Sony Pictures Studios, see amazing live birds and sit down with the hilarious stars of the movie, Sudeikis, Gad, Hader, and McBride! The cast was nice enough to visit and answer our questions in a hysterical Q&A session, especially when this took place on Mr. Josh Gad's birthday!
How would you describe your characters?
Jason Sudeikis (JS): Angry from the jump. He is a contrarian, he is like an angry and wise man on a ship of fools. He kind of reminds me of McMurphy from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Bill Hader (BH): This Movie is actually a lot like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. (laughs) It's the beginning of a journey.
JS: No Spoilers please. But, yeah, he is one of a kind, definitely sticks out for what we assume are the wrong reasons in the beginning, but then we see that he may have been on to something.
Josh Gad (JG): Way to spoil the ending for everybody.. (laughs) Chuck has a much better metabolism than I do. (Laughs) He is a speed demon, and what I was immediately attracted to, aside from the colors, when I signed on to do this was this idea that he just cannot stop himself! His mind is always going faster than his mouth can keep up with. There was something so fun about that, when I first saw the tests of what the animators were thinking. It is just one of those characters that is so fun to play because he is out of control. He is a beautiful little bird. :)
Danny McBride (DM): Bomb is also angry and he is also a bird. He has a very explosive personality, he literally explodes when he loses his temper and he wants to get better at that. He wants to improve and control his anger, because he is embarrassed about that. That is a lot like me and that's why I took this role.
BH: So, my agent called me and said, "so they are making an Angry Birds movie, and they want you to play a pig"... (laughs) and then you guys draw your own conclusion.
Jason, you are known as one of the nicest guys around. Has playing Red in you in touch with your inner anger and did you get a chance to let it out?
JH: It has put me in touch with my inner anger. As does waking up. (laughs) There is so much in my world to be frustrated about. One thing after another starting from the person I have to sleep next to and having a family, kids, and sisters; my anger bingo card is full. (big laughs) Something will turn.
But seriously, yeah, it does help going through these sessions. Whether you're pretending to be an action hero or a bird, it does help exercise those demons and so does a long night of drunk karaoke.
BH: Oh yeah, that's really similar!
JH: Yeah, an Eminem song, a Kelly Clarkson song, they are all the same. They all get rid of those demons inside.
Josh, Danny, what is it that makes you the most angry in life?
JH: I don't know. Maybe hypothetical questions like could a reality TV Star be the next president of the United States? (laughs) What makes me angry is being woken up on my birthday.. and I am supposed to be able to sleep in and my wife gives me the news that "OH! I have to volunteer at school! I have to go in an hour. Can you watch the kids, let Time Warner Cable in, and also make coffee and egg-white omelette for everybody? Happy birthday, Love!" That makes me angry! (Big Laughs)
JS: Wow! That was fresh!
JH: Yeah, actually very recent!
DM: You know, I am never really angry. Except when I drove here this morning.. My GPS going like "TURN RIGHT" and I am like 'DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!" It's like they don't recognize a stoplight.
Awesome! Bill, how did you find the voice of Leonard? You have so many amazing character voices in the past.
BH: The directors said that he is like the Music Man, Robert Preston. Do you guys remember that? I wanna hear from everyone.. (laughs) We did a version like that for I think a full session. Then I came back to the second session like "Bill, do you have something else?" But, that is what he came from, he is very jolly and excited.
Did anybody get particularly obsessed with the game at one point?
BH: I don't know about you guys but I got obsessed with the game when I was stuck on a plane. That is when I discovered Angry Birds and it was wonderful.
JG: I was on toilet (laughs), but really I became obsessed with Star Wars Angry Birds. I was on set, and I would never speak to anyone on set between takes. I would just play as Darth Bird and it was such a great game.
BH: Yeah, Star Wars is a great one!
DM: I just buy my way to victory. It's like the Kardashian game for me! (laughs)
JS: I like the old version where you throw birds at things.
Josh, you have had a great musical background along with acting with Frozen and Book Of Mormon. Are you going to see Chuck sing anytime soon?
JG: I guess it is time to announce the sequel today! (laughs) An Angry Birds musical in the style of Music Man which we are all familiar with. There is a little singing in Angry Birds, it is part of my contract at this point. Chuck will give you a bit of his vocal chords in this movie!
As obsessive fans of the game, which round had you the most stumped?
JG: I love how we became "obsessive" fans. (Laughs) For me, it was in the Star Wars game where you were in this interplanetary world - I actually did the homework, dicks! (big laughs) It is where you launch the birds and you get sucked in to each orbit. That one is really tricky!
Can you guys talk a bit about the message of the movie? Because, at the end, it seems like it is good to be an angry bird.
JS: That is one of the things I like about it because we act like anger is something that we need to act like it doesn't exist. However, letting it out every now and then is healthy. Never go to far one way or another. Don't hold it all the way in and do not let it all the way out.
For any of the actors, does it look like they copied any of your physical mannerisms in your characters?
JG: I don't want to comment on that because there is a pending lawsuit right now. (laughs) I definitely see a lot of me in my character and that is the beauty of this process. You go in so early to record your voiceover and you end up seeing a lot of your physical expression in the finished product.
BH: There is always a video camera when you are recording that some poor animator has to watch. Isn't it funny, have you guys ever met one of the animators and you are like "Hey! How are you?" and they had to listen to your voice for the last five to six years and they scream in terror like "AHHHHH!!!" (Big Laughs)
JG: You'll notice one of the guys they did not capture looks-wise is Danny McBride because he did all of his stuff on a pay-phone.
DM: My kids don't even look like me. (laughs) I got weak genes.
What did you guys go through to find the actual voice?
JS: Mine is like an amped up version of myself, it is not too dissimilar. We toyed with the idea of making a big swing or a medium swing.
JG: I have a friend who I grew up with who talks a mile a minute and I thought back to him growing up. I based the character on his mannerisms where it is impossible to shut down and the words come out faster that you can keep them.
DM: I just tried to find the bass in my voice. You know you got it if you cannot talk after a few hours during your session.
BH: Yeah, right. People always ask me "Oh! Isn't it so easy and fun to do these sessions?" You feel so brain-dead after because you are just yelling for five hours! (laughs) You're saying the same line over and over again.
JS: It is like a Fincher movie. You're doing twenty to thirty takes and they are just beating the acting out of yeah! "BE A BIRD! BE A PIG! SHUT UP AND GO HOME!" (Laughs)
BH: And all you care about is the visuals. (Laughs)
You guys are all so physical with your acting, especially you two (Hader and Sudeikis) coming from SNL. In this, we are just hearing your voice. How do you bring your style of comedy when we cannot see what you are doing?
BH: I don't know about you guys, but I am moving around a lot. What was so great about it was that the directors really allowed us to own it and add things.
JS: You sort of have to trust the visuals. I ended up doing a lot of it with my eyes closed, as crazy as that may seem, to picture what is going on. It does help to visualize what is happening in the movie while I was in a little room in the middle of Manhattan with Jon Vitti, the writer, smiling on his Skype machine. You do have to put your trust in to the visuals and having a background on SNL help that with putting your trust in the people that know what they are doing and rather than second guessing it. Then you are not going to get much done.
You all have children, are they obsessed with angry birds?
BH: They love it, yeah.
JS: No, my son only plays Beyonce videos now. (Laughs) If the latest Super Bowl halftime show was a video game, he would play it.
Do you have to be a fan of the game to enjoy the movie?
JS: No. It is like Monty Python's Life Of Brian, if you have a deep understanding of the Bible and the history of religions, you love the movie on that certain level. However, if you don't, it is still a funny and enjoyable movie. Because I did not play the game as much, I am more of a New York Times crossword puzzle guy, only monday puzzles (laughs).
BH: No, he is being very modest, he only does the Saturday puzzles. (laughs)
JS: Yeah, and the writers and producers are from The Simpsons and they have been doing that for twenty plus years. Again, you put your trust in that. But I do like the overall feel of the film, where a reference to the game comes up and it is necessary. The came up with a very nice origin story of the frustration between the pigs and the birds. Everybody who played that game was probably wondering about that!
Would you think that bullying has a connection with the film, and children will learn from that?
JS: Yeah, I do think they can learn from this. I do think standing up for yourself is a good thing to learn when you are that age. My two-year old says "no" a whole bunch.
BH: Yeah, I get bullied by my kids constantly. (laughs) All three of my daughters.
For Danny McBride, last time I saw you, you were an enjoyable nut on Eastbound and Down. What was the draw for you to do this film? Why did you accept the role?
DM: These guys were in it, I was familiar with a franchise and why not? A chance to say I am in another movie with Josh Gad and we never get to see each other.
JG: It's my birthday, dammit! (laughs)
DM: But yeah. These guys were in it, the script was really funny and for me, it is not really rocket science for me. It's like "Bill is in it? Okay, I am too!"
Do your children want you to do animated movies? Do they want to be a part of the process and help you?
BH: Yeah, my daughters didn't understand that I was Fear in Inside Out until they watched it. Yeah, they like it. Sometimes, I take them to recording sessions and they just get bored. (laughs)
JG: For me, my daughter figured out the very first time I took her to see Monsters University and they showed a teaser for Frozen, and I am Elsa by the way for those of you who have not seen it. (laughs) And, in the teaser my character just laughed and my daughter looks at me and says "DADA" and I swear to God I just started crying.
JS: My kid thinks I am Ed Helms. (big laughs)
BH: I am in the office too, my kids think I am Rain Wilson. (laughs)