When we left Flint Lockwood and Sam Sparks on the island in Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, they had just saved the town from Flint’s creation and everything seemed like it was going to work out. Four years later, no time on the island has passed and we pick up right where we left off in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.
During our early look at the film last week, held at the Sony Animation Studios in Los Angeles, besides watching footage and hearing from the directors of the project, we also got to sit down for a roundtable interview with three of the actors that put voices to these loveable characters.
Bill Hader (Flint), Anna Faris (Sam), and Benjamin Bratt (Manny) were eager to share some of their favorite things about the film and fill us in on the challenges that voice acting presents. And yes, there was a lot of talk about food.
Check out the interview below!
We were talking earlier with directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn about the influences in this film. Could you speak a bit more about that?
Bill Hader: There’s definitely the Jurassic Park element to it. The first movie’s a lot like Armageddon to me, like a disaster movie, and this one is a lot like Jurassic Park – or the being chased in the jungle by monsters genre.
Benjamin Bratt: Which of course, kids love!
Bill Hader: Now just make those monsters food, and you’ve got it.
Do you think this film is going to encourage kids to play with their food?
Benjamin Bratt: Do they need that encouragement?
Bill Hader: I think kids are just born with it. I have a one year old, and it’s like out of the womb as soon as they see food they’re just like “yeahhhhhh!”
Anna Faris: It’s made me appreciate my dog for the first time because my baby’s throwing food everywhere.
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This movie is obviously going to be just as pun-tastic as the first one. Which ones were your favorite?
Bill Hader: I just did ADR for the movie a couple weeks ago and they played me a 30 second clip, and there were 8 puns in it, and I was recording a ninth one. It’s like in 30 seconds they jammed in as many puns as possible. I do like one where I say, this is not really puns I guess, but where I go ‘this is bananas’ and then we see giant bananas, ‘we are toast’ and it’s toast, and then I say ‘this is..I was gonna say nut but I’m afraid what’s gonna happen.’
Anna Faris: It is hard to beat, ‘there’s a leek in the boat.’
Bill Hader: I saw the trailer in the theater and when leek in a boat came out, people really seemed to enjoy that.
The film makes you think of food a lot, can you tell us what’s your favorite food and what’s your least favorite, can’t stand, never make me eat food?
Anna Faris: I’m a fan of nachos. They don’t need silverware. You can customize every chip, if you like. The delivery system is awesome. And, although I really like them now, when I was a girl, my parents took me to a nice restaurant and sweet breads was on the menu. So I was like, ‘I’ll have the sweet breads, please,’ and my parents exchanged this glance and they didn’t say anything. Then the sweet breads come and I’m eating it, eating it, and thinking ‘this is a little different then I thought. It’s not sweet like a cinnamon roll, interesting.’ Then my parent were like, ‘oh, it’s actually the thyroid gland, or whatever gland it is, of a cow.’ I do eat them now though.
Bill Hader: I like the Bucatini at Lattanzi on 46th street in New York. That’s a really good dish, I like that. I don’t like sub sandwiches. Anytime I go someplace and they have lunch, and they bring out sub sandwiches, there’s a part of me that’s like ‘f*ck.’ There’s too much lettuce, there’s just too much sandwich there. And it’s all kinda melted. I just don’t like it. The whole thing of it makes no sense. Even when you cut it in half, there’s just too much lettuce, too much tomato, it’s just a bad design.
Benjamin Bratt: I’m a bit of a foodie myself, so I eat everything, and enjoy everything. There is one thing that I always get a hankering for that I must satisfy, and I usually do it at home. And that’s a grilled blue-cheese burger with purple onions, marinated in olive oil, grilled in olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, and then some home-cut baked fries.
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On a different note, even for animated films your characters have so much energy all the time. For having been a part of so many comedic ensembles where you have someone else to play off, is it ever difficult being in a room without that ensemble, was that a challenge?
Bill Hader: Yeah, it was. Just for me, my brain stops working after the first hour, and it’s usually a four-hour session.
How do you get around that?
Bill Hader: You just have to power through it, just continue screaming. Every line, if you watch those movies, every line I say is screamed. Every little line I do, even the small ones, even when I’m in the trash can in the first one, I’m sorta screaming.
Anna Faris: Sam Sparks does a lot of that too. It is hard, for a number of reasons. It’s hard a little bit physically because your voice wears out a little bit, but it’s also hard because the context is sorta difficult to grasp. Like sometimes they’ll be like ‘you need to scream whisper this because Flint is only three feet away,’ or ‘scream differently.’
Bill Hader: It’s true because you’ll do a line great and you’ll be like ‘oh, I feel like I nailed that,’ and you’ll see them talk in the booth and then they’ll be like ‘we just realized he’s up on a boat like way out there and you’ve got to really lob it out them.’
Anna Faris: A lot of the efforts are challenging. They’ll say ‘imagine that your legs are stuck in syrup and you have to walk across the syrup river.’ How does that work?
Benjamin Bratt: It is a weirdly isolating process. For the most part you’re in the booth with you and the director, and I think Cody [Cameron] for the most part was the one, with all his boyish enthusiasm, he was the one delivering the que-up lines to kinda ramp you up. And well Bill was required to scream most of his lines, I had to find the energy in a very subdued way, and speaking of puns, we were always trying to come up with something new because the accent was funny enough. You could say almost anything with that accent, and hopefully it’s going to be hilarious. It’s odd because I think that for the most part, as actors, we rely on the chemistry or the electricity that evolves out of a real dynamic where people talk to each other actually. And it’s not there, at all, so you have to completely manufacture it.
Bill Hader: It’s really weird. It’s very hard because so much of what someone else does informs what you’re going to do, and then you kinda get out of your head. The whole thing with animated movies is that it’s very hard to get out of your head because it’s very moving through each line systematically.
When you saw the completed first film was there anything that surprised you?
Anna Faris: I think it’s humbling. It’s amazing and humbling to realize that you’re such a small part of the process, and there’s like 300 however many people animating night and day for like a year and a half, and you bop in and are like ‘oh, I don’t wanna work today. OK, fine.’ I think that it really comes as a surprise I think, when you get to see what you’ve been working on for a long time and it’s amazing, too. I have trouble watching my face move, in general, so watching a movie I’ve done is usually a really uncomfortable experience. It has to involve wine. It’s really fun for me to see this because it’s like pressure is off.
Benjamin Bratt: There’s also no getting around it. There’s nothing cooler than having your kid, if you have kids, and I have a ten year-old and a seven year-old, enjoy something that you do for a living. For the most part they don’t give a damn about what I do, but when I started on Cloudy 1, and then Despicable Me 2, and now this – my cool quotient went through the roof. Playdates increased at my place. In fact, at one point when the first little teasers came out for Cloudy 2 there’s that whole trailer where at one point Manny says ‘taco dial supreme,’ and I started preparing dinner, I heard some noises coming down the hallway, and I crept down the hallway, and I peeked in my normally shy son’s bedroom and he was in there going ‘taco dial supreme’ and various takes of it. Just to bring it full circle, to find yourself in a film that becomes part of the cannon of really great animated films that will be classic from now on out, for kids of all ages, is a pretty cool thing.
A big thank you to Sony and the cast – Bill Hader, Anna Faris, and Benjamin Bratt – for letting us take a peek at what they’ve been working on! Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 comes to theatres on September 27. Be sure to check it out!Previous