By Tom Snyder, Editor
Movieguide® attended a special preview recently of brief excerpts from Fox’s new animated movie ANGRY BIRDS, which opens May 11 overseas and May 20 in the U.S. and Canada.
Producer John Cohen moderated a panel of four comic actors giving voice to the characters based on the ultra-popular video game, Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, and Bill Hader.
Sudeikis leads the team as Red, the big red bird with the thick angry eyebrows from the game, while Gad and McBride play Chuck and Bomb, Red’s companions in anger management class. Hader plays Leonard, the evil leader of the pigs who arrive on the birds’ island paradise bearing amazing gifts, but who secretly want to steal their eggs and eat them.
In between the rowdy panel’s raucous jokes, some interesting nuggets about the new movie came to the fore.
Cue the angry birds. . .
Q: Could you describe your characters in the movie?
Jason Sudeikis: Angry from the jump and feeling like the wise man on a ship of fools.
Josh Gad: Chuck has a much better metabolism than I do. He’s a speed demon. What I was really attracted to. . . his mind is going faster than his mouth can keep up with. There was something just so fun about that. It’s just one of those characters that’s fun to play, because he’s out of control. He just can’t stop himself. That’s the heart of who he is.
Danny McBride: Bomb is also angry. He’s also a bird. He explodes when he gets angry, and he wants to improve that, to focus his anger. He’s embarrassed that he gets so angry, and he can’t control his anger. And, that’s a lot like me.
Bill Hader: My agent called me and said they’re making an Angry Birds movie and they want you to play a. . . pig. You guys draw your own conclusions.
Q: What makes you angry?
Josh Gad: The fact that a Reality TV star could be the next president of the United States. What makes me angry is being woken up on my birthday when I’m supposed to be able to sleep, and my wife giving me the news that, “Oh, I have to volunteer at school in an hour. Can you watch the kids and let Time Warner Cable in and also make coffee and make egg white omelets for everybody? Happy birthday, love.” That makes me angry.
Danny McBride: I rarely get angry, except when I drove here this morning. Waze, when it makes me turn left across four lanes of traffic.
Bill Hader: Yeah, they don’t recognize traffic lights.
Q: Bill, how did you find the voice of Leonard the pig?
Bill Hader: The director said he’s like the Music Man, Robert Preston. So we did a session like that. Then, they said, “Do you have something else?” So we found the Hee-Haw Music Man. He was very jolly and very excited. It’s my dad, I did an impression of my father.
Q: Anybody get particularly obsessed with the game at any point in your life?
Bill Hader: I got obsessed with the game on a layover stuck on a plane. That’s when I discovered Angry Birds. It was wonderful.
Josh Gad: I became obsessed with Star Wars Angry Birds. I was on set and would literally not speak to anybody between takes. I would just play obsessively as Darth Bird, or whatever it was. It’s such a great game.
Bill Hader: Yeah, the Star Wars one, that’s the great one.
Danny McBride: I would just like buy my way to victory.
Jason Sudeikis: So, you’re doing the Kardashian game. . .
Bill Hader: That’s great, the Kardashian game: Buy your way to victory!
Jason Sudeikis: I played the old version, where you just throw birds at things.
Bill Hader: Yeah, I’m from Oklahoma and that’s the way we used to do it. You take a bird and a pig over there, and you threw that bird at that pig, and you tried to knock over his pen. That’s how it worked back in “the old days.”
Jason Sudeikis: And, then, when you’re done, ya go eat breakfast!
Bill Hader: They did a good job of putting the story together with the game.
Jason Sudeikis: I liked the story. That was a big part of it for me. I liked the overall theme of the film, that anger is sometimes necessary. They carved out a nice little origin story about the frustration between the birds and the pigs.
We’ve gotten acting like [anger] doesn’t exist, but it clearly still does, and letting it out every now and then is a healthy thing. Never go too far one way or the other, don’t hold it all the way in, and don’t let it all the way out. A little attitude of anger every now and then is a nice thing.