Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx and George Lopez Chat About 'Rio'

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 12:14 Written by  JimmyO
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Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx and George Lopez Chat About 'Rio'

A few days ago, 20th Century Fox opened its doors to the media for an early look at Rio, the latest animated adventure from director Carlos Saldanha (Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Robots). This Brazilian themed motion picture features the vocal talents of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, George Lopez, Will i. Am and Jamie Foxx.

Once we arrived on the Fox lot, we witnessed a collection of scenes from the new film. The adventures of a little bird named Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and his owner Linda (Leslie Mann) pretty much had me from the very first moment. Throughout the viewing, we were treated to introductions of the characters throughout the film. It was surprising to get to see as much as we did. However, it gave me great confidence that they’ve got a winner with Rio.

After the preview, everyone in attendance gathered for a press conference with Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Jamie Foxx and Carlos Saldanha. Here is what they had to say about their latest which opens April 15, 2011.

Jamie, is this your first voice-over? Did you enjoy the process?

Jamie Foxx: Yeah, this is my first one. For me, I was just trying to act. I was doing all these things and (director) Carlos [Saldanha] was like, “You’re not actually on film.” You have to get the voice right, which I felt was the greatest challenge. We just saw some of it for the first time and it blew me away. It’s got the WOW factor.

Anne, what is it about doing voice-overs that makes you continue to do it?

Anne Hathaway: I love employment, and it’s never, ever guaranteed. As much as I love doing animated voices, I just love working. I love the people who have asked me to do it, and it’s been an honor. I’ve worked on The Simpsons twice, and now I’ve done this. I just keep getting these opportunities that I can’t say no to. No one could.

Your scenes with Jesse Eisenberg seem to have a real rhythm to them. Did you get to work with Jesse in the recording booth at all?

AH: No. I haven’t seen Jesse, except for socially, throughout this whole process. Interestingly, Jesse and I played brother and sister on a Fox Television series in 1999, called Get Real. I was his older sister, Meghan Green, and he was Kenny Green. I’m very happy for all of his success.

Jamie, did you get to work with

FOXX: Yes, Will and I worked on the music. That was hot. and I performed at Wango Tango. That’s when my daughter said that I had made it in music. We’ve seen each other a lot. We did the “We are the World” joint. Then with this, it was just mind-blowing to be able to do that Samba joint and watch does the engineering and the producing, at the same time. Usually, it’s one or the other, so that was fantastic.

AH: Yeah, Will and Sergio [Mendes] were there when I did my voice part too, but none of the actors.

Anne, were you nervous about singing in the film?

AH: Carlos can get me to do anything. Every time I would come in, he would show me more footage, and it was just breathtaking. It really was. So, when he said, “Can you sing?” I couldn’t say anything, but yes. But, it is intimidating to sing in front of Sergio [Mendes] and, as I’m sure you can imagine. That morning, I had an extra cup of coffee to steel my nerves.

Now that you’ve done some singing, are you eager to do more?

AH: Singing has always been something that I’ve loved to do, but I never thought about doing professionally. I always felt more drawn to acting. But, who knows? I’m doing things that I never, ever thought I would do, in front of a lot of people, so anything is possible.

George, did you get to sing in this at all?

George Lopez: I was not going to let them all sing and just sit there, flying around. I sing in the end song about Rio. It’s fantastic.

Carlos Saldanha: It was good. All these guys sing a little bit in the finale. It’s a re-introduction of the cast, at the very end. They did amazing.

GL: I also rock out. I throw in a little “Girl from Ipanema” to charm my wife, to allow me to go Carnivale. It’s so bad that it works.

CS: It was great. It sounds perfect.

Anne, will viewers get to see a different side of you, when you host the Academy Awards?

HATHAWAY: I will turn myself into an animated blue bird and fly at the Oscars. No. I hope so because that means I will get to meet a new version of myself. The best part about working is that you never know what you’re going to learn when you start out. Oftentimes, what you wind up learning is very different than what you expect.

Carlos, was this always going to be done in 3D?

CS: We originally planned on doing 3D. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was the first 3D movie from Blue Sky that we did. We decided this one would also be in 3D, so I got to prepare a little bit ahead of time. Coming from the experience of Ice Age helped me quite a bit.

What were the biggest challenges with this film?

CS: One of the many challenges of this movie was creating a carnival parade. That was not easy. Even the birds themselves, with the feathers and how the feathers would perform, was very difficult. It’s just a complex movie, in terms of scale. It’s probably the biggest thing we’ve ever done at Blue Sky.

Anne, your character in the film, Jewel, plays extraordinarily hard to get. Would you recommend that as a way for a bird to find someone?

GL: I believe you must always respect your bird.

AH: I believe you must always respect other people’s birds too. I am a girl without game. I’m not interested in games. I think that, if you are someone who playing hard to get comes naturally to, go with God and do that. For me, I’m a wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve, fall in love-at-first-sight and go with it sort of girl. It’s all about having fun with someone and learning how to communicate with someone, in a way that you enjoy. If you’re with someone who enjoys having people play hard to get, maybe that’s the way you’re supposed to do it then. I don’t know.

GL: And, some things don’t fit. You have to go for the fit. Sometimes, you meet somebody and it doesn’t work, and you have to be smart enough to say, “I’m not feeling that.” You have to be honest enough to tell the person that.

JF: It’s tough in L.A., too. When your movie is hot, your options are crazy. In L.A., I think girls have to play a little hard to get because we come with so much bravado.

GL: Also, if you’re at dinner and the phone is face down, you might have the beginning of a problem. On the iPhone, the text message pops us, so when you see a phone face down, you’ve got the beginning of a problem.

Carlos, obviously having marquee names in your cast helps get attention for your film. What was it about the tonal quality of the actors that you cast that made you want them for this?

CS: Well, in animated movies you don’t see their faces. You don’t see who they are. You just hear who they are, which is very important for me. You have to listen to their voices and the way that they act, and that makes the decision in terms of who’s going to be in the movie. I create a profile of the character and I say, “This is the personality of the character.” Then, I will search for different names and put their voices against that character with the image. I do a little bit of hearing the voice while looking at a picture of the character. Then, I try to get used to it and see how far I can take that. Once I make that decision, then I go after the talent and make sure that we talk through the character and how they feel about it. For Anne, we got a bunch of clips from Rachel Getting Married and from other movies that she’s done, and we actually animated to that. It was so funny because one of the scenes was Get Smart, and we did a scene with her and Blu, being Steve Carell with her in a cage, trying to find a way out of the cage. It was fun. We do a lot of testing before we go after the actors. And then, the process is very hard for them because they don’t have anybody to interact with. They have to interact with me, and I have to play different roles.

It seems this film has the potential to do a lot for the international image presented for Rio, Brazil. How do you feel about that?

CS: It definitely does because my movies are broad. Ice Age played all over the world. Of course, any movie that I make, that is released everywhere, gets a lot of exposure. With the title being Rio, it goes without saying that it is something that will, hopefully, bring pride and understanding and a little bit more knowledge. There are a lot of movies that take place internationally, like Kung Fu Panda portraying a little bit of China, and Ratatouille portraying a little about Paris, but it’s hard to find a movie that portrays Rio or Brazil. I thought this was a good way to show a little bit of it.

Rio opens on April 15, 2011. Will you be flying with Blu when Rio arrives at a theatre near you?

You can watch the first two minutes here.

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