IAR INTERVIEW: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, and Benjamin Bratt Talk 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2'

Wednesday, 21 August 2013 10:07 Written by  iamrogue
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IAR INTERVIEW: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, and Benjamin Bratt Talk 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2'

Four years ago, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs provided an absurd animated take on the disaster movie.  This September, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 redefines classic adventure tales of discovery and exploration.

Plus, the sequel features feral tacos, beastly hamburgers, and pickles who like to fish. Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), Anna Faris (The Dictator), and Benjamin Bratt (Despicable Me 2) return to voice Flint Lockwood, Sam Sparks, and Manny. 

The sequel picks up right where the first film left off, with Flint saving his island hometown from his FLDSMDRM device, which turned water into food, raining down destructive storms of cuisine.  After accepting a job at an Apple-like tech company in San Franjose, our hero discovers that the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator is still running, turning Swallow Falls into a wild jungle populated by foodimals: creatures like shrimpanzees, cheesespiders, tacodiles, and mosquitoasts.  It's up to Flint to round up his friends and return home to stop the FLDSMDRM before foodimals overtake the world.

IAR was recently invited to Sony Pictures Animation in Culver City, where co-directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn enthusiastically showcased all manner of material from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.  We were also lucky enough to participate in a roundtable interview with Bill Hader, Anna Faris, and Benjamin Bratt.  All three members of this acting trio were happy to discuss the sequel's puns, recording their roles, the foods they enjoy, and being a part of this beloved series.


The first movie deftly employed disaster movie tropes to both generate laughs and propel the story forward.  The sequel draws inspiration from a different genre. "There’s definitely the Jurassic Park element to it," Hader said. "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."

Despite the new influences, the follow-up to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs maintains its predecessor's hyperactive sense of humor.  In fact, the filmmakers have upped the ante comedically, throwing out puns with a wild abandon.  On the subject of puns, Hader said, "I just did ADR (additional dialogue recording) for the movie a couple weeks ago.  And they played me a thirty-second clip, and there were eight puns in it, and I was recording a ninth one. It’s like in thirty 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're toast’ and it’s toast, and then I say, ‘This is – I was going to say nuts but I’m afraid what’s going to happen.’"

"I saw the trailer in the theater," he recalled. "And when 'Leek in a boat' came out, people really seemed to enjoy that."

"It's hard to beat, ‘There’s a leek in the boat,'" Faris agreed.

As is common in animation, each of the actors recorded their dialogue without their co-stars present.  Especially since Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 calls for an exclamatory tone from almost every single character, summing up the necessary energy in relative isolation can be a challenge.

"It is a weirdly isolating process," said Bratt. "For the most part you’re in the booth with you and the director, and I think Cody for the most part was the one – with all his boyish enthusiasm – he was the one delivering the queue-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."

"You just have to power through it, just continue screaming," said Hader. "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 sort of screaming."


Faris explained, "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.’"

"It’s true," Hader agreed. "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.’"

"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," Faris asked, laughing.

"It’s really weird, Hader continued. "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."

Even though the food in Cloudy 2 has been reconfigured into inventive and fanciful creatures, the textural detail in particular is sure to have audiences leaving the multiplex ready for big lunches.  Rarely has a major motion picture focused so heavily on foods.  Naturally, our discussion involved favorite foods.

"I’m a fan of nachos. They don’t need silverware. You can customize every chip, if you like. The delivery system is awesome," said Faris. "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. 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."


Bratt was definitely the DIY gourmand of the group, explaining, "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 bleu cheeseburger with purple onions, marinated in olive oil, grilled in olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, and then some home-cut baked fries."

In 2009, the first film caught audiences off-guard, becoming an huge hits among audiences and critics alike.  Asked about the surprises that came with seeing Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs for the first time, Faris replied, "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 three-hundred-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 want work today. Okay, 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."

The first film marked Bratt's introduction to voicing an animated character.  Despicable Me 2, in which he plays a major role, stands as the second-biggest movie of 2013 so far.  Between that sequel and the upcoming Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, the actor said that his children are paying more attention to his job. "There’s also no getting around it," he explained. "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. Play dates 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 ‘Tacodile...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 ‘Tacodile...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."

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 arrives at theaters in 2D and 3D this September 27th.

To watch our exclusive video San Diego Comic-Con International 2013 interview with directors Kris Pearn and Cody Cameron about Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, please click here


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