Navigation Bar - Text Links at Bottom of Page

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2

About the Characters
Flint Lockwood, you just saved Swallow Falls from giant food storm oblivion! What are you going to do next? How about -- save the world... again? Seems that Flint's most famous invention (the one that turns water into food -- the one that caused that trouble last time) is still active and is now spewing out living food creatures -- foodimals! Soon, it's back to the island of Swallow Falls, with all of his friends in tow. Flint still feels responsible for the havoc that's resulted from his invention -- can he and his friends stop the foodimals before they take over the world?

The role is voiced by Bill Hader. "Bill can take these lines and find things in them that we never imagined," says Cameron. "Crazy shrieks and yells -- he's very cartoony in his performance."

But it's not just a cartoon, adds Cameron. "Also, there's a very earnest heart to the character, both in the first film and this one. That's what Bill brings. He's silly and energetic, of course, but he also gives a sincere performance that brings heart and purity when Flint is down and desperate. He brings the full range."

"It's great to be back in the spray-on shoes of Flint Lockwood," says Hader. "In fact, it seems like I never left him behind -- every month or so, I get to come into the booth and do Flint's voice for a bit. I love it."

"Flint is that guy who has good intentions -- great intentions -- but everything always goes wrong," Hader continues. "On the other hand, he's very driven and very confident, even when everybody else thinks he's crazy. Actually, I feel a kinship with him -- we're both nerdy, nervous, and not great with girls."

Flint Lockwood's edible worldwide meteorological occurrences have catapulted Sam Sparks to TV stardom as weather watchers turned to her for updates during the "greatest weather phenomenon in history." She is finally being accepted as a serious meteorologist who remains perky in the face of danger. Once Sam declared she "like- likes" Flint and wants him to be happy, there is no keeping her from joining him on the expedition back to Swallow Falls to save civilization from the invasion of gigantic living food creatures. But why doesn't working together have that ol' "thunder and lightning" that it once had?

"Sam is still very much the observational scientist," says Pearn. "On this journey back to the island, Sam is the one who's emotional and also really smart, so she's the one who starts to crack the mystery of this island. The interesting thing about the relationship between Sam and Flint is that Flint brings Sam out of her shell in the first movie, and in this movie he doesn't appreciate her in the way he should. As a result, he almost loses her -- and the island appreciates her."

Anna Faris reprises her role. "I was so proud of the way the first film turned out," she says. "When you're voicing a role in an animated movie, you're working on it for a year but you don't really know what it's going to be until the end. It was amazing to see it all come together, the artistry involved was incredible, and it was so much fun."

"Sam is one of the smarter characters I've played," she laughs. "She's bright and optimistic, she's a leader but also supportive. She's an adventurer, and she has a lot of compassion. I think she's just a great gal."

"Anna's comedy timing is amazing," says Pearn. "She's often playing the straight man against Flint, but she finds the comedy angle in the simplest lines."

"She makes Sam feel smart and warm at the same time," says Cameron.

Flint's proud father, Tim, is happiest when he is on his boat, floating around in search of his water-dwelling dinner. Tim still doesn't get all of the fancy technology stuff that is such a big part of his son's life. And Flint doesn't ever need to hear another fishing metaphor ever again. So when the gang heads back to Swallow Falls to help save the world, Flint encourages his 49-year-old dad to stay home. Still, Tim insists on launching his fishing boat and coming along for the journey, even though Flint would prefer his old dad stayed home.

"The genie got out of the bottle in the first movie: we put the thought translator on his head and he finally was able to tell his son he loved him. So we're flipping the roles of Tim and Flint in this movie: now that Tim is emotionally able to express his feelings, he's constantly trying to hug his son and give him advice," says Pearn. "Flint still loves his dad, but now his dad is kinda getting on his nerves and he's pushing his dad away a bit. At the same time, Tim's got this emptiness, because he knows his son loves him, but he's losing that connection with his son."

"He's old-fashioned, slow-thinking, and opinionated -- there's not much to life for him beyond fishing. Not the sharpest tool," says James Caan, who voices the role. "But he's also a very caring and loving father, just never knew how to say that."

"James Caan loves having fun with Tim," says Marsden. "On the first film, he'd improvise with the character in ways that were bold and energetic, but the character at that time needed to be stoic, quiet, and by the end come out of his shell a bit. So this time around, he was very excited. We could now say, 'Go with it' to some of the qualities he tried last time. Tim still has the same form of delivery -- for example, the monobrow, you rarely see his eyes -- but now we are having a bit more fun with an old fisherman making an attempt to talk to his high-tech-crazy son."

But all is not lost for Tim: he finds a special connection where he least expects it. "When he gets to the island, he meets some pickles, and in a way, they're like a stand- in for the grandkids that he doesn't have yet," says Pearn. "He's got the weird son who he loves but doesn't understand, and on the other hand, the pickles, who love football and fishing and hockey and all of the things that he loves."

"It's true, I adopt a bunch of pickles, who are actually a family of pickles," says Caan. Despite the fact that the pickles can't speak coherently, "I kind of get to understand 'em. I teach 'em how to fish, and I teach 'em not to get themselves in a pickle."

Still a primate of few words, Steve the Monkey has everything any guy would wish for in a best friend -- except maybe a bigger vocabulary. Steve is still both a trusted colleague and a shining example of Flint's best attempts at inventing -- after all, Flint wouldn't even get those single words from his buddy were it not for the Monkey Thought Translator. One never knows when the monkey's particular point of view (or his size, or his climbing, or his lab skills) will come in handy.

Most characters in most stories have character arcs, where moviegoers get to see them grow and change. And then there's Steve. "Steve is exactly the same," says Cameron.

And once again, the award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris provided the voice. "He does so much with one word," Cameron continues. "He'll deliver it different ways -- he thinks it's pretty humorous that he has to act with only one word."

"Usually, to get an entire movie from a main character, it takes seven or eight sessions, four or five hours per session," says Bodyfelt. "With Neil, we got all of his lines in the movie in one session, one hour. Later, whenever we came up with a few more Steve lines, we'd have him come in for ten minutes and he's done. Steve is a great foil for the animators -- you have a scene with a lot of dialogue, and Steve is in the background doing something ridiculous or eating something he isn't supposed to eat."

"Normally you're in this recording room and your inflection has to be perfect and you have to hit all of your Ts and Ps. On this, you just come in and you say 'Hungry' fifteen times. Or 'Banana.' Or 'Steve,'" says Harris. "And then they start giving direction. 'Yes, do it again, but a little louder.' 'Steve!' 'Now you're scared. 'Steve...' 'Yeah, but now you're running.' 'Steve! Steve! Steve!' The first time around, I kept thinking I was getting punked, but it turns out that I was actually in the movie."

You remember "Baby" Brent on the label of Swallow Falls' canned sardines? He has continued his career in the culinary world promoting a chain of restaurants, Chick-N-Sushi, spinning a foam board arrow while wearing a rubber chicken suit. He'll put that promising career on hold when Flint and his friends ask him to help save the world by stopping the leftover takeover.

"Andy Samberg is great -- super funny," says Cameron. "He's great at playing the doofus. We give him a dumb line, and he just makes it really funny."

"It's been a dream to revisit Brent," says Samberg. "I missed him. Now that I'm back in his spirit, his body, and his chicken suit, I think the world is a better place."

Samberg shares his one weird trick to voice the role: "What you have to do is scream as loud as you can and sound like you got hit in the head a lot as a child."

Former police officer Earl Devereaux is also pursuing an alternative job path in food services, as a barista serving up fancy-pants coffee drinks at an upscale coffee house. So, when Flint and Sam come around and ask him to come aboard their voyage to adventure, he quickly transforms from barista to a polista, complete with uniform and beard, and joins the group by performing a back flip out of the door.

Terry Crews takes over the role. "Terry did a great job taking over the role of Earl -- he still feels like Earl, the town cop from the first film," says Cameron. "When we see shots animated, it still feels like Earl. It's the same character."

"Terry came in and was on the ball -- he's got great warmth, especially around children. When he's talking about Cal, he's got the same sensitivity, even though he's a big, tough guy," says Pearn. "As it turns out, he was a big fan of the first film. He went to the premiere and took his kids -- so before he came to record, they lined up and said, 'Don't screw it up, Dad.' That put a lot of pressure on him!"

"I'm the biggest fan of the first Cloudy film," says Crews. "I went to the premiere with my family and we ate bacon-flavored chocolates -- we even still have our Cloudy lunch boxes. And when we left the movie, I said to my son, 'I'm like Earl and you're like Cal' -- Earl's son. So when I got the call that they were asking me to be a part of the sequel, well, they had me at 'hello.'"

"Earl is the alpha male's alpha male," says Crews, describing his character. "There's no way to go beyond the man that Earl is. Earl defines a man doin' his job -- he protects his city and he does it better than anybody."

It's little surprise that Sam's former cameraman (and master of many talents) Manny has landed on his feet in San Franjose, California -- and, at the moment that Flint, Sam and a car full of their friends arrive, he is trying to deliver a baby calf. But hey, that will just have to wait -- Manny grabs his camera, bids 'adios!' to his vet techs, and heads for the food-infested island of Swallow Falls.

"Because in the first film we were able to show that he was not only a mechanic but also a doctor, we now have other occupations, other jobs, that Manny has -- he's got a bag full of different occupations. He's a Manny of all trades," says Cameron.

"The cork got popped on his speaking, which a lot of people are happy about, not least of which is Benjamin Bratt," says Pearn. "He's a real arbiter of the character. We have a moment in Cloudy 2 when Manny has to fall, so we had 'Ahhhhh!' written on the page. He said, 'I don't think Manny would scream.' He found a way to have Manny emote 'I'm falling' without having him scream. We had another line with the direction for him to shout it, and he wouldn't shout it -- he did it with passion. That's great -- that's so much better than anything we imagined. That's what happens when actors come back to play their characters -- they are protectors of their characters. It's always great when we get surprised by the actors -- that's what we want."

"Manny is the kind of guy you want with you when something goes wrong," says Bratt. "He's a Jack of all trades and a master of all. If it's something that requires a license, Manny's likely got one for it. Whether it's piloting a plane or operating a crane or driving a race car, Manny can do it. He's a doctor. He's a veterinarian. He's a comedian. He's a self-professed professional masseur. He can do anything. So, when our gang finds themselves in deep, deep trouble, Manny is the guy who'll get them out of it."

If you could genetically splice Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and a circus ringmaster into one man, you would get Chester V, the eccentric genius behind the global company Live Corp and all of the cool stuff they created 'for the betterment of mankind.' Part guru, part showman and part inventor, Chester is one super-smart dude -- in fact, he may be the super-smartest. For instance, he's the only one he needs to invite to his own brainstorming sessions. So with all that brain matter, why does he need our heroic Flint Lockwood to clean up the leftover problems in Swallow Falls?

In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, this new adventure sees Flint get recognized by one of the great men of his time. "While Flint almost destroyed the world, the world also got to see what a great inventor he is. As a result, Flint is given an opportunity from one of his heroes, Chester V, the head of the Live Corp company. Imagine Apple meets Google meets FAO Schwarz -- that's Live Corp. Their intent is to invent for the betterment of mankind, which is just what Flint wants to do," says Marsden.

"In the first film, Flint had a wall of heroes -- Einstein, Tesla -- and we wondered, what if Flint got to meet one of his heroes? What happens when the nerdy kid becomes cool?" says Pearn.

Will Forte voiced a different, small role in the first film, portraying Joe Towne, the Swallow Falls resident who rips off his beard when the cheeseburger is falling from the sky. In the sequel, Forte is back for seconds -- and a much bigger portion -- as Chester V in Cloudy 2. "I loved the first movie so much -- and even though I did a voice in the first one, it was a very small part. There was such a wonderful spirit to the story, it was so creative -- a crazy world where all the characters were relatable. So I was really excited to come back, in a bigger role, for this movie -- we start from the place the first one ends and build to a new, totally different situation."

"Chester is Flint Lockwood's hero," explains Forte. "He's a blue-jeans billionaire whose company, Live Corp, does all sorts of wonderful things for the world -- really very brilliant inventions -- but things don't exactly go as planned when Flint comes to work for him."

The directors say that Forte's characterization in the recording booth had a great influence on the character -- adding dimension to a role that they had not anticipated. "Because Chester was a collision of all these personas and archetypes, we really wanted a character actor and comedian to come in and invent the character with us," says Pearn. "It's amazing how Will pushed it around. When we first started, Chester was a much more refined, erudite, crisp person, and with Will, we ended up finding a much more kooky version of that and that helped us evolve the character to a very funny, weird place that we weren't expecting."

There's no one in the world that Chester trusts more than Chester, but that doesn't mean he couldn't use a second opinion sometimes. The solution: "Chester has an affectation -- he goes everywhere with holograms of himself," Pearn explains. "Whereas Flint begins the movie surrounded by friends and family, Chester is literally surrounded by himself -- he's building an empire based upon himself."

"They're the ultimate yes-men," says Forte. "It's hard to do those scenes in the recording booth, because I'm talking to myself and the voices all sound the same. It's hard to have a conversation with yourself. When you don't have the natural give-and- take of dialogue, you tend to rush it or pause too much. But we got there."

Apparently one can create a smart and verbally gifted assistant by implanting a human brain inside the brain of an orangutan -- think turducken. And if the creator is as smart as Chester V, the resulting hybrid would be called Barb. Evolved, intelligent, sassy, and wearing lipstick, Barb wants nothing more than the everlasting approval of Chester V. To get it, she will do anything.

"When we first started developing the story, we thought that maybe there would be a parallel story -- Chester would have a primate companion, just like Flint does with Steve," says Pearn. "So we came up with this idea of Barb. She's the better version of Steve -- she doesn't have a thought translator, she just has thoughts. She's very insecure, because she is always wanting Chester's affections -- she's trying to get this guy who's full of himself to love her, because he's sort of her father."

"In a way, as Steve is to Flint, Barb is to Chester," says Cameron. "But Steve is a monkey, and Barb is an ape. Throughout the film, Barb is referred to as a monkey, which is a term she does not appreciate. Barb is almost like a super-Steve -- she's an orangutan with a human brain inside her ape brain. Sam gets into it a little bit with Barb, because Sam is the only one smart enough to see the cards Barb is holding."

"We originally conceived the part for Kristen Schaal and had the part written for her, so it's a real pleasure that she wanted to do the movie," continues Cameron. "She's great at improvisation, taking a line that we have and building on top of that and bringing something that maybe we didn't see in the role."

"After a three-hour session with Kristen, I get tired," says Pearn. "She has so much energy -- she's amazing in her ability to stay up there and be funny."

"I like Barb," says Schaal. "She's very vulnerable inside. She does some tough things, but she's been pushed to behave the way that she does."

"Barb is really intimidated by Sam," Schaal explains. "That's partly because Sam is beautiful, but even more so because Sam is human. Barb is very complicated, because she's an invention, and she's self-conscious about it -- she tries to take Sam down at every turn. Her bedazzled claws are out."

Next Production Note Section

TOP

Home | Theaters | Video | TV

Your Comments and Suggestions are Always Welcome.
Contact CinemaReview.com

2014 7,  All Rights Reserved.

Google

Find:  HELP!

Google