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RIO 2

Meet The Parent - And An Old Friend
To everyone's shock, especially Jewel's, the family discovers that the leader of the lost flock of Blue Macaws is Jewel's dad, Eduardo, portrayed by Andy Garcia.

"Eduardo is the top bird," says the veteran actor and Oscar nominee. He's passionate about his family and his flock, as well as the Amazon and the sanctuary he's created for his fellow Macaws."

"We had the idea of adding the emotional core of exploring Jewel's back story," producer John C. Donkin continues. In 'Rio,' Jewel had remarked that humans had taken everything from her. So we came upon the idea that she had been separated from her family and that was a perfect thing to call back when they get to the Amazon sanctuary, where they discover that her father is the leader of the Tribe of Hidden Macaws. That became one of the film's big moments. And it also sets up the humor about Blu not being able to fully relate to Eduardo, and vice versa."

Initially grateful that Blu has brought Jewel back into Eduardo's life, the stern patriarch quickly becomes a disapproving father-in-law. "Eduardo is joyful about reuniting with Jewel and discovering he's a grandfather, but as he gets to know Blu, he finds much about his son-in-law to be annoying, or worse," Garcia notes.

"Eduardo is very strict with Blu and is unhappy he has so many ties to human and human things, like his ever-present fanny pack and GPS system," Jesse Eisenberg interjects.

"A fanny-packing bird is not Eduardo's idea of a good match for his daughter!" adds Garcia.

If meeting a critical father-in-law weren't enough, Blu must also contend with Jewel's childhood friend Roberto, played by Bruno Mars. "Roberto is pretty much the opposite of Blu - all charm and suaveness - and he can sing like an angel," says Hathaway. Eisenberg notes that, "Roberto and Jewel have a history and an almost secret language. So Blu feels not only threatened by Roberto, but is frustrated because Roberto seems like the perfect guy. Everything he does is heroic - and he's a great singer!"

Roberto owes his vocal prowess to the music icon who voices him: Bruno Mars. The Grammy winner, who has sold over 130 million records worldwide and has a catalog of 22 Hot 100 hits as a singer, producer and songwriter, enjoyed his first foray into feature animation. "I like that Roberto has a good heart," Mars explains. "He's a genuine dude and he really has love for Jewel - genuine love. They grew up together, so they have a bond that's pretty special."

The filmmakers considered a long list of candidates for the role, but a Mars appearance on "Saturday Night Live" helped sealed the deal. "I saw a clip of Bruno acting on SNL, and I thought he was really funny," Saldanha remembers.

Producer John C. Donkin notes that casting Mars "transformed our thinking about the character. He added a unique quality we initially hadn't envisioned for Roberto, which we came to embrace, and the character really blossomed."

If Roberto's looks, talent and friendship with Jewel weren't intimidating enough for Blu, the songbird hosts the clan in his magnificent mansion, located in one of the Amazon's most impressive trees. Interweaving roots create open pockets, perfect for rooms housing Blu and his family.

As the family settles into this exciting new world, Blu finds his learning curve to be a steep one. He is unable to handle even the most simple and important tasks, like building a nest and foraging for food. "Blu not only feels out of place in the jungle, he feels out of place with this entire flock of birds who share his DNA, but none of his lifestyle choices," Eisenberg notes.

"Blu must deal with something that's bigger than him," adds Bruce Anderson. "When we meet him in RIO 2, he still has his creature comforts and he's made it work. So we had to think of ways to escalate his fish-out-of-water story from the first movie."

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