THE BOSS BABY
About The Film
From the studio that brought you Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar, comes
DreamWorks Animation's THE BOSS BABY, a hilarious family comedy about how a new
baby's arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully
unreliable narrator -- a wildly imaginative 7-year old named Tim. The most
unusual Boss Baby arrives to Tim's home in a taxi, wearing a suit, carrying a
brief case and speaking with the voice and wit of Alec Baldwin. The sibling
rivalry between the two brothers is reluctantly cast aside when Tim discovers
that Boss Baby is actually a spy on a secret undercover mission, and only he can
help. An outrageous adventure ensues as the pint-sized partners prepare to
thwart a dastardly plot involving an epic battle between puppies and babies.
Inspired by the best-selling picture book by Marla Frazee, this riotous comedy
for all ages features the voices of Alec Baldwin as Boss Baby, Steve Buscemi as
the villainous Francis E. Francis, Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow as Tim and Boss
Baby's unsuspecting parents, Miles Bakshi as Tim, and Tobey Maguire as the
A Fond Homage to Classic Toons
One of the key elements that set this movie apart is its unique visual style. As
it has been the case in most of DreamWork Animation's features, the filmmakers
sought to create an overall look that fits the films' theme and storylines. In
recent years animation has progressed to the point that it can almost replicate
the photo realism of live action. In the case of THE BOSS BABY, McGrath and his
team were keen on creating a fantasy world that invited audiences into an
artistic environment that could only be created in animation and was a throwback
to the elastic, cartoony world of the great classics.
"I grew up with those Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett classics," recalls McGrath.
"This film gave me the opportunity to bring back the magic that 2D was able to
do in old school animation, but take everything much further due to modern
computer generated technology. We wanted these characters to be flexible and
fleshy. The result is that our characters can convey much of the story through
expressions and performances, something animation hasn't been able to do in the
past. Our world is quite different from the hard, graphic 2D we see today on TV
David James, the film's production designer, whose many DreamWorks credits
include Monsters vs. Aliens, Megamind and Mr. Peabody and Sherman says the
creative team wanted to pay homage to some of the classic animated shorts and
features they all loved and revered. "We are all fans of Chuck Jones and Maurice
Noble and admire the handmade aesthetic of many of the shorts from that Golden
era of animation," says James. "There was this wonderful sense of nostalgia and
charm in Disney's The Lady and the Tramp (1955), for example, which harkened
back to a Victorian-era aesthetic. We wanted to do the same thing, but set our
movie in a more recent past."
James also points out that the film is filled with whimsical details taken from
the personal experiences of the studio's artists. "When Tom pitched me the idea
for the movie, I was excited by the fact that the movie is driven by a character
who is having an experience that is almost universal-the great injustice of
siblinghood!" says James. "As a designer, it's very exciting to work with this
bigger picture you can ascribe meaning to all the designs when you know where it
all needs to go."
The Perfect Voice for Boss Baby
One of the film's special biggest comedic coups was landing actor Alec Baldwin
as the film's titular character. The actor, who is best known for his signature
roles on 30 Rock, The Cooler, The Hunt for Red October, is the perfect candidate
to play a baby who wears a suit, carries a briefcase and barks orders at
"My character works for a corporation called Baby Corps, and is sent to spy on
people to find out what babies and parents want." explains Baldwin. "It's like
market research or industrial espionage, so he goes into this home to get
information. The trick is that he's a baby, but he's a visionary and the goal of
my character is to become the greatest. I want to become like my mentors, the
Super, Big Fat Boss Baby....or the Super, Colossal, Big Fat Boss Baby...It just goes
on and on with the silliness like that in the cartoon world."
Baldwin points out that although the central idea of the film is outrageous and
silly, it's executed with lots of finesse, wit and imagination. "Our director
Tom McGrath and producer Ramsey Naito are so clever, in terms of how exactly
they pull it all off and drive the film. On top of it all, the movie has a
wonderful heart inside it, too, as Boss Baby is eventually won over by the idea
of being part of the family. Plus, there are a lot of crazy scenes and wild
action, because in animation, you can do anything."
The actor says his own family went through similar moments of sibling rival when
his son was born. "My wife and I have a daughter who is three, and before my son
was born, she was the princess and was just adored and catered to by everybody.
Then my son came along -and he was first son, so I just flipped out. At this
time, she was two years old. She would stare at him thinking 'Something's got to
change around here. You know we have to fix this!' So for my daughter, there was
a process to be able to accept her little brother. When she finally gave him a
kiss, we all cried. We thought this day would never come."
Baldwin says in the movie, Tim goes through a very similar experience. "He has
all this time with his parents. And then in comes Boss Baby who's not only a
baby, he's like your worst nightmare of a baby. He's, uh, he's a clever baby.
He's a conniving baby. He's a Machiavellian baby, but it wouldn't work if Tim
wasn't smart too. So we have to make the Tim character pretty clever too-but,
he's a little devil with a heart of gold."
Baldwin laughs when asked about why he is such a natural when it comes to
playing tough guys or demanding employers. "In my own house, I'm not the boss,"
he says. "I mean I'm like the lowest life form. I think if I disappeared one
day, my wife and kids wouldn't even notice-until it was time to put gas in the
car in the freezing cold."
The actor says he has learned a lot about acting from the old Warner Bros.
cartoons. "Mel Blanc taught me how to play these characters with the authority
and the kind of bombast that they need. When you watch Foghorn Leghorn and all
those Bugs Bunny cartoons, you realize that when those guys get tripped, or
bested by someone, it's really funny. Not every part you play is Boo Radley in
To Kill a Mockingbird. So I always play those over-the-top parts and try to give
it everything I can because that's what the role demands."
Baldwin also gives a lot of credit for the success of the project to the film's
writer Michael McCullers. "He was around when we were doing our first round of
recordings. You can't really have a good movie without great writing. A lot of
people who are great singers, they don't write the songs, they just sing them.
We just make the lines sound good. I don't write the songs, I just sing them."
The actor also believes that THE BOSS BABY, like two of his previous
collaborations with DreamWorks-Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Rise of the
Guardians-offers the perfect mix of family entertainment, kid-friendly jokes and
things for grown-ups to enjoy and laugh at as well. "You know, it's like that
Bugs Bunny cartoon where he would whip out the candelabra and imitate Liberace
with all the nuttiness he had. The kids didn't understand what he was doing, but
the parents did. And it was all very funny and worked on different levels.
That's why I think THE BOSS BABY will appeal to everyone as well."
A Family of Familiar Voices
To play the role of Tim's mother, the filmmakers went to talented comic actress
Lisa Kudrow (Friends, The Comeback). In the past, the Emmy-winning and nine-time
Emmy-nominated actress has lent her voice to several animated projects such as
El Americano, BoJack Horseman, The Simpsons and King of the Hill, but she says
she found this particular part especially rewarding.
Kudrow says being the mother of a single child helped her understand what Tim's
mom was going through in the movie. "I'm a mom of a single child, and I know how
much I am needed. So I imagine that it's really hard if you have two kids and
you're completely aware of trying not to appear that you are giving too much
love or attention to one or the other. So, I think it's a good thing I only had
Kudrow, who was the youngest of three children herself, admits that she was also
the Boss Baby in her family. "I was the baby, and my siblings are eight and six
years older than me. I remember when I was little; I'd do something that would
really irritate them. Then, as soon as my dad came home, they'd start charging
towards him to complain. That's when I'd say, 'Well, I'm just little,' and my
father would say, 'That's right. ... She's just little. It was evil of me."
Kudrow explains that it's natural for a boy like Tim to feel that Boss Baby has
arrived to wreak havoc on his family. "Tim used to be the only prized child of
the family and got all the attention," she explains. "He gets what I imagine is
probably like a 30-minute tuck-in, with the whole lineup of songs and stories.
Then, the Boss Baby comes, and there's just simply no time at all for that, so
he's already a little bitter. But, because Tim and Boss Baby both get involved
in this battle against Puppy Co., they have to work together and then, they
learn to love each other, just like it happens in life when you begin to have
shared experiences with your family."
The versatile actress says she really enjoyed working with director Tom McGrath
and producer Ramsey Naito as well. "They were both fantastic and a lot of fun to
work with," she notes. "Tom lets you play a little and add material as you go
along, and Ramsey's like a new friend now. I really connected to her in the
Kudrow says she really loves the film's visuals, its sense of humor and powerful
message. She also loves the fact that Alec Baldwin voices Boss Baby. "You can't
go wrong with Alec Baldwin being a baby in a suit, bossing everyone around," she
adds. "It's really funny with that deep, deep voice. I could see how a kid might
look back and imagine, that's how it was when the baby came!"
The actress says families will love the movie because it's both funny and has a
lot of heart. "The heart is earned. The kids go through a lot together, and they
learn about each other."
For the role of Tim's father, director Tom McGrath thought of comedian and
late-night TV host and producer Jimmy Kimmel after hearing him being interviewed
on the radio one day. "I guess he heard my voice and thought that's the guy we
should get to play the Dad, and then he made the mistake of calling me," jokes
the comic. "It has been so much fun. I think Tom is such a nice and patient guy,
and he always gives terrific suggestions. Whenever I get in there and I'm
acting, I think I must be terrible. I can't possibly be doing a good job. But he
does seem to be happy with it. At least he lies and pretends I'm doing a great
Kimmel says he really enjoyed his first experience working as a voice actor on a
feature animated project. "I wanted to be a cartoonist when I was a kid, and I
love to draw," admits the actor. "So I loved being a part of the making of an
animated movie. I still have no idea how any of these amazing artists are able
to create such a massive project, but I am so impressed with their talents."
The comedian says he certainly saw parallels to his own family life in the
movie. "I have a two-year-old, and she is definitely the Boss Baby in our
house," explains Kimmel. "It's like we are her servants. I think she thinks we
are the staff of the house because I make her pancakes in the morning, and I
make them in the shapes she wants. You know, whatever, her wish is our command."
As an older brother himself, Kimmel has also his own experiences with siblings.
"I have a younger sister and a younger brother, so I would be the Tim in this
particular situation!" he explains. "I convinced my brother that I was Superman
when I was kid. Every once in a while, I used to have a treasure hunt for my
sister, and I'd leave clues all over the house for her. Then, at the end of the
treasure hunt, there'd be like a bag of my toenails or something."
Kimmel says the movie is quite successful at capturing real truths about family
dynamics and the way parents react to their children, while having a lot of fun
along the way. "Obviously, a lot of THE BOSS BABY is exaggerated, but then of
course there's that relationship between parents and their child, and between
the child and his little brother that are very, very real. There's an element of
imagination there that you have when you're a kid, that dulls as you get older,
that is pretty great."
He also believes that both kids and their parents are going to respond
positively to the movie. "Kids are going to love Boss Baby and really respond to
the sibling rivalry situation. There are also jokes that the children won't get,
and adults will definitely enjoy. At the heart of the movie, is a story about a
family, parents who love their kids and the world that they create together. I
think everyone who once was a child or has children of their own can relate to
Voicing the Villainous Francis E. Francis
Veteran actor Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos) plays Francis E.
Francis, the villainous founder and president of Puppy Co., where new, lovable
puppies are created for the world to love. In the movie, Boss Baby and Tim have
to get inside Puppy Co. to get their hands on some information. "The way they do
that is to accompany their parents, who work at Puppy Co. to their office on
Take Your Kids to Work Day," explains Buscemi. "Once they get there, they are
lured into a trap by Francis E. Francis, who figures out that they are trying to
thwart his evil plan."
Francis E. Francis has a secret weapon in the very cute Forever Puppy. "This
puppy will live forever, and therefore will always get love," notes the actor.
"But he needs the secret formula that keeps babies young at Baby Corp., and he
ends up stealing it from Boss Baby to keep his Forever Puppy young."
The actor also praises the exciting sequence in which Tim and Boss Baby have to
get to a convention in Las Vegas to stop Francis from launching Forever Puppy.
"There's a wonderful chase sequence that leads to the great climax in the
scene," says Buscemi. "They get on an Elvis impersonator flight that takes them
to Vegas, and they end up thwarting Francis E. Francis by working as a team.
That's the other important thing in the movie is that at first, Tim doesn't like
his baby brother, and Boss Baby couldn't care less about his older brother
either. But, then they end up needing and helping each other- actually not only
liking each other, but loving each other."
Buscemi, who has an older brother and two younger brothers himself, says he also
totally understood the notion of sibling rivalry explored in the movie. "I do
remember how upsetting it was when my brother, Michael, came right after me. I
felt like he was moving in on my turf, and I didn't like it. I guess it was the
same for my older brother Johnny, when I came along, but I didn't see it that
way. It's great to have siblings, but it's sometimes difficult to get along and
to share the love."
The prolific actor, who also provided the voice of Randy in Monsters, Inc. and
Monsters University, says he really enjoyed the experience of working with pros
such as director Tom McGrath and producer Ramsey Naito. "The challenging thing
about doing an animated film is that the animation is not ready when you're
there to record your lines. So you really have to depend on the director to give
you a clear visual picture. Tom was really good at keeping me on track and
giving me sort of the overall visual aspect of the story. We also got to play
around with the character and to try doing it in different ways, so we could
give the animators a lot to work with. So it was always an adventure to come in
and see what we could come up with together. Ramsey was one of the nicest
producers I have ever worked with. The whole DreamWorks experience has been
really easy. They've been very accommodating, and the whole atmosphere is very
Buscemi believes that families will easily relate to the movie because it is
able to depict the parent-child dynamic seamlessly. "I think it really captures
the whole dynamic between parents and their kids, and how much love there is.
Yet, in a kid's view, they would be nervous about how long that love would last
when a new sibling comes long. The film is also great at showing Tim's
imagination at play. He invents all these scenarios. Of course, having a really
great imagination can also work the other way. It can also go to a dark place
when he imagines that he won't always have their love."
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