You probably know the Angry Birds from best-selling mobile game franchise. Now, Red, Chuck, Bomb and more of your favorite characters are hitting the big screen in The Angry Birds Movie, dropping into theaters May 20. I recently chatted with directors Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly about the birds’ latest adventure. Scroll down to see what they had to say.
What can you tell us about The Angry Birds Movie?
C.K. and F.R.: The Angry Birds Movie is the origin story of the famous game that has been downloaded over 3 billion times. It explains why those birds are so angry, how the birds and pigs meet, how the pigs steal the birds’ eggs, and what happens after.
How much of the world you built comes directly from the game?
C.K. and F.R.: So much of the game is reflected in the movie — the main characters everyone knows, the iconic slingshot, TNT crates, to the notoriously unstable piggy buildings. We’ve designed two gigantic islands, each with it’s own civilization of birds and pigs. On these islands, we’ve been able to invent so many new locations and characters that have never been in the games.
How did you capture the rambunctious personalities of these characters?
C.K. and F.R.: Rambunctious is a perfect description. We work with fantastic actors and comedians to create the voices of the characters. Then they come to life through the magic of animation. Red is the grumpiest of all the birds. Chuck is the fast-moving, and faster-talking, yellow bird. Bomb, the black bird, is big and strong but he has trouble controlling his emotions. He literally explodes in a ball of fire and smoke when he gets upset. Matilda, the white bird, is their teacher who guides them on the path of serenity. Their rival in all of this is Leonard, the charming and hilarious leader of the bad piggies.
Do you have favorite characters in the movie?
Clay: If I had to choose, I would say Bomb. He’s just so honest and funny. I laugh at him the most. Maybe it’s because I’m like him in many ways — except for the exploding part.
Fergal: I have to say it’s a tie between Red and Chuck. Red says and does things most of us only wish we had the courage to do. I love Chuck because he’s a motor-mouth who doesn’t know when to stop. He says and does some of the funniest things in the movie.
What goes into directing an animated film?
C.K. and F.R.: On any day, we will work on the story, write scenes and dialogue, draw storyboards, design characters, record the actors, stage the shots with the camera, guide the animation, make lighting and color choices in scenes, design special effects, oversee the editing of the film, and pick the music that goes in the movie. No doubt, it’s one of the best jobs in the world, but not one that lets us rest a lot.
Any advice for young readers who are hoping to work in animation one day?
C.K. and F.R.: Our advice if you’re interested in working in films? Start now! Draw, make your own films, write stories, act, and watch as many movies as you can. It’s hard work, but who we are as filmmakers is an accumulation of a lifetime of training and experience. We all start from the same place but if you start doing these things today, you’re already on the right path. Find other people who have the same interests and work with them. Encourage each other and don’t give up. That’s how we did it!