Steve Martin and Jim Parsons may be big fancy stars, but Rihanna was the main attraction at today’s footage screening and press Q&A for Dreamworks Animations’ “Home.”
Dressed in a short red dress and white sneakers (and approached by several journalists/fans as she made her way out of the theater), the pop star voices the role of middle-schooler “Tip” in the forthcoming animated adventure, which centers on the relationship between Tip and a diminutive purple-hued “Boov” alien named “Oh” (Parsons) after Earth is invaded by the the Boov race and its villainous leader Captain Smek (Martin).
But anyway, Rihanna! She looked fantastic and seemed very nice. Below are nine other things we learned at today’s press event.
1. Stars, they cry at Hollywood production meetings just like us!
“There’s one specific point in the movie that really wrecked me,” said Rihanna. “And I feel like it’s gonna kill everybody because when I was watching it for the first time, it was just stick figures. It didn’t even get to the point of animation all the way yet, so I was bawling my eyes out in this meeting and I’m like ‘Oh my god! I’m so embarrassed right now!’ I’m crying at literally these stick figures….at the end, I can’t even tell you, cause I’m [not going] to tell you the movie right now, but…it’s really emotional for me.”
2. Rihanna contributed several original songs to the film.
Ok, so we actually already knew this. Here are Rihanna’s thoughts on music and film and also music in film: “I mean, the music is such an important and crucial part to an animated film. You don’t think about it, but like you can watch ‘Tom and Jerry’ and there’s no words. And you can watch that for hours. But music dictates the emotion, it dictates where the story’s going, how you’re supposed to feel the suspense. Everything’s in the music. I worked really closely with Tim and Jeffrey Katzenberg on this, because I wanted to make sure…I can bring them songs, but if it didn’t move them…or they didn’t feel like it made sense in a certain part, we couldn’t use it.”
3. The animators may or may not have invented totally revolutionary techniques in the process of making the movie.
“To me, the animation looks brand new,” said Parsons. “I said it one of the last times we saw some of the more finished scenes. I was like…’What are they doing? It looks like they invented something! I’ve never seen animation quite like this!’ I’m not sure if that’s true, but I didn’t feel like I had.”
4. Steve Martin agrees that playing dumb villains is a strength of his.
“I love these characters of dumb villains,” he said. “And I was thinking I played one before, in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’…the dentist…and they always kind of resonate for me and for the audience somehow…I really enjoyed playing that [in ‘Home’], and it’s actually quite suited to me. I don’t know what that says.”
5. Jim Parsons related to the themes of the film in a very personal way.
“I don’t know, I’ve thought a lot about being a gay person while making this movie,” he said. “It has nothing to do with that specifically at all, but just this being judged by something that people may not identify with or understand and have certain beliefs about, and then they get to know who you are…and how important it is to take people at a deeper level than that and let them be who they are in their heart.”
6. We are all the same.
“It’s this thing that we have as humans where we judge each other, without even knowing. Without even having a conversation, really,” said Rihanna of the film’s major themes. “And by the end of [the movie] you see [Tip and Oh are] so similar that when you think back to the beginning of the movie, when they first met each other, it really is like a 180 degree change.”
7. Steve Martin’s reasons for doing the film were deep and multi-faceted.
“I know Jeffrey Katzenberg, we both drive the same car,” he joked. “And I knew there would be an immediate bond there. And when I heard that Tim Johnson was directing [I asked] ‘Is he a foreigner? Such an exotic name.’…And so I knew with Jeffrey and I talking about our cars between takes, it would always be interesting.”
8. This movie is fun for the whole family, including pets.
Tim Johnson: “If I had any sort of message I want people to walk out with, it’s that a family of all ages can all see the same movie and enjoy it. And as a father of a couple kids, I find it increasingly hard to do that. To have an experience that all ages can sit down and laugh at different things, laugh at the same things. And have the experience I had frequently growing up of sharing something with my sister, or sharing something with my mom and dad…”
Steve Martin: “I can’t wait to bring my cat.”
9. What is “home” to Jim Parsons, Rihanna and Steve Martin?
Rihanna: “Anything that feels familiar, that feels comfortable. Most of the time that’s just Barbados.”
Jim Parsons: “Where you feel unjudged.”
Steve Martin: “When someone comes up to me and says, ‘Can I get a selfie?'”
“Home” hits theaters on March 27, 2015.