*The directing team of Clay Katis and Fergal Reily have adapted the hugely successful Angry Birds game into a vivid 3D comedy that arrives in theaters this weekend. “The Angry Birds Movie” was animated by Sony Pictures Imageworks, and centers on three flightless birds, voiced by Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Danny McBride, who investigate the mysterious arrival of green pigs to their idyllic island.
Bird Island is a happy place – free of humans and technology. It’s a place “where they don’t lock their doors,” and the birds spend most of their time eating worms and looking after their eggs. That is, except for Red (Sudeikis) – he’s the angriest bird on the island, and his rage sends him to anger management class. Emmy-nominated comedian Hannibal Buress voices the father of a young bird that is left disappointed after Red and his rage ruin his hatch day party.
“My kid is having hatch day, in the Angry Birds’ world, that’s what a birthday is. So it’s my kid’s hatch day party and Red ruins the party. I kind of ream him out and I’m an angry dad to Red,” Buress told EUR/Electronic Urban Report ahead of the film’s release. He also confessed that he “gave up” on playing the app back when it was hugely popular.
“I played around with it maybe during 2010, 2011. That was peak “Angry Birds,” when everybody was messing with it on their phone. To be honest, I wasn’t good at it. I maybe tried it twice and left it alone. I know other people are passionate and got into it, but I was trying the catapult thing and it wasn’t working for me, so I kinda gave up on Angry Birds until they hit me up about doing the movie.”
Hannibal’s third hour standup special “Comedy Camisado,” is currently streaming on Netflix. He is also a cast member on Comedy Central’s hit show “Broad City,” and he is the co-host of Adult Swim’s “The Eric Andre Show,” which will premiere its fourth season later this year.
He was recently seen in the feature comedy “Daddy’s Home” alongside Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, as well as the film “Band of Robbers.” In addition to ”Angry Birds,” Hannibal also lends his voice to the forthcoming animated film “The Secret Life of Pets.”
While many industry players will suggest that voice over acting is not “real acting,” you won’t find too many actors willing to turn down the work. As Hannibal explained, “It is acting. It’s just easier.”
“There’s performance in it and there’s talent involved. Do you wanna say that the cast of “The Simpsons” doesn’t act, and that they don’t have any talent or value? It is acting. It’s just a different skill set,” Buress said. “Different people are good at it and some aren’t. I’ve heard stories where they’ve said, ‘Man this person is great on camera, but you put them in a booth and they can’t do sh*t.’ So to try to suggest that there’s no value to it is incorrect. It’s just a different skill and it’s a skill that’s not as time-consuming as film acting.”
The Angry Birds game was created by Rovio Mobile and has seen more than three billion downloads. Buress said utilizing his range in order to bring his character to life on the big screen was the best part about exploring this world with the film’s producers, John Cohen and Catherine Winder
“You give them range and a bunch of different reads and try to vary it. Ya know, varied tones, varied pacing, varied enunciation. If you do it a bunch of different ways, some of it is going to work. That’s the fun part of it. You can do one line a bunch of different ways over the course of 30 seconds, so it wasn’t really challenging. It’s kinda fun being able to play with your voice and realize you’re not going to be seen in this, so it’s just trying to figure out a way in the booth to make your performance as dynamic as you can.”
Buress confirmed that the filmmakers were also quite encouraging of talent bringing their improv skills to the recording sessions.
“I haven’t seen the movie yet, but you do the lines and if you have a take on something, they always like to improve on it. They encourage it and that’s what’s exciting about it. When I finally do see the movie, I’ll get to see certain parts like, ‘Oh, that’s what I changed right there.’ So they really do encourage you to make it your own and if you can bounce it in a funnier way, then they always appreciate that.”
“The Angry Birds Movie” is a resonating story that will appeal to all ages. Hannibal shares this visually stunning animated feature with some epic talent, including Maya Rudolph. However, he didn’t record any sessions with his co-stars. Still, the overall project makes you wonder if comedians of their caliber find that they must one-up each other while working together.
“My sessions weren’t done with anybody else, so we really didn’t hang out or anything,” said Hannibal, “but there are some projects where they do get people together in a room because they want it to feel natural. I worked on “Bob’s’ Burgers” and everybody was in the session at once. When I did the movie” Nerdland,” me and Paul Rudd did our session together with Patton Oswalt who was patched in from L.A. So there are some projects that they try to get everybody together just to have the chemistry in the sessions be a bit natural, but I didn’t do that with this one (“Angry Birds”).
“As far as just hanging out when you’re around comedians, it’s not about one-upping, it’s just about trying to make each other laugh. It’s just a friend thing. When you hang out with friends you wanna make each other laugh.”
“The Angry Birds Movie” hits theaters May 20.