Friday, February 4, 2011

'RIO' Takes Flight on Fox Lot

Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway and George Lopez walk the blue carpet at the "RIO" press event.

There's a certain blue macaw that's been showing his bewildered face on billboards around Los Angeles, and now I know why.

"RIO," the new 3D CGI-animated movie from "Ice Age" director Carlos Saldanha, will be hitting theaters April 15, and I had the opportunity to catch a "sneak beak."

From left: Sarah Maizes (MommyLiteOnline), me, Andrea Fellman (SavvySassyMoms), Jeana S (Deals4Dummies), Julie Taylor (MomLogic) and Anna Viele (ABDPBT).

Last week, I joined several other bloggers on the Twentieth Century Fox lot in Century City to watch selected clips from the movie, about flight-phobic bird Blu and his journey down to Rio de Janeiro (via plane) to meet the last female of his species. (Cue the Barry White music.)

Voiced by the endearingly awkward Jesse Eisenberg, Blu meets his match in the fiercely independent Jewel (Anne Hathaway). He's also challenged to literally spread his wings and fly.

Hathaway was on the Fox lot alongside fellow cast members Jamie Foxx and George Lopez, in addition to Saldanha and music contributor Sergio Mendes.

It was a lot of fun hearing from Brazilian director Saldanha about a project that's obviously near and dear to his "Girl From Ipanema"-loving heart. He mentioned multiple times how much he wanted "RIO" to feel authentically Brazilian. That's why he called on the musical talents of Mendes.

What was also interesting was hearing from the actors themselves about the process of recording their voices -- mostly without the benefit of engaging the other actors.

"I haven't seen Jesse (Eisenberg), except for socially, throughout this whole process," said Hathaway, who also sings in the movie.

For Foxx, who also worked with on the music, this was a first. "For me, I was just trying to act," Foxx said. "I'm doing all the faces, and it's like you're not actually on film. So you have to get the voice right, which I felt was great."

But Hathaway and Foxx weren't the only ones lending their musical chops to the movie. Lopez, who plays a toucan, turned in a few notes himself.

"You know, I'm not gonna let them all sing and me just sit there with a big nose flying around!" Lopez quipped. "I sang, too."

"You sang beautifully," Saldanha chimed in.

Stay tuned for the movie, which looks adorable and is filled with lively songs. In the meantime, though, "RIO" and Twentieth Century Fox are partnering with Rovio Mobile's popular app-based game "Angry Birds" for "Angry Birds RIO," which launches in March.

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