After getting an early glimpse at the upcoming animated film Rio on the Fox lot, it was easy to leave with a slightly bossa nova attitude. Rio and everything Brazilian ruled the day and we were there to talk to the stellar cast including Oscar nominee Anne Hathaway, Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx and one of the funniest men on the planet, George Lopez.
Rio’s director welcomed us into the theater and showed off a remarkable group of 3D clips from the film that premieres April 15. With each successive delightful scene, a new star of the film was introduced by director Carlos Saldanha. From musical legend Sergio Mendes, who served as music supervisor, to the merry antics of Jamie Foxx — this was an afternoon to remember.
The clips enthralled in the story of a male macaw from Minnesota who is brought to Rio to meet the last remaining female macaw with his best friend and owner Linda.
After marveling at the three-dimensional, albeit too short, trip to Rio through the colorful story of finding oneself and allowing yourself to fly, we sat down with the cast for a little chat.
SheKnows: Anne, what is it about voice-over work you enjoy so much? You’ve appeared in a half-dozen animated films.
Anne Hathaway: I love employment, and it’s never, ever guaranteed. As much as I love doing animated voices, I just love working [laughs]. I love the people who have asked me to do it, and it’s been an honor. I’ve worked on The Simpsons twice, and now I’ve done this. I just keep getting these opportunities that I can’t say no to. No one could.
SheKnows: Jamie, this is your first voice-over gig, was it an enjoyable one for you?
Jamie Foxx: Yeah, this is my first one. For me, I was just trying to act. I was doing all these things and Carlos was like, “You’re not actually on film.” You actually have to get the voice right, which I felt was the greatest challenge. We just saw some of it for the first time and it blew me away. It’s got the wow factor.
SheKnows: As a singer and musician, was it a thrill to work with Will.i.am on Rio?
Jamie Foxx: Yes, Will and I worked on the music. That was hot. Will.i.am and I performed at Wango Tango. That’s when my daughter said that I had made it in music. We’ve seen each other a lot. We did the We Are the World joint. Then with this, it was just mind-blowing, to be able to do that samba joint and watch Will.i.am. Will.i.am does the engineering and the producing, at the same time. Usually, it’s one or the other, so that was fantastic.
SheKnows: So Anne, we’ve heard your wonderful voice on the Oscars with Hugh Jackman, but were you nervous about singing in the film?
Anne sings the praises of Rio
Anne Hathaway: Carlos can get me to do anything. Every time I would come in, he would show me more footage, and it was just breathtaking. It really was. So, when he said, “Can you sing?” I couldn’t say anything but yes. But, it is intimidating to sing in front of Sergio [Mendes] and Will.i.am, as I’m sure you can imagine. That morning, I had an extra cup of coffee to steel my nerves.
SheKnows: Will we hear you sing more in the future?
Anne Hathaway: Singing has always been something that I’ve loved to do, but I never thought about doing, professionally. I always felt more drawn to acting. But, who knows? I’m doing things that I never, ever thought I would do, in front of a lot of people, so anything is possible.
SheKnows: What about you George? Did you get to sing?
George Lopez: I was not going to let them all sing and just sit there, flying around. I sing in the end song about Rio. It’s fantastic. I also rock out. I throw in a little Girl from Ipanema to charm my wife, to allow me to go Carnivale. It’s so bad that it works [laughs].
SheKnows: Anne, you didn’t record with Jesse Eisenberg, who plays your love interest in Rio, have you even met him before?
Anne Hathaway: No. I haven’t seen Jesse, except for socially, throughout this whole process. Interestingly, Jesse and I played brother and sister on a Fox Television series in 1999, called Get Real [laughs]. I was his older sister, Meghan Green, and he was Kenny Green. I’m very happy for all of his success.
SheKnows: Will you be singing at the Oscars as host?
Anne Hathaway: I will turn myself into an animated blue bird and fly at the Oscars [laughs]. No. I hope so because that means I will get to meet a new version of myself. The best part about working is that you never know what you’re going to learn when you start out. Oftentimes, what you wind up learning is very different than what you expect.
SheKnows: Anne, your character in the film, Jewel, plays hard to get — even though she is the last female of her species on the planet [laughs]. Does that work for you?
Anne Hathaway: I am a girl without game. I’m not interested in games. I think that, if you are someone who playing hard to get comes naturally to, go with God and do that. For me, I’m a wear my heart on my sleeve, fall in love at first sight and go with it sort of girl. It’s all about having fun with someone and learning how to communicate with someone, in a way that you enjoy. If you’re with someone who enjoys having people play hard to get, maybe that’s the way you’re supposed to do it then. I don’t know.
George & Jamie jam
George Lopez: You have to go for the fit. Sometimes, you meet somebody and it doesn’t work, and you have to be smart enough to say, “I’m not feeling that.” You have to be honest enough to tell the person that.
Jamie Foxx: It’s tough in L.A., too. When your movie is hot, your options are crazy. In L.A., I think girls have to play a little hard to get because we come with so much bravado.
SheKnows: There are lots of good messages in the film for kids in Rio. What would each of you say to kids out there as a piece of advice?
Jamie Foxx: I’m 43, and a couple of days ago, me and my boy calculated, “Hey, man, in 35 or 40 years, we won’t be here. We might as well get it all in, as far as living and enjoying life.” If you look at how long the Earth has been here, we’re living in the blink of an eye. So, whatever it is you want to do, you go out and do it. I remember meeting President Obama and looking at him, thinking, “Damn, this dude is really our President. He really went out and did it!” If you look at stories like that, and other stories that I’m sure you could compare to, it’s just about freeing your mind and taking those guards down.
Anne, George and Jamie find their heart in Rio
George Lopez: In the movie, when Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) wants to fly and he’s afraid to, it’s because he has to feel it in his heart. Just like in real life: You have to feel it in there to be able to let yourself go and fly.
Anne Hathaway: I think the only thing in life that you really have to worry about is how you treat other people. If you mess up and treat someone else badly, you apologize, and you don’t apologize for anything else. Be yourself and go for it. And, this is such a dumb example, but I don’t love exercise. Some of it is more fun than others, so what I do is, if I’m on the treadmill and I don’t want to finish, I look at it and say, “Okay, this is 20 minutes, versus the rest of my life. I’m going to spend the rest of my life doing so many other things, so I can do this for 20 minutes.” I just think that, if you break it down into achievable goals, you’ll wind up achieving more than you ever thought you could.