With Sing 2 now playing in cinemas nationwide, i was lucky enough to catch up Tori kelly and Scarlett johansson to discuss their individual journeys in the field of animated feature films.
In the new movie, Kelly’s Meena stars in Buster Moon’s (Matthew mcconaughey) very successful local production at the New Moon Theater. But Buster is aiming for something bigger at the Crystal Tower Theater in glamorous Redshore City. Yes, Meena managed to overcome her stage fright in the first movie, but when she’s tasked with singing a romantic song in this new show, those nerves immediately return. Meanwhile, Ash is left with a task that could make or break the whole fabrication. Buster promises the very demanding and intense mogul Jimmy Crystal (Bobby cannavale) that he will get the legendary Clay Calloway (Bono) for being on their show, and Ash realizes that she may be the only one who can encourage Clay to return to the stage after being alone for over a decade.
During our conversation, Johansson took a moment to review his experience of providing vocal performances for directors like Spike jonze and Wes anderson, by exploring the common traits that she really appreciated:
“Working for Wes and Spike, those two directors, one thing they share is that they’re both very, very specific. They hear it in their heads and think they know when it feels right to them. musicality in their dialogue. And I like to solve the puzzle of what it is and help them, even if they can hear it, help them in some way to test that. The creative process is very exciting when a director has a vision for something or has a musical mind that way.
Johansson then pointed out a similar quality in her To sing and Sing 2 director, Garth Jennings:
“He also knows the same way when the pitch is just from a performance, I think. He knows when he’s got it and he listens to the little nuances of vocal performance and calls them out and enjoys them and pushes them and stuff like that. He’s brilliant.
As for Kelly, she made quite a trip with the To sing given that the first installment marked his very first experience in making a movie:
“I entered the first movie as a complete noob. I was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing, but thank you for hiring me for this. It’s incredible.’ It was really a dream role because as a singer I can sing in the movie, I can immerse myself more in the acting. Starting there and now making the second movie, I guess I had more context on how it all works. Because it was literally my first time making a movie! So it was cool to just be at the premiere and then see how it all turned out, to meet the actors. The whole experience was great and then going into the second it was just a little more confidence like, “Okay, now I kind of understand how this all works. “
Another advantage of learning the ropes of animated cinema via To sing? She was doing it alongside Jennings who was directing her very first animated feature.
“I think having a director like him and that’s my first film, and I think for him his first animated film too, and so I feel like we kind of shared that and it was like two kids just trying to figure it out and bouncing on each other.
If you’re interested in learning more about Johansson and Kelly, including what prompts Johansson to continue working with Marvel but as a producer, be sure to check out our full conversation in the video interview at the top of this article!
Johansson also highlights the lessons learned that will influence her own work as a producer.
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