Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 hits theaters this weekend and while the story highlights the importance of friendship, loyalty and teamwork, the real stars of the film are the food animals that come to life!
I sat down with one of the stars of the film, Terry Crews to discuss his role in the new animated film, which if you don't mind my saying so, is not a bad job if you can get it.
Terry Crews, a man who grew up in Flint Michigan and had to fight his way into school, who admits to slamming people into concrete sidewalks and getting away with it, now plays a character he describes as the "manliest man ever animated." And while one might think the similarities between Crews and his character stop there, on the contrary, Crews describes "Earl" is being so manly, "that he almost comes full circle feminine." A trait Terry understands after a lifetime exploring the heights of masculinity and realizing that in order to get along with his wife of 26 years and to properly raise a family including four daughters, he had to find a balance.
Cloudy 2 was an animated feature three years in the making. Crews spoke with me about the road leading up to what many describe as the "easiest job in show biz," playing the character "Earl" in the film. While his co-star and newly minted Emmy host Neil Patrick Harris, may have a point about the ease of walking into a booth and taking on varied voice tones to describe banana's, [See the footage from the LA premiere below] the road to that highly sought after voice over booth is where one's chops are made:
Everyone says animation is cool because you go in, say your lines and you go home. You don't have to wear make up or anything. But here is the thing, in order to get to the place where you are "that guy," you have to have a full career.
Terry's career in particular is one filled with many roles, both small and large, in a wide array of film and television offerings. To earn the role in Cloudy 2, let's just say the man's resume reads like one, any choice of a who's who of veteran actors, would rightfully envy. Who would have thought that a man with NFL roots, who once dreamed of being an animator himself, would now boast the credits he's come to be known for.
Among them: The Longest Yard, My Wife and Kids, CSI Miami, Arrested Development, Deliver Us From Eva, Friday After Next, Training Day and one of my favorite new shows of the year, Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom" (which, won Jeff Daniel's his first leading man Emmy, Sunday night, though I digress.). With six credits currently in production or post production, Crews shows no signs of slowing down and I for one couldn't be happier for him. He's the nicest guy.
But maybe the biggest pay off was watching the film with his young son and coming away with an altogether different experience:
One thing that I love about officer Earl is his relationship with his son Cal. It is an awesome thing. When my son and I left the movie he looked at me and said, "Dad you're Earl and I am Cal..." He was only 6 years old at the time. And the fact that he had seen an African American animated, that loved his family and his little boy, to see yourself like that, is almost like having a black president. It is the same feeling like, "wow a black man and his son went to the movies and saw themselves in it.. and it was animated at that." So that let me know it was special.
Terry also stars in the highly anticipated new NBC comedy Brooklyn Nine along with Cloudy 2 co-star Andy Samberg. So the two of them will be seeing a lot more of one another through out the season.
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 IS IN THEATERS NATIONWIDE TODAY.