When Columbia Pictures invited ComingSoon.net to cover the Hawaiian premiere of their new animated-comedy Surf’s Up, I couldn’t have thought of a better place to debut a movie about adorable surfing penguins. The film, opening this Friday, features the voices of Jeff Bridges, Shia LaBeouf, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Heder, James Woods, Diedrich Bader, Mario Cantone, Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Sal Masekela, Ash Brannon, Chris Buck, Brian Posehn, Dana Belben and Reed Buck.
First up, I got a chance to talk to Bridges, LaBeouf, Heder and Cantone on Waikiki Beach. You can view the video interview using the player below!
Next up, reporters had the chance to try out surfing on the beach in Waikiki. The studio set up lessons for us and went all out by having surfing pros Kelly Slater, Rob Machado and Sal Masekela hang out and cheer us on (They happen to all have small roles in the film). I admit I’ve never touched a surfboard, much less actually tried the sport, so I was a little nervous to get out there with not only the other reporters watching, but three of the top surfers. Much to my amazement, I didn’t do too bad. Well, by my standards anyway. My only goal was to stand up and somehow I management to get up every time. Granted, I didn’t stay up for long, but I was okay with that. After about an hour, I’d had enough of trying to catch waves and having salt water constantly splashed in my face, so I laboriously paddled my way back to shore and hobbled down the beach back to my hotel to get ready for the premiere.
The event was held at the Victoria Ward Theater in Honolulu and when I arrived, a large crowd of fans had already gathered around the blue carpet to see the stars. Shortly after, the celebs made their way down the press line as people cheered and applauded. Even after doing interviews all day, the talent was zealous, enthusiastic and excited to talk about the movie.
Jon Heder, who plays Chicken Joe, was the first to strut down the carpet. “It’s cool. It makes sense [to have the premiere in Hawaii]. The movie takes place on a tropical island, we’re on a tropical island and Hawaii is kinda the forerunner of tropical islands. Can I say tropical island one more time?” Heder joked.
When asked how difficult it was to relate to Chicken Joe, since he was an animated character, Heder said, “It doesn’t matter what animal you are in the world of animation. You just focus on the character. The chicken was a little miscast. Penguins are good swimmers. Chickens don’t swim, they’re not really laid back, but it works for him. He has a lazy streak to him. I’m not quite as lazy, but I’m laid back. That’s how I relate to him.”
Mario Cantone, who portrays Mikey, a talent scout for surfers, was next up on the press line. “I’m wearing blue and I match the carpet,” Cantone said as he made his way to ComingSoon.net. Cantone was really excited the premiere was in Honolulu. “I’m going to Maui for three days and then I’m going to Kauai. I’m from New York. I’ve gotta see this place,” he said as he was walking into the theater.
Shia LaBeouf, who stars as Cody Maverick, joked with the press and took pictures with fans as he came down the blue carpet. “Cody is really obsessed with winning. That’s all he cares about. He doesn’t care about the journey that it takes to get there or the obstacles. He’s not enjoying the moment,” LaBeouf told us. “He’s just goal obsessed. He lost his father at an early age. Got into surfing. He’s rebellious where he comes from. He’s a big fish in a small pond in this place called Shiverpool, Antarctica.”
In the film, Cody Maverick is the outsider in his town of Shiverpool. Nobody understands his desire to want to be anything other than fisherman. LaBeouf said since he grew up in Los Angeles, that’s something he could relate to. “You tell people you’re from L.A. and they automatically think you’re this Hollywood person. They don’t know about Silverlake or Echo Park. You feel like an outsider when you hang out in places that make L.A. look bad like Hollywood. It puts this damper on really being from L.A. People from L.A. aren’t really from L.A. They’re from other places. The people who really grow up in L.A. feel like outsiders in Los Angeles. Everybody comes there for the opulent dream. Everybody’s got a talent and there’s just no normal human beings.”
And of course I had to try to get Indiana Jones 4 info out of him, but he was pretty tight-lipped about it. I asked him what he thinks about playing Harrison Ford’s son. “I mean I don’t know what I’m going to be. I could be playing a train conductor. Who knows? Well let’s see you have Sean Connery and Harrison Ford. Chances are you’re going to be in trouble. I’m imaging there will be some sort of creature crawling on me throughout the movie”, LaBeouf said.
Surf’s Up hits theaters on June 8.