In the late ’70s, kids went crazy over the imaginative story of how people in the small town of Chewandswallow live just like anyone else except that they eat whatever falls from the sky. The townspeople delighted in the pancakes, hamburgers and mashed potatoes that rained down on them, but when the weather delivered too many portions of their favorite treats, they feared for their lives and had to act quickly to save their homes. The children’s book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs became an instant success and classic with its colorful illustrations and animated detail.
The timeless tale is hitting theaters on September 18 and ComingSoon.net got a sneak peak at the Sony Pictures 3-D comedy. We met up with the directors of the film, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, at Sony Pictures Animation for a special presentation and listened as they excitedly talked to us about the project. The two are college friends and work together on “How I Met Your Mother” as writers. This is their directorial debut for a feature film.
Sam Sparks, voiced by Anna Faris, is a weather girl trying to make a name for herself. “She has a deep dark secret that she has a nerdy interior that she doesn’t tell anyone about,” Chris Miller said.
Her love interest is Flint, who is played by Bill Hader. “Flint thinks she looks okay when she’s all glamed up, but he’s like, ‘Well you might look better if you put these on,'” Miller told us. An after picture of her makeover was shown and Flint apparently likes her with little makeup, glasses, hair pulled back and dressed down (Watch This Scene!).
Flint is an inventor or so he likes to think. He’s tried to create many different contraptions and every time they go horribly wrong which makes the townspeople upset and causes them problems.
An example of one his inventions gone wrong is the rat-bird. “He was trying to test out human flight on rats and they got away and they bred and now they’re all over the town reeking havoc,” Phil Lord said.
“Andy Samberg plays the most appalling character in the entire world,” Lord laughed. He’s a town celebrity because he posed for a sardine company when he was little and that’s all he’s ever done.
Neil Patrick Harris plays Steve. He’s a monkey that Flint invented. He’s a thought translator, “but he basically only says his own name and that he’s hungry or tired,” Miller said. “The idea there was more or less to take a typical Disney animal sidekick who is wisecracking and take a different choice. Do the real version of it, so our direction to the animators was make him a wild animal at all times. He doesn’t really understand what’s going on. He’s just kind of scratching himself and looking around,” Miller continued.
Mr. T is Earl, the local cop. “He is another hero of ours,” Miller stated. “He’s super awesome,” Lord added. “When the casting director Mary Hidalgo suggested him for this role we immediately re-wrote the entire thing for him. We were like absolutely! That’s an amazing idea.”
Another great character in the film is the mayor, who is voiced by Bruce Campbell. “He’s kind of based on the mayor from ‘Jaws,'” Miller told us. “His outfit is heavily ‘Jaws’ influenced,” Lord laughed. “He has sort of the same role of the mayor in ‘Jaws.’ He doesn’t want to stop this food phenomenon because of the tourism and [it was] turning the town around. He ends up being a villain for the movie and he also embraces the food wholeheartedly and becomes super, super fat,” Miller said.
We were shown a clip of what the character looked like and he was so obese that he lost use of his limbs and had to drive around in a cart. He gets so big that he uses his stomach to steer it.
A Little More About the Story:
The town is having a food shortage. They only have sardines to eat so Flint decides he wants to do something about it. He wants to help, but since all of his inventions have created so many problems and he’s essentially an outcast as a result, there is pressure for him to get this one right, but of course that doesn’t happen. So when he makes the food replicater that’s essentially made from a colander and a microwave in hopes that food will be made from water, it works but not as he planned.
How the Film Came About:
Q: How did you get approached for the project?
Q: What came most easily and what was difficult?
Q: How challenging was it to direct a cast in an animated film because usually there isn’t much interaction between the actors?
Q: How difficult is it to decide where to stay faithful to the source material and where to allow improvisation?
Q: Was it always your idea to do the movie in 3-D even though you didn’t really have any experience with animation?
The Scenes Shown:
Sneak Peak # 1 – Sam Sparks is trying to make it big as a weather girl and her first on air gig was ruined when Flint’s machine shoots through the clouds during her broadcast. An angry mob of people are looking for him and he’s hiding on the stairs with Steve (the monkey) under the pier. Sam is so upset she takes a walk to calm down and runs into him. She doesn’t realize at first he’s the one who screwed up her shot. She seems impressed by his weird inventions – spray paint shoes and the thought translator monkey. She knows more about how they were created than what she pretends, but he can see right through her act. He falls for her in a matter of seconds. She soon realizes he’s the one who was riding the “homemade rocket” as she called it and yells at him. In the middle of her rant the clouds start to darken and soon start raining hamburgers. They’re both excited by what’s happened and he reminds her she’s a weather girl. She runs off in hopes of getting a second chance on the air.
Sneak Peak # 2 – The town is overjoyed by Flint’s food machine and now embraces him back into the community. The invention isn’t quite what Flint envisioned, but he pretends it is so he can continue to be liked. It’s snowing ice cream and everyone is having snowball fights. Kids want him to play, but he admits he’s never thrown a snowball before. Sam laughs and shows him how. He goes a little overboard as usual and hits everyone–women, the elderly, and kids–in the face hard with snowballs. He’s having a great time and loves watching everyone enjoy what he’s created.
Sneak Peak # 3 – It won’t stop raining food and it’s become a problem. Now instead of a shortage there is too much and the townspeople are forced to evacuate. The dam that’s holding the overage of food is about to break and everyone is on their pieces of bread made into sailboats to get away. The mayor drives past everyone who hasn’t boarded yet to make an announcement, but only he doesn’t really have one. It was just a ploy to get ahead of others to make sure he would get out of the town. Earl the cop (Mr. T) is carrying his family to the water to grab a boat, but his son falls on the way. The dam breaks and the food floods the town. He’s in the middle of the path and he can’t get up. Earl gets him just in time and they race to the water.
Sneak Peak # 4 – Flint wants to do something nice for Sam because he has a crush on her so he surprises her with a jello mold since she mentioned once jello was her favorite. It’s so huge you can go inside which is really cool. There’s a pool, statues with her face, and stairs you can slide down. She’s overly impressed and they have a great time hanging out.
At the San Diego Comic-Con, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will be presented at two different panels. On Thursday, the film is part of the “3D Showcase” at 12:45pm in Hall H and then will have its own panel at 2pm in room 6BCF.