Epic’s Voice Actors Play Tiny Bravehearts!
By: Lynn Barker
Epic, by the filmmakers who brought you the Ice Age movies, tells the tale of a battle between the forces of good and evil. The future of much of life on earth depends on who wins and these warriors are only 2 inches tall! When a teen girl is transported into this secret world in the forest, she teams up with the good guys called Leafmen and their Queen to save their world and ours.
Cast members talked with press recently; Amanda Seyfried is the voice of teen girl M.K., Colin Farrell giving voice to Ronin, is military head of the Leafmen, Aziz Ansari and Chris O’Dowd play slug and snail Grub and Mub and bring both bravery and comic moments to the movie. Jason Sudeikis voices M.K.’s scientist dad. Check out what the gang said to press….
Q: Colin, was it fun to do something that you could bring younger members of your family to?
- Colin: It’s lovely to do something the kids can go and see for sure. I have two sons and it would be nice if they liked it. They don’t have to. If they don’t like it the first time, I’ll tell them it gets better on the second viewing. They do like Ice Age. But, it would be typical if I’d be like “Look what I did!” and they’d be like “s**t. Put back Ice Age please. (laughter)
Q: But are you now into doing more family films? You are usually the action hero/romantic lead.
- Colin: I got bored carrying guns I think. I’ve carried a lot of guns and I hate the things. I don’t know. You just want to do different things.
Q: Colin, your character is Ronin, Japanese for warrior. Did you study up or where did you go to get into his head?
- Colin: It was all on the page. (Director/Writer) Chris (Wedge) had an idea of how he wanted everything to look as well as sound. I did a radio play back in Ireland when I was 22 (but I’d never done this). That was the only time I’d done vocal work without a camera bearing down on me. So the level of attention Chris had (was great). I’d do fifteen takes of each line and on the 15th he’d go “That’s it, Got it. Done!” “But it was the same as the 9th, 10th and 11th take”. But it was fun to be liberated and not have the judgment of a camera there. It was like (working with) a mask.
Q: What surprised you the most seeing the finished film?
- Aziz: I didn’t know it was animated. I thought I was playing a slug but I was wearing different things every time I went in the recording booth so I thought it was a continuity error on screen. Also, I thought it would all be CGI’d around me. (he’s soooo kidding).
Q: Did any of you have an old, crippled, yet energetic pet like M.K. and her dad’s dog Ozzie? He’s sweet and hilarious.
- Amanda: I have a one-eyed, deaf cat still. You have to be wary of them because you can step on them.
- Colin: It’s like having a child then.
- Amanda: That’s what they say. Children same as pets. Her name is Fran. She must be like 15. She’s a street cat, black and white. She reminds me of the dog Ozzie.
Q: As the story unfolded for you, how did you relate to the wonder of nature and that there are things out there we can’t really see?
- Amanda: All these characters are real people in these crazy circumstances. It was hard at first. As actors we are all expected to have these amazingly wild imaginations with no real world distractions. I like to dive into reality as much as possible but I didn’t have anything (to relate to). I don’t know if I could have done it without Chris (Wedge). He’s the most animated person I know. The whole world of this film is in his head and he was able to convey that world to me so well the way he spoke and used his hands. It was magical.
- Colin: It was all there. It was play and make-believe regardless of whether you have something tangible in the environment to play or it’s a radio play. It’s all an extension of your experience multiplied by your imagination. I love nature. I have a nice back garden and go out there whether it’s back home in Dublin or I just did film in Northern Ireland by a lake which was beautiful. Nature is one of the most exciting things in life to pay attention to. (In the film) there are tiny things you can’t see but there is so much (in nature) that I can see; compassion and kindness as well.
Q: What a cool thing to say. Amanda, you character M.K. falls in love with a boy who is unattainable. Did that ever happen to you?
- Amanda: Yeah, you fall in love with ideas that aren’t real. I’ll say that. You fall in love with your fantasies. That happens all the time and it can be depressing.
Q: Why were you attracted to this movie Amanda?
- Amanda: (Chris) said he wanted kids to get outside of their own backyards and try to find that world within what is around them. I used to do that and it’s lost now because kids are grabbing their parents’ cell phones. They want that. We used to be different and I think this movie brings us back to the wonders of nature and the universe and what we have around us that we forget about. When I watched the movie I thought “Wow, there are all these strange-looking leaves and everything has a story to it”.
Q: There is a great comedy element in Epic. Chris (O’Dowd) can you talk about comedic timing and if you ad-libbed etc.
- Chris: A little bit. I’d say 90 percent of it is scripted. I did one session with Aziz (fellow snail/slug) then had to leave the country. We took Chris’s words and rearranged them.
- Aziz: The first big session we did together which was really fun and it was fun to play off each other and be in the same room for sure.
- Jason: Those guys carried the weight of the humor. My guy (the dad/scientist) was a spine that gets us into the world and introduces M.K. to it. I’m more a modern Jimmy Stewart and those guys are Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. (My character) is a bit of an eccentric and is fun, playful, witty and kooky. Unfortunately M.K. doesn’t understand the appeal of his quest to find the hidden world in the forest. I really like that he has all these mad things going on in his head. I like that he believes in something bigger than himself (even if these things are 2 inches tall).
And more quotes from voice actors…
Amanda on her character M.K.
- Amanda: She is strong-willed and disconnected from her father to the point where she thinks there is no way she’s going to be able to even live with him. She ultimately comes to believe in him. He was right about so many things.
Beyoncé Knowles on the film and her character Queen Tara
- Beyoncé: Epic is about a massive battle between good and evil, set against a huge landscape you’ve never before experienced in a film. Everything in Epic is big; the actions, the stakes, characters but, at the same time, they’re all really relatable.
- What I like most about Tara is that she sets a great example for the people she protects and she is a role model for the younger characters.
Aziz on his character Mub
- Aziz: Mub may be a slug but he’s deep. After all, they’re caretakers of the pod (that will carry the queen’s power) and executives in charge of keeping it moist. Who better to provide that than a slug and a snail. Mub and Grub dream big. Mub feels that M.K.’s connection to him is undeniable.
Chris O’Dowd on Grub
- Chris: Grub finds it difficult to even be considered a candidate for “Leafman-hood”. The Leafmen are agile, among other things and agility isn’t much of a factor when you’re a snail. But, Grub has a lot of courage, if not much bone structure. He has the will to be a (warrior) Leafman. Sometimes you’ve got to “fake it till you make it” and that’s Grub’s philosophy.
Check out Epic in 3-D in theaters starting May 24th
Queen Tara (Beyoncé)
General Ronin (Colin Farrell)
M.K. (Amanda Seyfried)
Mub (Aziz) and Grub (Chris)
Nod (Josh Hutcherson)