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Rihanna and Jim Parsons Go Home

Mar 17, 2015

By: Lynn Barker

In Home, a friendly but clueless alien race called the Boov invades Earth hoping to hide from their mortal enemy. They relocate the human race…thinking that’s a good thing but Tip (a teen girl voiced by Rihanna) avoids capture and teams up with a banished little Boov called Oh (voice of “Big Bang Theory’s” Jim Parsons). Oh is accident prone and often does the wrong thing but his heart is in the right place.

Oh and Tip hang on for their lives! Oh and Tip hang on for their lives!Courtesy of DreamWorks

Home, based on the novel “The True Meaning of Smekday”, will be in theaters in March 2015 but reporters gathered at the DreamWorks Animation campus in Glendale, Ca. to get an early preview of the film from its stars. Rihanna, who provides the songs for the film, admits that she got so emotional about her character that she cried even when she saw her as a stick figure. Funnyman Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon on the popular “Big Bang Theory”, fell in love with the whole animation process and really glommed onto his little guy Oh.

Jim and his character Oh at last summer's Comic ConJim and his character Oh at last summer's Comic ConCourtesy of DreamWorks

Q: What made you want to be a part of the project?

  • Rihanna: The story just spoke to me and it was so real and there were so many parallels. I felt like I identified with Tip. She’s essentially like a role model and for me it was very strange to read a character that you can look up to. I was very excited. I’ve never done an animated film. I did (the movie) Battleship before, but this was different. You learn so much when the camera’s not there.
  • Being from Barbados, I have an accent so learning to speak American (was hard) and just learning there are like 20 different types of American [dialects], all these different accents I didn’t know, I was learning all over again. Not just the accent, but how to act just with my voice.
  • Jim Parsons:  I was excited about the idea of doing an animated film and once we talked about it, I just liked the little guy, the character I would play so much, just seeing the way he looked. I held (the sketch) up to a friend and was like “Could I voice this?” and they were like “Oh yes!”. Then, it’s just been the biggest reward. (To Rihanna) what you said about the camera not being there, it’s the most interesting playtime I’ve ever had. It’s like going into to this mysterious but joyful Black Hole almost where no one is there and directions are being thrown at you by (the director) and once you relax, it’s really fun to see what happens and you know nothing is being visually judged. Thank God. I’ve never left (the recording booth) without being a sweaty mess (laughter).

Tip and Oh shoot a selfieTip and Oh shoot a selfieCourtesy of DreamWorks

Q: What kind of themes in the story really attracted you to this movie?

  • Jim: The little guy that I play, the alien, really comes in with a set of ideas of how the world is supposed to be.  He thinks that’s all good and right. He meets the character Rihanna plays Tip and really understands what it is to accept other people who have different ways of doing things and whose beliefs may be different than yours, but that you can still be very, very close. That really resonates with me in our own lives if you will.
  • I’ve thought a lot about being a gay person while making this movie, it has nothing to do with that specifically at all, but just this being judged because of something that people may not identify with or understand or have certain beliefs about then they get to know who you are. That’s just what I personally identified with. Obviously in that regard it could be a million things. And it says how important it is to take people at a deeper level than that and let them be who they are in their heart.

Jim Parsons as Sheldon on Big Bang TheoryJim Parsons as Sheldon on Big Bang TheoryCourtesy of CBS

Q: Very cool. What themes attracted you to this, Rihanna and did if feel more like singing than acting?

  • Rihanna: No, it did not! Even though there is a mic, the mic became the camera in a way and the director (Tim Johnson) was great. He’d put one thing in my head like “What if you were eating pizza?” He knows how to get every emotion out of you. We had a lot of emotional moments in this film that I didn’t really expect because it’s an animated film and I think it’s fun, but it’s so real and you connect to the characters.
  • There’s one specific point in the movie that really wrecks me. I feel like it’s going to kill everyone. When I was watching it for the first time it was just with stick figures (storyboards). It didn’t even get to the point of (full animation) yet. So I was bawling my eyes out in this meeting and I was like, “Oh my God I’m so embarrassed right now! I’m crying at literally stick figures.” But it’s really emotional and that’s the thing I enjoyed the most.


Q: You also contributed music to the movie. Was that an important aspect for you?

  • Rihanna: Absolutely! The music is such an important and crucial part to an animated film. You don’t think about it, but you could watch “Tom & Jerry” cartoons and there’s no words. You can watch that for hours, but music dictates the emotion and it dictates where the story is going or how you’re supposed to feel. The suspense, everything is in the music. I worked really closely with Tim [Johnson] and Jeffery Katzenberg. I could bring them songs, but if it didn’t move them or if they didn’t feel like it made sense in a certain part of the film, we couldn’t use it. Music was very important.

Tip (Rihanna) pre-alien invasionTip (Rihanna) pre-alien invasionCourtesy of DreamWorks

Q: What message do you want kids to walk away with after they see this movie?

  • Jim: It’s really about how important friendship is. You never know where it will take you. But it’s important to have fun in a film whatever the message.
  • Rihanna: Personally when I watched the film I felt like the message became clearer and clearer. You see these two individuals from completely different worlds. They have this completely different idea about who each other are based off the worlds they come from and different environments they grew up in. By the end of it, slowly, you start to see all of these similarities being revealed and that’s really the basis of their friendship when they start to know more about each other.
  • It’s this thing we have as humans where we judge each other without even knowing each other or having a conversation really. By the end of it you see they’re so similar and when you think back to the beginning of the movie when they first met each other, it really is like a 180 degree change.

Tip (Rihanna) Oh (Jim Parsons) and Tip's cat PigTip (Rihanna) Oh (Jim Parsons) and Tip's cat PigCourtesy of DreamWorks

Q: Does Tip remind you of yourself?

  • Rihanna: Absolutely and I think that’s what really got me to agree to do this. I felt like I identified with her like the way she thought, a lot of her flaws, a lot of her ambitions--there’s so much about her, her sass, her attitude. You can see them take my facial expressions and put them on her. It’s like, “Oh God they saw me do that!” it’s really cool to see that. When you watch it back it’s very strange.

Can Tip and Oh stop an invasion?Can Tip and Oh stop an invasion?Courtesy of DreamWorks

Q: What is home to you?

  • Jim: I think home to me is just where I get to be myself and also with this team here taking this (filmmaking) journey. When you can do something you love without making excuses for it, that’s home.
  • Rihanna: It’s wherever I feel safest; anything that feels familiar or comfortable. Most of the time that’s just Barbados. It’s warm, it’s beautiful, it’s the beach, it’s my family, it’s the food, it’s the music. Everything feels familiar. It feels right. It feels safe. And so Barbados is home for me.

A Home posterA Home posterCourtesy of DreamWorks

Look forward to seeing Home in theaters March 27th, 2015!