Directed by Nicholas Stoller (who was also the screenwriter) and Doug Sweetland, the animated feature Storks shows what the storks have been up to since they’ve stopped delivering babies and started delivering packages for global internet retail giant Cornerstore.com. When Junior (voiced by Andy Samberg) is about to receive a promotion, the Baby Factory is accidentally activated by a human named Tulip (voiced by Katie Crown), whose actions produce an adorable baby girl that they attempt to deliver to her family before any of the other storks catch on.
During a conference at the film’s press day, voice actors Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer (“Hunter”) and Stephen Kramer Glickman (“Pigeon Toady”), along with producer Brad Lewis and co-directors Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland, talked about how animation is “filmmaking by army,” the film’s universal metaphor, what attracted the voice cast to the material, learning about the birds and the bees, the evolution of the Wolf Pack (led by voice actors Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele), and the difference between directing live-action and animation.
We’ve compiled a list of 15 things that you should know about Storks.
Animation is filmmaking by army. The material is disseminated to hundreds of people, to the point that it’s almost a miracle that it’s cohesive, in the end.
- Even though the idea of storks delivering babies is more of an American cultural idea, there is global awareness of it. It’s a great metaphor for not talking to your kids about where babies come from, which is a universal issue for parents.
- Kelsey Grammer was drawn to this material because it was such a celebration of life and the gift that every child is. Stephen Kramer Glickman was drawn to the idea of people finding their family and where they belong in the world, along with the balance between work and home.
Andy Samberg found out about the birds and the bees when his parents casually left out the Where Do I Come From book, and then they had the requisite conversation about it. Grammer had a chat with his grandfather, growing up. Glickman already knew when his dad approached him for “the talk.” And Nicholas Stoller’s mother tried to have the talk with him when he was already half-way through puberty.
- Getting to record with other actors in the room is a rarity for animation. Samberg and Katie Crown were able to do some of their sessions together, and because their characters were already so developed, they had a great time playing together in the sound booth.
- Often, a lot of what the voice actors do in the sound booth ends up finding its way into the animation. Crown noticed some of her own inflections and idiosyncracies in her character, Tulip.
The animators are ultimately the ones who bring the characters to life, and they have video reference of the actors’ performances, but it’s up to each animator, as to whether they want to look at it or not. Some animators look at it, and others prefer not to.
- When playing a villainous character, Grammer said the key is doing what story you’re telling. He always kept in mind that it was a kid’s movie and that something funny was going on, so he never went too far.
- When it came to finding his voice for his character, Hunter, Grammer imitated Rip Torn.
- As his character Hunter, Grammer recorded a line that was a play on his previous role as Frasier Crane. He said, “I’m not a stork, I’m a crane,” but it was cut from the film.
Glickman feels like he has some stuff in common with his character, Pigeon Toady. They both want everyone to like them, but unlike Glickman, Pigeon Toady’s motive is so that he can be all-powerful.
- Stoller has two daughters, so he wanted the baby at the center of the film to be a little girl.
- Initially, the Wolf Pack were just bad guys, but that evolved over time, until they were able to form, as a pack, into different things. Said Stoller, “There was this idea, early on, that it would be like Raising Arizona, where every character meets the baby and falls in love with the baby and wants to keep the baby. And then, we were talking about it and I remembered that it was an animated movie and not a live-action movie, and we could do anything we wanted. So, it seemed funny, as an idea, to have them form different, weird things.”
- For their co-directing duties, Stoller, who has a live-action background, focused on the vocal performances, while Doug Sweetland, who has an animation background, focused on the technical side of things. But, they were always both there together.
- When it comes to the difference between live-action and animation, Stoller said that animation takes longer but is less intense, while live-action is shorter but more intense during the production.
Storks opens in theaters on September 23rd.