HaveUHeard’s Shari Von Holten had the honor of attending the premiere of Rio starring Anne Hathway and Jesse Eisenberg…take a look at who she got to meet!
The premiere of the movie holds special meaning, as this was the first time I have been to a movie premiere. Since I have been on the red carpet for other events – I knew what to expect. The red carpet comes down to getting a prime spot. The one where you get the photos and maybe even an interview. Since we were on the end of the carpet, the stars of Rio had to pass us to get into Grauman’s Theatre. Jesse Eisenberg, Will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, Tracy Morgan, George Lopez, Leslie Mann (who stopped to take photos with us) were all in attendance. I was standing in a key spot. So much so that Access Hollywood and Extra TV needed to squeeze in so they could interview Anne Hathaway.
Lucky me. I now had the opportunity to see Anne Hathaway up close and hear the real reason she was sporting her glasses to the movie premiere. As Anne said sarcastically – it was a really exciting story. Anne also spoke about the filming of Rio and what it meant to her.
Role Mommy West Coast Correspondent Kristin Flannery Chats wit Kaley Cuoco, Star of the New Animated Film HOP
In the movie HOP, premiering on April 1st, Kaley Cuoco plays Sam, the over-achieving sister who wants to do everything she can to support her slacker brother. In real life, Kaley finds herself as sister to many, especially the actors on her TV show “The Big Bang Theory.” We sat down with her to discuss how her role in HOP imitates real life and what it is like acting with a bean bag…. Question: What was your favorite scene? Kaley Cuoco: The scenes with the rabbit in my hair. I was holding a beanbag the whole time. It was a black bag that was full of sand and it was very heavy. It had weight and it was very squishy. We did a take with the bag, and then we did a take with an actual stuffed animal, an EB-like stuffed animal. It was very weird and very technical. Question: Do you have brothers and sisters? Kaley Cuoco: A younger sister. Question: Have you been helping guide your sister like you did with your brother in the film? Kaley Cuoco: I don’t have any brothers. Actually, I technically do. I have four brothers at work who are successful, so I don’t really have to push them, but it was fun. Thank God we don’t have any slackers in my family. I come from a very motivated, overly annoying family so there was none of that. There was no lying around in our house. Question: How is this character different than Penny on The Big Bang Theory? Kaley Cuoco: I like that Sam had her head on her shoulders. I feel that Penny has such love for those boys, and Sam has so much love for her brother. She wants him to be successful and she believes in him so much when no one else does, which I find really, really sweet. Tim Hill, the director, told me at the beginning. He said, “I really want this character to just love her brother so much.” Question: What was it like eating jelly beans that came from the Easter Bunny’s bottom? Kaley Cuoco: Do you know how many times I had to eat them? Because I kept picking up ten different jelly beans because they didn’t know what flavor they wanted to do. Question: Did you actually work with Russell at all? Were you ever in the same space? Kaley Cuoco: No. He would not show up. He was just diva. Diva left us with stuffed animals and said,”I don’t care.” He wanted nothing to do with it. I have only seen and talked to him during this press stuff. It makes me sad because that would have been a lot of fun to work with him. He makes me laugh so hard. I love funny people.
West Coast correspondent Kristin Flannery gets the chance to chat with Russell Brand. Take a look… What a wild ride introducing Russell Brand to a new brand of media – Mom Bloggers! During the HOP press junket, we sat down to meet Russell and I got to sit next to him! Opening this Friday, HOP is the new live action animated film in which Russell voices the lead character, E.B. – that’s right, the Easter Bunny! Russell Brand: Mommy bloggers sounds like a nice saying. What if people who say it become so incorporated into language, so people would just use it normally? “There’s a Mommy blogger outside! For heaven’s sake, help her!”
When shooting HOP, Russell had to voice his character alone in a sound booth without interacting with any humans… Question: So, you weren’t with any of your co-stars? How was that, acting alone? Russell Brand: Lonely. What we should have had is we should have packed that booth with Mommy bloggers to give me something to do and an audience to play to. Tim Hill, the director, he’s nice and he was encouraging to me. They stuck me in a booth and just left me in there. I was lonely. There were some carrots. They said it would help with the character. I don’t like carrots. I could see better, though. Question: When somebody comes to you and says, “We would like you to play the Easter Bunny,” as a comedian, do you say to yourself, “Now, that’s funny,” or do you think, “I don’t know about that.” Russell Brand: I liked the idea immediately. As soon as they asked, “Do you want to be the Easter Bunny?” They didn’t even finish asking and I said yes. At that point, they could have said, “holidays, bonnet.” But it was “bunny” and it turns out it was the right decision. I liked it. Question: Did you ever or do you now believe in the Easter Bunny? Russell Brand: I believe in the possibility of all things because of the nature of infinite space. If the universe is infinite, that means, inevitably, all possibilities exist.
So, somewhere, there is an Easter Bunny. Somewhere else, there’s a one-legged Easter Bunny. Somewhere else, there’s a robot Easter Bunny. There’s an Easter Bunny crossed with a Darth Vader because of infinity. With infinity, everything would occur.
Yes, in real life or as the Easter Bunny in HOP…. Russell Brand is funny! Don’t miss him this Friday when HOP premieres in theaters. To catch a preview, visit iwantcandy.com where your kids can play games and you can find the theater nearest you!
Role Mommy West Coast Correspondent Kristin Flannery got the chance to meet James Marsden, star of the new family film HOP, opening in theaters April 1. In the live action/animated film HOP, opening April 1st, James Marsden plays Fred O’Hare, an out of work slacker trying to find himself and instead finds… the Easter Bunny! We sat down with James and had a fun, candy filled interview delving into his family life, how he broke the news to his parents that he was becoming an actor and what it’s like acting with a stuffed bunny! Question: Does having kids and being a dad enhanced his performance as Fred O’Hara in any way. James: “That’s kind of me, really. I’m just sort of a perpetual kid, anyway. Yes, I think Fred essentially has that about him. He had that experience with the Easter bunny when he was a kid and that opened him up to believing in some sort of magic in a world that doesn’t have a lot of magic. I think that’s one of the reasons why he’s been such a slacker about getting a job because he’s always felt that there was something more special out there for him. Having kids myself, it mostly informed my decision to be a part of the movie.” Question: Do you now take movies that will appeal to his kids? James: “When I see something like this come along, I know I can go to the premiere with my kids and they will enjoy this. You feel that you’re doing one for them. It’s fun to be the goofball and do all the physical comedy and they’re my gauge, too. I think, “Okay. My son and my daughter think this is funny, so I’m going to do it in the movie.” They keep me very young.” Question: An underlying theme in this fun kids movie is not living up to your parents standards. When you told your parents you wanted to be an actor, how did they react? James: “I had a really special and unique upbringing, I guess. My father’s a food scientist. He studies E. coli bacteria and different ways to process and handle food. And my mother works in the food industry, but she’s in finance in this office.They realized that I never really was that passionate about much while growing up. I wasn’t really into athletics. I did become so later. I was a musician. I played a little music, I didn’t write songs. I just did it because I could do it and then once I discovered theater and music by doing musicals in high school, I realized that people were thought I was good. And I thought, “Oh, they think I’m really good and I really enjoy this.”
When I told my parents I wanted to move to LA, I was actually not surprised. I don’t know why I wasn’t surprised because if my kids did that I would think, “Oh, God, you don’t want to do this” I got really lucky.” Question: Did they put in a stuffed animal for you in place of the rabbit? James: “They will come out with a stuffed animal and block the choreography of where he’s going, so I get an idea of what I’m looking at and what he’s doing and then they will take him out and replace him with little pieces of green tape on little wires that stand up.You just feel so crazy. By the end of the day, you never go home. Normally, if you’re acting with other people in a scene, you think, “Oh, that scene really worked today. I felt good about that.” You never feel that way with this. You go home and think, “I just was a crazy person all day talking to myself.”
Don’t miss James Marsden, April 1st in HOP, and see how his world is turned upside down when the Easter Bunny hops into his life. To find out more, visit the official HOP website at iwantcandy.com
Following our private interview with Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney, we got the chance to watch the kids from the film in action. First, at a press conference for adults and kids (there were some terrific reporters from Kidsday on hand to grill the three stars about their experiences on set) and then, in a private room where we got the chance to see how the boys act, well, like real boys.
I found all three actors to be incredibly down to earth, humble and generally fun to be around. And they were incredibly gracious to sign copies of the Wimpy Kid books for all of our children. Plus, I have never seen so much talent in three boys under the age of 20. Let’s start wtih Robert Capron, who plays the nerdy, awkward and incredibly funny Rowley. Robert lives in Rhode Island and says when he went to audition for the film, “There were so many people there and I didn’t think I was going to get it. I found out later that as soon as I auditioned, they knew I was Rowley. I didn’t know that. The producer, Brad Simpson, said that as soon as I walked out, they knew that I was gonna be Rowley, which I’m happy about. I did three different screen tests, because the thing was they had a very hard time searching for Greg Heffley. I did three different screen tests with all these different Greg’s.”
Zach Gordon, who eventually landed the role of Greg says the audition process for him took much longer – nine months to be precise. He says, “I was 10, I think. It was different. I really didn’t expect that the audition process would be so long, and during that time, I actually slept with the books under my pillows for good luck. It was really long, and I didn’t expect it to be that long. Originally, I was out of the mix and they didn’t want me. But, then, a couple of months later, they asked me to come back, and they wanted to see me again.”
Zach continues, “I loved the books, so I thought, ‘Wow, I can’t believe it.’ They’re actually letting me audition.” When I went in the room, there were eight high school kids in there going out for Greg. And I said, “Are you sure I’m supposed to be here, mom?”
Zach adds that when he first auditioned for the role, he didn’t quite look like Greg Heffley.
“I went in the audition and I had these huge baggy pants on, this huge jacket and a long T-shirt and long hair. Originally, they said that I didn’t look like Greg, but I could deliver the lines like Greg. I went through all these screen tests. Then I did something called boot camp, where they dress you up like the character, and then they cut your hair and do your make-up. It was crazy, because I had never had my hair that short before. I got to go to this hair stylist and everything, but they still weren’t that sure.”
The last part of Zach’s audition required him to play a scene with Robert and after doing two screen tests with him, he says, “they knew that we were the perfect best friends.” Once casting was complete for Greg and Rowley it was on to Rodrick. Devon Bostick, who had been living in Canada at the time, initially sent in his audition via videotape. While he had been acting professionally since he was nine years old and had been portraying serious roles, he never expected that he would inevitably land the part of Rodrick.
While he hadn’t heard anything for three months after he had submitted his first audition tape, he finally got word from production that they wanted him to “self-tape” again. He says, “It was the exact same sides, so I did it the exact same way. Usually I will switch up my performance, but I thought I did it right the first time. And I didn’t know that it was a call-back. I said to myself, “I bet they didn’t even see the first tape.”
Within 24 hours, the producers called Devon and said, “We want you to audition in Vancouver. So, they flew me to Vancouver, and when I auditioned, I did improv in the room. I think that once I did the improv, I knew I had the role. The next day they called.” And the rest is history….
Check back again for some great stories from the three cast members who dish some dirt about their antics on set and who played the most tricks on each of them. Plus, visit the Diary of Wimpy Kid movie website for great games, videos, photos and the chance to “wimpify” yourself! And if you haven’t checked out the movie yet, take a look at the trailer…
The author of the Wimpy Kid book series spends an afternoon sharing the inside scoop on his latest family film that will be hitting theaters this weekend.
When I received an invitation to attend “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2” movie junket, I have to say I was really excited. You see, my kids are huge “Wimpy Kid” fans, having read every single book Jeff Kinney has written. Plus, they’ve seen the first “Wimpy Kid” film and totally loved it. So when I told them I was going to get the chance to meet their favorite author in person, my kids made sure I was armed with several of their favorite books for him to autograph (he graciously signed every one of them complete with a drawing of Greg). Check out our group photo from the junket (Jeff is standing in the back row):
In this sequel to 2010’s surprise hit, Greg Heffley, the kid who made “wimpy” cool is back in an all-new family comedy based on the best-selling follow-up novel by Jeff Kinney. (Kinney’s Wimpy Kid” series has thus far sold 42 million books.) As he begins seventh grade, Greg and his older brother – and chief tormentor – Rodrick must deal with their parents’ misguided attempts to have them bond.
After watching a sneak preview of the movie (which incidentally, is really enjoyable for kids and parents), I got the chance to join a group of my favorite parenting bloggers as we sat down for an interview with Jeff Kinney. What surprised me the most from our chat was how the Wimpy Kid book series came to life. Bet you didn’t know that Jeff initially thought he was writing a book for adults and it took him nearly 10 years to write the first edition!
Take a look at our blogger Q&A from and find out more about this incredibly talented, humble and down to earth author, producer, online kids gaming expert (he created the site Poptropica.com) and dad: Q&A with Jeff Kinney: Question: What does it feel like to be the hero of every kid in the United States? Jeff Kinney: That’s funny. I think that they would be disappointed if they saw me in real life. I really didn’t write these books for kids. I was trying to write one big fat book for adults. I worked on it for about eight years. And then, my publisher said that they thought that I’d written a children’s series.
It was kind of a shock to my system, after working for that long. For the book to go out into the world as a kid’s series, and for it to be successful has been, it feels like the Truman Show. Nothing feels real to me.
In fact, I remember when I was in college I interviewed Michael J. Fox at a press junket. I remember the feeling of being in the room. And there was an empty chair. I almost got sick thinking that Michael J. Fox was going to be sitting in that chair. Just when I walked in the room and saw an empty chair, I thought, “Oh, I’m sitting in that chair.” That’s how weird things have gotten for me. Question: You said that originally you were just thinking of one book geared towards adults. What was the concept of that book? Jeff Kinney: It was basically the same book, but I saw it through a different lens. I saw it as a nostalgic book. Something similar to “The Wonder Years” or “A Christmas Story,” where there’s an adult looking back on their childhood. Question: How autobiographical are the books? Jeff Kinney: That’s a good question. I can’t even tell myself anymore. There’s definitely a lot of my own experience baked into these stories, but then it’s been through the wash so many times that I can’t even really remember what’s true and what’s not.
Then, you have screenwriters who are reinterpreting things a little bit. So, it’s a real mix of fact and fiction. Question: When you originally had the concept for the adult book and then it got changed to a kids’ series, what did you change about it? Jeff Kinney: That was the thing that surprised me the most is that I really didn’t have to change almost anything. My sensibilities are very G rated anyway. I’m obsessed with not creating anything bad in the world. I’m shocked that I couldn’t see that I was writing for children all along.
There’s a great Steven Wright line where he says, “I wrote a children’s book, but I didn’t do it on purpose.” And that’s what happened to me, too. Question: Do you have children? Jeff Kinney: I do. I have a five-year old and an eight-year old. Question: Boys or girls? Jeff Kinney: Two boys. It’s really fun because when I wrote these books, I was doing a lot of thinking on my own childhood and trying to remember what it felt like to be a kid. And now, I’m seeing childhood through their eyes. My life is very, very normal. The only time it’s different is when I do something like this.
My normal life is just like anybody else’s. I’m involved in the Cub Scouts. And I just ride my bike around the cul-de-sac and take my dog’s poop samples into the vet to check for viruses and things like that. My life goes back and forth between really abnormal moments and normal moments. Question: What do your kids think of the books and the movies? Jeff Kinney: They like them. I think my five-year old was a little bit scared because there are some bully moments in that movie. They seem to get a kick out of it. Although we own the DVD of the first movie, I don’t think that they have asked to put it in yet. I think they saw it enough, which was twice in two weeks. That was enough for them.
My kids get a kick out of all of this. They definitely don’t take me too seriously or think of me as being different than any other parent. But then they get the perks, such as going to the Kids’ Choice Awards and stuff like that. They enjoy that, too. Question: Did they spend time on set at all? Did you?
Mr. Jeff Kinney: Yes, I did. I was there for about 25 of the 45 days filming in Vancouver…. It was hard to be away from my kids. They came out for one trip and got to spend a day on set this time. Last time, they spent about three days on set. I went on a big bus tour with the actors in the south this fall. My kids came along for part of that, too.
They have gotten to see a different side of life, and it’s fun. It’s neat to think how that might be broadening their horizons. Question: Did you work at all with them (producers) on casting? Jeff Kinney: Yes, in the first movie I gave a lot of input on the principal actors. Greg in particular was very difficult to find because we had to find a kid who could be a bit of a jerk but was also likeable, and that was hard to do. I think that Zach Gordon was up for the task. Rowley was easy. We found Robert and he was in.
And Rodrick was a real find as well. He was not a big character in the first movie and he really needed to carry big parts of the second movie. I feel that he brought something to that character that’s not in the character in the books. He did a great job. Question: You’re originally a writer. So, how was it being an executive producer? Did you enjoy that aspect of going from book to film? Jeff Kinney: I did. I think I sort of jumped in with both feet. Most authors, they hand off their work, cross their fingers, and show up for the premiere. But, I really wanted to be involved and have as much influence as I could. Fox was very welcoming of me in the process. I was there from the very earliest conversations all the way through the making of the movie and then the post-production, even marketing.
It’s a privilege actually to even be here talking about the movie and trying to promote it because that’s not something that authors usually get to do. It’s been edifying. You have complicated emotions seeing your work changed and brought to life on screen. It’s been a very good experience for me.
More great insights from Jeff Kinney and the kids who star in the latest film to come. For now, check out the trailer and get ready to take your family to Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 when it opens nationwide Friday, March 25. Follow Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 on Facebook or Twitter and make sure you use the hashtag #wimpykid2.