Last fall, a steady stream of celebrities surreptitiously slipped into Nutmeg’s Studio B, where mixer Jonathan “JB” Bloom recorded their voices for a top-secret animated movie. With that movie in theaters today, we can finally reveal the title: “Angry Birds.”
That’s right: JB recorded seven of the actors and celebs who voice the characters inspired by the insanely popular app and game. Those who made Nutmeg their home away from home for weeks at a time were Jason Sudeikis as Red, the angriest of all the angry birds, Peter Dinklage as Mighty Eagle, Kate McKinnon as Stella, Billy Eichner as Chef Pig and Phillip, Tituss Burgess as Photog, Ike Barinholtz as Edward and Geoffrey Arend as several minor characters.
Working with celebrities on major motion pictures is nothing new for JB, who’s previously recorded Stacey Keach for 2013’s “Planes,” Fred Armisen for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” (due June 3) and Michael Cera for “Blazing Samurai” (due in 2017). What’s always new is seeing the finished project. JB and his 8-year-old son Jared attended the New York premiere of “Angry Birds” and both were impressed.
“It’s always great to see—and hear—how everything comes together,” says JB. “You record lines over and over again but they’re out of context so it can be tricky to picture exactly what’s going on until it’s on the big screen. The animation is awesome, the sound design is exquisite and the score, by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, is amazing—it really makes the scenes flow.”
What did Jared think? “He loved it,” says JB. “He thought it was hilarious. I had obviously heard a lot of the jokes during the recording sessions but they were all new to him and he laughed at all the right places. It’s now his favorite movie.”
Birds of a feather: Jason Sudeikis, Peter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon and Tituss Burgess get into character in Nutmeg’s Studio B.
As in the “Angry Birds” game, the movie centers on the efforts of an island of flightless birds who are forced into action when a gang of thieving pigs hatch a plot to steal their eggs. Which side wins? No spoilers here, but Jared astutely caught a hint for a possible sequel.
“He pointed out that Leonard, the lead pig, says the pigs are thinking of another attack,” says JB. “I didn’t catch that.”
Sequel or no, JB will no doubt be recording more big names in the near future. What’s his secret for ensuring sessions go smoothly?
“I usually treat celebrities as I would treat anyone,” he says. “No BS. I don’t tell them how much I love their work. I bring them to the booth and we get started. I find they appreciate that. They come prepared and they’re here to work. If we get to know each other during the process, we might talk a little, but they’re here to do their job to the best of their ability and I make every effort to help them make that happen.”
Is there anything that makes the ever-even-keeled JB angry—as angry, say, as an Angry Bird?
“Yes. Getting stuck on the subway. Especially when I have a session!”