James Corden The Emoji Movie
The Emoji Movie
Cast: T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Sir Patrick Stewart, Maya Rudolph, Jennifer Coolidge, Steven Wright
Director: Tony Leondis
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Running Time: 91 minutes
Synopsis: The Emoji Movie unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favourite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone's user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression – except for Gene (T.J. Miller), an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and is bursting with multiple expressions.
Determined to become 'normal" like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 (James Corden) and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak (Anna Faris). Together, they embark on an epic 'app-venture" through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it's deleted forever.
The Emoji Movie
Release Date: September 14th, 2017
About The Production
Human beings have never been more connected. With the smartphone, we are never out of touch from each other – and constantly in touch with people around the world. And with a simple invention, we are now able to communicate with people who are separated from us by language, borders, oceans…
…after all, everyone knows what =) means.
Now, Sony Pictures Animation takes you into the secret world inside your phone for a rollicking adventure in The Emoji Movie.
'Emojis help us express ourselves in ways we don't have time to express, or don't have the forethought to express, or are afraid to express," says Tony Leondis, one of the writers and the director of The Emoji Movie. 'When I get a heart-eyes emoji from my mom, it actually means something – it makes me smile. In this world of technology, the human heart has found a way to connect."
'Everybody's using emojis – they're part of our everyday life," says producer Michelle Raimo Kouyate. 'I always enjoy animated movies that go inside a world that you deal with every day, but never gave a thought to."
And for T.J. Miller, who voices the lead role of an emoji named Gene in the film, that's the perfect jumping off point for a movie. 'Parents use emojis with kids and kids use emojis with parents, so everyone is in on the joke from the get-go. From the first scene, you think, -Oh, I use that emoji all the time, my friend uses the dancing woman emoji,'" he says. 'And when you add the fun of having Sir Pooptrick Stewart playing Poop, Sofia Vergara playing Flamenca, Anna Faris playing Jailbreak – she's so dynamic – Maya Rudolph is so funny, Steven Wright, one of my icons in the standup world, Jennifer Coolidge and James Corden are never not funny… I was excited to join them because it seemed like the project had the elements to be a great and very surprising movie."
At the center of The Emoji Movie is – no surprise – a phone, belonging to a teenage boy named Alex. And at the center of his phone is Textopolis, where all emojis live. 'Textopolis is a hustling, bustling community that serves only one purpose: to help Alex communicate," says Tony Leondis. 'They wake up in the morning, go to their jobs, and each emoji has a central and very important role to play."
All emojis are meant to be one thing – the single emotion that they are meant to express. No matter how they might be feeling inside, Smiler's always got to be smiling, Crier always has to cry even if he just won the lottery, and Christmas Tree has got to be… Christmassy.
But then there's Gene, an emoji born expressing every possible emotion – which leads to everything going wrong for Gene.
'In a world populated by emojis only expressing one emotion, an emoji with every expression would be very threatening," says Tony Leondis. 'Not coincidentally, in our world, being different is sometimes threatening to other people."
'The thing about Gene that really appealed to me is that he feels like he's broken – not just different, but broken – and could be fixed somehow," says Raimo Kouyate. 'As he goes on this journey to -fix' himself, he realises that he's not broken at all – the thing that makes him different makes him stronger. That's the huge metaphor of the movie – and I think that's a universal feeling.
With his friend Hi-5, Gene seeks out the codebreaker emoji Jailbreak, who promises that she can fix Gene – if they can just make their way to The Cloud. Of course, that journey changes Gene, but not in the ways he expected.
'Gene goes from self-doubt, to accepting himself, to someone who celebrates his differences," Tony Leondis continues. 'Celebrating our differences is something that's really important, even more today than ever."
Gene's journey has real-world complications. Alex has been trying to get the courage to text a girl he likes – and if he doesn't send the right emoji, it could spoil his chances forever. When Gene's journey puts the phone on the blink, Alex starts to believe that the only solution is to wipe his phone… and everyone in it.
'Gene and Alex's journeys mirror each other," says Tony Leondis. 'It's about a boy who's trying to express himself to a girl, but doesn't feel free enough to express his emotions. Gene has all of these emotions but he's told to suppress them, so he doesn't know how to express his emotions either."
Gene's journey takes him through several of the world's most popular apps – including Candy Crush Saga, Dropbox, Instagram, Just Dance, Spotify, Twitter, WeChat, and YouTube – with each app becoming its own distinct world as the three emojis make their way to The Cloud. Popular apps Crackle, Facebook, Shazam, Snapchat, and Twitch also appear in the movie.
'We go through Candy Crush, where Gene's in danger of being deleted – his worst nightmare," explains Raimo Kouyate. 'We go into the Just Dance app, where Gene has to truly express himself. We go to Spotify, where Gene rides on different kinds of music streams. We go to YouTube, where thousands of videos play on screens all around them, and Instagram, where photographs come to 360-degree life."
'It's such a privilege to play in these worlds, which are such a huge part of everyone's everyday life," says Tony Leondis. 'Every app that we picked needed to challenge Gene and move him forward on his journey emotionally, but also be a widely known, interesting app that a kid would have on his or her phone. That's how we merged our adventure through these apps with our story about communication and a little guy who just feels different." About The Cast And Characters
In Textopolis, every face emoji has one expression and one expression only. But Gene doesn't have just one expression, he has EVERY expression! He has no filter for his emotions – if he feels it, he shows it! Funny, charming, awkward, and optimistic, Gene wishes he wasn't so different. Determined to fit in and make his parents proud, he sets off on a dangerous trek through the world of the phone to change himself into a single-expression emoji. But what Gene discovers on the journey is that embracing his self-expression is the more powerful option…
The role is played by T.J. Miller. 'This character was created with T.J. Miller in mind," says Tony Leondis. 'He's so ebullient, so expressive, so full of life – he can't be held back. He's a time bomb of energy, excitement, laughter and emotions. He wears his heart on his sleeve – he's one of the sweetest people I've ever met. He enjoys life and people – and that's how I see Gene, a kind and expressive person."
'Gene is a -meh' emoji, which means he's supposed to be disinterested and always have that -meh, who cares, I'm over it' expression on his face all the time," Miller explains. 'But Gene doesn't always feel meh, so he ends up with the wrong expression on his face pretty often, and this is quite scandalous in Textopolis."
That scandal has made Gene an outsider – and worse, when a text is sent with Gene making the wrong expression, the powers that be set in motion a plan to delete him. Desperate, he joins with his friend Hi-5 – a once-popular emoji whose fame has waned – to find the notorious codebreaker Jailbreak. 'Gene and Hi-5 make a deal with her," says T.J. Miller. 'She'll help reprogram Gene and get Hi-5 into the favorite section, if they help her get past a firewall that will let her leave the phone."
The stakes are huge for Gene, Hi-5 and Jailbreak. 'On Gene's first day of work, he chokes badly – he freaks out, he doesn't know what to do, he sends the wrong facial expression out to the phone, and the phone's owner, Alex, thinks that his phone is broken," says T.J. Miller. 'When they leave the Textopolis app and go into other apps, they activate those apps – Just Dance and Candy Crush start without him playing them. And that creates embarrassing situations for Alex, so he's starts thinking he needs to get the phone wiped, and that would mean that Textopolis would be erased from existence."
Hi-5 is an open-face palm Emoji ready to give you a Hi-5 at any time! His favorite catchphrase? 'Hi-Five!" He's a big ham, brimming over with exuberant confidence. Hi-5 used to be a Favorite, a highly respected celebrity. But recently Hi-5 has been usurped by a new Favorite… Fist Bump Emoji. Hi-5 can't stand the rejection and just wants to be popular again. But his adventure with Gene makes him realize that it's more important to have one true friend than it is to be popular.
'Hi-5 is a fading rock star who wants to get back on top," says Tony Leondis. 'He hopes that by going on this journey with Gene he can be popular again. What he learns along the way is that having one real friend is more important than having ten thousand likes."
James Corden gave the filmmakers a hand in bringing the character to life. 'He's such a talent. A brilliant actor and writer. When I saw the play -One Man, Two Guvnors,' I was blown away and really wanted to work with him someday," Tony Leondis says. 'Hi-5 is the wild card – you never know what he's going to do or say. He's always throwing curveballs into the equation. And no one is better at that than James Corden."
'Hi-5 used to be one of the favorites, but as time has gone by, Alex has forgotten about Hi-5, and he started using Fist Bump," says James Corden. 'He feels like he's been forgotten, and he's convinced that if Alex could just see him again on the Favorites board, Alex would remember how great Hi-5 is and start using him again."
James Corden was drawn to the story and the way it created a hidden world behind the popular icons. 'You can punctuate any moment with a great emoji," he says. 'In the film these are characters with spirits, and souls, and hearts, and minds with something very, very real at stake for all of them."
'I thought it sounded quite charming – th
ese things that you use in your life all the time have a personality, something to lose, and real friendships," adds James Corden. 'That felt very fun to me."
Jailbreak is a tough, blue-haired, code-breaking Emoji. Cynical and super smart, there's nothing she can't reprogram. Jailbreak dreams of someday leaving the Phone and living in the Cloud, a legendary world where she can live her life by her own rules. When she meets Gene, Jailbreak recognises she can use him to gain access to the Cloud, but her plans get derailed when she unexpectedly develops feelings for him….
'Jailbreak is tough and in-your-face, and she's not going to be put in a box – or cube," says Tony Leondis. 'At first, we don't know why exactly Jailbreak wants to get to the Cloud – and on the journey, we learn that she has a secret."
Giving Jailbreak her voice is Anna Faris. 'Not only is Anna Faris funny, but she also brings tons of heart to the movie. She's such a beautiful actor and communicator; she makes every line impactful and emotional and about something. She can communicate so much in just a few words: she makes you laugh and breaks your heart," says Tony Leondis.
'Jailbreak is the only emoji in the movie who knows anything about computers," says Anna Faris. 'She's fun, she's rebellious, she's funny, she's tough, she's smart – one of the smartest characters I've ever played, I must say. And she's not afraid to go after what she wants. Gene and Hi-5 go to her for help, because they know that if you need something done right, you ask a woman to do it."
Anna Faris says that Jailbreak isn't like the other emojis. 'Most of them live in Textopolis, but the four corners of a single app were not enough for Jailbreak, so she took to the open circuits and set off on her own," she says. 'Now, she hangs around the piracy app while she works on figuring out how to get off the phone entirely – which is exactly like my personal life."
Smiler is the original emoji and the boss of Textopolis. She is chipper and bubbly, always has a huge grin plastered on her face, and is incredibly evil. Smiler wants to ensure all expression emojis follow the one simple rule – have one expression and one expression only. When Smiler learns of Gene's multiple expressions she sets out on a crusade to have him deleted! She will not let Gene bring down her perfect community.
'Smiler is very proud that every Emoji everywhere is based on her because she was the very first Emoji ever!" explains Tony Leondis. 'And she'll stop at nothing to get the emojis to perform their roles perfectly every time– but she'll always do it with a smile. No matter how underhanded her methods are… she does it with a grin."
Maya Rudolph plays the single-expression, two-faced villain. 'No one plays smile-onthe-outside, screwed-up-on-the-inside funnier than Maya Rudolph," says the director. 'Even though she's smiling through the whole movie, the character's wickedness cuts right through in hilarious ways because Maya is just that good. She makes me laugh every time she opens her mouth."
'Smiler is a mixture between the most popular girl in school and the scariest boss you've ever had," says Maya Rudolph. 'When you first meet Smiler, she seems like a beauty queen – she has amazing hair and a perfect smile. She delivers every bit of information through a smile, which can sometimes be intense and a bit crazy. The more you get to the more you get to know Smiler, the more you realize that her smile is a façade.
Becoming Smiler was a bit more of a challenge than it may appear. 'It was actually really difficult to perform Smiler's lines, because I really had to deliver everything through a smile and it hurt my cheeks," says Maya Rudolph. 'It made me realise that we don't speak that way as normal human beings. The more heightened Smiler got, the more her temper rises, the more fun it gets, and the harder my cheek muscles hurt. It's really hard to yell through a smile."
Like many of her fellow actors, Maya Rudolph was inspired to join the film by the chance to have a movie to share with her children. 'My kids speak Emoji. I knew they would get a kick out of finding out which Emoji their Mom was."
And then… there's Poop. Poop is one of the most popular Emojis, and it's a position he takes very seriously. With his upper-class accent, toilet paper bow tie, and penchant for wearing a little too much cologne, Poop carries himself proudly and often doesn't realize he's the butt of jokes.
The legendary actor Sir Patrick Stewart got his hands dirty to play the part. 'When you think of English gentlemen, you think Patrick Stewart," says Tony Leondis. 'Patrick Stewart is so humble and all about the work. He got the joke, and we're so lucky that he not only got it but plussed it times a million!"
'Poop has the distinguished honor of being one of the most-used emojis," says Patrick Stewart. 'He's very popular. And in the world of our film, the most-used emojis are afforded certain privileges or perks. So, Poop is a V.I.P. He's got a good life."
Sir Patrick Stewart says that there were several reasons why he was attracted to the role. 'All my life, I've been a fan of animation. As an actor, it's very liberating, because you're not tied into where you are and what you are; you can be anything, and perhaps even be a little bit larger-than-life. Of course, I use emojis – everybody enjoys them and they're funny. But perhaps the most significant reason was that I was to play Poop and that was very exciting. Some people have always said my acting was ; well, now I can agree with them, without embarrassment."
Nothing in the world of Textopolis would be possible without Alex. Alex is a teenage boy – and it's his phone is the home for our emoji heroes as they help him communicate. Alex has been trying to get the courage to text a girl he likes, and if he doesn't send the right emoji, it could spoil his chances forever. When Gene's journey puts the phone on the blink, Alex starts to believe that the only solution is to wipe his phone… and everyone in it.
Jake T. Austin brings Alex to life. 'Jake T. Austin captured that teenage feeling of angst, anxiety, and worrying about a girl, how you're going to express yourself, how you're going to talk," says Kouyate.
Jake T. Austin says that Alex's phone is more than just an accessory or tool – it's part of his life. 'I think like a lot of us, Alex's phone means everything to him," says Austin. 'It's how he communicates with his friends, it's how he interacts with the real world. It's definitely something that he relies on to interact with people every day."
Just like his character, Jake T. Austin recognises the appeal of emojis. 'When we send somebody a text or a tweet, emojis can attach a feeling to it," he says. 'Whether it's
meant to be funny or sad or serious, there's an emoji for pretty much every emotion." Colorful Cameos
The world inside Alex's phone is loaded with cameos. Sofia Vergara plays one of the most popular emojis – Flamenca. The Flamenca Emoji is the saucy Latina dancer in a fire-engine red dress. She's spicy and exuberant and always finishes her sentences with a rapid-fire flamenco flourish.
'Sofia Vergara as Flamenca felt like a really fun thing to do," says Kouyate. 'She told us that everybody always tells her she looks like the Flamenca emoji, and she even came in to her recording session in a fabulous red dress. She really embraced it and had fun with the role."
The Piracy app is like a rowdy pirate bar where all the baddies party and hang out: Internet Trolls, Trojan Horses, Viruses and all sorts of nasty creatures. There you'll find Jeff Ross – Comedy Central's Roastmaster General – playing an obnoxious and hilarious internet troll. 'Who but Jeff Ross would you go to if you wanted someone to roast you?" says Kouyate.
You'll also find Spam – voiced by Rachael Ray – who is constantly trying to distract Gene and Hi-5 with offers and discounts on tons of useless stuff they don't need. Spam is like your best friend who just won't leave you alone, except, she isn't your friend and she'll never go away! Tony Leondis explains,
'Rachael Ray is so much fun, she always makes every one of her shows a joy and that's the kind of voice I really wanted for Spam. She had to be friendly and accessible because that's what Spam is… or pretends to be!"
Christina Aguilera takes on the role of Akiko Glitter, the coolest and most outrageous dance hostess ever to grace the Just Dance app! She's always serving up the hottest mix of music and she's got the step on the best dance moves around. Her life goal? She just wants to dance! And if you want to hang with her you gotta follow her moves!
'I'm pretty obsessed with emojis," says Christina Aguilera. 'I'm very visual when it comes to expression so I use them often for any and every mood. With emojis, you don't need words at all to convey a feeling. My kids are also at an age where they understand the meaning of emojis so this is a project that my kids can be proud of. Plus, who wouldn't want to voice the dynamic Akiko Glitter." About The Production
For the look and design of The Emoji Movie, Tony Leondis turned to production designer Carlos Zaragoza. Carlos Zaragoza and Tony Leondis worked closely with Visual Effects Supervisor David Alexander Smith to achieve the final look of the film. 'We have some of the best artists in the business working on this movie, all led by Carlos and Dave, and all were really committed to make the very best movie possible," says Tony Leondis.
The head of the art department, responsible for creating the entire look of everything on the screen, from the characters to the world, Carlos Zaragoza says while a movie about emojis would seem to be drawn from the current moment, the animators found inspiration in the oldest animation references. 'Ultimately, we are giving life to objects, food, musical notes – so for me, it was going back to the animated shorts of the 1930s, where everything was animated; objects had life. That's one of my favorite periods of animation, so I was happy to work in something like that."
Carlos Zaragoza says that his greatest challenge was to bring over 300 emojis – some of the simplest designs around – to three-dimensional, expressive life. 'Emojis are graphic designs, icons, pictograms," he says. 'We use them to represent a concept, but they aren't very complex. But for our story, we needed a complex character who could convey so many different emotions – it's so important to show how a character feels. So we had to keep the graphic look while making them very versatile."
'We have a great animation team that can bring pretty much anything to life," says David Alexandra Smith. And that's a good thing, because they had to. 'Toasters, fire hydrants, stop signs, all kinds of weird things, but they brought a unique characteristic to each one. But the hardest thing was that most of the lead characters are spheres. How do you animate spheres? It was quite a challenge."
To bring an emoji like Gene to life – to make him expressive while not losing his inherent emojiness – the filmmakers started simple and worked toward the complex. 'We started with a very simple graphic design that looked pretty much like a regular emoji," says Carlos Zaragoza. 'We wanted to see exactly what the limitations were, in expression and emotion. From there, we moved to make it more versatile, more three dimensional, more able to move and be animated."
The filmmakers then took Gene another step – making him more unique. 'We explored the look of his eyes, his expression, to make him more complex, and then the look of the inner part of his body to make him special," says Carlos Zaragoza. 'We developed a multilayer system. The exterior is a translucent surface, very smooth with a microtexture.
The interior is voxelated – three-dimensional pixels – to make him look electronic. We also gave him an extra layer of light particles in his body that we could turn on and off as we needed to express Gene's emotion in the story – more glowy when he's happy and less visible when he's sad."
Another good example is Hi-5. 'He's just a hand pictogram, and not a real hand – he has a very simple design," notes Carlos Zaragoza. 'At the same time, he's a funny guy who has to fight, run, jump, do acrobatics. The design was a combination of exploration from the animators and the character designers as we came up with a versatile character who looks as complex as a human in many ways."
'The animators did a nice job of moving Hi-5's digits around as though they were extra limbs," says David Alexandra Smith. 'They could use all of his fingers in every different capacity, sometimes even as an arm or a leg. That's just an example of what they did for every character – they found the features that made them unique and played off those."
To the point, the animators were constantly looking for those specific elements to find the characters' expressiveness. 'We were always asking, -What's this emoji all about? What can I bring out of him?' and focus on that – like Coffee Cup was always caffeinebuzzed," David Alexandra Smith continues.
Carlos Zaragoza's team was also responsible for the look of the world inside the phone – Textopolis and each of the separate apps that Gene, Hi-5 and Jailbreak make their way through on their adventure. 'The fun of designing a movie is starting from scratch and designing something that never existed and is not in the real world," says the production designer. 'I was lucky to lead an amazing design team. They are truly storytellers. Any individual design is helping to tell the story."
'I liked the idea of going inside the phone, because I knew there would be a huge opportunity for creativity, a lot of places we could expand and create looks that we haven't seen before," says David Smith. 'Each app is different and each character is fairly different. We could mix that with a real-world feel in Alex's world."
'In design, sometimes you show the audience something familiar in a way they've never seen before to engage with them," Carlos Zaragoza explains. 'That's what we are doing with Textopolis. It looks like a city, but it's surreal, absurd. Everything looks like an icon, an emoji: the buildings, the vehicles, the signs, objects… Fun and beautiful but, at the same time, a trap for someone who is different; the city looks like a golden cage. We played with that a bit, giving everything rounded corners, graphic simplicity and a colorful appeal."
For the surreal, absurd city inside your phone, what better inspiration than the City of Angels? 'The first time I came to L.A., I visited the Griffith Observatory, which is on top of the hills in Hollywood. And as the sunsets, the lights of the city come on – like magic, you see a grid of light that goes out to infinity. That was one of my inspirations for Textopolis – that it would be infinite, with everything laid out in a very rigid grid structure."
But the famous views from the hills weren't the only influence Los Angeles had to offer. Anyone who's visited L.A. will know that on the street level, the city boasts some very creative and unusual signage. 'You have the gigantic signs that look like a hat, or a giant donut," Carlos Zaragoza relates. 'That's part of the charm of Los Angeles – the architecture can resemble oversized objects. That concept lent itself perfectly to our movie."
'Carlos Zaragoza wanted Textopolis to look iconic – literally made of icons – very simple and graphic. That was easy to model. What made it hard was to take that iconic design and make it distinctive," says Smith. 'We did that by giving it depth. We textured it and gave it some transparency – we made things look like light could come through them, like it belonged in your phone. It's an iconic look to which we gave complex materials, and that's where the challenge came for us."
As the characters move out of Textopolis, they move through a series of apps, most of which are the famous apps that many of us use every day – Candy Crush Saga, Dropbox, Instagram, Just Dance, Spotify, Twitter, WeChat, and YouTube.
'Each app had to look different and unique, but also feel like they were all part of the phone," says David Smith. 'So, when we're on the wallpaper, moving between apps, the app boxes themselves had a unique design where you can see within them – in each cube, you can see something different. Once you go inside an app, each one has a very different look."
One key app that was invented for the movie: the piracy app, where Gene and Hi-5 go to track down the notorious codebreaker Jailbreak. It was important to contrast the piracy app with Textopolis to make the characters feel intimidated and alien to that world. 'Everything is twisted, everything is sharp," says Carlos Zaragoza. 'Sharp corners, angles, a bit of German Expressionism. It's a chaotic place, and we wanted the design elements of shape, color and light to convey that."
Though some of the apps have a familiar setting, others were a blank slate. 'One of the fun parts of this project was that we were designing from scratch with absolutely no reference, and some of the concepts were very abstract," notes Carlos Zaragoza. 'For example, Spotify is a world of music – how do you make that look like music but at the same time an actual world with some geography? We came up with a concept in which the music looks like rivers and the rivers create the landscape: waterfalls, mountains, lakes, all made out of music."
For Candy Crush, it was always clear that the characters would play the game. 'Many people have a good idea of what the graphics are in that game," says David Smith. 'So we played off of that. The world was built out of candy – even little sprinkles for grass. And then we expanded on what the Candy Crush interface is like – for example, we added planes of glass where the candies are dropping in."
In Just Dance, the filmmakers had the added challenge of needing a dance sequence for the emoji characters. For this, the filmmakers called in an expert: Supervising Choreographer Matt Steffanina, a YouTube sensation with 10 million subscribers and videos with over 1.5 billion views.
'In the story, two of the emojis can dance and one of them is really struggling; it's about them working together through dance to be able to get through the app," says Matt Steffanina.
How do you dance like an emoji – especially when they don't have hips and shoulders? 'I'd imagine myself with little stick legs – -nope, can't do that move,'" he says. 'There were a lot of challenges – you can't even get your face over to your hands. We kept going back and forth, and in the end, it's amazing how realistic the movements look on the characters."
Hi-5, being a hand, had his own special choreography challenges. 'I would send over sequences, first of me dancing the movement, explained out, and then I would do a close-up of my hand and show my hand doing the dance – I'd give the details on my hand to show what I wanted the character to do."
Matt Steffanina also found ways to reinforce the theme of the movie – the value and importance of self-expression – through the dance sequences. 'The main move of the movie is the Emoji Pop – Gene flips his hands down and changes his expression every time, showing a different side of himself," he says. 'It's a bigger message than just a movement."
Matt Steffanina also choreographed the movie's final dance party sequence. 'We got to feature all of the different emojis," he says. 'Poop is with Ballroom Girl doing a life. Eggplant is doing The Worm. Gene is breakdancing. I actually went back to old disco footage to get inspired – those old movies where you felt so good watching the dance sequences. I thought of the sequence as a house party or a dance battle."
The climax of the film comes as the characters reach the firewall – the gateway that will lead them all to the code they're looking for. 'The firewall was one of the most mesmerizing environments we did – it's just a big wall of fire," says David Smith. 'To make it related to the other worlds, we made the firewall out of voxels – three-dimensional pixels – running up and down and through it."
Due to the many unique environments and the sheer amount of characters – over 250 individual emojis were created from scratch for the movie – making the film was often challenging, but to director Leondis, it was equal times fun and rewarding. 'The crew went above and beyond," he says of the experience, 'Sony is a fantastic place to make a movie. My hope is that the joy we had in creating these amazing and colorful characters and worlds comes across to audiences as they see the film."
The Emoji Movie
Release Date: September 14th, 2017