Have you ever sent a romantic text using emojis to the wrong person? Jake T. Austin has! The actor, along with ‘The Emoji Movie’s crew laughed over their personal experiences with emojis and took us inside the world of ‘Textopolis’!
Jake T. Austin, 22, is just one of the many stars of the The Emoji Movie, which hit theaters everywhere on July 28! Just before the movie’s release, HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY caught up with Jake, the film’s director, John Antonini and producer, Michelle Kouyate at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City! Before Jake hit the Saks X Emoji Movie red carpet, he detailed a hilarious and slightly embarrassing story about emojis, live on GMA. Jake admitted that he once sent a very private and romantic message to a co-star, instead of his girlfriend! That must’ve been an interested next-day at work! “We use emojis every day, so talking about how they’ve gotten me into trouble sometimes, and also, how they’ve helped me in every day life, is a lot of fun!” Austin EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife.com!
The actor went on to tell us about his character in the film, Alex; the human boy who owns the phone where Gene [an outsider emoji, played by T.J. Miller] and his emoji friends live. “Alex, my character, is a teenager in high school and he’s trying to get this girl’s attention that he really likes,” the actor explained. “But, he doesn’t know how to do it. So, the emojis in his phone start giving him tips, and they start sending themselves to the girl that he likes. And, it kind of messes things up for a little bit. Long story short, the emojis try to help him with the affection of the girl.” And, that’s only the half of it!
The movie’s producer, Michelle Kouyate explained how the movie not only touches upon relatable topics, but it explores popular apps that we use every day. “We get to go on this journey through the cloud, where we get to experience and have fun with these different apps [“Candy Crush”, “Just Dance” etc.],” she said. “We use the apps as a metaphor for what [Alex’s] character needs to be. We get to actualize what Spotify might look like and what Instagram and YouTube might look like… We have a female character who lives in a world where there’s a box for women and she doesn’t accept that box. So, we created these resonate themes, but also made it contemporary. We tried to make it as real as it could be if you really went inside your phone.”
The film’s director, Tony Leondis elaborated on that female character, Kouyate mentioned, which was voiced by none other than Anna Faris! “We tried to find that emotional story at the core of it,” he said, adding, “For women, it’s about how women can redefine themselves… our main character, Jailbreak [Anna Faris], really breaks the glass ceiling in this movie, after she decides not to accept the norm.”
Leondis, who actually co-wrote the film, gushed over how lucky he was to have worked with such a star-studded cast. And, in case you were wondering who’s behind the epic emoji voices, the cast, having already mentioned Miller, Austin and Faris includes: James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Jennifer Coolidge, Patrick Stewart, Christina Aguilera, Sofía Vergara, Sean Hayes, Rachel Ray, Jeff Ross and Rob Riggle. Speaking of the cast, Austin also admitted that although he’s done animation in the past, The Emoji Movie, by far, was much different. Why? — “Because of the talent and the cast attached,” he gushed. “It’s my first time working with people of this caliber and it’s really cool to be a part of it. I’m overwhelmed!”
And, if you thought their job was easy, think again. “It’s really hard to do animation” Leondis admitted, “because we record in about four-hour sessions… where it’s concentrated work for long periods of time. It’s taxing on their throat and their voice because they have to be in character at every moment.” Maya even confessed, in the same interview mentioned above, that her face would actually hurt from being in character for so long [since she portrayed the “Smiler” emoji].
HollywoodLife.com also had the pleasure of speaking with John Antonini, the Director of Stores at Saks Fifth Avenue Manhattan & Metro New York, who raved about the store’s collaboration with The Emoji Movie. “At Saks we want our stores to be fun and animated, beyond just the experience of the products that we sell in our stores. And, our partnership with The Emoji Movie is an example of that,” he proudly admitted. “It puts a smile on our face… Customers want to come to have a good time and they want our stores to be combined with pop culture. So, an event like this makes our customers and us who we are.”
HollywoodLifers, have you seen The Emoji Movie?