Enemies join forces in new Angry Birds film

Aflock of flightless birds is hurtling back to cinemas and the brightly coloured creatures are still angry.

A film still from The Angry Birds Movie 2. Pictured: (L-R) Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) and Leonard (Bill Hader). Picture: PA Photo/Rovio Animations/CTMG, Inc.

Three years after the box office success of The Angry Birds Movie, based on the hit video game, the sequel is here and there is a new threat on the horizon.

While the first film saw the birds, led by the angriest of them all, Red, fend off an attack from green-coloured pigs, the sequel forces them to team up with their old enemies for a new fight.

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“All of a sudden, the pigs want a truce? Why? Because there’s another island that’s hurling unidentified flying objects – some kind of ice bombs – into their respective neighbourhoods,” says Jason Sudeikis, who reprises his role as Red.

“So, the pigs have to pair up with the birds, which kinda bums Red out a little bit. He’s not sure he can maintain his hero status, but he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do, right?”

Red has been revelling in the plaudits for his heroism ever since he saved the occupants of Bird Island in the first film.

A new attack from an island he did not know even existed, led by an eagle named Zeta (voiced by Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones), is an unwelcome surprise which threatens his glory.

“What I love about Red is how he slowly transforms as this adventure unfolds,” Sudeikis adds.

“As a parent of two kids myself (he has a son Otis, five, and daughter Daisy, two, with wife Olivia Wilde), and just as a person currently on planet Earth, the film’s themes of working together and trying to empathise with your fellow man – or bird – are timely and important.”

The film also gave the 43-year-old, best known for his roles in Horrible Bosses and We’re The Millers, a chance to get back in the voice booth.

“It is fun but it’s a completely different kind of fun – it feels more like you’ve been sent to your bedroom after doing something silly downstairs that your folks are mad about and then you get to play by yourself and let your imagination go wild.

“You do miss the interaction and the fun agitation that comes from having a scene partner,” he concedes, “but you get that as the process goes on when you get to hear other people’s recordings.”

One such recording comes from Sterling K Brown, the star of This Is Us and The People v OJ Simpson, who joins the cast as tech-pig Garry.

The highly intelligent and arrogant inventor of gadgets, based inside the high-tech Piggy Lab, feels a long way away from the heavier dramas that have made Brown an award-winning star.

“It’s nice to make people smile, hopefully even laugh a little bit, after everybody tells you you make them cry,” he says with a laugh.

A father of two little boys, Andrew and Amare, the 43-year-old was thrilled to finally make something he could show his kids without raising eyebrows.

“I have done so many things that aren’t necessarily appropriate for my little ones – they are seven and three.

“Not that I’m ashamed or embarrassed of anything that I’ve done, but it’s nice to bring your children to the theatre to see something that you’ve been a part of that other parents can be like, ‘Yes, that is appropriate’.

This film, which also features Rachel Bloom, Awkwafina and Peter Dinklage among the voice cast, even has a message to impart to his offspring, Brown adds.

“There is more that unites us than separates us, whether you’re a pig and a bird who are warring at each other in the first movie and now they have to come together to go against the eagles.

“I think there is also some real, strong girl power in the film. The girls are the heroines and the villains in this film but they are not the damsels in distress, they are not waiting for anybody to save them.”

Parenting benefits aside, the part also gave Missouri-born Brown the chance to cultivate an English accent for the first time.

“We played around with a few different voices for Garry before we landed on this kind of silly British accent.

“I’ve been listening to Brits for my whole life, they come over and do these American accents and so I was like, ‘Let me give it a shot at doing my own version of a voice from across the pond.’

“And people ridicule me and I don’t care. I’m going to do it again – it’s awesome.

“But Brits, please don’t get mad at me; you guys do American accents all the time.

“We kind of saw Garry as being Q from the Bond flicks. If Q were a pig who was not very good at his job and was incredibly self-confident, I think that is what Garry is at his heart.”

The Angry Birds Movie 2 is out now in UK cinemas.