In April 2011, Twentieth Century Fox released Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studio’s CG animated feature “Rio.” The film was born from the imagination of Carlos Saldanha, who co-directed or directed the global blockbusters “Ice Age,” “Ice Age: The Meltdown” and “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.”
To fully realize the scope and breadth of this magical world and its vivid characters, Saldanha brought together an all-star voice cast, led by Oscar® nominees Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg, Oscar and Grammy®-winner Jamie Foxx, acclaimed musical artist will.i.am, actor-musician Jemaine Clement, comedic actress Leslie Mann, actor Rodrigo Santoro (a Brazilian native), actor-comedian George Lopez, and funnyman Tracy Morgan.
The filmmakers enveloped the action – and audiences – with a combination of Brazilian sounds and contemporary pop music. The soundtrack featured a stellar musical cast performing under the guidance of composer John Powell and Brazilian music legend and “Rio’s” executive music producer, Sergio Mendes. “Rio” became a worldwide smash with a global box office tally of $486 million. It also was a huge hit on DVD and Blu-ray disc.
Now, Saldanha returns to Brazil and reunites his beloved characters in RIO 2. In the new film, it’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids, after they’re hurtled from Rio to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful and villainous Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all…his father-in-law.
Our favorite “Rio” characters are joined by Oscar nominee Andy Garcia, Grammy winner Bruno Mars, Tony® winner Kristin Chenoweth and Oscar/Emmy®/Tony winner Rita Moreno. RIO 2 also features new Brazilian artists and original music by Janelle Monáe and Wondaland.
In RIO 2 we find Blu, Jewel and their family living the perfect domesticated life in the city. The offspring are: Bia(voiced by “The Hunger Games’” Amandla Stenberg), who lives with her beak in a book and likes spouting facts and figures, just like her dad; Tiago (Pierce Gagnon, “Looper”) the youngest, who is always up for adventure, especially if it involves destroying something; and Carla (singer/actress/comedian Rachel Crow), the eldest, a spunky teen who longs to get a little space from her protective family so she can express her musical side.
So, in RIO 2, it’s on…in the Amazon, not only visually, but musically. “We wanted to look at different musical ‘flavors,’ sounds and exciting new beats that make the soundtrack for RIO 2 even bigger than the first film’s,” says the director.
After Saldanha wrote the story, screenwriter Don Rhymer, who had worked on “Rio,” began fleshing out Saldanha’s ideas. It was a fruitful collaboration, which sadly ended when Rhymer passed away in late 2012. “Don was our guy,” says Saldanha. “He embraced the vision of the first film and had really exciting ideas for RIO 2. His death left a big gap for us. We were lucky to have the amazing writers Carlos Kotkin, Jenny Bicks and Yoni Brenner help finish the screenplay, but Don was a very special person who played a big role in the project’s development.”
“Rio 2” in 2D and 3D opens April 9 in theaters nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.