Last week I had the extreme pleasure of talking to the stars of Dreamworks’ HOME – Steve Martin, Rihanna, Jim Parsons, as well as director Tim Johnston.
Oh, a lovable misfit from another planet, lands on Earth and finds himself on the run from his own people, he forms an unlikely friendship with an adventurous girl named Tip who is on a quest of her own. Through a series of comic adventures with Tip, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human, and together they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.
Jim Parsons stars as Oh, Rihanna stars as Tip, Steve Martin stars as Captain Smek, and Jennifer Lopez stars as Tip’s mom.
The film has several themes that really struck a chord with me. One theme is “home”. Where is home? Is it a physical place or is it with the ones you love? Can you be happy in a new home? Other themes were trying to “fit in”,
One of HOME’s pivotal scenes is when Oh gets introduced to Earth’s music with Stargate’s “Dancing in the Dark.” Oh tries to resist, but gets drawn in and starts dancing — this starts Oh’s journey of coming to love what it means to be human.
How HOME Came to be a Movie:
It begain in director Tim Johnson’s own home, when he began reading author Adam Rex’s novel The True Meaning of Smekday to his young sons, then ages five and seven. His sons enjoyed the story, which made an even greater impact on their father. Johnson says, “It’s such a powerful story of friendship with a comic and crazy edge, and the characters are crisp and fun.”
Recently, we got to ask questions of Mr. Parsons, Steve Martin, and Rihanna.
In the movie, Oh has a party and no one comes. It was asked when they were younger, did they ever have a moment where they had a party and nobody came?
Jim Parsons told us, “I didn’t have a party that nobody came to. But, I don’t know. I always had friends, and there was always a group I felt left out of at the same time which maybe that’s normal. Maybe that was my real middle-of-the-road way of being. I have friends. And yet, I’m still missing out. I don’t know.” We can definitely all relate to Jim’s statement. You can be very alone, even with friends.
Steve Martin also shared his thoughts on this: “I was once convinced I was going to have a surprise party thrown for me. And I came home. And I mean it. I was really convinced. And there was no one there. The house was empty.” Turns out he was 21 when this happened and with his deadpan delivery, we all cracked up laughing.
While Rihanna didn’t have a party that no one showed up to, she shared about one of her own birthday parties as a kid. She said, “Only one party sticks out in my mind as a kid. It was like the best party ever. I was five years old. And my mom dressed me up in a church dress and stockings to go to the party in a park.”
Steve Martin joked that he was also dressed up in a church dress. Cue more laughter.
Rihanna went into more detail, “And when I say park, I’m not even talking about trees. I mean a play park with the slide and jungle and whatever. But, I had a bad experience. She (her mother) told me not to go on the slide in my stockings. And I refused. And I ran upward with ice cream in my hand. The rest is history. But I do remember that.”
Steve Martin asked director Tim Johnson the same question and he admitted that he actually walked out of a surprise party thrown for him. He told us, ” I had the opposite experience. I had bought tickets to a concert I wanted to see on my birthday. And I was able to get one ticket. And people threw me a surprise party and said I got to go.”
Reasons to See HOME
1. Jim Parsons as Oh. Mr. Parsons is very far away from his Sheldon character on The Big Bang Theory. He plays Oh, who is from the alien Boov. The Boovs move around a lot and prize cowardice. But Oh is different, he’s warm, kind, and friendly. He tries so hard to connect with his peers, even though the Boovs prize being alone.
2. Rihanna as Tip. You root for Tip (Rihanna) to find her mother. Tip is spunky, creative, and a great role model for little girls.
3. Oh and Tip make a fun combo. Their road trip is fun to watch. They both help each other and while they start as adversaries, they end up understanding each other. Plus, they get in some crazy situations.
4. Steve Martin as Captain Smek — Steve Martin is always hysterical and Captain Smek does completely ridiculous things, like eat footballs and sail into the room on a vacuum cleaner.
5. Apollo – HOME is the second film, following How to Train Your Dragon 2, to fully employ the company’s new proprietary platform, Apollo. Five years in the making, Apollo allows artists to control and manipulate data in an effortless and intuitive way, creating an end result that is visually richer and greater in scope for the audience.
Monica of Macaroni Kid East Side NYC asked, “Apollo, that was used in making this movie. And it’s such a beautifully animated movie. I was wondering how it was working with that new technology and what it allowed you to do in this film that perhaps you weren’t able to do in previous films.”
Director Tim Johnson answered, “You know, the biggest thing I could do is I could bring the camera closer to the characters. And with voice performances like this, the classic film close-up is something animation didn’t usually do. An animation close-up would go from the middle of your chest over your head. But, a film would go in very tight. But, it used to kind of break down when you’d go that close on an animated face. And it would look kind of, frankly, a little bit like plastic. This new technology, we could go right up to Tip, right up to Captain Smek, right up to Oh.
And the animators were able, by the tiniest squint of their eye or the little, little tiny glint in a smile. You would get so much more subtlety. And so, it was very empowering as a director to be able to do what I think audiences loved, get very intimate with the characters.”
Apollo’s technology, plus the beautiful vivid colors of the animated movie, plus the actors, makes a movie definitely worth seeing.
Check out the trailer:
Home will be released this Friday, March 27, 2015.
Official websites – #DreamWorksHOME
Event was courtesy of 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation. No compensation was received. Group photo courtesy of Adam Cohen of Dada Rocks.