Offering a unique twist on the nativity story, THE STAR tells one of the greatest stories ever told through the eyes of the manger animals during the first Christmas.
On the road to Bethlehem, Bo the Donkey (Steve Yeun) and his animals friends help guide and protect Mary (Gina Rodriguez) and Joseph (Zachary Levi) from formidable foes. Lighthearted and full of heart the movie totally celebrates what makes this time of year special. We were able to chat with the cast of The Star about their work on the film as well as what attracted them to the project.
Here are 10 things you need to know about Sony Animation Studios’ The Star!
1. Actress Patricia Heaton (Edith, the Cow) called the film, a “warm and funny” way to tell the Christmas story and that it hasn’t been told in the animated format yet. “So there’s a lot of firsts for this movie.” She said in regards to it being told from this new perspective and medium.
2. The voice talent is crazy on this project and includes Oprah, Tracey Morgan, Zachary Levi, Kristin Chenoweth, Kelly Clarkson and Anthony Anderson. “There’s just so many wonderful voices. It was just an honor to be included in that group of actors.” Heaton said.
3. Heaton on what she hopes audiences will take from the film, “I think to be reminded of what Christmas is about amongst all the festivities and gifts to bring it back to the essence of Christmas–the great gift of Christmas. Patience and perseverance. I love comedy to have comic aspects of it is a great way to get a message through.”
4. Gina Rodriguez on whether the film had any pressure to find it’s audience in regards to subject matter, “I think the foundation of all religions is love. We just put out love and I don’t think that negativity should be given a moment’s thought. We put out a project that we stand by. We have heard the story time and time again that we’re blessed to be chosen to do it.”
5. The nativity story is one close to Gina Rodriguez’s heart as a Latina who grew up on the holiday tradition of having a nativity set. She shared, “Every year my mom would buy a nativity set piece and every year somebody breaks it! So the tradition is to buy mommy a new nativity set piece every year and it’s always different and it always breaks every year. The camels never break and she has like thousands of camels.”
6. In the future, Zachary Levi hopes that this film will inspire his future kids to learn about “Hope, redemption, mercy, grace–the big ten things. Those things.”
7. Gina on what she finds beautiful about the greatest story ever told, “It is the nativity story that is based on the Christian faith but the way in which it’s told it allows people to hear a story that is outside of their faith. That is outside of the stories they’ve been told and born into in a way that is delicate and kind and open. In educating others to new stories you create more tolerance.”
8. Levi on the fun and comedy aspects of the film fitting with the core of the story, “I love getting to do comedic bits. I love the relationship stuff with Joseph and Bo–just at each other the whole time. And that comes full circle at the end with that redemption at the end. All the comedic bits, the physical aspects (of the slapstick) in the journey and then Joseph crying out to God, like What is going on? I’ve actually sat and tried to imagine what would that really have been like? To be a man who was betrothed to a woman who comes home and says Yeah, so God knocked me up and you’re like waaaahhhht?! No one is going to believe you, you don’t believe you. What is that like. I can’t even begin to imagine how heavy that is.”
9. Rodriguez on the film’s approach to tackling its subject matter for a family audience, “The script really catered to making that experience not so weighted in a way that children couldn’t be like I’m bored with it. So when I read the script I loved the way they explained this and how they went about it even the scenes when Joseph discovers (what happened to Mary)–it was very fluid and I like the way they did it. I laughed when I read it.”
10. One of Gina Rodriguez’s family traditions was to annually visit her family in Puerto Rico. She would like to remind people to donate for those in time of need in the wake of the hurricane. “Puerto Rico is so devastated. HispanicFederation.org we need to keep helping Puerto Rico everyone!”
Be joyous and help in the spirit of “The Star”. The Star is in theaters November 17 and is rated PG.