A few of us parent bloggers asked Carlos Saldahna a few questions about the film.
Q: RIO 2 seems even more vibrant than the original. When creating this new world to explore, did you know exactly which pieces from the first film to build off of?
“We were pushing for impact of color palette. Even as colorful as I made it, I don’t feel like it’s colorful enough. When you go to the jungle and you see it live, the color of those birds is so bright. I keep trying to aim for nature since nature did such a perfect job and I try to make sure how we can replicate that. We worked really hard finding the palette. The first movie was a lot of city – even though we had the color of the sky and the buildings, we fall into familiar ground. Now in the second one, since we go to the Amazon, we said, ‘Let’s push it.’ I have an amazing art director, Tom Cardone, that when we talked about the jungle, he said the color is in the detail – with the orchids that grow in the trees. It’s in layers. I had a vision of the color, but when I saw the first frames coming out of the art department, I was blown away.”
Q: It sounds like the process was very collaborative with your performers and actors. Do they come to the table with a lot of input?
“Yes. They do. Again, I’m not musical – I have a rhythm in my head but it doesn’t translate to my body. Seeing these guys in action was incredible. When I went to talk to the Barbatuques guys, they gave me five demos of songs. Unfortunately, I could only put three of them in the movie but I loved all of them. [The artists] always came with a lot to offer. And if they don’t, we’d work with them. Bruno Mars wasn’t supposed to sing. He was just an actor we wanted to be a part of it. Luckily, if we could get him to sing that’d be awesome. But that comes out of how much input they give. That’s the key for these movies to succeed. I’m responsible for keeping the sanity and controlling the integrity of the vision I have a movie for. It would be a shame if I kept that to myself. When these artists come in with way more input, talent and ideas, I filter them to fit my story. I’m always open.”
Q: What did you do to achieve the film’s realism?
“The movie is a nice hybrid of realism and fantasy – of creation. We had done a lot of the research when we did the first movie – for the beak and the feathers and all that. But for the Amazon, I went. I took my children with me. Because the movie is about taking your family to the unknown, I wanted them to experience it. At first there was no appeal to them. They were like, ‘Really?! What kind of bugs do they have there? It’s gonna be super hot.’ That was one of the best family vacations we had together. The lushness of it – the scale of it. The size of the river, of the trees and the different animals. They went into the water even though five minutes before we fished for piranhas in that water. We swam with freshwater dolphins in the middle of the jungle and they’re pink! There were all these discoveries. I wanted to bring that into the movie. The details will allow you to connect with the film.”
Q: Do you have plans to build from this universe further through shorts or another sequel?
“I have tons of ideas. Once you’ve connected with the characters, you have so many stories to tell. It’s like our family – you can write books about your family. It doesn’t take much work. That’s the territory I tap into and I know there’s plenty more to tell. It all depends on how the schedules shape up. I’m already scheduled to direct other films. If people enjoy this one, maybe we’ll think about a third.”
RIO 2 opens on April 11.
Courtney Howard is the Senior Editor/LA Correspondent for VeryAware.com. She also is a contributing writer for ReelVixen.com. She resides in Southern California with her husband and perfect little dachshund.
* Courtney attended a media event to facilitate this review.