Turkeys were the talk of the L.A. premiere of Relativity’s animated “Free Birds,” and the film had some stars re-thinking their Thanksgiving menus.
Voice talent Amy Poehler, Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and George Takei, along with director Jimmy Hayward, gathered at the Westwood Village Oct. 13. The film stars Wilson and Harrelson as turkeys who travel back in time to remove turkeys from the menu at the first Thanksgiving.
“We really haven’t discussed it yet, but we may be having pizza for Thanksgiving,” Takei laughed. “I’m sure the sale of turkeys next year is going to plummet.”
“Reno 911!’s” Carlos Alazraqui used to be a vegan, but said working on the film reignited his sympathy for the Thanksgiving poultry.
“There is a place called The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita where they have rescue animals, and I got to pet a turkey,” he explained. “I never got to pet a turkey before. So that, in combination with this movie, is making me think, ‘Maybe I can do a little tofurkey this year.’”
Poehler also learned a thing or two from her role in the film—but not too much.
“I knew nothing about turkeys,” she admitted, then paused to think. “Now I know a few things about turkeys!”
However, despite claims from some that the movie is all about vegetarianism, Hayward disputed that such a goal was not the case.
“My agenda was to make a heartfelt comedy, and the only message in it is all the holidays are about pressing pause in your life and getting together with the people that you love and appreciating them,” he said.
Hayward, whose directorial debut was “Horton Hears a Who!,” believes the challenge of making a comedy accessible to children and adults isn’t a challenge at all.
“Our attitude is, we make stuff that makes us laugh,” he explained. “We just happen to be like 9-year-old boys half the time.”
Harrelson and Wilson know what it’s like to act like 9-year-old boys, at least according to on-set sources.
“Our chemistry, we felt, was pretty good on set,” said Wilson. “Now, that’s our opinion. The director had a different opinion, because he decided to separate us for all our sessions.”
“It felt like being back in school again,” Harrelson laughed.
After the screening, the stars and a crowd of children gathered for an after-party at the venue with a full-blown carnival set up, complete with a giant slide, games and tons of food. Wilson joined the party with his young son, and Harrelson posed with children for photos.
“Free Birds” will open in the U.S. Nov. 1.