Braving the unusually warm weather were the film’s stars Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, along with writer and co-director Nicholas Stoller, co-director Doug Sweetland, producer Brad Lewis and exec producers Glenn Ficarra, John Requa and Jared Stern.
In the film, storks no longer deliver babies, but instead deliver packages from Cornerstore.com. That is, until one more baby is accidentally generated, creating complications for the company’s top delivery stork who has ambitions to become the boss.
Stoller, best known for ribald comedies such as “Neighbors,” “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” is a newcomer to animated films. He and co-director Sweetland let his actors go off script, which doesn’t happen too much in animation, but the film’s stars loved the freedom.
Said Peele: “There’s something really magic that can happen in improvisation. And in this movie, the script is so strong. If you get even one moment that’s golden, that wasn’t scripted, then that’s a complete win for the movie. Kudos to them for having trust in their actors.”
Peele hadn’t yet seen the completed film, but was impressed by the scenes he has seen. “They’re as good as any sketch I’ve ever done. It’s universal humor. I think everyone is going to laugh at this,” he added.
Samberg, who stars as ambitious stork, Junior, is no stranger to doing free-wheeling improv. “We do a lot of improv in other stuff I’ve done and on ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” so it was fun,” he said. And what drew him to this film: “I wanted to work with Nick Stoller.”
Crown, who plays Orphan Tulip, the only human on Stork Mountain, is an animation vet with voice credits in TV’s “Clarence” and “Adventure Time.” While voice acting can often be just a lone actor in a sound booth, she appreciated being in the room with other cast members during filming. “It’s great to have the cast play off each other and come up with different riffs.”
Co-director Sweetland described the voice work on the film as “a dream.” “We were getting really spontaneous reads, and actors would step on each other’s lines, but that’s the way we talk in real life. The actors were amazing and they really stepped up,” he said.
“Storks” was the first voice role for comedian Stephen Kramer Glickman, who plays the power-hungry Pidgeon Toady in the film. “There was a lot of collaboration, a lot of fun and a lot of laughing on the set,” he said of the experience.
This was also the first animated film for young Anton Starkman, best known for his recent dark turn on “American Horror Story: Hotel.” “At first it was a little intimidating,” he said, “Then they said, ‘What would a normal boy do in that situation?’ And I’m a normal boy, so I’d do that.” In the film, Starkman plays a boy yearning for a baby brother, but in real life he’s the youngest of three boys and he’s not so keen on that. “You’re not able to do things because you’re too young,” he said, but he acknowledged that there are perks to being the youngest. “You can get away with everything.”
After the blue carpet arrivals, the street outside the theater was transformed into a kid friendly street fair, complete with pizza, hot dogs, ice cream, candy and In-N-Out burgers, plus lots of activities, such as baby races and giant slides.