I’ve seen a lot of movies in a lot of different situations but can honestly say the Sing world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival was unlike any other moviegoing experience I’ve ever had. That’s because of the audience reaction to the film. In the third act, as each of the characters in Sing performs in a big concert, the audience would clap at the end like they were watching a rock concert. It was pretty incredible to watch because it was spontaneous and organic. People genuinely loved what they were seeing on screen and reacted accordingly. As I left the theater with a few friends we marveled at the reaction and all agreed Sing was going to be a monster hit at the worldwide box office.
If you’re not familiar with Sing, the film takes place in a world populated by anthropomorphic animals and revolves around a koala named Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), who must put on one big spectacular show to keep his theater from closing. To do so, he holds a singing contest open to the public, and the whole town shows up to audition for a role in the show. It’s basically a “backstage musical” mixed with The Voice, as the contestants sing covers of popular songs. The film also features the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Nick Kroll, Nick Offerman, Peter Serafinowicz, Beck Bennett, Jennifer Saunders, and Jennifer Hudson.
With the film opening this week, I recently sat down with director Garth Jennings for an exclusive video interview. During our wide-ranging conversation he talked about working for Illumination and Chris Meledandri (who runs the studio), how the story changed during production, casting the actors and landing all his first choices, the amazing audience reaction at the world premiere, the test screening process, and more. In addition, Jennings talked about his friendship with Edgar Wright and Wes Anderson, how they always show up in each other’s films, and which voices they provide in Sing.
Check out what he had to say in the video above. Below you’ll find exactly what we talked about and the official synopsis.
- The crazy Toronto world premiere and the audience reaction.
- How the audience would clap after each musical number.
- How did the film play during test screenings and watching with illumination head Chris Meledandri.
- Why so long between films?
- Talks about the two projects he tried to make that ultimately fell apart before making Sing.
- Talks about why he loved working for Illumination and how the idea for Sing came from Chris Meledandri.
- Getting Edgar Wright and Wes Anderson to provide voices in Sing and how they each show up in each other’s films.
Where are their voices in the film?
- Is the next Wes Anderson stop-motion film called The Isle of Dogs?
- How he’s had a small part in Edgar Wright’s previous films like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End. Has he been trying to get in Baby Driver?
- Did the story of Sing change a lot during the development process? Talks about how originally it focused more on the judges.
- Talks about the casting process for actors and how he got everyone on his list.
- Easter eggs in the film?
- Does he have ideas for a Sing sequel?