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Behind the Scenes of Rio2 with Carlos Saldanha



Photo © Blue Sky Studios/20th Century Fox

Carlos Saldanha is as upbeat and friendly as his characters in Rio and Rio2. Born and raised in Rio De Janeiro, this talented director and producer works with Blue Sky Studios to crank out hit movies such as Ice Age 1, 2, and 3, Robots, and of course Rio! His latest project Rio2 is an explosion of color, upbeat music, and amusing humor.

When thinking about a new story, Saldanha likes to layer themes that he connects with, marriage, parenting, dealing with in-laws, and nature. In Rio2, he wanted the movie to connect with reality while incorporating adult themes that can “go over the children’s heads” making this a fun film for all ages.

He continues to tell the story of Blu and Jewel and though the main characters have already been developed, he strives to know them on a deeper level. The movie starts on New Year’s Eve in Rio, which boasts warm, summer weather and is predominately celebrated on the beaches of Brazil. The opening song, “What is Love?” by Janelle Monae mirrors the New Year’s theme of hope. It’s a fresh start for the blue macaws and their new family. They are looking to the future, anticipating what that will look like.


Photo © Blue Sky Studios/20th Century Fox

“What is Love” Lyrics Video

As we get to know the beloved characters better, we are introduced to several new characters. These characters; Eduardo (Andy Garcia), Mimi (Rita Moreno), Gabbi (Kristen Chenoweth) and Roberto (Bruno Mars,) along with new upbeat contemporary brazilian music add a freshness and unexpectedness to the film.

Mr. Saldahna says that “the performers come with a lot of ideas” which influences and shapes the characters over time. For example, the character Roberto was initially thought to be a brutishly handsome buffed out beauty with a very deep testosterone laden voice. When Bruno Mars was selected for the role, his natural personality was nothing like his character. Carlos decided to try the character with Bruno’s natural suave, smooth personality. He asked Bruno to come up with a song for the character. Thirty minutes later, Bruno’s character Roberto was singing his opening scene. (This is a very funny scene and one of my personal favorites.) The animators reworked Roberto to match the new personality.


Photo © Blue Sky Studios/20th Century Fox

The stunning animation of the Amazon Jungle shows Saldahna’s dedication to the beauty and brilliance of nature. To get a feel for the environment he was creating, he took a family vacation to the Amazon Jungle. Though initially skeptical, his family became enamored with the vastness and natural beauty of the Amazon jungle. He said, “It was a trip of discoveries” where they swam with pink dolphins. Who even knew there were dolphins in the Amazon, let alone pink ones? He says that he “keeps trying to aim for nature” and is “always looking for an impact of color”. He explains that “the color is in the details. Layers of shades of green have a powerful impact”. He did such a fabulous job giving his audience a feel for the jungle that it made me want to visit the Amazon myself and believe me, that is the very first time I have ever been interested in visiting any jungle.


Photo © Blue Sky Studios/20th Century Fox

When I asked him what his favorite part of the movie was, he explained that there are so many special elements in a film that they are like children. “I can’t have favorites.” They are all interesting in different ways. He did say later that one element he loved was “when Jewel met her father and then everything explodes into color and music”.

In the words of the director himself, “It (the film) carries a lot of wholesome messages; This is the world I want to keep. This is the world I want to protect. This is the family I want to be.”

Beautifully animated, lively and funny, this is a must see in the theatre kind of movie and I promise the adults won’t fall asleep!

Rio2 will be in theaters on April 11th! Learn more about the film #Rio2 online, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google Plus!

Terri Garcia has been a Southern California girl since the age of two. She has lived in Los Angeles County and both North and South Orange County. A stay-at-home mom and confessed “pinaholic”, she loves all things creative. She believes in giving back and practicing random acts of kindness. She finds joy in creating thoughtful, creative gifts, traveling, historical fiction and most importantly being mom to two very active boys. Similar to the Little Red Hen, she likes to do things herself; although in the end, she will happily share the homemade bread with family and friends.
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One Comment

  1. rio2 is the sequel to the very fun animation and see all ages.


  1. Experience the Amazon Jungle in RIO 2 - OC Mom Blog | OC Mom Blog - […] the article, Behind the Scenes of RIO2 for a summary of the Q&A with Brazilian director/producer Carlos […]

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