A couple of interviews:
Some extracts from IAR EXCLUSIVE: Photos and Interviews from the Los Angeles Premiere of 'Rio'
Musician/comedian Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords plays the villain; an evil cockatoo named Nigel, and he actually wrote the song that his character sings in the movie. Finally, I asked Mendes what he thought of the number and if he collaborated with Clement at all on the song. “No that is his song, he wrote that and so beautifully. I love that part, and I love the voice that he does for the bird too,” replied Mendes.
I followed that up by asking Ramos if he actually gets a chance to sing himself in the film. “No, I get to do a little dance thing that I do, but no I do not get to sing,” he replied. Since Ramos plays one of the monkeys that help Nigel capture Blu and Jewel in the film, I asked him if he was a fan of Flight of the Conchords and what he thought of the song that Clement wrote and contributed to the film. “It was such a great move. Yes, I am such a great fan of him and Flight of the Concords,” Ramos replied. “You could just tell that he threw that influence in when he starts rapping. It’s a very Flight of the Concords performance. I think it is great that he was able to do that.”
Finally, I had a chance to briefly speak with musician/comedian/actor Jemaine Clement, who plays the film’s antagonist, an evil cockatoo named Nigel. But Clement is best known for his work as one half of the comedic/musical-duo Flight of the Conchords. The group has recorded four albums and had a very popular TV series that ran for two seasons on HBO. Fans of the series, and the band’s work in general, will definitely want to see Rio as it basically features a brand new Conchords song. As previously mentioned, Clement wrote the song that his character sings in the movie, which acts as a origin story and introduces the bitter character to the audience. It is absolutely one of the highlights of the movie. So I asked Clement what the process was like for him writing the song for the film. “Most of it I did by myself, like on a laptop at home, he replied. “I would send it off and they would say, too slow. Then they would say, too fast, and make it more fun, or make it blah, blah, blah. Because I can’t tell what the rest of the music is like, I am trying to make it fit in without hearing it. But eventually we got it, and I am really happy with it,” Clement concluded.
Rio' villain takes flight, thanks to a ConchordSource
By Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY
A sizable flock of admirers was left adrift after HBO grounded Flight of the Conchords in 2009 after only two seasons. How could they exist without a regular fix of the faux-folk stylings of Jemaine Clement (the bespectacled one) and Bret McKenzie (the cute one), those crazy-cool comedy troubadours from New Zealand?
Turns out these Kiwi lads were a band with a plan. After infiltrating the world of pay cable, the duo simply set their warped sights on another entertainment target: family films.
While McKenzie, 34, is working behind the scenes supervising the music and contributing songs to Disney's November relaunch of the Muppets movie franchise, Clement, 37, has claimed a showstopping role as the voice of the villain in the weekend's No. 1 film, Rio. The new music-filled animated feature, set in Brazil, is by the makers of the Ice Age films.
Clement agreed to play Nigel — a cockatoo who is both molting and revolting — after the filmmakers showed him footage of the character mouthing one of his speeches from his HBO series.
"I love animation as an art form," says the actor, whose résumé includes TV's The Simpsons (he and McKenzie were depicted as camp counselors) and the 3-D comedy film Despicable Me. "As a kid, I watched cartoons constantly. I can't tell you how many hours."
The first animated film he recalls seeing is Watership Down, a 1978 British production based on the best seller about a society of rabbits. One character made a lasting impression: "There was this seagull, and it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. He actually tells the rabbits to 'piss off!' "
Now, Clement, too, is a winged menace, one in cahoots with a gang of smugglers who kidnap Rio's would-be lovebirds, a pair of rare blue macaws voiced by Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway. Like most cockatoos, Nigel hails from Australia, although a few have been known to sneak into nearby New Zealand.
Rio director Carlos Saldanha, a Conchords fan, thought Clement would be perfect to speak for "this twisted little bird" who shares at least one unsavory trait with Hannibal Lecter: a taste for cannibalism (turns out cockatoos actually do feast on chicken). "I adore those guys, and Jemaine's voice is so unique. Sarcastic and charming at the same time, and very deadpan."
Though Clement put on a Down Under accent for several Outback Steakhouse commercials a few years back, he didn't change his New Zealand inflections too much for Nigel, a washed-up soap-opera star whose bitterness has caused him to be a traitor to his kind. Although he was somewhat inspired by Aussie actor Geoffrey Rush, especially when making such alliterative pronouncements to Nigel's sticky-fingered monkey flunkies as "I'm not interested in your nicked knickknacks. Your burgled baubles bore me."
Those suffering from Conchords withdrawal will savor his malicious crooning on Pretty Bird, a song co-written and performed by Clement that has become a bit of a viral hit on the Internet.
The clever lyrics, especially a rap interlude, are distinctly Conchordian. A sample: "I'm a feathery freak with a beak/ a bird murderer/ You think you're badder than me?/ I never heard of ya/ I'm evil, I'll fill your cheese balls with weevils/ I'll poop on people and blame it on seagulls."
Ah, nothing like a little bathroom humor in a G-rated outing, although Clement says a few other lines suggested by his fellow lyricists did not make the cut, including, "I'll cheat on my tax/ give all of your cats a free Brazilian wax."
The fact that he and McKenzie each got married and had a child in the past three years just might have something to do with their involvement with child-oriented projects. "It's a cliché," acknowledges Clement, whose son, Sophocles (named after a Greek great-grandfather), is 2. "It is what everyone does once they have a kid. But you want there to be good stuff for them, especially when you have to see it, too."
While it was just announced that McKenzie will return to elf duty for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit after creating a cult sensation as an extra nicknamed Figwit in The Lord of the Rings, Clement takes on a different kind of villain for Men in Black III, due next summer. "I'm an evil alien named Boris the Animal." No Kiwi-flavored vocalizing this time. "I speak with a British accent — that is the standard in evil-alien accents."