Sony Pictures Animation brings to the bring screen THE EMOJI MOVIE, a colorful world born in the small screens of our cellphones.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with experienced animator Rebecca Perez (Turbo, Kung Fu Panda 2, Megamind) about her experience working in this film.


Can you talk about the challenges of bringing to life characters that, originally, were very simple and 2-dimensional in their design?

Absolutely. You look at them on your phone and you wonder “How are be going to bring them to life and make them relatable to people?” It was super challenging. In addition to that, how do you animate certain character like
Hi-5, that is just a hand with two legs? How do you make him expressive? But it was an animator’s dream to be given characters so simple and see how far you can go with them. Our director, Tony Leondis, was fantastic. He gave each animator enough rope to explore and make the characters funny and relatable.

What character or sequence are you specially proud of?

One of my favorite ones is the Candy Crush sequence. This is an adventure film, so there is a point when they fall inside the game and they need to find a way out. This is the first time that Hi-5 is in another area, so he starts eating everything he sees. We really had to be creative and think outside the box to animate him there. He is voiced by James Corden, who is hilarious. That was a very fun sequence.


Were there any guidelines set by the companies that own these products and that you had to comply with?

Yes. In the film there are several different apps that you would find in your phone, like Twitter and Candy Crush. For example, there is a moment where the characters go into Dance Dance, and there is a specific way in what they need to dance to get across. There was a back and forth with each corporation to make sure that we kept it real to them and their branding. But it was fun to be creating inside that box.

There are many vibrant colors in the movie. As an animator, how much do you consider color?

Animators are usually the ones who dictate what happens in a scene, and then the lighting department and the rest basically plus that. If there is an object that moves really fast, they would complement that movement with the adequate shade of the object’s color. There is a hand in hand -no pun intended- between the lighting department, texturing, and our department. It works like a dance, basically.


The film, directed by Tony Leondis (Igor), stars the voice talents of T.J. Miller, James Corden, Ilana Glazer, Steven Wright, Anna Faris, Patrick Stewart, Sofía Vergara, Maya Rudolph, and Christina Aguilera.

THE EMOJI MOVIE is now playing in theaters nationwide.

The Emoji Movie unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone’s user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression – except for Gene, an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and is bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to become “normal” like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak. Together, they embark on an epic “app-venture” through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it’s deleted forever.