Directors Kris Pearn and Cody Cameron recently spoke with ScreenCrave about their upcoming sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The film takes us back to Swallow Falls, the place that suffered the wrath of the first food storm. Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) discovers his invention from the previous film is still fully operational and returns to his home island, which has turned into a Jurassic Park of evolved food creatures.
What inspired the sequel?
Kris Pearns: We were both storyboard artists on the first film with Phil Lord and Chris Miller, so we were on it for about four years. We had a bunch of ideas that didn’t make it on the film. We had a third act where the sentient food was attacking the people of Swallow Falls. Of that, a little bit remained, the gummy bears and the chickens. So when we started talking about the what ifs for a second film we knew we wanted to explore that and the idea of a monster movie taking the genre from a disaster movie and trying something different. As far as as the characters go, we felt strongly that we could take a character like Flint Lockwood and give him an opportunity to not be the weirdo. Send him into a situation where everybody’s got a lab coat. Put him into a bigger market, like going to art school or going to high school. Sort of what happens to him and his relationship with his friends as he begins to change that way and something that we all go through. It felt like a real kid friendly arc to go through.
Where do we pick up on our heroes in this one?
Cody Cameron: Literally like sixty seconds after the last one. Everyone’s celebrating and then a giant helicopter comes down and we introduce Chester V., one of Flint’s heroes. If you remember from the last one, he had these heroes on the wall. He’s a bit of an innovator he’s like Steve Jobs meets Richard Branson meets Carl Sagan with a little bit of Richard Attenbourough and he comes in to clean up the island and there is a catch. Everybody’s gotta leave and he gives Flint the opportunity to work for him. This is the inciting incident.
As far as the island of Swallow Falls, what has happened? Its a food animal habitat!
Cody Cameron: After the island was evacuated, over a period of about six months something happened where plant life took off and grew. Grew up around the buildings and into this this massive garden with living food and food creatures. This is really a movie about creativity and about accepting who you really are as a creative person. It’s like Flint’s head exploded all over the island, his lab took over.
So it’s now the story of the creator and his monsters, well food monsters?
Kris Pearns: Who is the monster? Is it us or is it them? Flint realizes there is something more to the machine and Flint realizes it’s not necessarily bad.
Are there homages to other monster flicks?
Cody Cameron: We have some nods to Jurassic Park like the watering hole and Sam Spark’s (Anna Faris) outfits inspired by Laura Dern’s. There’s some Goonies and Teen Wolf. A lot of little references to films we grew up with in the eighties. Maybe a little Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi combo. There’s nods to Spielberg and Richard Donner films and Joe Dante. It’s kind of like those fun adventure comedies we grew up with. When you climb into the nerd sandbox it’s hard to climb back out.
Which of the new food monsters is your favorite?
Kris Pearns: I like the Berry the Strawberry and the pickles. I also really like the Tacodile.
Cody Cameron: There’s a Sasquash that we never really show directly. He’s all through the movie he’s like an Easter egg. Always hiding throughout the movie, he’s funny and always shows up in weird places. Definitely the leak, and the cheese spiders are really fun. They make me hungry.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 opens September 27th.