‘The Boss Baby: Family Business’ director Tom McGrath on revisiting his own roots

Even though “The Boss Baby” is based on a children’s book, the director of both the original and the sequel, Tom McGrath, leaned into his relationship with his own brother for the sequel. “We kind of lost touch, but I was always envious of him because he had two beautiful sons and a family and I never had kids,” McGrath tells Gold Derby in our Meet the Experts: Film Animation panel (watch the exclusive video interview above). In making these movies, he aimed to get a specific reaction from his brother. “At the first movie, I just wanted to make him cry, which worked and then this one, it was the same reaction.”

The Boss Baby: Family Business” takes place with the two brothers from the first film, Ted (Alec Baldwin) and Tim (James Marsden), now grown up and estranged. They’re forced to reconnect when Tim’s baby daughter, Tina (Amy Sedaris), reveals she’s a Boss Baby like Ted was. She convinces them to change back into children to investigate some shady business going down at the school that Tim’s older daughter attends, along with the mysterious principal Dr. Erwin Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum).

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McGrath believes he found the perfect person to voice Baby Tina in Sedaris. “I’ve always been a fan of Amy, since ‘Strangers with Candy’ and in her show, ‘At Home with Amy,’ she’s always inventing characters, so she was always in mind.” Tina’s role was originally a lot smaller but Sedaris’ contributions helped to change that really quickly. “As Amy got in there, we realized that she was the hub of the entire story and it started to evolve as part of the discovery process.”

When “The Boss Baby” scored an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature in 2017, McGrath was quite taken aback by it but was also extremely humbled by it. “I was honored to get that nomination and I think it just represents all the work that everyone put into the movie. I never think of it as a nomination for me.” The true reward for him was getting to see people’s reactions as they watched the movie. “Sitting in an audience and watching people watching it is the reward for me, especially when you do a movie with comedy because comedy is a very communal experience.”

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