Garth Jennings interview: ‘Sing 2’ director
In envisioning the design of Redshore City for “Sing 2,” director Garth Jennings thought back to when he first visited Las Vegas and met a friend to see a show in the hotel he was staying at. “We meet and we’re walking for 20 minutes and we’re still inside the same hotel! It blew my mind,” Jennings tells Gold Derby during our recent Meet the Experts: Film Animation panel (watch the exclusive video interview above). In designing the city, he also attempted to capture the grand experience that many people have when visiting Las Vegas. “I was inspired by that trip also about how much people love it, how many families go and people have a totally different experience. I was trying to capture how grand, enormous and how loved it is.”
“Sing 2,” which will be released in theaters by Universal on December 22, picks up shortly after where the first film, from 2016, leaves off. Buster (Matthew McConaughey) has his sights set on getting his singing cast a chance to debut a new show in glamorous Redshore City. When they find they don’t have connections, he lies about being able to get Clay Calloway (Bono) to come out of retirement but then has to make good on the offer. The film also stars the voice talents of Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Nick Kroll, Bobby Cannavale and Halsey.
Jennings also has a role in the Illumination movie as Miss Crawley, an elderly lizard who serves as Buster’s assistant which happened completely by accident. “Before we get actors, we just work using the voices of people in the studio and I would do a lot of voices of the characters because I was writing it as well.” Jennings ended up loving performing the voice so much that he just stayed in the part and she gets a lot more to do in the sequel. “Her part has expanded in the sequel. She’s a very useful character. She can get a lot of things done in a sort of remarkably unique, lizardy way.”
Prior to making feature films, Jennings had been known for making music videos as one part of the group known as Hammer & Tongs (along with producer Nick Goldsmith and editor Dominic Leung). He does have a personal favorite one of these videos. “I know for sure that all of us who worked on Supergrass’s, ‘Pumping Up Your Stereo,’ with the Jim Henson Company where we created puppet bodies, was the most fun you could possibly have on a set.” But he also admits that making those music videos was, as a whole, an incredibly joyful experience. “Most of the time it was always a good time. We were doing these mad ideas. Somebody let us do them and we were doing it with all our friends on the crew. It doesn’t get better than that.”