EXCLUSIVE: ComicBookMovie Sits Down With The Directors Of SAUSAGE PARTY

<font color=red>EXCLUSIVE:</font> ComicBookMovie Sits Down With The Directors Of SAUSAGE PARTY

One of CBM's own recently sat down with Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon, the directors of Sausage Party, to chat about their upcoming comedy. We also touch on which CBM they'd like to helm and more!

I was recently granted the opportunity to sit down and chat with Greg Tiernan (Thomas & Friends) and Conrad Vernon (Monsters vs. Aliens), the very talented directors of Columbia Pictures' R-rated animated comedy Sausage Party, which arrived in theaters today. We spoke on a variety of different aspects of the film, including making the transition from kid-friendly affairs to this raunchy comedy, finding the right comedic tone, the recording sessions with their A-list cast, and they even revealed which comic book movie property they'd like bring to life in animation. Check out our extensive conversation below:

Rohan (CBM): First off, I wanted to get started by asking what did you guys think about that story from a few weeks back of the Sausage Party trailer airing before a showing of Finding Dory? 

Conrad Vernon: I thought it was hilarious.
Greg Tiernan: Awesome. You know that happened twice?

Rohan (CBM): Twice? Really?

Greg: Yeah, I heard they did it again with Finding Dory down in Orange County somewhere. *Laughs*

Rohan (CBM): That’s terrific, I remember reading about Seth Rogen saying how that story made his day.

Greg: Oh yeah, that was the first time it happened, we just found it really funny. I doubt any kids were traumatized for life, so it’s all good.
Conrad: I think most of them reacted by saying "I wanna see that!" *Laughs*

Rohan (CBM): Oh yeah, I imagine I'd feel the same way.

Greg: That’s what pissed the parents off. 
Conrad: Yeah, yeah. That’s what’s going to make the parents angry.

Rohan (CBM): So, what was the learning curve for you coming from a background of traditionally more family-friendly films (Shrek 2, Monsters v Aliens, Thomas & Friends, etc.) to this raunchy, full-on R-rated adventure? 

Conrad: I mean it wasn’t that difficult, basically we just treated this film like we’d treat any other Dreamworks film that I directed or anything that Greg has ever worked on. We treat it the same, the process was the same. We tried to establish the quality the exact same way, but I think with the content being more R-rated obviously, I think that was a more freeing thing, for me at least. I wasn’t having to watch my language, I was having to watch the dialogue, the jokes we put in just had to be funny, they didn’t have to be kid-friendly. So, the learning curve was pretty much the same as any other movie, but it was really, really fun to really be able to do something adult for the first-time.

Greg: For me, real quick, I have actually worked - Thomas & Friends just happened to be the latest major project that myself and the studio were working on before Sausage Party - But, I have had the pleasure of working on more adult animated properties in Europe in the past, so I was well used to that and you just sort of switch-and-go with the flow. It’s whatever the content of the project is. And it’s something that both Conrad and I had wanted to do for a long, long time, especially in the North American market, is introduce animation as a perfectly viable medium for telling more adult stories and content.

Rohan (CBM): Was it difficult to establish and/or find the right tone for this kind of movie? It’s a comedy, so it obviously has to be funny and relatively light-hearted, but at the same time, you’re showcasing some truly horrific events in the lives of these produce items.

Conrad: *Laughs* Well, the tone was kind of set by Seth & Evan (Goldberg) and Kyle (Hunter) & Ariel (Shaffir), who wrote the script. And we knew this was going to be a Seth & Evan-type movie, so the tone was pretty laid out in the script. It was just the way we visualized it, obviously in all of these movies we have extra gags that Greg & I, the board artists, and everyone have thrown in and added to. It was mainly our task to set a visual tone and give the film a distinctive style and I think that’s what we were mostly responsible for, but the comedic tone was definitely set by Seth & Evan. We just followed that.

Rohan (CBM): Neat. You have really assembled an A+ cast with Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, James Franco, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, etc. - and a lot of these actors are well-known for their improvisational skills amongst other things, did the production process allow much room for improvisation between some of the cast, or did you have to stick to the script for the most part?

Greg: Oh no, no, the whole thing was a big improv party, which really helped. Obviously, we already had an incredibly solid script and then each and every one of those guys just brought more and more to the table. It was amazing. And for me and Conrad, the way these recording sessions went down, if we were working with you know any of the guys - Bill Hader or Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, any of them, Seth, Evan, Kyle, & Ariel, we were all in the room together and it really was just a very freeing way of doing things, so you’re not stuck rigidly to the script, and you don't have to just "read this line and make it funny." And with a majority of these people, that’s their craft and what they’re known for, as highly talented comedic actors. They all just kind of ran with it and for us, personally, it was the most fun I’ve ever had recording actors was on this movie for sure. They were fantastic.

Rohan (CBM): Sounds like a great time. Were most of the recording sessions held together, so the actors could play off one another, or because of scheduling conflicts, did you have different actors coming in at different times to record their lines?

Greg: Most of them were separate, with all of these actors being in such high demand and all. It's such an A-list cast that we were very fortunate to have and they’re all in demand for all sorts of different projects as you know, but it all worked out fine. Jonah Hill would be down in New Orleans shooting something, Bill Hader would be in L.A., Michael Cera’s in Chicago, and Salma lives in Paris, so she’s over there, and a lot, most of the time, we had to do it separately, but with every single one of the actors, myself, Conrad, and Seth would all be available at their sessions.

Rohan (CBM): Are there any special surprises or unlisted cameos in store for us? Anyone you haven’t made public? And would you like to tease any for us?

Conrad: I think we pretty much listed everybody that’s in the movie. *Laughs* - But, yeah, absolutely.
Greg: There’s a few of them.
Conrad: There’s dozens of them, actually, I think there’s a helluva lot of them.

Rohan (CBM): And both of you voiced characters as well?

Both: Yes. 

(Tiernan is voicing Potato and Noodle Soup; Vernon is voicing Toilet Paper, Sauerkraut, Catcall Sausage, Grape #1, Beer Can, and Pop Bottle) 

Rohan (CBM): So, we are ComicBookMovie.com and I just have to ask, with the recent resurgence of animated superhero films - I mean we're getting an animated Spider-Man movie from Sony in 2018, The Lego Batman Movie is on the way next year, and Batman: The Killing Joke managed to do really well as a limited release a few weeks ago - Is there any superhero property that either of you would want to tackle in the future? Live-action or animated.

Greg: Superhero wise, the only one I would really want to, the one I was absolutely in love with in my younger days, and because I grew up as an Irish guy in the UK, I absolutely loved Judge Dredd, 2000 AD. That’s already been done a couple of times of course, but in my humble opinion, I think it could be done again. *Laughs* I loved anything to do with traditional superheroes, but Judge Dredd, to me, is something I’d really love to tackle.

Conrad: I think Deadpool really opened up a door for maybe if we do another R-rated animated movie, we find a superhero and kind of do it in animation and let it be R-rated. I think that’d be really cool.

Rohan (CBM): Yeah, I agree. I think you can cover a lot more ground in animation and also take more liberties. Do stuff the live-action films can't.

Greg: I think this movie (Sausage Party) for sure will open a lot of doors and people will sit up and take notice and say: "You know what, from an investing point-of-view and a studio point-of-view, backing movies like this to the general public where they are actually going to see them can work" - R-rated animation and comic book properties are definitely going to continue to grow, it’s a huge area that is still largely untapped. So, if we played a little role in helping to open that door along with properties like Deadpool, which was awesome, we’re really happy with that.

Rohan (CBM): Final question, have you already started planning for a potential sequel or is it too early?

Conrad: I think we definitely want to do a sequel, it just depends on how this one does (at the box office). We’ve definitely been talking about it, and if we decide to make it, we have to have a plan. So, there is a plan to do one and we’ll see if that comes about.

Judging by how it performed last night, where it pulled in over $3.3 million, the chances for a sequel have drastically improved. The film, which has received widespread critical acclaim, is currently on-pace to bring in somewhere between $25-32 million this weekend, possibly even more. This is excellent news for the low-budget comedy, which reportedly only cost around $19 million to produce, and bodes well moving forward with very little competition arriving in the coming weeks.

Before you go out to see if yourself, here are a ton of posters and stills:


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We also have a number of clips for you to check out ahead of the movie:

          


 
Sausage Party, the first R-rated CG animated movie, is about one sausage leading a group of supermarket products on a quest to discover the truth about their existence and what really happens when they become chosen to leave the grocery store. The film features the vocal talents of a who's who of today's comedy stars — Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, and Salma Hayek.


Sausage Party features:
Directors: Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon
Seth Rogen as Frank
Kristen Wiig as Brenda Bunson
Jonah Hill as Carl
Bill Hader as Firewater/Tequila/El Guaco
Michael Cera as Barry
James Franco as Druggie
Danny McBride as Honey Mustard
Craig Robinson as Mr. Grits
Paul Rudd as Darren
Nick Kroll as Douche
David Krumholtz as Vash
Edward Norton as Sammy Bagel Jr.
Salma Hayek as Teresa, a taco
Anders Holm as Troy
Greg Tiernan as Potato
Sugar Lyn Beard as the Baby Carrots
Lauren Miller as Camille Toh
Scott Underwood as Twink


Sausage Party is out in theaters everywhere TODAY!

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