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'The film's themes of working together and empathising with your fellow man, or bird, are timely - and important'

After the success of their first animated film, The Angry Birds are back for a sequel. Laura Harding meets Jason Sudeikis, who reprises his role as Red, and This Is Us actor Sterling K Brown, a new addition to the cast

Anger management: Red teams up with old foes in the new Angry Birds film
Anger management: Red teams up with old foes in the new Angry Birds film

By Laura Harding

A flock of flightless birds is hurtling back to cinemas and the brightly coloured creatures are still angry.

Three years after the box office success of The Angry Birds Movie, based on the hit videogame, the sequel is here and there is a new threat on the horizon.

While the first film saw the birds - led by the angriest of them all, Red - fend off an attack from green-coloured pigs, the sequel forces them to team up with their old enemies for a new fight.

"All of a sudden, the pigs want a truce. Why? Because there's another island that's hurling unidentified flying objects - some kind of ice bombs - into their respective neighbourhoods," says Jason Sudeikis, who voices Red.

"So, the pigs have to pair up with the birds, which kinda bums Red out a little bit. He's not sure he can maintain his hero status, but he's gotta do what he's gotta do, right?"

Red has been revelling in the plaudits for his heroism ever since he saved the occupants of Bird Island in the first film.

A new attack from an island he did not know even existed, led by an eagle named Zeta (voiced by Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones), is an unwelcome surprise which threatens his glory.

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"What I love about Red is how he slowly transforms as this adventure unfolds," Sudeikis says.

"As a parent of two kids myself (he has a five year-old son and two-year-old daughter with wife Olivia Wilde) and just as a person currently on planet Earth, the film's themes of working together and trying to empathise with your fellow man, or bird, are timely and important."

The film also gave the 43-year-old, best known for his roles in Horrible Bosses and We're The Millers, a chance to get back in the voice booth.

"It is fun, but it's a completely different kind of fun - it feels more like you've been sent to your bedroom after doing something silly downstairs that your folks are mad about and then you get to play by yourself and let your imagination go wild," he says.

"You do miss the interaction and the fun agitation that comes from having a scene partner, but you get that as the process goes on when you get to hear other people's recordings."

One such recording comes from Sterling K Brown, the star of This Is Us and The People v OJ Simpson, who joins the cast as tech-pig Garry.

The highly intelligent and arrogant inventor of gadgets, based inside the high-tech Piggy Lab, feels a long way away from the heavier dramas that have made Brown an award-winning star.

"It's nice to make people smile, hopefully even laugh a little bit, after everybody tells you that you make them cry," he says.

"I like light and dark. I like to be able to play in as many playgrounds as possible, so this was a nice departure to just do something really silly and really fun."

A father of two little boys, the 43-year-old was thrilled to finally make something he could show his children without raising eyebrows.

"I have done so many things that aren't necessarily appropriate for my little ones - they are seven and three," he says.

"Not that I'm ashamed or embarrassed of anything that I've done, but it's nice to bring your children to the theatre to see something that you've been a part of that other parents can be like, 'Yes, that is appropriate'.

"Because sometimes parents will see me bring my kids to movies and be like, 'Should you be bringing your child to this?'

"I'm like, 'Leave me alone and don't judge me! These are my children and I will raise them as I see fit', but this one there are no raised eyebrows, everybody is on the same page."

This film, which also features Rachel Bloom, Awkwafina and Peter Dinklage among the voice cast, even has a message to impart to his offspring.

"There is more that unites us than separates us, whether you're a pig or a bird who are warring with each other in the first movie and now they have to come together to go against the eagles," Brown says.

"I think there is also some strong girl power in the film. The girls are the heroines and the villains in this film, but they are not the damsels in distress - they are not waiting for anybody to save them. They are proactive in their own fate so that men and women share equal footing in this world."

Parenting benefits aside, the part also gave Missouri-born Brown the chance to try an English accent for the first time.

"We played around with a few different voices for Garry before we landed on this kind of silly British accent," he says.

"I've been listening to British people my whole life. They come over and do these American accents, so I was like, 'Let me give it a shot at doing my own version of a voice from across the pond'.

"People ridicule me and I don't care. I'm going to do it again - it's awesome.

"But, British people, please don't get mad at me. You guys do American accents all the time.

"We kind of saw Garry as being Q from the Bond flicks, if Q were a pig who was not very good at his job and was incredibly self-confident. I think that is what Garry is at his heart."

The Angry Birds Movie 2 is in cinemas now

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