If your kids are anything like mine, "Angry Birds" has been a household name for years now. Like many people, launching those angry little birds on a slingshot toward those egg-stealing green pigs has become a family pastime and a fun way to engage our digitally savvy kids.
So, the big question for the producers of "The Angry Birds Movie," arriving in theaters on May 20, was how do you transform a popular phone app into a hilarious, animated family film? The answer lies in the casting, which includes three of the funniest parents in Hollywood today: Jason Sudeikis (voice of Red), Maya Rudolph (Matilda) and Josh Gad (Chuck).
Mom.me joined a roundtable interview with Sudeikis, Rudolph and Gad, complete with mai tais and a luau on the gorgeous island of Maui. Besides sharing laughs and parenting anecdotes, we also talked about anger management, kids' apps and giving up our day jobs to make unboxing videos.
The movie says it's OK to get angry, and sometimes it's even warranted. How do you guys talk to your kids about getting angry and dealing with it?
Jason Sudeikis: "Use your words" comes up a lot.
Maya Rudolph: We were talking about this earlier, and in my son's preschool they have been teaching them to "take a breath." The way they teach them is "smell the flowers" for the inhale and "blow out the candles" for the exhale, and they totally love to do it!
Josh Gad: Usually when the girls are crying, "blow out the candles" works brilliantly. My daughter's school uses colors. Red is angry, blue is sad, green is calm. We try to talk to her about how we can get to green or how can we get to yellow—happy—and she'll use those words.
Have your kids seen "The Angry Birds Movie" yet?
JS: Yes, it was [my 2-year-old son Otis's] first movie. I went to watch it with him and he sat on my lap. It was great! He sat there the whole time. The best is that his legs are short enough now that they fit on my entire thigh. He was crossing his legs like I'm his barcalounger. I'm just like, "Yeah, man, that's all right."
MR: They are psyched about this movie. They have been asking me what my bird does, because all the other birds have bird powers you learn in the game, but they don't know about my bird's secret power.
Fill in the blank: "When I get angry, I ..."
JS: My answer is sleep. When I get angry, I feel like I just need to sleep, even if it's just a nap.
JG: When I get angry, I try to play it out. So if I get angry about the fact that (my daughter) broke that after I told her not to play with it five times, what am I going to say next, where will it go from there. So I try to walk it back before I even say anything, and take a deep breath and then engage with them.
MR: Yeah, I rarely remember to take that breath.
"Angry Birds" was originally an app for smartphones and tablets. What kinds of apps do your kids like to play?
MR: My kids like Toca games. "Toca Boca," "Toca Band"—that one is fantastic. "Toca City." Those are great games where I don't think a weird cereal commercial will come up.
What about unboxing videos? Do your kids like those videos?
JS: No, we're slowly working our way into this.
MR: Isn't that weird? I guess there's this big niche for people who like watching presents being opened. It's like, why the f--k are we here?
JG: I'm literally going through my head trying to figure out where I'm going to get my camera and just start opening presents while recording myself.