The Emoji Movie
Friday 11th August 2017
The Emoji Movie unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favourite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone's user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression - except for Gene (T.J. Miller), an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and is bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to become "normal" like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 (James Corden) and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak (Anna Faris). Together, they embark on an epic "app-venture" through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it's deleted forever.
Columbia Pictures presents a Sony Pictures Animation film, The Emoji Movie. Featuring the voices of T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Jennifer Coolidge, Jake T. Austin, Christina Aguilera, Sofia Vergara and Sir Patrick Stewart. Directed by Tony Leondis. Produced by Michelle Raimo Kouyate. Screenplay by Tony Leondis & Eric Siegel and Mike White. Story by Tony Leondis & Eric Siegel. Music by Patrick Doyle. "emoji" is a trademark of emoji company GmbH used under license.
Human beings have never been more connected. With the smartphone, we are never out of touch from each other - and constantly in touch with people around the world. And with a simple invention, we are now able to communicate with people who are separated from us by language, borders, oceans...
... after all, everyone knows what :) means.
Now, Sony Pictures Animation takes you into the secret world inside your phone for a rollicking adventure in The Emoji Movie.
"Emojis help us express ourselves in ways we don't have time to express, or don't have the forethought to express, or are afraid to express," says Tony Leondis, one of the writers and the director of The Emoji Movie. "When I get a heart-eyes emoji from my mom, it actually means something - it makes me smile. In this world of technology, the human heart has found a way to connect."
"Everybody's using emojis - they're part of our everyday life," says producer Michelle Raimo Kouyate. "I always enjoy animated movies that go inside a world that you deal with every day, but never gave a thought to."
And for T.J. Miller, who voices the lead role of an emoji named Gene in the film, that's the perfect jumping off point for a movie. "Parents use emojis with kids and kids use emojis with parents, so everyone is in on the joke from the get-go. From the first scene, you think, 'Oh, I use that emoji all the time, my friend uses the dancing woman emoji,'" he says. "And when you add the fun of having Sir Pooptrick Stewart playing Poop, Sofia Vergara playing Flamenca, Anna Faris playing Jailbreak - she's so dynamic - Maya Rudolph is so funny, Steven Wright, one of my icons in the standup world, Jennifer Coolidge and James Corden are never not funny... I was excited to join them because it seemed like the project had the elements to be a great and very surprising movie."
At the center of The Emoji Movie is - no surprise - a phone, belonging to a teenage boy named Alex. And at the center of his phone is Textopolis, where all emojis live. "Textopolis is a hustling, bustling community that serves only one purpose: to help Alex communicate," says Leondis. "They wake up in the morning, go to their jobs, and each emoji has a central and very important role to play."
All emojis are meant to be one thing - the single emotion that they are meant to express. No matter how they might be feeling inside, Smiler's always got to be smiling, Crier always has to cry even if he just won the lottery, and Christmas Tree has got to be... Christmassy.
But then there's Gene, an emoji born expressing every possible emotion - which leads to everything going wrong for Gene.
"In a world populated by emojis only expressing one emotion, an emoji with every expression would be very threatening," says Leondis. "Not coincidentally, in our world, being different is sometimes threatening to other people."
"The thing about Gene that really appealed to me is that he feels like he's broken - not just different, but broken - and could be fixed somehow," says Kouyate. "As he goes on this journey to 'fix' himself, he realises that he's not broken at all - the thing that makes him different makes him stronger. That's the huge metaphor of the movie - and I think that's a universal feeling.
With his friend Hi-5, Gene seeks out the codebreaker emoji Jailbreak, who promises that she can fix Gene - if they can just make their way to The Cloud. Of course, that journey changes Gene, but not in the ways he expected.
"Gene goes from self-doubt, to accepting himself, to someone who celebrates his differences," Leondis continues. "Celebrating our differences is something that's really important, even more today than ever."
Gene's journey has real-world complications. Alex has been trying to get the courage to text a girl he likes - and if he doesn't send the right emoji, it could spoil his chances forever. When Gene's journey puts the phone on the blink, Alex starts to believe that the only solution is to wipe his phone... and everyone in it.
"Gene and Alex's journeys mirror each other," says Leondis. "It's about a boy who's trying to express himself to a girl, but doesn't feel free enough to express his emotions. Gene has all of these emotions but he's told to suppress them, so he doesn't know how to express his emotions either."
Gene's journey takes him through several of the world's most popular apps - including Candy Crush Saga, Dropbox, Instagram, Just Dance, Spotify, Twitter, WeChat, and YouTube - with each app becoming its own distinct world as the three emojis make their way to The Cloud. Popular apps Crackle, Facebook, Shazam, Snapchat, and Twitch also appear in the movie.
"We go through Candy Crush, where Gene's in danger of being deleted - his worst nightmare," explains Kouyate. "We go into the Just Dance app, where Gene has to truly express himself. We go to Spotify, where Gene rides on different kinds of music streams. We go to YouTube, where thousands of videos play on screens all around them, and Instagram, where photographs come to 360-degree life."
"It's such a privilege to play in these worlds, which are such a huge part of everyone's everyday life," says Leondis. "Every app that we picked needed to challenge Gene and move him forward on his journey emotionally, but also be a widely known, interesting app that a kid would have on his or her phone. That's how we merged our adventure through these apps with our story about communication and a little guy who just feels different."
In Textopolis, every face emoji has one expression and one expression only. But Gene doesn't have just one expression, he has EVERY expression! He has no filter for his emotions - if he feels it, he shows it! Funny, charming, awkward, and optimistic, Gene wishes he wasn't so different. Determined to fit in and make his parents proud, he sets off on a dangerous trek through the world of the phone to change himself into a single-expression emoji. But what Gene discovers on the journey is that embracing his self-expression is the more powerful option...
The role is played by T.J. Miller. "This character was created with T.J. Miller in mind," says Leondis. "He's so ebullient, so expressive, so full of life - he can't be held back. He's a time bomb of energy, excitement, laughter and emotions. He wears his heart on his sleeve - he's one of the sweetest people I've ever met. He enjoys life and people - and that's how I see Gene, a kind and expressive person."
"Gene is a 'meh' emoji, which means he's supposed to be disinterested and always have that 'meh, who cares, I'm over it' expression on his face all the time," Miller explains. "But Gene doesn't always feel meh, so he ends up with the wrong expression on his face pretty often, and this is quite scandalous in Textopolis."
That scandal has made Gene an outsider - and worse, when a text is sent with Gene making the wrong expression, the powers that be set in motion a plan to delete him. Desperate, he joins with his friend Hi-5 - a once-popular emoji whose fame has waned - to find the notorious codebreaker Jailbreak. "Gene and Hi-5 make a deal with her," says Miller. "She'll help reprogram Gene and get Hi-5 into the favorite section, if they help her get past a firewall that will let her leave the phone."
The stakes are huge for Gene, Hi-5 and Jailbreak. "On Gene's first day of work, he chokes badly - he freaks out, he doesn't know what to do, he sends the wrong facial expression out to the phone, and the phone's owner, Alex, thinks that his phone is broken," says Miller. "When they leave the Textopolis app and go into other apps, they activate those apps - Just Dance and Candy Crush start without him playing them. And that creates embarrassing situations for Alex, so he's starts thinking he needs to get the phone wiped, and that would mean that Textopolis would be erased from existence."
Hi-5 is an open-face palm Emoji ready to give you a Hi-5 at any time! His favorite catchphrase? "Hi-Five!" He's a big ham, brimming over with exuberant confidence. Hi-5 used to be a Favorite, a highly respected celebrity. But recently Hi-5 has been usurped by a new Favorite... Fist Bump Emoji. Hi-5 can't stand the rejection and just wants to be popular again. But his adventure with Gene makes him realise that it's more important to have one true friend than it is to be popular.
"Hi-5 is a fading rock star who wants to get back on top," says Leondis. "He hopes that by going on this journey with Gene he can be popular again. What he learns along the way is that having one real friend is more important than having ten thousand likes."
James Corden gave the filmmakers a hand in bringing the character to life. "He's such a talent. A brilliant actor and writer. When I saw the play 'One Man, Two Guvnors,' I was blown away and really wanted to work with him someday," Leondis says. "Hi-5 is the wild card - you never know what he's going to do or say. He's always throwing curveballs into the equation. And no one is better at that than James."
"Hi-5 used to be one of the favorites, but as time has gone by, Alex has forgotten about Hi-5, and he started using Fist Bump," says Corden. "He feels like he's been forgotten, and he's convinced that if Alex could just see him again on the Favourites board, Alex would remember how great Hi-5 is and start using him again."
Corden was drawn to the story and the way it created a hidden world behind the popular icons. "You can punctuate any moment with a great emoji," he says. "In the film these are characters with spirits, and souls, and hearts, and minds with something very, very real at stake for all of them."
"I thought it sounded quite charming - these things that you use in your life all the time have a personality, something to lose, and real friendships," adds Corden. "That felt very fun to me."
Jailbreak is a tough, blue-haired, code-breaking Emoji. Cynical and super smart, there's nothing she can't reprogram. Jailbreak dreams of someday leaving the Phone and living in the Cloud, a legendary world where she can live her life by her own rules. When she meets Gene, Jailbreak recognises she can use him to gain access to the Cloud, but her plans get derailed when she unexpectedly develops feelings for him...
"Jailbreak is tough and in-your-face, and she's not going to be put in a box - or cube," says Leondis. "At first, we don't know why exactly Jailbreak wants to get to the Cloud - and on the journey, we learn that she has a secret."
Giving Jailbreak her voice is Anna Faris. "Not only is Anna funny, but she also brings tons of heart to the movie. She's such a beautiful actor and communicator; she makes every line impactful and emotional and about something. She can communicate so much in just a few words: she makes you laugh and breaks your heart," says Leondis.
"Jailbreak is the only emoji in the movie who knows anything about computers," says Faris. "She's fun, she's rebellious, she's funny, she's tough, she's smart - one of the smartest characters I've ever played, I must say. And she's not afraid to go after what she wants. Gene and Hi-5 go to her for help, because they know that if you need something done right, you ask a woman to do it."
Faris says that Jailbreak isn't like the other emojis. "Most of them live in Textopolis, but the four corners of a single app were not enough for Jailbreak, so she took to the open circuits and set off on her own," she says. "Now, she hangs around the piracy app while she works on figuring out how to get off the phone entirely - which is exactly like my personal life."
Smiler is the original emoji and the boss of Textopolis. She is chipper and bubbly, always has a huge grin plastered on her face, and is incredibly evil. Smiler wants to ensure all expression emojis follow the one simple rule - have one expression and one expression only. When Smiler learns of Gene's multiple expressions she sets out on a crusade to have him deleted! She will not let Gene bring down her perfect community.
"Smiler is very proud that every Emoji everywhere is based on her because she was the very first Emoji ever!" explains Leondis. "And she'll stop at nothing to get the emojis to perform their roles perfectly every time- but she'll always do it with a smile. No matter how underhanded her methods are... she does it with a grin."
Maya Rudolph plays the single-expression, two-faced villain. "No one plays smile-on-the-outside, screwed-up-on-the-inside funnier than Maya Rudolph," says the director. "Even though she's smiling through the whole movie, the character's wickedness cuts right through in hilarious ways because Maya is just that good. She makes me laugh every time she opens her mouth."
"Smiler is a mixture between the most popular girl in school and the scariest boss you've ever had," says Rudolph. "When you first meet Smiler, she seems like a beauty queen - she has amazing hair and a perfect smile. She delivers every bit of information through a smile, which can sometimes be intense and a bit crazy. The more you get to the more you get to know Smiler, the more you realise that her smile is a façade.
Becoming Smiler was a bit more of a challenge than it may appear. "It was actually really difficult to perform Smiler's lines, because I really had to deliver everything through a smile and it hurt my cheeks," says Rudolph. "It made me realise that we don't speak that way as normal human beings. The more heightened Smiler got, the more her temper rises, the more fun it gets, and the harder my cheek muscles hurt. It's really hard to yell through a smile."
Like many of her fellow actors, Rudolph was inspired to join the film by the chance to have a movie to share with her children. "My kids speak Emoji. I knew they would get a kick out of finding out which Emoji their Mom was."
And then... there's Poop. Poop is one of the most popular Emojis, and it's a position he takes very seriously. With his upper-class accent, toilet paper bow tie, and penchant for wearing a little too much cologne, Poop carries himself proudly and often doesn't realise he's the butt of jokes.
The legendary actor Sir Patrick Stewart got his hands dirty to play the part. "When you think of English gentlemen, you think Patrick Stewart," says Leondis. "Patrick is so humble and all about the work. He got the joke, and we're so lucky that he not only got it but plussed it times a million!"
"Poop has the distinguished honour of being one of the most-used emojis," says Stewart. "He's very popular. And in the world of our film, the most-used emojis are afforded certain privileges or perks. So, Poop is a V.I.P. He's got a good life."
Sir Patrick says that there were several reasons why he was attracted to the role. "All my life, I've been a fan of animation. As an actor, it's very liberating, because you're not tied into where you are and what you are; you can be anything, and perhaps even be a little bit larger-than-life. Of course, I use emojis - everybody enjoys them and they're funny. But perhaps the most significant reason was that I was to play Poop and that was very exciting. Some people have always said my acting was poop; well, now I can agree with them, without embarrassment."
Nothing in the world of Textopolis would be possible without Alex. Alex is a teenage boy - and it's his phone is the home for our emoji heroes as they help him communicate. Alex has been trying to get the courage to text a girl he likes, and if he doesn't send the right emoji, it could spoil his chances forever. When Gene's journey puts the phone on the blink, Alex starts to believe that the only solution is to wipe his phone... and everyone in it.
Jake T. Austin brings Alex to life. "Jake captured that teenage feeling of angst, anxiety, and worrying about a girl, how you're going to express yourself, how you're going to talk," says Kouyate.
Austin says that Alex's phone is more than just an accessory or tool - it's part of his life. "I think like a lot of us, Alex's phone means everything to him," says Austin. "It's how he communicates with his friends, it's how he interacts with the real world. It's definitely something that he relies on to interact with people every day."
Just like his character, Austin recognises the appeal of emojis. "When we send somebody a text or a tweet, emojis can attach a feeling to it," he says. "Whether it's meant to be funny or sad or serious, there's an emoji for pretty much every emotion."
The world inside Alex's phone is loaded with cameos. Sofia Vergara plays one of the most popular emojis - Flamenca. The Flamenca Emoji is the saucy Latina dancer in a fire-engine red dress. She's spicy and exuberant and always finishes her sentences with a rapid-fire flamenco flourish.
"Sofia Vergara as Flamenca felt like a really fun thing to do," says Kouyate. "She told us that everybody always tells her she looks like the Flamenca emoji, and she even came in to her recording session in a fabulous red dress. She really embraced it and had fun with the role."
The Piracy app is like a rowdy pirate bar where all the baddies party and hang out: Internet Trolls, Trojan Horses, Viruses and all sorts of nasty creatures. There you'll find Jeff Ross - Comedy Central's Roastmaster General - playing an obnoxious and hilarious internet troll. "Who but Jeff Ross would you go to if you wanted someone to roast you?" says Kouyate.
You'll also find Spam - voiced by Rachael Ray - who is constantly trying to distract Gene and Hi-5 with offers and discounts on tons of useless stuff they don't need. Spam is like your best friend who just won't leave you alone, except, she isn't your friend and she'll never go away! Leondis explains, "Rachael is so much fun, she always makes every one of her shows a joy and that's the kind of voice I really wanted for Spam. She had to be friendly and accessible because that's what Spam is. or pretends to be!"
Christina Aguilera takes on the role of Akiko Glitter, the coolest and most outrageous dance hostess ever to grace the Just Dance app! She's always serving up the hottest mix of music and she's got the step on the best dance moves around. Her life goal? She just wants to dance! And if you want to hang with her you gotta follow her moves!
"I'm pretty obsessed with emojis," says Aguilera. "I'm very visual when it comes to expression so I use them often for any and every mood. With emojis, you don't need words at all to convey a feeling. My kids are also at an age where they understand the meaning of emojis so this is a project that my kids can be proud of. Plus, who wouldn't want to voice the dynamic Akiko Glitter."
For the look and design of The Emoji Movie, Leondis turned to production designer Carlos Zaragoza. Zaragoza and Leondis worked closely with Visual Effects Supervisor David Alexander Smith to achieve the final look of the film. "We have some of the best artists in the business working on this movie, all led by Carlos and Dave, and all were really committed to make the very best movie possible," says Leondis.
The head of the art department, responsible for creating the entire look of everything on the screen, from the characters to the world, Zaragoza says while a movie about emojis would seem to be drawn from the current moment, the animators found inspiration in the oldest animation references. "Ultimately, we are giving life to objects, food, musical notes - so for me, it was going back to the animated shorts of the 1930s, where everything was animated; objects had life. That's one of my favourite periods of animation, so I was happy to work in something like that."
Zaragoza says that his greatest challenge was to bring over 300 emojis - some of the simplest designs around - to three-dimensional, expressive life. "Emojis are graphic designs, icons, pictograms," he says. "We use them to represent a concept, but they aren't very complex. But for our story, we needed a complex character who could convey so many different emotions - it's so important to show how a character feels. So we had to keep the graphic look while making them very versatile."
"We have a great animation team that can bring pretty much anything to life," says Smith. And that's a good thing, because they had to. "Toasters, fire hydrants, stop signs, all kinds of weird things, but they brought a unique characteristic to each one. But the hardest thing was that most of the lead characters are spheres. How do you animate spheres? It was quite a challenge."
To bring an emoji like Gene to life - to make him expressive while not losing his inherent emojiness - the filmmakers started simple and worked toward the complex. "We started with a very simple graphic design that looked pretty much like a regular emoji," says Zaragoza. "We wanted to see exactly what the limitations were, in expression and emotion. From there, we moved to make it more versatile, more three dimensional, more able to move and be animated."
The filmmakers then took Gene another step - making him more unique. "We explored the look of his eyes, his expression, to make him more complex, and then the look of the inner part of his body to make him special," says Zaragoza. "We developed a multi-layer system. The exterior is a translucent surface, very smooth with a microtexture. The interior is voxelated - three-dimensional pixels - to make him look electronic. We also gave him an extra layer of light particles in his body that we could turn on and off as we needed to express Gene's emotion in the story - more glowy when he's happy and less visible when he's sad."
Another good example is Hi-5. "He's just a hand pictogram, and not a real hand - he has a very simple design," notes Zaragoza. "At the same time, he's a funny guy who has to fight, run, jump, do acrobatics. The design was a combination of exploration from the animators and the character designers as we came up with a versatile character who looks as complex as a human in many ways."
"The animators did a nice job of moving Hi-5's digits around as though they were extra limbs," says Smith. "They could use all of his fingers in every different capacity, sometimes even as an arm or a leg. That's just an example of what they did for every character - they found the features that made them unique and played off those."
To the point, the animators were constantly looking for those specific elements to find the characters' expressiveness. "We were always asking, 'What's this emoji all about? What can I bring out of him?' and focus on that - like Coffee Cup was always caffeine-buzzed," Smith continues.
Zaragoza's team was also responsible for the look of the world inside the phone - Textopolis and each of the separate apps that Gene, Hi-5 and Jailbreak make their way through on their adventure. "The fun of designing a movie is starting from scratch and designing something that never existed and is not in the real world," says the production designer. "I was lucky to lead an amazing design team. They are truly storytellers. Any individual design is helping to tell the story."
"I liked the idea of going inside the phone, because I knew there would be a huge opportunity for creativity, a lot of places we could expand and create looks that we haven't seen before," says Smith. "Each app is different and each character is fairly different. We could mix that with a real-world feel in Alex's world."
"In design, sometimes you show the audience something familiar in a way they've never seen before to engage with them," Zaragoza explains. "That's what we are doing with Textopolis. It looks like a city, but it's surreal, absurd. Everything looks like an icon, an emoji: the buildings, the vehicles, the signs, objects. Fun and beautiful but, at the same time, a trap for someone who is different; the city looks like a golden cage. We played with that a bit, giving everything rounded corners, graphic simplicity and a colourful appeal."
For the surreal, absurd city inside your phone, what better inspiration than the City of Angels? "The first time I came to L.A., I visited the Griffith Observatory, which is on top of the hills in Hollywood. And as the sunsets, the lights of the city come on - like magic, you see a grid of light that goes out to infinity. That was one of my inspirations for Textopolis - that it would be infinite, with everything laid out in a very rigid grid structure."
But the famous views from the hills weren't the only influence Los Angeles had to offer. Anyone who's visited L.A. will know that on the street level, the city boasts some very creative and unusual signage. "You have the gigantic signs that look like a hat, or a giant donut," Zaragoza relates. "That's part of the charm of Los Angeles - the architecture can resemble oversized objects. That concept lent itself perfectly to our movie."
"Carlos wanted Textopolis to look iconic - literally made of icons - very simple and graphic. That was easy to model. What made it hard was to take that iconic design and make it distinctive," says Smith. "We did that by giving it depth. We textured it and gave it some transparency - we made things look like light could come through them, like it belonged in your phone. It's an iconic look to which we gave complex materials, and that's where the challenge came for us."
As the characters move out of Textopolis, they move through a series of apps, most of which are the famous apps that many of us use every day - Candy Crush Saga, Dropbox, Instagram, Just Dance, Spotify, Twitter, WeChat, and YouTube.
"Each app had to look different and unique, but also feel like they were all part of the phone," says Smith. "So, when we're on the wallpaper, moving between apps, the app boxes themselves had a unique design where you can see within them - in each cube, you can see something different. Once you go inside an app, each one has a very different look."
One key app that was invented for the movie: the piracy app, where Gene and Hi-5 go to track down the notorious codebreaker Jailbreak. It was important to contrast the piracy app with Textopolis to make the characters feel intimidated and alien to that world. "Everything is twisted, everything is sharp," says Zaragoza. "Sharp corners, angles, a bit of German Expressionism. It's a chaotic place, and we wanted the design elements of shape, colour and light to convey that."
Though some of the apps have a familiar setting, others were a blank slate. "One of the fun parts of this project was that we were designing from scratch with absolutely no reference, and some of the concepts were very abstract," notes Zaragoza. "For example, Spotify is a world of music - how do you make that look like music but at the same time an actual world with some geography? We came up with a concept in which the music looks like rivers and the rivers create the landscape: waterfalls, mountains, lakes, all made out of music."
For Candy Crush, it was always clear that the characters would play the game. "Many people have a good idea of what the graphics are in that game," says Smith. "So we played off of that. The world was built out of candy - even little sprinkles for grass. And then we expanded on what the Candy Crush interface is like - for example, we added planes of glass where the candies are dropping in."
In Just Dance, the filmmakers had the added challenge of needing a dance sequence for the emoji characters. For this, the filmmakers called in an expert: Supervising Choreographer Matt Steffanina, a YouTube sensation with 10 million subscribers and videos with over 1.5 billion views.
"In the story, two of the emojis can dance and one of them is really struggling; it's about them working together through dance to be able to get through the app," says Steffanina.
How do you dance like an emoji - especially when they don't have hips and shoulders? "I'd imagine myself with little stick legs - 'nope, can't do that move,'" he says. "There were a lot of challenges - you can't even get your face over to your hands. We kept going back and forth, and in the end, it's amazing how realistic the movements look on the characters."
Hi-5, being a hand, had his own special choreography challenges. "I would send over sequences, first of me dancing the movement, explained out, and then I would do a close-up of my hand and show my hand doing the dance - I'd give the details on my hand to show what I wanted the character to do."
Steffanina also found ways to reinforce the theme of the movie - the value and importance of self-expression - through the dance sequences. "The main move of the movie is the Emoji Pop - Gene flips his hands down and changes his expression every time, showing a different side of himself," he says. "It's a bigger message than just a movement."
Steffanina also choreographed the movie's final dance party sequence. "We got to feature all of the different emojis," he says. "Poop is with Ballroom Girl doing a life. Eggplant is doing The Worm. Gene is breakdancing. I actually went back to old disco footage to get inspired - those old movies where you felt so good watching the dance sequences. I thought of the sequence as a house party or a dance battle."
The climax of the film comes as the characters reach the firewall - the gateway that will lead them all to the code they're looking for. "The firewall was one of the most mesmerizing environments we did - it's just a big wall of fire," says Smith. "To make it related to the other worlds, we made the firewall out of voxels - three-dimensional pixels - running up and down and through it."
Due to the many unique environments and the sheer amount of characters - over 250 individual emojis were created from scratch for the movie - making the film was often challenging, but to director Leondis, it was equal times fun and rewarding. "The crew went above and beyond," he says of the experience, "Sony is a fantastic place to make a movie. My hope is that the joy we had in creating these amazing and colourful characters and worlds comes across to audiences as they see the film."
T.J. Miller (Gene) is one of the most sought after comedians in the comedy world today and has been named one of Variety's Top 10 Comics to Watch and EW's Next Big Things in Comedy. Miller first got his start touring with Second City in Chicago and improvising with Annoyance Theater and has been a touring standup artist for over 10 years.
Miller is known for his breakout role in Mike Judge's HBO comedy series Silicon Valley, now in its fourth season, for which he received the Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Comedy. He has also starred in a multitude of major studio films, including Disney's Academy Award®-winning animated feature Big Hero 6, FOX's big screen comic book adaptation of Deadpool, the highest grossing R-rated film of all time, 2014's surprise indie hit Transformers 4, Office Christmas Party, Cloverfield, She's Out of My League, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Our Idiot Brother, Yogi Bear 3D, Unstoppable, Get Him to the Greek, How to Train Your Dragon and How to Train Your Dragon 2.
In addition, Miller also voices Robbie from Gravity Falls on Disney, Tuffnut in the Netflix How to Train Your Dragon TV series, and Gorburger, Comedy Central's newest intergalactic late night talk show host. His hour-long Comedy Central stand-up special "T.J. Miller: No Real Reason" and hip-hop/pop/folk music album "The Extended Play EP," an EP with 41 tracks, and the "Illegal Art Remixtape," are all available now.
Upcoming films include Underwater, a 20th Century Fox adventure thriller that is being produced by Chernin Entertainment, and Ready Player One directed by Steven Spielberg.
The multi-talented James Corden (Hi-5) is known around the world as a Tony Award-winning performer on Broadway, a BAFTA-winning star of a UK television series, a feature film actor, an Emmy winning host, writer, and producer in several genres of television.
Corden can currently be seen hosting The Late Late Show, which premiered on CBS in March 2015 and won an Emmy for Outstanding Interactive Program, two back to back Critics Choice Awards nominations for Best Talk Show, set YouTube records, and achieved its highest ratings, with any host, since the show's inception in 1995. Corden separates his show from other late night shows by offering viewers a peek behind the scenes into the green room, bringing all of his guests out at once, and lending his musical and acting talents to various sketches.
Most recently, Corden hosted the 70th Annual Tony Awards®, which had the most viewers in 15 years.
Corden continues to host the BAFTA Award-winning UK sports-themed comedy game show A League of Their Own on Sky 1 and hosted the Brit Awards, the biggest event in the British music industry, from 2010 to 2014.
On television, Corden stars in, produces, and writes the BAFTA-nominated comedy thriller The Wrong Mans, which is available on Hulu and airs on the BBC. In 2013, Corden was awarded the Royal Television Society Award for Comedy Writer of the Year for his work on the show.
Previously, Corden starred as Smithy in the critically acclaimed BBC comedy series Gavin and Stacey which he also co-created and co-wrote. For this role, he earned the BAFTA Television Award for Best Male Comedy Performance in 2008 and the British Comedy Award for Best Male Comedy Performer in 2007. The series received the British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy in 2008, as well as the National Television Award for Most Popular Comedy Programme in 2010. Corden also starred in the British television series Fat Friends from 2000 to 2005, which earned him a nomination for the 2000 Royal Television Society Award for Network Newcomer on Screen. In 2011, Corden had a recurring role in the popular BBC science fiction series Doctor Who as Craig Owens, the Doctor's roommate.
Corden, as illustrated above, is clearly a modern-day renaissance man, taking his multi-dimensional talents to various roles on the big screen, including Into the Woods with Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, and Emily Blunt, Begin Again with Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo, The Three Musketeers with Orlando Bloom, Gulliver's Travels with Jack Black, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People with Jeff Bridges, and The History Boys with Dominic Cooper.
On stage, Corden attracted international attention as the lead in the hit comedic play One Man, Two Guvnors, which he first performed in The National Theatre and the West End in London, and then on Broadway. His performance on Broadway garnered him the 2012 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play. His additional theater credits include the worldwide tour of The History Boys in the role of Timms, which he also played in the feature film adaptation.
Over the course of his career, Corden has additionally been awarded the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award for Comedy Writer of the Year, the South Bank Show Award for Comedy, the TRIC Award for Best Comedy, and the National Television Award for Best Comedy.
Anna Faris (Jailbreak) stars in the CBS hit comedy Mom opposite Allison Janney. Anna Faris Is Unqualified, the top-ranking weekly comedy podcast that she launched in 2015, finds her interacting with celebrity guests and offering relationship advice to listeners' questions. Faris will publish her memoir Unqualified (Dutton) later this year.
Faris has executive produced and starred in the feature films The House Bunny and What's Your Number. In the hit film The House Bunny, Faris starred as the leading role of Shelley Darlington, a Playboy Bunny who is kicked out of the mansion and tries to adjust to life on the outside. The project was hatched from an original idea by Faris and she collaborated with the writers of Legally Blonde on the script. Recently, Faris starred as the female lead opposite Sasha Baron Cohen in Paramount's The Dictator. She will next star in MGM's remake of Overboard.
Faris co-starred in the Oscar® nominated film Lost in Translation, alongside Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, for director Sofia Coppola. The critically acclaimed box-office hit earned Faris rave reviews. She also appeared in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 where she reprised her animated role as "Sam Sparks" from the original box office hit Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Faris' additional feature films include I Give It a Year, Observe & Report, Brokeback Mountain for director Ang Lee, Smiley Face for director Gregg Araki, Yogi Bear, Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Take Me Home Tonight, Mama's Boy, Just Friends, Waiting, Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel, and Scary Movie, Scary Movie 2, Scary Movie 3, and Scary Movie 4.
On television, Faris has had memorable recurring roles on Entourage as Herself and on the final season of Friends, playing a surrogate mother to Monica and Chandler's adopted baby.
Originally from Seattle, Faris started acting in the theatre at a young age. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
Maya Rudolph (Smiler) is an Emmy-Nominated actress, who has established herself as a captivating, versatile performer across comedy, drama and music.
Rudolph is most widely known for her turn on NBC's Saturday Night Live, where she was one of the show's regular players for over seven years, as well as her various television projects and film appearances. Since her debut on SNL in 2000, Rudolph's memorable portrayals included Oprah Winfrey, Whitney Houston, Donatella Versace and Beyoncé as well as such recurring sketches as "Wake Up Wakefield" and "Bronx Beat."
Up next, Rudolph lends her voice to The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature. Rudolph returns to voice Precious.
Rudolph recently wrapped production on Ben Falcone's Life of the Party alongside Melissa McCarthy. Warner Bros. is set to release the film May 11, 2018. Additionally, she lent her voice to Netflix's upcoming animated comedy series Big Mouth alongside Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jordan Peele, Fred Armisen and Jenny Slate. Netflix is set to release the series in 2017. Finally, Rudolph recently joined Terry Crews, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski and Sean Cullen in the voice cast of The Willoughbys, based on Lois Lowry's popular book of the same name.
In Summer 2016, Rudolph starred in her variety show Maya and Marty alongside Martin Short. Executive producer Lorne Michaels and NBC produced alongside Rudolph and Short. She also lent her voice to Sony Pictures' The Angry Birds Movie, released last summer. Additionally, she appeared as Deborah in Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone's Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.
Also in 2016, Rudolph starred alongside Danny Glover in Diego Luna's Mr. Pig. The film tells the story of an elderly pig farmer and his estranged daughter who go on a road trip from Southern California to the Jalisco region of West-Central Mexico. The film premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. For her role in the film, Rudolph was nominated for a 2017 Ariel Award for Best Actress.
In 2015, Rudolph appeared in the hit comedy movie Sisters opposite Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Released on December 18, 2015 by Universal Pictures and written by Paula Pell, Rudolph played Brinda, the frenemy of Tina's character.
Rudolph created and starred in her well-received comic-variety show special The Maya Rudolph Show, which aired on NBC on May 19, 2014. The special was executive produced by Lorne Michaels and debuted with 7.23 million viewers.
Additional film credits include: The Spoils Before Dying opposite Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell; Disney's animated feature Big Hero 6 alongside Jamie Chung and T.J. Miller; Paul Thomas Anderson's crime-drama Inherent Vice alongside Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin and Owen Wilson; Jim Rash and Nat Faxon's directorial debut The Way, Way Back; the family comedy Grown Ups 2 alongside Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, and David Spade; and the animated comedies The Nut Job and Turbo, for which she was nominated for a Black Reel Award for her vocal performance as Burn.
As a master in the art of comedy, Rudolph starred in Paul Feig's comedy Bridesmaids alongside Kristen Wiig, which grossed nearly $300 million worldwide and garnered numerous accolades. In addition to being nominated for two Academy Awards®, Bridesmaids was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and won the the 2011 AFI Film Award for AFI Movie of the Year, the 2012 Critics Choice Movie Award for Best Comedy Movie, the 2012 People's Choice Award for Favorite Comedy Movie, and Comedy Central's 2012 Comedy Award for Best Film.
Academy Award® winner Steven Wright (Mel Meh) is a prototype comedian that many others continually try to follow. One of four children, Wright was raised in Burlington, MA. Upon graduating from Emerson College and holding a bevy of odd jobs, he attended an "open mike" audition and became a regular performer at Ding Ho's Comedy Club and Chinese Restaurant in Cambridge, MA.
It was during this time that Wright got his big break and was booked for his first Tonight Show appearance on Friday, August 6, 1982. The king of late night enjoyed the performance so much he invited Wright to appear again the following Thursday, a rarity on The Tonight Show. His back-to-back appearances helped put his fledgling career into high gear. The comic soon found himself performing his off-beat routines on Saturday Night Live, Late Night with David Letterman, and numerous trips back to The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Wright expanded his comedy career to include comedy albums, film and television appearances. His 1985 debut album, I Have a Pony, earned him a Grammy nomination. In 1985, he starred in his first HBO Special, A Steven Wright Special. In 1989, Wright co-wrote and starred in The Appointments of Dennis Jennings, which was honoured with the Academy Award® for Best Short Film. Other stars of the film included Roseanne's Laurie Metcalf and British comedian Rowan Atkinson. In September 1990, Wright starred in his second stand-up special for HBO, called Wicker Chairs and Gravity. The special included stand-up from The Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto and a short film shot on location in New York and New Jersey.
Wright has been seen in numerous films, including Desperately Seeking Susan, Mike Meyers' So I Married An Axe Murderer, Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers, and Nora Ephron's Mixed Nuts. He was the voice of the DJ K-Billy in Reservoir Dogs and starred with John Cleese and Jack Palance in New Line's animated film The Swan Princess as the voice of Speed, the turtle. Wright also appeared as a sitcom actor in MGM's Speechless with Harry Shearer, and as a Mountie in the MGM release Canadian Bacon, opposite the late John Candy.
In 1999, Wright played a guest starring role in Albert Brooks' film The Muse starring Brooks, Sharon Stone, Andie MacDowell, and Jeff Bridges. In 1998, he played a supporting role in Dave Chappelle's Half-Baked and was a featured voice in Babe: Pig in the City.
He wrote, directed and starred in the 1999 short film One Soldier, the story of a man obsessed with the unanswerable questions in life. The film was screened at numerous film festivals and can be seen on the Independent Film Channel.
Wright was also seen in the Jim Jarmusch film Coffee and Cigarettes and the film The Aristocrats.
In October of 2006, Wright premiered the hour special, When the Leaves Blow Away, on Comedy Central. The special was released on DVD in April 2006 and includes Steven's 1999 short film One Soldier and a segment of a 1988 performance at a Boston comedy club.
Wright's second CD, I Still Have a Pony, was released by Comedy Central Records on September 25, 2007. The CD earned Wright his second Grammy Award nomination for Best Comedy Album.
Wright was honored as the first inductee into The Boston Comedy Hall of Fame on December 15, 2008. The ceremony included performances by legendary Boston comedians Tony V, Don Gavin, Lenny Clarke, Kenny Rogerson, Steve Sweeney, Mike Donovan, Barry Crimmins, Mike McDonald and Fran Solomita.
On June 2, 2009, Warner Bros. Records re-released Wright's groundbreaking, Grammy nominated first CD, I Have a Pony, packaged with Wright's first HBO special, A Steven Wright Special on DVD, part of Warner Bros. Records' 50th anniversary celebration.
On June 15, 2013 Wright received The Johnny Carson Comedy Legend Award. The award is given each year to a celebrated comedian who has been influenced by Carson in some way and has left his or her own mark on the comedy world. In past years, award recipients have included Dick Cavett, Cloris Leachman and Ed Asner.
Wright was nominated for an Emmy Award as a producer on the 2014 season of the hit FX series Louie and continued as a producer for the 2015 season. He guest-starred in two episodes of Louie in 2015 and 2011 and can be seen in Louis CK's critically-acclaimed and Peabody winning web series Horace and Pete.
Wright is a regular guest with Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, and Seth Meyers, and continues touring the U.S., Canada and overseas.
Beloved as "Stifler's Mom" in the American Pie franchise for Universal, Jennifer Coolidge (Mary Meh) currently stars on CBS's hit comedy Two Broke Girls. Coolidge can also be seen in Austenland, which premiered at Sundance and was released by Sony Pictures Classics in Fall 2013. She has also appeared in Disney's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day alongside Steve Carrell, Gentlemen Broncos, as the repressed "Judith," and the Werner Herzog-directed Bad Lieutenant, for which she scored critical acclaim for her dramatic performance opposite Nicolas Cage. Coolidge also appeared in the recent Christopher Guest directed Netflix feature, Mascots.
Jake T. Austin (Alex) has showcased his talent across the entertainment industry from the small screen to the big screen. Best known for his portrayal of Max Russo on Disney Channel's Emmy-award winning series Wizards of Waverly Place, Austin played the youngest of three wizards from 2007-2012 before appearing on the series finale to an audience of a record-breaking 9.8 million viewers. The hit show then returned to Disney Channel for a one-hour TV reunion special, The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex. Austin has also starred in Freeform's The Fosters, portraying the role of Jesus Foster, a fraternal twin who's adopted into the family of a mixed-race lesbian couple, and has showcased his dramatic side with a guest role on NBC's Law & Order: SVU, playing the boyfriend of a girl whose family has been massacred. Additionally, he guest-starred on an episode of Lifetime's hit series Drop Dead Diva, playing a 16-year-old multimillionaire CEO and video game designer.
On the big screen, Austin has proven his talent through numerous roles in hit films, including Garry Marshall's New Year's Eve, starring opposite Abigail Breslin and Sarah Jessica Parker, and Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, starring as Huck. Austin's other film credits include Hotel for Dogs opposite Emma Roberts, the indie drama Grantham & Rose and his first live-action feature film The Perfect Game.
Expanding on his talent in front of the camera, Austin has lent his voice to several movies and television shows. Most widely recognized for his starring role as the voice of Diego in Nickelodeon's Go, Diego, Go!, his voice can also be heard in films, including Rio and Rio 2, Khumba, Everyone's Hero and The Ant Bully.
A driven and talented young actor, Austin is equally committed to using his public profile to raise awareness for those less fortunate and has supported the Ronald McDonald House in New York and was its first-ever Youth Spokesperson. He was honored at Variety's 2013 Power of Youth for this significant contribution. When Austin isn't acting, you can find him in New York where he resides with his family.
Singer, songwriter, performer, producer, director and actress - is there anything Christina Aguilera (Akiko Glitter) hasn't done? One of the most accomplished performers of the last decade, she has sold more than 43 million albums worldwide, achieved four #1 singles on the Billboard hot 100 chart, and has won six Grammy Awards, as well as three top five albums in the United States. She has collaborated with other legendary artists including Herbie Hancock, Andrea Bocelli, Tony Bennett, Elton John and The Rolling Stones. Aguilera was also the only artist under 30 to make Rolling Stone Magazine's list of 100 greatest singers of all time and was named one of Time Magazine's Most Influential People in 2013.
The New York native's trajectory from performing in local talent shows in Pennsylvania, where she grew up, to getting her big break on Star Search in 1992 to landing a part on the Disney Channel's The New Mickey Mouse Club, is well known. It was her song, Reflection, for Disney's Mulan, that led to a record deal with RCA and the release of her self-titled debut album in the summer of 1999. The album quickly hit #1 on the strength of its first dance/pop single Genie In A Bottle (which dominated the charts for five weeks and broke records worldwide) and other chart toppers, including What A Girl Wants and Come on Over. She has gone on to win multiple awards, including Grammy Awards for Best New Artist, Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, to name a few. Among countless other honours, she is also the recipient of a 2001 Latin Grammy Award for Mi Reflejo (Best Female Pop Vocal Album), a 2000 Billboard Music Award for Female Artist of the Year, and two 2004 Rolling Stone Music Awards (Best Female Performer, Readers' Pick; and Best Tour, Readers' Pick, "Justified and Stripped").
In 2010, Aguilera added a new role to her list of accomplishments, the role of actress. She starred in her first feature film, Burlesque, opposite Cher and Stanley Tucci, which earned a Golden Globe Nomination for her Original Song "Bound to You," which she co-wrote and performed.
In 2011, Aguilera made her way to television showcasing her mentoring side as she coached young hopefuls in the effort to beat out her fellow coaches on the NBC series The Voice. The show was an immediate success breaking television ratings records and winning multiple Emmy Awards.
In 2015, she made her way back to acting starring as Jade St. John in the ABC hit series Nashville. In addition, in 2017, she wrapped shooting Zoe starring Ewan McGregor.
World renowned as one of the funniest and sexiest stars today, Sofia Vergara (Flamenca) is an Emmy, Golden Globe® and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nominated actress. She can currently be seen as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in one of America's #1 comedies Modern Family, which was recently renewed for its ninth and tenth seasons on ABC. The show has been nominated for seven Emmy Awards in the Outstanding Comedy Series category and won in this category for five consecutive years. She won the 2017 People's Choice Award for Favourite TV Comedy Actress for her work on the show.
She will appear in James Oakley's comedy The Brits Are Coming alongside Crispin Glover, Ashley Williams, Uma Thurman and Parker Posey. The film follows a couple that flees from England to Los Angeles and hatches a jewel theft plot in an effort to avoid paying a massive gambling debt to a notorious mobster.
She will also soon be seen in the independent film The Female Brain, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Directed by Whitney Cummings, the film also stars Cummings, Alysia Reiner, James Marsden and Cecily Strong and is a romantic ensemble comedy about modern-day relationships.
Vergara recently wrapped production on Robert Moresco's Bent opposite Karl Urban and Andy Garcia. The film is a powerful action/suspense/thriller that follows a shamed and discredited narcotics detective who, upon his release from prison, makes plans to seek revenge on the accuser who framed him and killed his partner.
Vergara was last seen on the big screen opposite Reese Witherspoon in the buddy comedy Hot Pursuit for Warner Bros Studios. In addition to starring in the comedy, Vergara served as producer of the film. Other recent film appearances include starring opposite Woody Allen and Sharon Stone in John Turturro's Fading Gigolo as well as co-starring in Open Road Films' Chef with Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. and Simon West's Wild Card with Jason Statham. Both Fading Gigolo and Chef posted one of the year's best specialty box-office openings.
Vergara got her break in Disney's comedy Big Trouble and since then has starred in films such as The Smurfs, Happy Feet 2, New Year's Eve, Four Brothers, and Tyler Perry's box office sensations Meet The Browns and Madea Goes To Jail.
On stage in 2009, Vergara earned rave reviews when she debuted in the Broadway production of Chicago as Mama Morton.
In the Hispanic market, some of her past TV credits include Fuera de Serie as well as her special guest appearance on 2008's highest-rated Spanish-language soap opera, Fuego en la Sangre, on Univision (#1 U.S. Hispanic network). Additionally, she executive produced the Spanish version of Desperate Housewives. The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard have also named her one of the most talented and powerful women in Hispanic entertainment.
Sir Patrick Stewart (Poop) is one of the most acclaimed performers working today. His career includes numerous and varied roles on both the stage and big and small screens.
Stewart can currently be seen, once again, as Professor Charles Xavier in the latest X-Men epic Logan, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival on February 17, 2017 and opened in theaters on March 3, 2017. Stewart created the role in the first installment of the franchise in 2000 and has since played the role in seven of the X-Men films. He received rave reviews for his performance, perhaps his last in the series.
Next up on the big screen, Stewart recently wrapped production on Damian Harris' Wilde Wedding, starring opposite Glenn Close and John Malkovich, which is scheduled to release sometime this year.
Stewart was also recently seen in the thriller Green Room, directed by Jeremy Saulnier, in which he plays the leader of a Neo-Nazi group that imprisons a young punk band. The film played the Director's Fortnight at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews. A24 released the film in the US April 2016 and in the UK in May 2016.
On the small screen, Stewart was most recently seen playing Walter Blunt, a British import intent on conquering the world of American cable news in Blunt Talk, a half-hour comedy executive produced by Seth MacFarlane and Jonathan Ames. His performance earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy, as well as a Critics' Choice Award nomination. The show's second season aired last year.
Returning to the London stage, Stewart recently reunited with Sir Ian McKellen in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land, which they've previously performed at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California and on Broadway in Fall 2013. This was part of their Two Plays in Rep, which also included a reprisal of their production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, following their performance of that production to critical acclaim onLondon's West End in 2009. Directed by Sean Matthias, the Two Plays in Rep on Broadway earned stellar reviews and two extensions due to popular demand.
In 2014, Stewart starred in two very different roles - first as a past-his-prime dance instructor in Stephen Belber's Match, which premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and earned Stewart some of the best reviews of his career. He also reprised his role as Professor Charles Xavier in the huge summer blockbuster X-Men: Days of Future Past. This film joined the original cast, including Sir Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry, with the new cast, including James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender.
Perhaps best known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stewart has enjoyed a successful film and television career, earning Golden Globe, Emmy and SAG Award nominations. Screen appearances include King of Texas, Jeffrey, Dune, Excalibur, L.A. Story, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Conspiracy Theory, Extras (for which he earned an Emmy nomination), The Lion in Winter, I, Claudius, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. His vocal talents have been heard on The Simpsons, American Dad, and Family Guy, and as narrator of Seth MacFarlane's hit comedies, Ted and Ted 2.
On Broadway and West End stages, Stewart has also appeared in A Life in the Theatre, The Master Builder, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan and The Tempest. For his acclaimed solo production of A Christmas Carol, Stewart played over 40 characters, garnering an Olivier, Drama Desk and What's on Stage Award. For his performance in the title role of Macbeth, which he played at Chichester, London, BAM, and then on Broadway, he earned a Tony Award nomination and won the Best Actor Award in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.
Stewart is an Honorary Associate Artist with the RSC, having appeared in over 60 productions including, most recently, a 2008 production of Hamlet, opposite David Tennant, which earned him an Olivier Award, and 2005 repertory productions of Antony and Cleopatra and The Tempest. In 1978, he won an Olivier Award for his performance in Peter Brook's production of Antony and Cleopatra and was nominated for his role in The Merchant of Venice. He also appeared in the now legendary Peter Brook production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Additional recent credits include Edward Bond's Bingo at the Young Vic and Chichester Festival Theatre and as Shylock in a 2011 RSC production of "The Merchant of Venice," directed by Rupert Goold.
In the 2001 New Years' Honours list, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth conferred on Stewart the order of the Officer of the British Empire (O.B.E.), and in 2010 Stewart received a knighthood for his services to Drama. In March of 2017, Stewart was honored with the Empire Legend Award for his outstanding career achievements at the Empire Awards in London.