Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - Anna Faris and Bill Hader
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) with Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) © Columbia Pictures
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Anna Faris voices
Anna Faris voices “Sam Sparks”

A consummate comedienne, Anna Faris recently co-starred with Seth Rogen in the black comedy Observe & Report, and has appeared in The Bunny House and all four of the Scary Movie franchise. In Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs she voices the character of Sam Sparks, an enthusiastic intern at the Weather News Network who dreams of becoming a TV weather reporter.

She gets her big break when she exclusively reports on one of the biggest weather stories in history – a cheeseburger rain! Everything goes well, until she foresees unexpected and frightening food storms in the forecast.

You are very bright, but you play these roles that are a little less than bright. In this film, Sam Sparks is hiding her intelligence. Could you identify with her at all?

No ‘cause she was really smart! It was really fun to have that reversal. Normally, you have the nerdy girl become hot and cool, and it was fun to flip that on its head, a little bit.

Thematically, I guess it’s a little sad that she feels the need to suppress that. But, I had a blast doing it. I thought it was just going to be a total cake walk. I was like, “It’s an animated movie, it’ll be easy, easy, easy.” But, no. It was so hard.

Why was it hard?

Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) with Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) © Columbia Pictures

It was hard early on, we didn’t have any animation to work with, so they would describe the scene and say something like, “Sam’s walking.

Now, she’s hopping from one fry to the next, through a river of hot, boiling oil, so make that noise.”

Did you get a chance to ad-lib things at all?

Their vision was so specific. A lot of times, as you go further along in the animated process, you’re locked into whatever your line is. But, I felt a little bit like I was in over my head. I didn’t feel like, “Oh, I’m in complete control of this.”

It’s not like I didn’t feel comfortable in front of (writer/directors) Chris [Miller] and Phil [Lord], in terms of ad-libbing, but I just felt like the whole process was like, “Oh, man, I don’t know what I’m even doing here.”

Do you think about the characters you play in an animated movie, the same way you would about any other character?

Manny (Benjamin Bratt) and Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) &Copy; Columbia Pictures

Like with all movies, unless you’re directing it, you attempt to find what the tone and the balance is. This one presented a different challenge with that.

For the scene where my character goes into anaphylactic shock and she’s yelling, trying to save Flint, sometimes they would say things like, “Okay, that was good, when you delivered that line, but this time, actually be sincere. You actually are scared. That was too funny and broad.”

You just don’t know exactly what’s happening, until you see more of the animation.

What did you like about the character?

What I liked about playing her was that she’s feisty and frustrated. They really had a specific character. Sometimes you play a character and you have no idea what the character is like, and the character is just serving other characters softballs, or something.

But, this was great, and I love the way she looks. And, I liked that she had hips.

Was there anything in the movie that talks to kids, that you specifically liked?

I love the father-son relationship. It’s so moving. And, I love the idea of embracing your passions and interests with pride. Especially right now, in this place that we’re at in the world, there is this idea of excess, greed and gluttony.

I love that the movie has more than one theme to it.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter. More by Judy Sloane