“Everyone’s going to fall in love with Sunny”…
That’s what Rayne, the interview lead said to Elijah Kelley as he sat down to chat about his role in LucasFilm’s Strange Magic (in theaters January 23rd).
Elijah looked down, laughed and said “that’s very weird. I can’t take compliments”.
After seeing his performance in Strange Magic – and in PERSON (more on that) – he needs to learn to start taking them.
Elijah Kelley has been best known (so far) as the lovable Seaweed in 2007’s John Waters’ remake of Hairspray, but that’s all going to change soon.
The #StrangeMagicEvent bloggers got the opportunity to not only meet with Elijah to discuss his character Sunny, but we also got to hear him perform a medley/mashup of two amazing songs from Strange Magic – Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” and “Say Hey (I Love You)”, from Michael Franti & Spearhead. I gotta tell you – Elijah lit up the 300-seat theater with not only his voice and dance moves, but his overall presence!
After seeing his sparkling performance he sat right down to talk about Sunny and why he took the role. Without giving too much away about what Sunny does and why:
I’ve never done a voiceover so it was a little bit of a challenge because, you see he’s hyper and super into everything that he always does, so I thought that it was gonna be so easy; I thought it was gonna be a piece of cake, but I would go in there and guarantee you, I would leave, like, lightheaded and sweaty from all the running [around]. It was like P90X. But bringing it to life and understanding the world that Sunny lives in, I see him sort of the nucleus of trying to get everything together and trying to save the day – and messing up the day – it’s a lot like me.
I’m not entirely sure what he means when he says he messes things up, but I do see that Elijah has a soft heart and really strives to be a good person.
I think that people will connect for fighting for what you love because as you can see that everybody goes through a lot of trouble to be able to grasp the love of their life, and I think that love is so complicated. I think that the wiring of love is just so weird, and the fact that people can go to the ends of the Earth to capture something like that – that’s very, very inspirational. The subject matter is universal and it’s timeless. Whether we’re talking a divide in America or we’re talking about what’s going on over in Paris, love eradicates a lot of those issues.
Elijah went on to talk about his favorite songs in Strange Magic – the movie uses several popular songs spanning multiple generations:
Well, my favorite song- actually my favorite song in Strange Magic isn’t there anymore. Well, maybe if we get a sequel, we can put it in there. Can we blog hashtag sequel? Um, no, it was a, it was a song, it was a song called “Hold On, I’m Coming” (Sam and Dave soul classic). But my favorite song in the movie is not even a full song. It’s when the little birdies,sing Gotcha Looking So Crazy Right Now (Beyonce). That’s, like, seriously my favorite part.
Did you hear that Lucasfilm? ELIJAH WANTS A SEQUEL! And honestly, so do I.. Elijah’s background has always been music. He talked about growing up in Georgia and performing in his church:
I grew up in a small town called LaGrange, Georgia. It’s about forty-five minutes south of Atlanta, right on the Georgia/Alabama line. I grew up in church all my life. My mom was in ministry; my dad was in ministry, we had a traveling singing group that we go all around the southeast to different churches and would just sing and congregate, and that’s actually how I met the guitarist (who played today) was when I first moved out here in 2005 or 2006, I came here, I found a church, and I was like, I wanna keep playing drums. So I played drums at this church for a year and a half and he was the music director.
Hey look who I found at #skywalkerranch #strangemagicevent @oneelijahkelley #voiceofsunny A photo posted by @mommywants on
Elijah was given a lot of creative license in his role and giving some “swag” to the elves:
They were so gracious in allowing you bring the character to life in your way. The funny thing was, the first time I came up here all the elves in the forest – everybody looked the same – they were little white elves. And I was like, okay, somebody’s gonna have to get some tanning lotion put in a super soaker and just spray everybody.
So when that happened, it just like you wanna put a little flavor in there, little swag in there; I think Sunny has that.
Elijah worked with George Lucas on the World War II epic Red Tails and finds George inspiring:
I never really get to tell him, but George has surpassed, I think what we are on Earth. He’s become an idea. It’s like every- every time I come here, I get so inspired because everything that we’re sitting on, everything that we drove up (at Skywalker Ranch) on was spawned from an idea. And when you have an idea that you’re convicted about, and you can change the world from that idea, you don’t stray away from it, and you dedicate your life to that idea.
Be sure to go see Strange Magic in theaters Friday (Jan 23rd)! Come back here to tell me what you thought or use hashtag #StrangeMagic on Twitter!
*As part of the #StrangeMagicEvent blog team I got the opportunity to do some awesome things courtesy of Disney. All opinions are my own.