RIO 2 Opens in Theaters: Interview with Carlos Saldanha


carlos saldanha

RIO 2 opened in theaters across the country this weekend to sell-out crowds and kids ready for sun and fun. Last week, my daughters and I had the unique opportunity of interviewing the Rio 2 director, Carlos Saldanha after attending a screening of the movie a couple of days before.

While other interviewers were going after pieces focusing on Saldanha’s environmental bent towards climate change awareness and tree hugging tendencies to his desire to share his Brazilian heritage with the world, we decided to find out what a director might be able to share with another budding film director, my daughter, and to get a verbal peek behind the scenes of the production process in general.

Sitting at the end of the conference table, Saldanha was very gracious as my daughter peppered him with all sorts of questions and even shared some cell-phone footage of various musicians in the sound booth filling the space with their passionate gestures as their sounds were captured and translated into animation by the next stage of artists.

For school, it was important to my daughter to note that Saldanha attended the MFA program at New York’s School of Visual Arts, where he graduated with honors in 1993, after completing two animated shorts, “The Adventures of Korky, the Corkscrew” (1992) and “Time For Love” (1993).

When my daughter asked Saldanha about getting started, he said that you can attend a lot of great colleges but it’s what you do with what you have available to you that matters, after sharing how many fellow students did not use all the resources they could have in the program he attended despite great teachers and great labs. Saldanha shared that deciding which direction to go is about what you truly want to do. He chose to pursue animation and loved the field after originally getting a computer science degree.

Every time we go to an interview like this, I justify the time it takes out of my schedule because of how excited my daughter is to learn about a craft that takes a unique blend of training, talent and genius to craft a fun movie that kids and parents can enjoy.

My daughter asked Saldanha how you go about achieving that balance to reach multi-generational audiences. Answering her, he said he makes movies he can enjoy too and has fun watching, naming Gaby the frog as one of his favorite characters in Rio 2. He also shared how Nigel’s character got darker and darker as they progressed and he had to lighten up the scenes so it could work. All of these decisions are what make a movie take on a life of its own as the project progresses over what typically takes 3 years to complete.

Saldanha obviously enjoyed the process and you see his passion infusing into the whole process when you watch the film, which in my opinion actually outshines the first one with vast Amazon scenery and song incorporating all the elements of the diverse jungle that it is.

Carlos Saldanha is a Brazilian director of animated films who works with Blue Sky Studios. He was the director of Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Rio, and the co-director of Ice Age and Robots.


It’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids after they’re hurtled Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all: his father-in-law. By Twentieth Century Fox

The Official Trailer:


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