The Mrs. Carter Show, Charity Auction
Beyoncé Performs at The Mrs. Carter Show in Berlin, Germany (May 23)
Jay-Z and Beyonce
The first couple of music is tight with the first couple of the United States. The superstars hosted a fund-raiser for President Obama during his re-election campaign last fall, and Beyoncé later performed the national anthem at January’s inauguration. The couple’s April trip to Cuba was investigated by the U.S. Treasury Department, after lawmakers raised questions about the legality of the visit (the controversy was overblown — the anniversary trip was pre-approved). Jay-Z is on tour with Justin Timberlake this summer, where he’s taking home an estimated $100,000 per show, and Beyoncé kicked off her 65-date world tour a couple of weeks ago.
Besides sporting one of the most epic story lines of the summer, animated or otherwise, Blue Sky’s “epic” also lays claim to one of the most epic vocal casts around. So it’s properly named.
If the film merely boasted Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Jason Sudekis, Pitbull, Collin Ferrell, and Steven Tyler, it would be impressive in its own right.
But what pushes the vocal cast of “epic” beyond really good and into the realm of epic?
Two words: Beyoncé Knowles. (Actually, we probably could have narrowed it down to one word and you would have known who we were talking about, but that’s how she’s billed.)
In her first ever voiceover gig, Knowles steps up to the mike as Queen Tara, the royal highness of the microscopic Leaf Men, protectors of the natural world who wage war with Mandrake (Waltz) and his evil henchman, who are bent on the destruction of all things green. So you can see why the Leaf Men need a leader as strong as The Queen B.
We recently spoke on the phone with “epic” director Chris Wedge – the Oscar winner behind “Ice Age” (2002) and “Robots” (2005) – about helping Knowles find her animated voice in this “old school classic adventure movie.”
“Beyonce, as it turns out, is quite a soulful person, and was able to carry the emotional content that her role required pretty easily,” said Wedge. “Up close and personal she’s a very committed and focused person. She was a little timid when she first walked up to the microphone to do acting and not singing, but as soon as she got past that she was really able to reach right in and get what the role required emotionally.”
Though Wedge may have been surprised by Knowles’s initially timidity, he wasn’t surprised by her passion. “As I thought about it, she probably pours her heart into her singing, and this wasn’t much difference, she just poured it into these lines.”
Being a mom and one of the biggest stars on the planet, Knowles obviously has a lot going on, but when she gets down to work, she’s focused and committed. “She’s hard to get on the phone, but once you get her in the room, she’s all yours,” said Wedge. “We didn’t have to go for many adjustments. She gave us a really strong performance in the first session and we used a lot of that for the scenes we recorded that day.”
Though Wedge is used to working with big names, we asked if he was intimidated by working with a name as big as Beyoncé’s. “It’s tough to be intimated by her. Her bodyguard’s pretty intimidating, he’s about seven feet tall, but he’s a nice guy.”
While working with Beyoncé is a big deal, it’s only small part of creating the immense little world of “epic”.
“We worked on this movie for four years. And the voice acting is a part of it, but it’s only a part of it. Every character is a collaboration of designing, and animating, and all sorts of effects that we have to apply to make the character’s hair move, and clothes move, and make skin look like skin, and blah blah blah…,” said Wedge, intimating that there’s a whole lot more involved.
But he had us at Beyoncé.
“epic” opens nationwide this weekend.
Highlights from next month’s Sound of Change Live concert in London, promoting improved education, health and justice for women and girls around the world, will be televised by NBC as a two-hour special.
The special, titled The Women’s Concert for Change: Live from London, will air from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, June 2, one day after the concert will be held at Twickenham Stadium.
The lineup includes Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Ellie Goulding and Florence + the Machine. Madonna, James Franco and Salma Hayek Pinault will be among the presenters at the event, which will be presented by Gucci’s Chime for Change.
In addition, Ben Affleck, Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts and other celebrities will make appearances in PSAs that will air during the NBC special.
Queen Beyoncé is nominated at this year’s Teen Choice. She is nominated for ‘Choice R&B Artist’ against Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars, Miguel and Trey Songz. In order to win the award, you have to vote Beyoncé at www.teenchoiceawards.com right now!
TEEN CHOICE 2013 will be airing live Sunday, August 11 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX.
Choice R&B Artist
Alicia Keys Bruno Mars Miguel Trey Songz
Beyoncé Performs at The Mrs. Carter Show in Munich, Germany (May 22)
Beyoncé continues to collaborate and expand her reach.
In celebration of The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, dress rental site Rent the Runway announced today it has partnered with the superstar for a special Beyoncé Boutique.
On a special page, Rentherunway.com/Beyonce, you can browse a selection of dresses hand-picked by Queen Bey.
They are not gowns along the lines of her amazing Met gala getup. These are short and sparkly party dresses. Prices are mostly $50 and $75, although one Moschino gold damask mini carries a rental price tag of $400.
“Making women feel confident and beautiful is something I’ve always been passionate about. That’s why joining forces with Rent the Runway was so organic, says Beyoncé in the announcement. “It’s more than just access to beautiful clothes; it’s about making women look and feel their best.”