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'Rio 2' director Carlos Saldanha discusses creating sequel to blockbuster hit

'Rio 2' co-writer/director Carlos Saldanha
Photo by Moses Robinson

In Philadelphia on Wednesday for the press tour of "Rio 2," director Carlos Saldanha shared his excitement in making the sequel and the amount of work it takes to bring various elements together, including attracting top-notch talent such as Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Andy Garcia, Jamie Foxx, Will.I.Am, Bruno Mars, and Janelle Monae who sings the infectious opening number "What is Love."

When asked how he came up with the multi-themed storyline for the sequel Saldanha shared, "Well it’s interesting because when we start, we have all these ideas. But then we start to make the movie, and I go well now the movie has to be three hours long! And for me it always has to be (told) through the main character and that’s how we narrowed it down."

He further elaborated that he wanted the main character Blu and his family to experience a journey. "It was about them going to the Amazon and finding their family, and finding themselves as they do it." Included in their journey was Saldanha's vision of them having a mission "to save the environment; but also to learn how to live together with more of their kind. And with that, that’s how the other stories came together."

Saldanha compared intertwining elements of the story to "puzzle work," as he discussed other stories like the revenge plot of villian Nigel, voiced by Jemaine Clement, whom he gave a special storyline. "I felt he deserved a parallel story, which (included) a poisonous frog. Then I made it connect so they could use this evil plan (the frog) to destroy Blu. At one point, the story was more complicated. He (Nigel) was planning on kidnapping one of Blu's kids (to blackmail him). And it became this “House of Cards” kind of thing! But with the evolution of the story, you simplify and streamline things, while working (keeping the basic) elements of the story."

A visual marvel, with a fun soundtrack, "Rio 2" opens in theaters this Friday. Go to the official website at to get additional information about the film.

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