When we arrived at Skywalker Ranch a couple of weeks ago for the Strange Magic Event we really were not sure what to expect. What I didn’t expect was to walk into an open atrium area and have Elijah Kelley great each of us with hugs and open arms.
Talk about an amazing way to kick off a day. Here is an actor who is so open, genuine and friendly he walks around a room of 25 bloggers he has never met before giving hugs and taking selfies. We knew at this point that we were in for a real treat having the opportunity to interview Elijah Kelley. I honestly think in a few years his name is going to be seen all over movie posters.
His love for singing and acting was evident during our interview and while he was singing for us. YES He sang for us! I will share a video in a little bit of part of his performance. Hint …he is pretty darn amazing.
The movie Strange Magic was Elijah Kelley’s first voice over project. He told us that filming the voice of Sunny was a great workout. He would come out of the recording booth light headed and sweated from all of the energy he had to put into the character.
Elijah was asked if there are any themes in the movie that you relate to or think people will connect with?
I think that people will connect for fighting for what you love because as you can see 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 it’s so, the wiring of love is just so weird, you know, and the fact that people can go to the ends of the Earth to capture something like that is, you know, that’s very, very inspirational. And I think in a time like this where we are in the world, you know, it’s an animation, but the subject matter is universal and it’s timeless, you know?
Whether we’re talking about, a divide, in America or we’re talking about what’s going on over, you know, in Paris, not to be so serious but love eradicates a lot of those issues.
Elijah shared with us that his musical background began in the church. Both of his parents were in the ministry. He grew up singing in the church and when he moved to California he found a church to be a part of. He became friends with the musical director and they started playing together.
Elijah told us that he definitely put a little bit of swag and flavor into the roll of Sunny. He complimented the Director Gary Rydstrom for giving him the opportunity to improv a lot with the character.
We asked Elijah if there were other characteristics of himself he saw in Sunny and one of my favorite quotes of the day was…. You have to keep going through adversity!
Sunny doesn’t quit. I’ll tell you a bit of personal information. Over the Christmas holidays, both my laptops were stolen; hard drives were stolen, all of this stuff, and I had to do these police reports and everything, and literally everything that I have worked on in 2014 had seemingly vanished. And I had to sit down; still myself and you know, this is a quality about him. Once you understand that there’s a task at hand, you can’t stop until that task is finished. So throughout adversity, throughout trial, you have to keep going, and I think that’s something that Sunny carries.
What is it that you love working about- working with George Lucas?
I think George, this is the thing- I’m glad you asked that question because, you know, I never really get to tell him, but George is- George has surpassed, I think what we are on Earth. He’s become an idea. It’s like every time I come here, I get so inspired because everything that we’re sitting on, everything that we drove up on was spawned from an idea. And when you have 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.
So every time I’m around him, it reinvigorates the passion for art in me that it only takes one thing. It only takes one idea. It only takes one thought to pretty much change your universe, and that’s, that’s why I love working with him because I can, I’m constantly reminded of that. Thanks, George.
One of the sweetest and most inspiring portions of our interview was learning about the Elijah Kelley Foundation. Elijah is working to give opportunities for underprivileged kids in the arts. He is taking all of the kids from ages Kindergarten to 12th grade to see Strange Magic over the next few weekends in his home town.
His passion for helping kids and paying it forward was truly inspiring. He is also working on building a school of the arts.
I am telling you today that Elijah Kelley is a name we are going to see a lot more of in the future!
Oh wait I know you all want to see Elijah sing!
Check out this clip of Elijah singing my favorite song from Strange Magic!
Later this week we will be sharing our review of Strange Magic and next week we will be sharing our interview with Director Gary Rydstrom.