5 things you need to know about ‘Sing’

(Photo courtesy TIFF)
While the mysteries of “Sing” have been relatively well guarded thus far, we can report that the latest from Illumination Entertainment (“Despicable Me,” “Minions”) revolves around an “American Idol”-style singing competition in a struggling theatre. This is the result of a brainwave from theatre proprietor Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), a koala who decides that audiences are hungry for “real talent from real life.” 

A case could be made that the film’s singing and speaking animals are a far cry from reality, but just about everything else in “Sing” is rooted in the real world. If that’s all you know about this much-anticipated new animated feature—which premieres at TIFF on Sunday Sept. 11th—here are five more things you need to know about “Sing.”

1. The director’s in unfamiliar territory

Best known for directing “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and “Son of Rambow,” British director Garth Jennings returns from a nine-year hiatus with his first animated feature. While that may sound like a big risk after a long break, Jennings has spent much of the intervening decade in Paris, hard at work on “Sing.”

2. A solid track record

The company behind “Sing” (Illumination Entertainment) is relatively new, but they have already established a stellar track record. All six of the company’s previous features have been massive hits, particularly last year’s “Minions” and the two “Despicable Me” movies that preceded it.

3. The soundtrack is sprawling

According to early estimates, “Sing” features more than 85 songs, plucked from the last 75 years in music history. Among these tracks, you can expect a mix of recent hits (Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” Nicky Minaj’s “Anaconda,” Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”) and vintage favourites (The Zombies’ “The Way I Feel Inside,” Bananarama’s “Venus,” Seal’s “A Kiss from a Rose”).

4. All-star animals

Unwilling to settle for just any voice talent, Jennings has pulled together an all-star cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, Leslie Jones, Matthew McConaughey, Seth MacFarlane, John C. Reilly, and Reese Witherspoon.

5. Matthew McConaughey is infectiously optimistic

When it came time to decide who would play the film’s koala protagonist, Jennings knew Matthew McConaughey had the crucial ingredient: positivity. 

“I knew we needed somebody who could be incredibly optimistic,” he said. “To the point of it being infectious, but without it being irritating—with it being genuinely, infectiously optimistic.”
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