How a Pigeon in a Donald Trump Wig Totally Steals the Show in 'Storks'
By John Boone
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
Here is a list of actors who lend their voices to Storks: Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, playing storks and wolves and even some real-life people! But nearly every single scene is stolen by the nefarious pigeon in a "Trump wig," Pigeon Toady, voiced by a name you may not be familiar with yet: Stephen Kramer Glickman.
"When I got the role, my mom drove up to come meet me, and she brought me a present. She brought me a pigeon. An actual, live pigeon that she bought from a pigeon salesman on Craigslist," Glickman told ET by phone. "I go, 'Oh, that's very sweet of you, Mom. That's insane. You can keep the pigeon.' And she goes, 'At least take a picture with it!' We were in a parking garage and she pulls out the pigeon, hands it to me and it flew away. It flew away into the underground parking structure and then my mom, my little Jewish mother and I, chased this pigeon for four hours, while my mom is yelling at people, 'Help! Please help us catch this pigeon! My son's in a movie!'"
ET: How did you come up with Pigeon Toady's voice?
Stephen Kramer Glickman: It's a mix between my old roommate who was from Long Beach and Walter Cronkite. Whenever you have a character that's a bad guy, it's easy to go with the old-fashioned bad guy voice. The scary voice. But he's not a scary character. He's conniving and kind of a bad person -- or like, a bad bird. So, I thought mixing in a little bit of this Long Beach accent would be the most unintimidating voice that you can have. And then making that voice the bad guy is a reaaaally fun time.
Obviously that's not what your voice normally sounds like. [Note: Glickman naturally has a lovely, baritone speaking voice.] Did it ever hurt doing the voice? How long can you do the voice uninterrupted?
Oh, no! The voice is very easy. Literally, I used to make fun of my old roommate all the time and do his voice to him. I would actually sometimes take his phone and call his grandparents as him and tell them embarrassing things like, "Hey, me and this girl I just met decided we're going to get married. Hope you don't mind, grandma and grandpa!" And they'd be like, "Oh nooooo! [Cries] Oh no, noooo." I used to do that all the time. So, it's been kind of a voice I've been playing around with for a long time. I can do it for hours.
Did you have any say in Pigeon Toady's look or how it evolved over time?
I didn't have any say in his look, but the character did develop a lot with my involvement. Originally, he was in five scenes in the movie, and I think now he's in 25 scenes. So, the longer that I worked on it, the more that they would find little places to stick me in or they'd get inspired by some silly thing that I did. But what's great is Nick Stoller and Doug Sweetland are both big, genius directors, but Nick Stoller is a phenomenal, phenomenal comedy writer. So, anything that he would ask me to do or try to do was just a pleasure. And sometimes you would see the art come back and Pigeon Toady would be in a different wig, or he'd have different weird hair. And then they settled on this hair that people are referring to as like, Trump hair. And it just stuck.
That was two years ago when they made the decision that the hair was going to look like that. He had different color hair, like maybe a bowl cut. I don't think he ever had anything cool. I don't think there was any Mohawk Pigeon Toady. But I think this was just the funniest hair. And I'd love a sequel where we get to see other people in his family, like Pigeon Toady's parents and older brothers and stuff and they all have different haircuts. That would be hysterical.
Yeah! Pitch me your Pigeon Toady sequel. What's happening?
C'mon! A Pigeon Toady TV show? Every hour of the day, I'd watch that show. I think he'd just be trying to steal different jobs at different companies. You know what would be the greatest thing ever is do an Undercover Boss but with Pigeon Toady, just trying, [Pigeon Toady voice] "Aww, I'm just trying to fit in! I'm just a regular employee!" That stuff kills me. How do they not know it's the boss?! How do they not know who the guy is? [Laughs] He's wearing a mustache!
You're the clear the scene stealer of Storks. Can you reveal your secrets and give me the Stephen Kramer Glickman course on how to steal a scene?
That's very sweet of you to say that. I've been on the project for almost three years! It's crazy. I was actually a scratch vocalist on the movie, so I was like a rough draft voice in the beginning and they showed me a drawing of a pigeon whose eyes were kind of half open and they were like, "He's kind of a bad guy, but he's also a little bit of a weirdo and he's trying really hard to be the most powerful bird on Stork Mountain." Which is ridiculous, because he's a pigeon. And I was like, "Oh, I totally know who this is."
I feel like he's a very ridiculous character, and I think it's a lot of people having a really fun time together, trying to make this character the most ridiculous thing in the film. There was always a lot of laughing. I would walk by the editing room where they would be cutting this, and it's just a bunch of grown men laughing and trying to find the most ridiculous cut possible. They kept everything that we did, like 90 percent of the funny stuff that we recorded ended up in the project. And that's all Nick Stoller doing that! And also, I got to give credit where credit is due, I know Phil Lord and Christopher Miller both really championed me for this part and pushed with the studio to keep me in the part after they replaced the scratch actors on the movie with like, Kelsey Grammer and Key and Peele and all these other amazing, wonderful people. Having Lord and Miller and [producer] Brad Lewis and Nick Stoller and these guys fighting for you to keep your part is a huge, huge deal. And I think that's the reason why the character steals a lot of scenes, is because he had a lot of people fighting for it.
And now you're in a movie with Jennifer Aniston!
Yes, I am! From Big Time Rush to Storks, that's a pretty big leap!
Speaking of Lord and Miller, the Storks poster declares that it is "From the Studio That Delivered The Lego Movie." How would you pitch Storks to fans of The Lego Movie?
I think the reason that people loved The Lego Movie so much is because the comedy was fantastic -- it was really, really funny -- but also, it was heartwarming and there were some really great, warm-hearted moments in the film that people weren't expecting. I think it's the same thing with this film, where we're not trying to break your heart in this movie. We're trying to warm your heart and put it back together. When you watch it, you don't walk away from it crying, but you do walk away from the film feeling like, "Oh wow! There is good in the world!"