Preview: 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2'

Sony Pictures

Food has mutated and turned Swallow Falls into a delicious-yet-dangerous jungle of doom in the sequel to the surprise animated hit Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and ETonline got a sneak-peek taste of the new movie, in theaters September 27.

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Cloudy 2 stars Bill Hader, Anna Faris and Benjamin Bratt, along with co-directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, unveiled brand-new footage from the upcoming 3D, CGI-animated adventure-comedy, and they revealed that although making an animated movie traditionally is considered easy for the actors (hey, they just show up in their pajamas and read lines, right?), the detailed process is actually anything but that.

"There's so much uncertainty in [making an animated movie], all you're just going with is your gut instinct as you try to mine the funny," says Bratt, who considers it harder than being on stage or screen because the chemistry between actors working in the same space can be missing. "We're always looking for the funny, and you're never really sure until they assemble it together. It's this really complex, interesting puzzle and, at the end of the day, if it gets laughs then you know it rings true. It's really cool."

"My favorite part is seeing the end product," says Faris, "because unlike a regular [live-action] film, you feel a little more in touch with everything, and you realize that you're such a small part of the process. The voice is huge, of course, but, like, technically we are such a small part of the process."

"Yeah, you don't really know what you've been doing until you sit in the theater and experience it," agrees Hader, half-joking, "For me, probably my least favorite thing is the drive to the recording studio because I'm so anxious."

Picking up about 60 seconds after the first film left off, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 finds Flint Lockwood's (voiced by Hader) genius finally being recognized as he's invited by his childhood idol Chester V (played by Will Forte) to join The Live Corp Company in San Fran Jose, where the best and brightest inventors in the world create technologies for the betterment of mankind.

But everything changes when Flint learns that his infamous FLDSMDFR machine (the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator, which turns water into food) is still operating after the disaster of the first film -- and is now creating food-animal hybrids called "foodimals!" With the fate of humanity in his hands, Chester sends Flint and his Swallow Falls friends on a perilous mission to battle hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, hippotatomuses, cheespiders and other food creatures – which are trying to learn how to swim!

Directors Cameron and Pearn (who both worked on the 2009 film in different capacities) take the reins for the sequel, and while the first Cloudy was a riff on disaster films, the follow-up is taking its cue from the Jurassic Park mold and lots of other fun cinematic inspirations that the two grew up watching and loving.

"There are '80s movies galore, whether we do exact jokes or it's just an homage," says Cameron. "I mean, [we've got] Return of the Jedi, some Goonies, a little bit of E.T., Gremlins, there's definitely some Teen Wolf in there…"

Pearn adds, "The idea of coming back to do another Cloudy movie, the first thing I think we had on the table was, 'Let's flip the genre and do a different story.'"

Faris offers, "[The directors] both have similar sensibilities in terms of enjoying bizarre humor and sort of living in an animated world. It's so impressive how truly they immerse themselves in these stories and how they sort of live it for however long they do it."

Bratt agrees, "For all their technical savvy and genius in animation filmmaking – and there's no way to say this without sounding like a bunch of crap – but they're really in touch with their inner child. They're all about silliness."

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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 also includes the vocal talents of James Caan, Andy Samberg, Terry Crews, Kristen Schaal and Neil Patrick Harris.Catch it September 27 at a theater near you.