This is the presidential life, Southern California style: Alien invasions. Banjo-playing actors. Threats to animate the next State of the Union address.
President Obama dropped into DreamWorks Animation in Glendale on Tuesday, on the second day of statewide swing dedicated largely to fund-raising. Before delivering a speech to employees, he was treated to a VIP tour by the company's chief executive, Jeffrey Katzenberg, a top Obama fund-raiser.
At one point they watched as actors Steve Martin and Jim Parsons recorded lines for the studio's upcoming alien invasion film, "Home."
"How's the banjo playing?" Obama asked Martin, explaining that Martin had performed at the White House "and was unbelievable."
Martin said the performance had been "the biggest thrill of his life."
"That's how I felt about it," Obama joked. "I told Michelle: 'Biggest thrill of my life. Inauguration, nothing, Steve playing banjo, that was big.'"
Obama asked the actors how voice acting differed from live acting.
"You don't have to dress nice," said Parsons, an actor on the TV show "The Big Bang Theory. "No makeup."
The film's director, Tim Johnson, described the movie as "an alien invasion film told entirely from the alien's point of view."
"Well where did we go?" Obama asked. Humans, Johnson explained, are put on a preserve in the movie.
"Do they feed us?" Obama asked.
"Mostly ice cream," Johnson said. Obama gave an approving look.
The filmmakers showed Obama a short clip of one of their film's characters, a googly-eyed alien, mouthing an audio clip of the president speaking at an official White House event.
"Happy Thanksgiving, everybody, welcome to the White House," the alien said in Obama's deep baritone, cracking up the room.
"Now that's good, I've got to get that clip," Obama said, laughing. "That will impress the girls. That's wonderful."
The film's director offered to animate Obama's next State of the Union.
After a few minutes, the actors went into a recording booth and ran the scene. Obama stood on the other side of the glass, reading along with the script.
The actors ran through it a couple of times. Obama, smiling, declared: "I think it's a wrap."
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