The Emoji Movie stars Patrick Stewart and Maya Rudolph discuss their characters, Poop and Smiler, respectively. Moviegoers may have been surprised to learn that Sony Pictures was developing an emoji movie, when news broke in 2015, but the film moved forward quickly, setting a 2017 release date – and the animated film is set to hit theaters later this week. As showcased in the first trailer for The Emoji Movie, it tells the story of the emojis that live in a world called Textopolis, where every emoji has their own purpose and place on the phone.

However, Gene (T.J. Miller) doesn’t quite fit in, so he goes on an adventure with Hi-5 (James Corden) and Jailbreak (Anna Faris) in order to figure out his place in Textopolis. While he’s gone, those remaining in Textopolis must figure out a way to deal with the trouble caused by Gene – including Smiler (Rudolph) and Poop (Stewart). Directed by Tony Leondis, The Emoji Movie brings the concept of emojis to life for an animated adventure film.

Related: How The Emoji Movie is Like Big Hero 6

During the recent press junket for The Emoji Movie, Screen Rant had a chance to interview stars Stewart and Rudolph how they got involved in the film, what it was like playing their respective emojis, and the message of the movie.

The Emoji Movie Smiler The Emoji Movies Patrick Stewart & Maya Rudolph On Playing Emojis

How did you guys get involved with The Emoji Movie?

Rudolph: I was asked to come play Smiler, and I was told she was this villain with a smile and I thought well, I know my kids are going to be ecstatic that I’m going to be the original emoji – I didn’t even know she was the original emoji, did you?

Stewart: No, original meaning she was the only one?

Rudolph: She was the first. Yeah, see I didn’t know that. See what you learn.

And how did you get involved?

Stewart: An email, which is customary, and I responded to it within seconds just saying a big capital-letter, ‘Yes’.

You has no reservations about playing the poop emoji?

Stewart: None whatsoever.

Are you both big emoji users?

Rudolph: Yeah, I think I’m a normal emoji user, which is actually all day long.

The Emoji Movie Textopolis The Emoji Movies Patrick Stewart & Maya Rudolph On Playing Emojis

What are your favorite emojis?

Rudolph: Well it depends, I use the crying laughing quite a bit. But sometimes I try to find an animal and make it pass wind. Either the turkey or the bat.

Classic joke, classic poop joke.

Stewart: Yeah, I was looking the other day for a passport officer – I was looking for an immigration official because I’d had some problems and I couldn’t find one, unfortunately, he would have been very popular.

Sometimes you can’t find the right emoji, they keep rolling them out though.

Rudolph: I didn’t realize how quickly they were coming out, someone sent me a juggler the other day and I thought, ‘Where’d you get that?’ Oh it’s in my phone.

They come out every six months now.

Rudolph: They do?

The Emoji Movie Jailbreak Gene Hi 5 Poop The Emoji Movies Patrick Stewart & Maya Rudolph On Playing Emojis

Yeah. So were you guys surprised at all by characterization of your characters – Smiler’s kind of unexpected as a villain, Poop as a sophisticated member of society.

Rudolph: Yeah.

Stewart: I thought it was a very insightful and bold decision to make Poop the character that he is. Kind of charming, a little bit fay – you know the term, fay.

Rudolph: I know the term, yes.

Stewart: And he has insight into what he is.

Rudolph: And I enjoyed the idea that Smiler never stops smiling, which allows her to be this stickler and a team player to the highest, most intense degree – to the point where she delivers any bit of information through a smile. I thought that was such a great take on it.

How is it like working with director Tony Leondis on this project?

Stewart: Terrific.

Rudolph: Tony’s a dream.

Stewart: And also with Michelle [Raimo Kouyate], our producer.

Rudolph: He was very involved.

Stewart: They fed information – at me, anyway. It was an enjoyable couple of sessions.

Rudolph: Yeah and they’re the people in the room with you, which is so important to have that relationship when you can really explore – y’know we’re creating these characters with them and they were just so wonderful to do that with.

And this film is obviously about expressing yourself, what do you hope people take away from The Emoji Movie?

Rudolph: Exactly that. I think being honest with yourself about who you are and embracing it is always a great a reminder and such a great lesson – especially when we’re talking about a world that’s sort of uniform for all of us. We don’t realize if we all use emojis and sort of take a step back from that and think about being true to yourself is a wonderful reminder.

Next: T.J. Miller Praises The Emoji Movie’s Message & Humor

The Emoji Movie unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone’s user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression – except for Gene (T.J. Miller), an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and is bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to become “normal” like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 (James Corden) and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak (Anna Faris). Together, they embark on an epic “app-venture” through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it’s deleted forever.

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