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Look out for more coverage of
Team America: World Police in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Team America: World Police

THE STARS:
(voices of) Trey Parker • Matt
DIRECTOR: Trey Parker

Weighty problems THE CONCEPT:
From the creators of South Park, comes this marionette tale of an international police force, where a Broadway actor infiltrates a terrorist network. His discoveries lead to Kim Jong II of North Korea and a band of actors from the Film Actors Guild, or FAG, including Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins and Sean Penn, who believe they are all coming together for a peace conference.

U.S. RELEASE: October 15 2004, Nationwide • Rated: ?

THE COMMENTS:

STEPHEN CHIODO (Puppet Producer):
“The hardest scenes to do were the large scenes. We had one with as many as 47 puppeteers, so populating the world with a lot of puppets was the toughest part.”

EDWARD CHIODO (Puppet Producer):
“We updated the puppets in terms of technology. We had fully animatronic heads. They were little robots on strings – each had nine circles in the head to control visual features, lip movement, smile, frown and blinks.”

CHARLIE CHIODO (Puppet Producer):
“These puppets had full lip-sync, you could articulate every syllable, but Matt and Trey said, ‘We want a little more lip-flapping,’ because it became too real, and it kind of creeped people out.”

MATT STONE (Writer/producer):
“For us the ridiculousness of actors [getting involved in politics] happened during the build up to the Iraq War when you had Sean Penn on CNN. That crossed the line for us, it was like, ‘What are you doing on our news shows now?’”

TREY PARKER on an open letter Penn has sent to newspapers about Team America:
“All we said [in an interview] was if you aren’t informed then don’t vote, and it didn’t have anything to do with the right or the left. I think it’s a threat to Democracy to encourage millions of uninformed people to vote.”

STONE:
“We’re confounded because on the one hand it seems like he’s pissed off in the letter, on the other hand, there’s nothing he could have done to help this movie more than to send a letter out to newspapers, we’re on the front page of everything right now. Somebody told us, ‘It’s like you guys wrote the letter.’ It’s exactly the thing in the movie [imitating Sean Penn], ‘I went to Iraq, so I can be pissed off at everybody.’”

STEPHEN CHIODO on filming the puppet’s sex scene:
“It was a first for us! We never played with dolls like that before. Trey had done an animated, pre-edited version with Barbie dolls of the scene. He didn’t use Ken, I think he used G. I. Joe. We did a rehearsal, we actually took our puppets and started figuring out how we were going to pose the puppets.”

CHARLIE CHIODO:
“Some of the puppeteers said they’d rather not do the scene, but we were more worried about the people raising their hands saying, ‘I want to do it.’ I can’t imagine anyone pushing the envelope any further than these puppets do.”

PARKER:
“We did the Hollywood Foreign Press yesterday, and everyone loved the film but one German lady who just hated it. ‘This is hateful. This is not funny. What if Tim Robbins’s son goes to see his father be set on fire?’ I will be very interested to see what European audiences think of it!”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Team America: World Police site
Images above © Paramount Pictures
Feature © 2004 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #650, November 2004 cover
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