You may know Stephen Kramer Glickman as Gustavo Rocque from the hit Nickelodeon series Big Time Rush (his Mustang even sports Gustavo license plates, a gift from one of his most diehard fans – his mother.) His most recent credit led to a very different kind of gift from his mom, and it came in a cage.
For Hanukkah, my mom called me and said, “I’m coming to town and I’ve got a surprise for you!” We meet in the parking structure at Hollywood and Highland, she opens her car door and pulls out a pigeon in a cage. It’s not fancy; it’s ugly and gray with orange eyes. She tells me she bought it from a pigeon salesman on Craigslist, whom I assume is just a guy with a van in Escondido. I tell her I’m not keeping that, so she asks if I’ll at least take a picture with it.
This is where it gets fun.
She does that thing that every mom does where she can’t figure out which button to push on the camera, and as she’s doing it, the pigeon does what birds do. It flies away. So for the next four hours, we’re chasing a pigeon through this parking structure, my mom yelling the whole time, “Please help me catch this pigeon! My son is in a movie!”
The pigeon was eventually caught and now resides with Glickman’s mother in San Diego. The reason for the gift? His role in Warner Bros.’ newest animated feature, Storks. He voices Pigeon Toady.
What is the movie about?
It’s a really fun and unique story set in a world where storks have stopped delivering babies and started delivering packages. They’ve become an Amazon type of company. One day the baby making machine accidentally gets turned on, and we follow the storks as they try to deliver this baby down to the people. It has a lot of interesting and funny characters.
So how does a pigeon come into this story?
Pigeon Toady lives on the mountain and he’s vying for the position held by Andy Samberg’s character, Junior. He’s trying to catch him in the act of delivering the baby. He’s a swarmy, awful little guy. Probably wasn’t hugged enough as a baby pigeon (laughs). I think secretly he’s an evil genius, though.
How did you get involved with the film?
I was a rough draft voice. It was very low pressure and I knew I’d eventually be replaced by a super famous actor. One day we were doing a scene where they told me we could stop because they were bringing in a singer to perform the song. I told them I’d sung on Broadway and would like to give it a shot. They said, “What? Who are you?”And I think that clinched it. I started hearing about the other actors being replaced with stars like Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer and Jennifer Aniston. One day I got the call and they offered me the part. That never happens.
What was the process of making it like?
We mostly recorded by ourselves with just the producers and directors in the room, but these were the guys that made The Lego Movie, the sound mixer from Finding Nemo, so it was pretty cool. Everybody tried to add to it and make it funnier. I did get to record for a day with Kelsey Grammer which was amazing. I spent about three years working on it and had 30 or 40 recording sessions.
How do you come up with a voice for a smarmy pigeon?
(laughs) It’s a mix between my old roommate from Long Beach and Walter Cronkite.
That makes sense.
What’s been unexpected about the whole experience? Any surprises?
Andy Samberg wrote a song for my character that I sang, which was cut from the movie but will appear on the special features, along with a short film that stars my character, so that’s a real honor. I’ll also be driving around town now and look over and see a bus next to me and my character from the movie is staring back at me.
One of the coolest things was that I asked if I could test a few voices for a couple of characters who had one line because they didn’t have anybody to do them yet. They said sure, and when the trailer came out, it was still my voice. My character talks to these characters so there are scenes where I’m talking to myself. (laughs).
That’s like something only Seth MacFarlane gets to do.
Right? Growing up I remember watching Aladdin and thinking how crazy it was that Robin Williams was doing two voices, and now that’s me!
So does your mom have a replacement gift since the pigeon isn’t going to work out?
Yesterday she went to the DMV in San Diego, took my birth certificate and got me personalized plates that say STORKS. She didn’t ask my permission to do any of this. I don’t know how she got away with it.
From his success on Nickelodeon to the amazing buzz that Storks has been getting, Glickman may need to add to his car collection. I can see a plethora of personalized plates from his mom in the near future.
Storks hits theaters on September 23rd. You can check out the trailer below.