You may or may not have known that yesterday, July 17, was World Emoji Day. It seems that Silicon Valley star T.J. Miller spent this day auditioning for a number of different Emoji characters in Sony Pictures Animation's EmojiMovie: Express Yourself, as you can see in a new video. After a lengthy audition process, T.J. Miller landed the role of Gene.
While we don't know much about Gene, Sony Pictures Animation revealed on YouTube that he auditioned for "every emoji" before landing the voice of this main character. EmojiMovie: Express Yourself will offer a surprising and comic take on the secret world of our phones and the beloved characters that have become daily necessities in global interpersonal communication. The feature, targeting an August 2017 theatrical release, is directed by Anthony Leondis, produced by Michelle Raimo Kouyate, and written by Anthony Leondis & Eric Siegel.
We first reported on this project almost exactly one year ago, when Sony Pictures Animation acquired a pitch from Anthony Leondis that used storyboards to explain how the animated movie will unfold. Emoji characters are in the public domain, and our report from last year revealed that another project is in the works involving emoji, but we don't have any details on that project quite yet. The movie will go up against Warner Bros.' CHiPs remake and Focus Features' The Coldest City on August 11, 2017.
Emoji icons were first created by Shigetaka Kurita in Japan during the late 1990s, while he was working on NTT DoCoMo's team that was creating an i-mode mobile Internet platform. The Emoji, which literally means "picture (e) + character (moji)" in Japanese, were used to help set the platform apart from its competitors, and while they originated in Japan, they began to spread worldwide in the 2000s. Last year, the 20th Century Fox comedy The Other Woman launched the first ever Emoji trailer. During Star Wars Celebration last April, fans who tweeted by using certain hashtags received their own Star Wars: The Force Awakens Emoji.
T.J. Miller becomes the first voice cast member to sign on for EmojiMovie: Express Yourself, so we'll have to wait and see who else rounds out the cast. It isn't known if the filmmakers have already started work on the animation, or when T.J. Miller will start recording his lines. While we wait for more updates on EmojiMovie: Express Yourself, check out this new video featuring T.J. Miller's emoji auditions.