Ken Jeong Talks Kenan Thompson "Man Crush," Supporting Female Role Models at 'Wonder Park' Premiere
The LA premiere welcomed stars Mila Kunis, Brianna Denski and Ken Hudson Campbell, as well as Rachel Platten and Grace VanderWaal, who have songs in the film.
After a jam-packed year with the success of Crazy Rich Asians and The Masked Singer, Ken Jeong revealed he hit another recent highlight by working with Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson. The two voice beavers in upcoming animated film Wonder Park, and while voice recordings are typically done solo, Jeong and Thompson recorded their parts in the same booth.
"I think that honestly was the best because I don't get to do a lot of voiceovers with other actors," Jeong told The Hollywood Reporter at the film's Los Angeles premiere on Sunday, adding that he and the SNL star were constantly trying to make each other break. "I got a friend for life out of it, Kenan is kind of my man crush right now."
Wonder Park tells the story of a 10-year-old girl, June, who imagines an amusement park filled with fantastical rides and talking animals that later comes to life.
The fact that the film is led by a young girl is important to Jeong, he said, because "as a father of two twin daughters who are 11 years old, for them to have role models to look up to" is the main priority. Jeong brought up his recent hit Crazy Rich Asians as a prime example, saying that he thinks the four best characters in that movie are all women.
"My daughters can look up to Constance Wu and Awkwafina and Gemma Chan and Michelle Yeoh, and as I get older, that matters more than my own participation in it," Jeong added.
The L.A. premiere, held at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood Village, also welcomed stars of the cast Mila Kunis, Brianna Denski and Ken Hudson Campbell, as well as Rachel Platten and Grace VanderWaal, who have songs in the film. Connie Britton, Constance Zimmer and Colleen Ballinger were among the guests in attendance at the premiere, which included a pre-screening family-friendly carnival.
Denski, who voices June, takes on her first-ever lead role in the film, and noted how "it's very important for girls across the world to have a strong role model to make sure they have someone to look up to." She added that she wants kids and adults alike to "remember to use their imagination and never let that little kid in them die or fall away."
Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, who co-wrote and produced the film, echoed the same message on the importance of imagination, and added that "even if you're going through something tough in life, if you stay true to who you are and what's important to you then you can get through anything," Applebaum told THR.
Wonder Park's star-studded cast, which includes Thompson, Jennifer Garner, John Oliver, Matthew Broderick and Norbert Leo Butz, was also a source of excitement for the creators.
Nemec remembered how "it was fun to watch [the actors] embody the actual animals themselves to some degree and lean into that. It sort of became this thing when we would be watching it in the edit, it would be impossible to not think of the actors as the animals."
Wonder Park hits theaters March 15.