'Ron's Gone Wrong' star Ed Helms: 'Technology with kids, it's a crazy, difficult issue' (exclusive)
Watch: Ron's Gone Wrong stars Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis talk about tech and kids
The presence of technology is something every parent has to reckon with. And in new animation Ron's Gone Wrong, that tech is even smarter than in the real world.
Locksmith Animation's debut feature takes place after the invention of the B*Bot — a personal android who is part smartphone, part games console and part family pet.
Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer) is the last kid in his class to get one, with his cash-strapped father (Ed Helms) picking up a malfunctioning model — voiced by Zach Galifianakis — which has fallen off a lorry.
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The movie is an intriguing musing on the way children interact with technology and its importance in their lives, told in a way that doesn't just condemn anything with a USB port.
"Technology with kids, it's a crazy, difficult issue. I think parents' relationship with technology in front of their kids is tricky," Helms tells Yahoo Entertainment UK.
He adds: "This movie does a beautiful job of just reinforcing the value and the integrity of human to human connection and I think models, at the end of the day, a healthy relationship with technology as well, which is a tough balance and it's different for every family. I generally think the less technology the better."
Galifianakis agrees on the latter point, saying that some of the tech companies dominating our lives are "quite dark" — as emphasised in the film by the Jekyll and Hyde inventors of the B*Bots.
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Idealistic programmer Marc (Justice Smith) wants his tech to bring people together, but his business-brained colleague Andrew (Rob Delaney) is interested in money and data harvesting — which isn't quite so honourable.
"My kids are young enough still where we can keep that away, but it will creep in from peer pressure and from society," Galifianakis adds.
"I am old-fashioned. I don't give a s*** when the new iPhone comes out and I think it's moronic when people talk about it.
"These robots already are becoming the new rock stars. You see people line up for a piece of technology and that works for people and I understand it."
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Speaking to Yahoo earlier this year, director Sarah Smith said that the early stages of the movie were approached with "quite a Black Mirror attitude" about the doomy potential of kids becoming dependent on gadgets.
She added: "You're sort of worried for your kids about what world they're living in.
"But then your kids educate you. To our kids, it's not a worrying or frightening or disturbing world. It's a natural tool of communication and knowledge.
"To them, it's opening the door to the world. They're not afraid or worried about it."
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The voice cast of Ron's Gone Wrong also includes Olivia Colman as Barney's grandmother Donka, with Aardman veteran Smith directing alongside Jean-Philippe Vine.
Ron's Gone Wrong is in cinemas across the UK from today, after its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.
Watch: Trailer for Ron's Gone Wrong