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Bruno Mars' "SNL" Hosting Stint Led to Role in "Rio 2" 

Dana Edelson/NBCWhen Bruno Mars served as the host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live back in 2012, he probably didn't realize that it would double as a 90-minute audition.  Turns out, though, that it led directly to his being cast in the upcoming animated movie sequel Rio 2.

The movie's director, Carlos Saldanha, tells Billboard that after seeing Bruno on SNL, he decided to cast Bruno in the role of Roberto, the ex-boyfriend of Jewel, the bird who is the female lead of the film.  What's more, Saldanha says that Bruno's personality really factored into the plot.  After working with the Grammy-winner on the role, Saldanha decided to make the character of Roberto less macho.  The director even had a whole segment of the film redone to match Bruno's singing.

"He pushed it in a way that said 'this is the character' and we felt we could push it," Saldanha told Billboard. The Rio 2 soundtrack will feature a new song from Bruno, among other artists, and it'll be out around the same time as the movie, which arrives in theaters April 11. 

The movie continues the story of two macaws, Jewel and Blu.  The bird couple now has three kids, and they decide to leave behind their big city life in Rio de Janeiro and head to the Amazon rainforest, where they encounter a variety of creatures, including Roberto.  The voice cast includes Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Jamie Foxx, Tracy Morgan, Andy Garcia and Kristen Chenoweth.

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