After a trying past couple of years, Matthew McConaughey is hoping his new animated film Sing 2 brings a little hope back to audiences, and inspires them to trust their own inner strength. 

“Buster’s a really good example—his whole team is a really good example—you’re going to get rejected, you’re going to have doubts, you’re going to have self-doubt,” the actor exclusively tells A.frame at the Sing 2 press day, “but there’s still a way to believe in what you’re doing, and believe in yourself throughout all that.” 

McConaughey reprises his role as Buster Moon in the movie, which centers on the koala theater owner and his troupe as they put on a show for a media mogul while working to enlist a legendary rock star to perform with them. Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Nick Kroll, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Nick Offerman and writer-director Garth Jennings also reprise their roles from the first Sing, while the sequel also features new characters voiced by Bobby Cannavale, Halsey, Pharrell Williams, Letitia Wright, Eric André, Chelsea Peretti and Bono.

“It’s about characters who inspire, [despite feeling] like there’s so much doubt in the world,” Witherspoon says of the movie’s message. “And I think what separates people and sort of makes them feel like they’ve accomplished something or overcome conflict is really overcoming those fears.”

While McConaughey relates the themes of Sing 2 to overcoming the “rejection” he’s naturally experienced alongside the success in his career, he also hopes the movie encourages audiences to chase their dreams again after a tough couple of years during the pandemic. 

“It’s something we need people to realize and still believe in again, because the last couple of years, it’s been tough to believe anything like that,” he notes.  

“It’s some hope in a time when we’ve all been in limbo,” McConaughey continues. “It’s a very engaging film … not just by people getting out to theaters to see it, but the film is about people getting together to pull something off, and putting the show on, live. It’s something that is needed right now.” 

Johansson agrees. “I think it’s important for kids to see characters overcome their personal obstacles and their own fears, and to face those fears and come out the other side, and that everything’s always changing, and it’s going to be okay,” she says. “I think that’s an important thing for kids to be reminded of. And as adults, we know that, because we’ve been through it, but kids don’t know that it’s going to be okay.” “Is it going to be okay?” Witherspoon playfully asks her co-star. “I don’t know that all the time.”

“Yeah,” Johansson assures her with confidence. “I think so.” 

Sing 2 hits theaters on Dec. 22.