By Dan Snierson
April 28, 2017 at 12:00 PM EDT
Credit: Sony Pictures Animation
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Yes, there really is a movie about emojis. Yes, it stars T.J. Miller as a meh emoji. And our third yes is definitely this: Tony/Emmy nominee Patrick Stewart will assume what could be the role of a lifetime by playing the poop emoji.

Hitting theaters on July 28, the animated film The Emoji Movie unspools the tale of Gene (Miller), a spirited meh emoji in Textopolis who believes that he is a malfunction because he feels other emotions. He embarks on a (misguided) journey through various apps to fix his code so that he can fit in with the other one-emotion ideograms. “We’re trying to tell people, ‘Express yourself — don’t hide how you’re feeling,’” Miller tells EW. “That’s the lesson of the film.” He says that one drawing point of the Sony Pictures Animation movie — which is directed and co-written by Tony Leondis (Igor) — is that it will whisk the audience through a menagerie of digital worlds colorful and familiar. “I love the inventive ways that they made these apps their own worlds,” notes Miller, who currently stars in HBO’s Silicon Valley and Comedy Central’s The Gorburger Show. “There’s a streaming music app, and when they go into it, it turns streams of rivers and depending on what river you jump onto — that’s the soundtrack. And at one point, my character gets trapped in Candy Crush. There are very inventive ways to talk about applications that we all know.”

His castmates include James Corden, Maya Rudolph, and Sofia Vergara, as well as an old costar of his, Anna Farris, who voices Jailbreak, a codebreaker emoji. “I just think she’s this immense talent,” says Miller, adding: “We get along fantastically, in some ways it’s a continuation of the Yogi Bear 3-D saga.” In addition to that historic reunion, there’s a certain highly respected British actor and Star Trek captain that will play the poop emoji. “Let’s be honest, the poop emoji is everyone’s favorite,” says Miller. ”It’s simply a matter of: Who’s the perfect person to play that? And we happened to get one of the most distinguished actors in the world to take that job.”

Any hints about what to expect from Stewart as stool? “He plays it very dry, and again and again he proves how good he is,” answers Miller. “Who expected Patrick Stewart to be a very dry, very funny poop emoji? Certainly not me.”

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