A busy comedic actor known for his rude characters in television (Silicon Valley) and movies (Deadpool), Miller is bemused by the fact that he's become a star voicing animated characters. "I never anticipated this," he laughs. "I'm a clown and an improviser from Chicago. And I never realised that I would have to learn to be funny in the G-rated space! Once you understand the confines of what you are allowed to do, it makes you more inventive."

TJ Miller voices Meh in The Emoji MovieTJ Miller voices Meh in The Emoji Movie

When he was pitched the idea of a movie about emojis, he didn't see the point. "My reaction really was, 'Huh?'" he says, but he was also intrigued by the idea of being in something so original. "Not that we don't need Hotel Transylvania 2, because kids that loved Hotel Transylvania 1 would love to see Hotel Transylvania 2. So I like doing stuff that's different from what's out there. Otherwise you'd see me in bachelor party comedies or weddings-gone-awry comedies, and I just think there's enough of those."

He particularly enjoyed playing Gene the Meh emoji. "I totally got what the comedy would be," Miller says. "When there's this guy who's trying to be 'like, whatever' but then he gets so excited about donut holes, I knew that was going to be funny."

But the character also has a more serious journey alongside the comedy. "It ended up being a really funny, well-paced movie but also one that is a bit of a tearjerker at times," he says. "I very much like to contribute to this space since kids watch it. And they want to watch it over and over again, so it is very important for us to have progressive ideas rather than regressive stuff. Strangely, it's the perfect time to tell kids that you can be whoever you are. Messages of inclusion are so important right now."

Miller also loved the fact that Patrick Stewart was cast as the Poop emoji. And for his part, Stewart says he had no reservations about taking the role. "I thought it was a very insightful and bold decision to make Poop the character that he is," he deadpans. "Kind of charming, a little bit fay."

When asked whether the Queen would approve, the knighted Shakespearean actor replied, "I think she will approve because she will know that, for me, poop has been a lifelong work in progress!"

Watch the trailer for Emoji Movie: