Yesterday, the first trailer for DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians plopped down out of nowhere. I was nearly floored by how much I loved the clip, and the film looks to tell a fantastical story with the same tone and sense of wonderment that came from the magnificent How to Train Your Dragon. The adventure story centers on a group of heroes who must join forces to protect “the hopes, beliefs and imagination of the children all over the world.” The twist is that the heroes are Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost.
The film is actually based off an upcoming series of children’s books by author William Joyce (who also co-wrote and co-directed the film), and recently Joyce took some time to talk about what to expect from the film’s characters. Additionally, some new images of the titular heroes have been released. Hit the jump to see what Joyce had to say and to check out the images.
During an extensive interview with EW, Joyce talked about his initial inspiration for Rise of the Guardians. 20 years ago, when his daughter was born, he was excited by the thought of introducing her to some of history’s most fabled characters:
“It was like, ‘Yay, I can tell my kids about these characters!’ Then I realized: I don’t know much. The mythologies presented to me were very very vague. Some of them seemed to be fading away a bit, like the Sandman, whose story seemed to be missing… I thought, ‘This is what I do!’ I’m going to get into this and roll up my sleeves and discover a mythology.”
And that’s exactly what he did. Joyce went about creating a mythology for all these famous characters. Years later, the author began turning his story into a feature film. When they started developing the the pic, director Peter Ramsey knew he didn’t want to veer into parody territory:
“When I first came on, I think right off the bat, my instinct — along with everyone else’s — was not to do this as any parody or spoof. These are beings who are real to a majority of the audience, or were at one point or another. We thought, ‘Let’s take belief seriously.’”
“In my mind, he was always bigger than life, and had an element of James Bond to him. He can do amazing stuff, and he has all sorts of cool gadgets. There’s no way you can be Santa and not have extraordinary technology at your disposal.”
For the Easter Bunny (voiced by Hugh Jackman), they went the other way:
“[The Easter Bunny] has a little more of a Spock thing going on. If Santa is Kirk, then Bunny is a little Spock. ‘Don’t just tear in there and start sword-fighting. Let’s think this through a little bit.’”
Early in the development process, DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg suggested that Joyce create a character that’s new to the team, someone to be the audience’s point of view. And thus, Jack Frost (Chris Pine) was born:
“We talked a lot about The Magnificent Seven and The Seven Samurai, which are about a bunch of guys who are already doing their thing, and one guy who’s new at it. Since Jack Frost was the least known, and he doesn’t have a holiday, it makes perfect sense that he’d be the outsider coming in.”
Joyce’s Jack Frost is perpetually stuck at the age of 14, and he compared Frost’s story to that of Peter Pan in that both characters have never really belonged to anybody. There’s much, much more great info over at EW that I highly suggest you check out, including a Yoda-like Sandman and the origins of their Boogeyman villain (voiced by Jude Law). Rise of the Guardians is set to hit theaters on November 21st.