Now playing is DreamWorks Animations’ The Croods. Directed by Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps) and Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon), The Croods centers on a prehistoric family embarking on the world’s first road trip through an uncharted, fantastical and dangerous world. The film features the voice talents of Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Nicolas Cage, Clark Duke, Catherine Keener and Cloris Leachman. For more on The Croods, you can watch 8 clips here.
At the New York City press junket, I was able to speak with De Micco and Sanders. We talked about how they started working together, how the film changed during the development process, how The Croods was originally set up at Aardman as a stop-motion animated movie, casting, technical challenges, whether Guillermo del Toro had any involvement with the film, their working relationship with Jeffrey Katzenberg, the film’s use of 3D, and updates on Hong Kong Phooey and How to Train Your Dragon 2. Hit the jump to watch.
Opening this weekend is director Antoine Fuqua’s White House actioner Olympus Has Fallen. The film stars Gerard Butler as a disgraced Secret Service agent called back to duty when terrorists take over the White House and capture the President (Aaron Eckhart). The film also stars Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Robert Forster, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, and Rick Yune. If you’ve been waiting for Butler to return to action, you’re going to be very happy watching Olympus Has Fallen. Not only is the film a hard R for graphic violence, it features Butler kicking ass in some great action set pieces. Watch some clips here.
A few days ago I landed an exclusive interview with Butler here in Los Angeles. During our wide-ranging conversation, we talked about making Olympus Has Fallen, what it means to him, the great supporting cast, why he took a break from action films, the byproduct of being a celebrity, future projects, and more. In addition, he also talked about How to Train Your Dragon 2, what it’s about, having a script this time, recording his dialogue, redoing about 70% of the first film after seeing the finished film, and a lot more. Hit the jump to either read or listen to the interview.
With Rise of the Guardians opening this week, I recently got to see the finished film at DreamWorks Animation and it’s really well done. Not only is the animation great to look at, it’s got a strong story that’s character driven and it doesn’t rely on stupid jokes. In addition, unlike most superhero films that spend half the time introducing characters by explaining their origin and showing off their powers, what’s fantastic about Rise of the Guardians is we join almost everyone in the middle of the story. If you’re not familiar with the story, it revolves around the rebellious Jack Frost (Chris Pine) teaming up with other mythical figures North aka Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), E. Aster Bunnyman aka Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth aka The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and the Sandman to battle the evil Pitch (Jude Law). Here’s my video blog review and all our previous coverage.
To help promote the film, last week I got on the phone with Rise of the Guardians director Peter Ramsey. We talked about how they didn’t tell a typical origin story, the tone, how many times he re-storyboard the film and whether there were any dramatic changes along the way, the test screening process, collaborating with Roger Deakins, other DreamWorks Animation projects like How to Train Your Dragon 2, Kung Fu Panda 3, Trolls (which he said is “kind of partially based on a Terry Pratchett novel”) and more. In addition, Ramsey got his start as a storyboard artist working for David Fincher on Fight Club and Steven Spielberg on A.I., so we talked about those projects and a few others. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
DreamWorks Animation is known for being prolific, but the studio has just announced a massive 12-picture slate that runs through 2016. Here’s a brief look:
- The Croods – March 22nd, 2013
- Turbo – July 19th, 2013
- Mr. Peabody & Sherman – November 1st, 2013
- Me and My Shadow – March 14th, 2014
- How to Train Your Dragon 2 – June 20th, 2014
- Happy Smekday! – November 26th, 2014
- The Penguins of Madagascar – March 27th, 2015
- Trolls (working title) – June 5th, 2015
- B.O.O: Bureau of Otherworldy Operations – November 6th, 2015
- Mumbai Musical (working title) – December 19th, 2015
- Kung Fu Panda 3 – March 16th, 2016
- How to Train Your Dragon 3 – June 18th, 2016
Hit the jump for more details on this ambitious line-up of animated films.
While at Comic-Con for a panel presentation, actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass) spoke to the press about the stop-motion animated feature ParaNorman. Set in the town of Blithe Hollow, 11-year-old Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) unexpectedly learns that a centuries-old witch’s curse is real and about to come true, and that only he can save the world from zombies.
During the interview, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (who plays an obnoxious and insecure bully named Alvin) talked about creating a voice for this character, getting to work with the other voice actors during the recording process, how nervous he gets every time he does a voice-over project, and how well done the anti-bullying message of the film is. He also talked about how he is currently doing voice work for How to Train Your Dragon 2, that he has the script for Kick-Ass 2 but has not officially signed on for it yet, how he hopes to shoot from September to December of this year, and how happy he is not to have the rape scene with his character from the comic. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
We all know him as the lovable bastard on Game of Thrones (who should have taken a roll in the snow with Ygritte (Rose Leslie)), but Kit Harington may soon lend his voice to a more villainous character. Harington is up for a role in DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2. The sequel to the 2010 hit features the return of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Craig Ferguson, T.J. Miller, Jonah Hill and more in the vocal cast, in addition to the fine assortment of scaly beasts on screen. Hit the jump for more on this potential casting addition.
Inspired by the book Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey Into a Minor Hockey League, the hockey comedy Goon follows Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott), a bouncer at a local bar who ends up in a bloody fist fight that catches the eye of the Halifax Highlanders. Hampered by his lack of hockey playing ability, Doug joins the minor league team at the encouragement of his hockey-obsessed best friend (Jay Baruchel) and quickly becomes its mammoth-sized star.
At the film’s press day, actor Seann William Scott talked about being new to the game of hockey, how lucky they were not to get hurt with more than a few bruises, playing the earnest guy and the training he had to go through to bulk up, while producer/writer/actor/lifelong hockey fan Jay Baruchel talked about how terrible he is at hockey even though he’s such a big fan of the sport, getting to meet the real guy that the film was inspired by, the influence of Slap Shot, starting Seth Rogen’s feature directorial debut, The Apocalypse, at the end of April, and voicing Hiccup for both How to Train Your Dragon 2 and the Cartoon Network TV series. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
The new Fox animated series Allen Gregory tells the story of a pretentious 7-year-old who seems himself as an intelligent, sophisticated, worldly, artistic and romantic young man. Although Allen Gregory has allegedly composed operas, written novels and dated Chloë Sevigny, his journey now sees him having to leave the safety of his father’s home-schooling to attend elementary school with children his own age.
Created by actor Jonah Hill (who voices Allen Gregory De Longpre), along with Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul, who also all serve as executive producers, the series illustrates how every outsider is just looking to fit in. During a recent interview to promote the October 30th premiere of the show, Hill talked about how they developed the idea for a delusional and pretentious character in the body of an adorable 7-year-old kid, determining the look of the animation, the ambiguity of all of Allen Gregory’s worldly experiences, how the show is for viewers of all ages, and how airing after The Simpsons is a childhood dream-come-true for him. He also talked about his development deal at Fox, returning to voice a role for How to Train Your Dragon 2, and the experience of making 21 Jump Street, which he says will be an amazing movie. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
With the 2011 Licensing International Expo currently underway in Las Vegas, many promo posters have started hitting the net. Yesterday we posted the promo poster for The Avengers as well as the promo posters for The Amazing Spider-Man, Hotel Transylvania, and more. Continuing the barrage of advertising, we now have promo posters for The Hobbit, The Hunger Games, Battleship, The Three Stooges, The Lorax, 47 Ronin, The Croods, The Bourne Legacy, Rise of the Guardians, Stretch Armstrong, RIPD, Fast & Furious 6, and How to Train Your Dragon 2. It’s worth noting that the promo poster for Fast & Furious 6 says the film is due out in 2013, which isn’t too surprising. More intriguing is that the poster for How to Train Your Dragon 2 is simply titled “Dragons“.
Hit the jump to check out the promo posters and look out for more over the coming days.
The sequel to How to Train Your Dragon has over three years to plan for its June 20, 2014 release. To match the heartwarming excellence of the original, DreamWorks Animation is going to enter into production right about… now. Writer/director Dean DeBlois spoke a the dedication of USC’s new Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Center for Animation recently, and informed the audience that several drafts of the script have been completed and the filmmakers have just begun the storyboarding process.
Jay Baruchel, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, and Gerard Butler are all set to reprise their roles from the first movie. Hit the jump for more on How to Train Your Dragon 2, including plot details and its place in a planned trilogy.
DreamWorks Animation has announced their schedule through 2014 and it’s loaded with both original projects and sequels. As far as sequels, the studio has three planned and they include Kung Fu Panda 2, Madagascar 3 and How to Train Your Dragon 2. While I’m very excited for a sequel to How to Train Your Dragon, some of their upcoming original projects also sound great. The two that immediately stand out are Me and My Shadow (which will combine both CG and traditional animation) and director Rob Minkoff’s Mr. Peabody & Sherman - which is based on Jay Ward’s classic cartoon and will feature the voice of Robert Downey Jr.! Here’s the release schedule:
- Kung Fu Panda 2 - May 26, 2011
- Puss In Boots - November 4, 2011
- Madagascar 3 - June 8, 2012
- Rise of the Guardians - November 21, 2012
- The Croods - March 1, 2013
- Turbo - June 7, 2013
- Me and My Shadow - November 8, 2013
- Mr. Peabody & Sherman - March 21, 2014
- How to Train Your Dragon 2 - June 20, 2014
Hit the jump for the synopses:
As we reported back in October, Jay Baruchel, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, and Kristen Wiig will reprise their roles in DreamWorks Animation’s sequel to How to Train Your Dragon. Empire now reports that Gerard Butler, who played Hiccup’s father, Stoick the Vast, will return as well. Dean DeBlois, who co-directed the first film, will go solo on the sequel. Also, in his recent interview with Steve, cinematographer Roger Deakins (True Grit) revealed that he would be consulting on the picture.
Not much is known about the new film other than it will be “epic” and go far beyond the tiny Viking island of Berk. The sequel to How to Train Your Dragon is set for release in 2013.
by Jason Barr Posted: February 7th, 2011 at 4:49 pm
Last month executive producer Tim Johnson described DreamWorks’ forthcoming How to Train Your Dragon sequel as a “much bigger movie.” Today director Dean DeBlois (who co-directed the original alongside Chris Sanders) echoed Johnson’s sentiment by assuring fans of the 2010 hit that the follow-up will be “quite epic.” According to DeBlois, he is currently working on a second-draft of the sequel’s script (which Johnson claims is aiming for a fall 2013 release.) To check out more of what DeBlois had to say about the sequel and its role in the grand How to Train Your Dragon scheme of things, hit the jump.
As we’ve previously reported, DreamWorks Animation is not only planning a sequel to their terrific film How to Train Your Dragon, but they’re developing an animated series for Cartoon Network as well. BadTaste.it recently spoke with executive producer Tim Johnson about their plans for the sequel as well as the animated series. Johnson says that (unsurprisingly), the sequel (which is due out in 2013) will be massive and they’re in the process of figuring out the new sets and characters. As for the TV series, while DreamWorks Animation is pushing a Kung Fu Panda series onto Nickelodeon, HTTYD is going to Cartoon Network because DWA want to keep the more dramatic and darker edge of Dragon, and the challenge is in keeping that tone.
Hit the jump for Johnson’s in-depth answers on the sequel and TV series. How to Train Your Dragon co-director Dean DeBlois is helming the sequel with the original voice cast set to return.
One of the year’s best animated films wasn’t a sequel. It was DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon. So naturally they’re making lots of sequels. We already knew that Dragon 2 was greenlit with the original cast returning, but Jeffrey Katzenberg has now explained how far his studio’s sequel-mania extends. Katzenberg tells Empire that the studio is planning for a total of four Madagascar movies, at least three How to Train Your Dragon films, and six installments in the Kung Fu Panda franchise.
Hit the jump for Katzenberg giving minor details on how these franchises are going to keep their stories going.