Danny DeVito will voice the title character in Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. In a statement to USA Today, Illumination head Chris Meledandri said of DeVito, “Danny has this wonderful ability to be acerbic and grouchy but at the same time absolutely lovable. It’s almost like Walter Matthau had. His comedic edge was very sharp, but he always maintained that warmth.” Apparently, Melendandri has never seen an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or he’s just really hoping that you haven’t. I am constantly amazed at how gross they’re willing to make his DeVito’s character, Frank Reynolds. However, since DeVito is only voicing the character, perhaps it won’t be so easy to envision his disgusting Sunny antics.
Hit the jump to learn about what roles Zac Efron, Betty White, Ed Helms, and Rob Riggle will be playing in the 3D animated film.
According to USA Today, Efron will provide the voice of “Ted”, a young boy who goes in search of “The Once-ler” (voiced by Ed Helms) to discover how the world became so polluted. In Dr. Seuss’ book, The Once-ler is “a shortsighted, greedy creature who chops down every tree he can find to make his Thneeds, which are ‘a thing everyone needs.’” However, unlike in the book and the 1972 adaptation, you’ll see The Once-ler’s face in the new version.
The Once-ler will be joined by a new character voiced by fellow Daily Show alum Rob Riggle: “O’Hare, another industrialist who sells cans of fresh air to the polluted world the Once-ler creates and wants to keep it that way.” Of course, selling cans of fresh air is a exaggerated, Seussian concept like “Thneeds”. It’s simply an allegory because no one in the real world would actually sell bottled ai–. Oh.
Betty White has also joined the cast and will play Ted’s grandmother, “who tells him of the colorful world that used to be. Another new character is the girl Ted loves, Audrey (another homage, this one to the author’s wife), who dreams someday to see a real forest, not just the fake plastic trees that dot their devastated landscape.”
The Lorax doesn’t have the most subtle of messages, but DeVito says that’s why he likes it:
“Look, I don’t want to be gruff about it, but we’ve got to wake up and smell the oil burning. I’m hoping that the squeakiest wheel gets the least grease. I feel sometimes the only way to get things done is shake people up a little bit, and the Lorax is not a guy who pussyfoots around. He’s not a guy who uses kid gloves. No, no, the Lorax means business.”
And here’s hoping that The Lorax uses the term “pussyfooting” in the movie.