Growing up in the ’90’s, my childhood was filled with countless amazing animated musicals! Animated musicals inspired my playtime, my creativity, and my love for film and music from a young age! Even now as an adult, an animated musical deeply resonates with me.
I recently got to see Dreamworks Trolls, a part original song, part jukebox musical. Trolls takes the colors, the fun, and the care-free feeling of the dolls we played with as children into a remarkably funny, musical, and poignont story that has incredible messages to adults and children. But most importantly? The film just makes you feel good!
An Inside Look From the Creators of Trolls
After seeing the film, I got to sit down with some fellow bloggers and interview director Mike Mitchell, Co-Director Walter Dohrn, Producer Gina Shay, as well as writers Glenn Berger and Jonathan Aibel.
Q: There is so much detail in the movie, but was there a moment in which you feel that it was a challenge?
Mike Mitchell: We have had that question before where it’s like, “What was the most difficult thing?” And I have to say, working with such talented writers and having such a great producer and an amazing co-director and born artists that are incredible–like DreamWorks has collected the most amazing animators, board artist technicians I have every worked with–all under one roof.
And then, you guys met most of our cast. Every one of them not only are tremendous actors, but they are super funny. Each one of them like has a sense of humor, which is really helpful for these films. And each one of them can sing-incredible voices. Zooey Deschanel is like an amazing singer along with James Corden, I am not even going to say anything. Did you guys know that Justin Timberlake knows how to sing? This guy is good. It’s weird, it’s weird. But, we get that question. It was a lot of work.
Walt Dohrn: Even as we were wrapping it up, the artists will still coming up and saying, “This was the best time I ever had.”
The creators continue, talking a bit about why they wanted to make Trolls:
Walt Dohrn: In a time like the world itself, there is so much social unrest and so much violence. And it’s like the movie asked the question, “How do you stay happy in the face of that?”
And we hope it creates a conversation with families–I mean, with everyone, that, you know, it doesn’t matter who you are, you have this innate happiness that you are born with. Sometimes you need someone to help pull it out.
Mike Mitchell: Yes, it is also learned, not just from the movie but from these guys that a positive attitude is really like underrated these days, too. And it’s a good thing. And I just think it’s dismissed because it seems naive.
But, it’s not naive, like Poppy seems like a naive character, but the way we constructed this adventure is, we wouldn’t even have a movie if Poppy [Anna Kendrick’s character] didn’t have a positive attitude. If she just thought like Branch [Justin Timberlake’s character] and goes, “Oh, they’re dead,” she wouldn’t even go after him.
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing an animated film versus a live action film?
Mike Mitchell: I have worked on live action films and animated films, and here is the big difference. In live action film you work on the script until it’s as tight as you can get it. And then, you are casting, and then you are shooting the film, and then you edit the film and then sound effects, music, mix, and you’re done.
In animation, you are doing all that at the same time. And I compare it more to work-shopping a play, Walt and I are running in there, so we don’t bother our actors too much because we’re just constantly changing and improving stuff. We just do the voices. And then, we draw sketches, and we edit them together, and we use music from other movies.
And we put it altogether and we sit in a theater. There is a whole theater at DreamWorks that pretty much everyone who is working on the film–fills the theater. And we watch it. And we go, “All right.” Then, we take it down, and we remake it. And we probably make the film 10 times.
Gina Shay: And I think that also is like a super joyful collaborative team because you are working with these people for three years solid, and you have to stay inspiring, and there has to be a lot of joy.
Interviews With the Cast
After getting to hear about what a fun experience it was working on Trolls for five years from the creators, we got to hear from some of the incredibly talented cast members; including Anna Kendrick (Poppy), Justin Timberlake (Branch), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (King Gristle), and Kunal Nayyar (Guy Diamond). We talked a lot about the music of the film, and the importance of music in their lives.
Q: What were some of the unique challenges between doing the songs that are covers versus your own songs?
Justin Timberlake: Well, every song was pretty situational, whether it be for a comedic purpose or I guess, dramatic purpose. So I think you really just kind of break down each moment and you know, at the end of the day it’s theatrical as well.
For instance, there were some great opportunities to write songs to use almost like you’re writing your own source music. The roller-skating scene to write the song for Ariana Grande, that worked out. I saw the scene and they had something else tempted in there and went back and sort of rethought that.
But when you’re using a song like The Sound of Silence, as soon as you hear those two opening, it’s so recognizable that immediately all the adults in the room laugh.
And then with something like True Colors, I can’t imagine actually having to write a song after hearing that in that scene and just it literally is like it worked so well.
Q: Anna, I know you’ve done a lot of musical stuff in your career. What attracted you that made this particular project different than any other musical element?
Anna Kendrick: I think music and animation, I grew up in an era when all animated films were musicals, so that made perfect sense to me. And I didn’t know that, when I signed on I didn’t know how much of it was going to be covers and that just made it even more fun. Because I already knew the words and stuff.
But, when I was recording Sounds of Silence I was like, “Oh my God, my dad is going to be so excited,” because we listened to this in the car when I was growing up. Singing these songs is just so cool. Like I can’t believe I get to do it.
So, I mean, I would say that because if Justin had been a part of it before I signed on that would have obviously been a huge factor. And so the fact that he came on after that I was like, “This is like getting better and better. Like is someone going to give me a Ferrari next? This is the best job I’ve ever had.”
Q: Do you guys have a favorite song that gets you out of your gray mood?
Anna Kendrick: Can’t Stop the Feeling.
Kunal Nayyer: Oh my God. Just beat me to it. Just beat me to it.
Justin Timberlake: Somebody asked me that earlier I said Sir Duke, Stevie Wonder.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: That’s a great one.
Justin Timberlake: That’s a good one.
Kunal Nayyar: Getting Jiggy With It, Will Smith.
Justin Timberlake: Getting Jiggy With It.
Kunal Nayyar: That’s my favorite.
Justin Timberlake: That’s a good one.
Kunal Nayyar: That’s my favorite.
Justin Timberlake: Chris, you got one?
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: My band tried to cover Let’s Groove, by Earth, Wind and Fire, but we were just too white to cover it. So, but I listened to that for a really long time. That would be it right now.
Kunal Nayyar: Down the boogie. Yes, that’s a good one.
Anna Kendrick: I woulds say Bootylicious.
Kunal Nayyar: Oh, that’s a good song.
Justin Timberlake: Bootylicious. Yes, also All the Single Ladies, you know.
Q: Chris, what attracted you to Trolls?
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: Oh, yes, I don’t sing. I’m not a singer for sure as you can tell that in the movie he is terrible.
No, what attracted me was I’ve worked with DreamWorks many times in the past with How to Train Your Dragon and they’ve been very kind to me. And they came out and showed me the arts and the characters and I was like, “Yes, I got to do this. I got to sign on.”
About the Movie
Seeing how fun the movie was, it’s no surprise to hear about what an incredible experience the film was to make for the creators and cast!
Dreamworks’ Trolls comes to theaters November 4th, you can check out the latest trailer below:
Rainbow Mason Jar Fruit Salad Recipe
Since I love making movie-themed recipes, the one I concocted for Trolls is just as colorful as the movie itself!
You will need:
- Mason Jar
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 tsp coconut sugar or honey
To make, cut up your fruits into slices (except blueberries and blackberries). Next, layer them in the order listed above, so that they are colored like a rainbow. Pour your coconut milk over your salad, along with your 2 tsp of sweetener. Put the lid on your mason jar, and shake gently. If you wait at least a half hour, you will have delicious, sweet fruit that is guilt-free healthy! It is great to make in the morning and then have later as a snack at work – the mason jar makes it super easy to take on the go!
Enjoy my movie-inspired recipe, and enjoy seeing Trolls in theaters November 4th! To learn more, visit https://www.dreamworks.com/trolls/