On Thursday morning, DreamWorks Animation held a panel at the Hilton Bayfront’s Indigo Ballroom, attended by DreamWorks Animation’s Chief Creative Officer Bill Damaschke who stated that the company–who have yet to announce their new distribution partner–have ten movies currently in production with eight or nine more that are in pre-production and development. One of the ones in the later stages of production is the comedy-adventure The Croods, which was showcased in a sizzle reel that opened the panel showing the very first footage from the 2013 family film.
After showing footage from DreamWorks Animation’s other 2012 movies, the footage for The Croods began with a young cavegirl named Eep (voiced by Emma Stone) who wakes up in a cave and we hear her voiceover saying, “My family has always survived by living by my Dad’s one rulenever leave the cave.” We then see her climbing a steep cliff as the voiceover continues, “We never had a chance to explore the outside world. What we didn’t know was that our world was about to change.” She gets to the top of the mountain and says “You really need to see this,” and we get a quick montage of her family of cave people experiencing this colorful new world, which included forests full of colorful and lush fauna, a giant colored egg and all sorts of creatures. The footage went by very fast but essentially it seems to be an action-adventure of this cave family exploring the changing world.
After the footage, we were told that the story takes place during an imaginary period called the Croodaceous period, a previously undiscovered era that’s almost like “evolution’s puberty,” a time when a lot of things happened. Some of the things taking place went on successfully and other things got weeded out, allowing them to play with a lot of interesting mash-ups of different animals. They described the movie as a road trip where this family who lives in a cave is forced to go out and find a new cave when theirs is destroyed.
Damaschke talked about how ideas for DreamWorks Animation movies tend to arise from having questions that they want to find answers to and building a world and characters around that. In the case of The Croods, written and directed by Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco, they really wanted to tell a story of a family, which is not something they’d done before. They started thinking about “What if we told a story of the very first family, a caveman family?” They started thinking about how the world changes so fast around us every day with new technology emerging and the world moving fast that it’s easy to feel outdated. That got them thinking about a story about how hard it would be for a caveman father to protect his family in a world that’s changing around them.
The Croods‘ supervising animator James Baxter was also in attendance and he said that they sometimes got inspiration for the character from the performance of the voice actor using their expressions. He said that Emma Stone was so animated when she performed her lines in the booth, that the animators wanted to incorporate some of her expressions into the character.
Damaschke also mentioned that different animals inspired and influenced each member of the family as a guide they used for the animators, because they wanted “all the cavemen to be able to drop down on all fours.” He said that Emma’s really catlike and moves in a very feline way which made her animal relative simple. He said that the Nicolas Cage-voiced father Grug is sort of a gorilla, and his youngest daughter he compared to a Jack Russell, biting everything she sees.
One of the characters the family meets along the way in the outside world is a guy (named Guy), voiced by Ryan Reynolds, and he’s the most human of the bunch. He’s a different person because he has ideas and he teaches them they don’t have to be afraid of everything and they can survive by being a family.
The Croods is scheduled for March 22, 2013.