We took a trip back to the 80's with the cast from the DreamWorks Trolls movie at a recent press event in Los Angeles. From scrapbooking fun felt Trolls to dancing to our favorite classic hits from the 60's through the 80's, this event was bursting with bold, bright colors and glitter. Lots of glitter.
The highlight of the DreamWorks Trolls movie press event was the roundtable interviews with the cast and crew from the film as we learned more about the songs behind the film, girl power and the image of Poppy, and farting glitter.
A few of our favorite scrapbooked Trolls, including Poppy and Branch.
And you don't want to miss the TROLLS (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)! It's available now and absolutely amazing, featuring hit songs from the film including: Hair; Can't Stop the Feeling!; Get Back Up Again; Sound of Silence; True Colors; and more. Get the soundtrack here.
DreamWorks Trolls opens in theaters this Friday, November 4th.
DreamWorks Trolls Movie – Cast Interviews
Q: In the early development, when you guys first came up with the idea of the movie, was it always a musical?
Mike Mitchell: From the very beginning, even in our outline, we grabbed True Colors early. It was funny because Gina and I were like, “Man, that song. Everyone uses that song.”
We’ve heard it and heard it, and we knew this song had to be the emotional core of the film
Q: What were some of the unique challenges between doing the songs that are covers versus your own songs?
Justin Timberlake: Every song was pretty situational, whether it be for a comedic purpose or a dramatic purpose. I think you really just break down each moment and 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 we 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. Then with something like True Colors, I can’t imagine actually having to write a song after hearing that in that, it just worked so well.
Q: Anna, I know you’ve done a lot of musical roles in your career. What made this particular project different from any other musical elements?
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. 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.
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. I can’t believe I get to do it.
Q: Chris, what attracted you to be in Trolls?
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: I’m not a singer for sure as you can tell that in the movie, he is terrible. 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. 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.”
Q: Speaking to the nostalgia, how fun was it to be slightly irreverent in a children’s animated film or family animated film?
Justin Timberlake: You feel like you’re getting away with something.
Anna Kendrick: Yes, one of my favorite feelings as an adult is when you go, “Oh my God, in Clueless, they’re talking about his penis. Oh my God. They’re talking about balls but they mean balls.” I think that speaks to the idea that you want to layer a film so that anyone from any age can enjoy it and also so that kids can grow with it. That it's like planting things and they will get more and more enjoyment out of it as they grow up with it.
Q: Could you tell us a little bit about your writing process? Do you have someone else come in and listen to what you’re doing to figure out whether you’re going in the right direction? Does it differ from when you’re doing your own music?
Justin Timberlake: This is different from any experience I’ve had writing a song. To write specifically within sort of a landscape for a scene and a feeling. It’s situational, but the trick is to write something that could work for the scene but it could stand alone on its own and live outside of the movie.
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: 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.
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 has a sense of humor, which is really helpful for these films. Each one of them can sing-incredible voices. Zooey Deschanel is amazing singer along with James Corden. Did you guys know that Justin Timberlake knows how to sing?
Q: Why make this film now?
Mike Mitchell: The reason we did this film is because, not just for kids but for even for myself, everything on the media–it’s a little dark. Most of the stuff on the internet is very judgmental. Let’s not even talk about how silly this election is that is coming up. It is so ridiculous and disturbing and weird. We just wanted to do something that makes people feel happy and makes them feel like they went to a party after this movie.
Dialog is so important in this film. The whole confidence as to why she even said, “I hope I can do what her father did,” which was no troll left behind. And her dad was like, “Well, you know, I’m not the same anymore.” Even when Branch is talking about his perspective on it, it gives the other side. You have the hope, and then you have the reality.
Q: Gina, at Comic Con you talked a little bit about girl power and the image of Poppy. Can you elaborate a little bit?
Gina Shay: We worked for four years on a movie, so we really wanted to make sure we were saying something important, especially for girls. Instilling confidence in girls from a young age is really important for their development.
We made sure that for making a princess, we broke all the rules. She is round, and she has hips. She has a little belly. She is not a character that would make girls feel inadequate when thinking about body image as well. The other thing is that section of the movie where Poppy instills confidence in Bridget, Bridget has such a low confidence and it’s so sad. All of us have kids, and we all want that. We want all kids to be confident.
Q: Kunal, when did you find out your Troll’s special talent?
Kunal Nayyar: When the directors asked me how I saw my character, I took my pants off and I showed them. And then– No, it was great. It’s a great redeeming quality to have.
Walt Dohrn: No matter who you are, everyone poops. I have a three-year-old, and we talk about it. Everyone poops, so it makes it kind of funny and brings us all connected. It was an intense moment. It gives you a little relief. We always want to add a little levity or a little whimsy in the fret.
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. 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. 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. Then, we draw sketches, and we edit them together, and we use music from other movies. We put it altogether and we sit in a theater. There is a whole theater at DreamWorks where pretty much everyone who is working on the film fills the theater. We watch it and we go, “All right.” Then, we take it down, and we remake it. We probably make the film 10 times
Q: Do you guys have a favorite song that gets you out of your gray mood?
Anna Kendrick: Can’t Stop the Feeling.
Justin Timberlake: Somebody asked me that earlier I said Sir Duke, Stevie Wonder.
Kunal Nayyar: Getting Jiggy With It, Will Smith.
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. I listened to that for a really long time. That would be it right now.
About DreamWorks Trolls
From the creators of Shrek comes DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls, a smart, funny and irreverent comedy about the search for happiness, and just how far some will go to get it. This hilarious film transports audiences to a colorful, wondrous world populated by the overly optimistic Trolls, who have a constant dance in their step and a song on their lips, and the comically pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have trolls in their stomachs.
After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious curmudgeonly Branch (Timberlake) set off on a journey to rescue her friends. Together, this mismatched duo embarks on a rescue mission full of adventure and mishaps – trying to tolerate each other long enough to get the job done.
Utilizing music to further the film's narrative, the Trolls soundtrack is produced by Justin Timberlake and features five original songs including songs by Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande, Anna Kendrick and Gwen Stefani, in addition to a number of classic hits from the ‘60s through the ‘80s.
Portions of the material has been provided courtesy of DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox.