Epic director Chris Wedge is still working on his latest animated gem, and Movie Fanatic was invited to 20th Century Fox Studios to get the man's thoughts at this point in the creative process and check out almost 20 minutes of footage. It was there that he debuted the recently released Epic trailer.
Wedge took a break from the scoring of his new Blue Sky (Ice Age, Rio) animated movie to also show Movie Fanatic some extended clips from his film that arrives May 24.
The story of Epic chronicles the ongoing battle in the forest between those that seek to bring life and those who bring further decay and destruction. Jason Sudeikis portrays a scientist who lives deep in the forest, who believes that there is a tiny world that exists and he is determined to prove it.
When his daughter arrives (Amanda Seyfried), her skepticism quickly changes when the reality of what her father espouses becomes clear to her… that’s what we discerned from the additional footage we saw!
When asked how on earth he came up with such a detailed world to make a movie around, Wedge said the process began like all his previous films (including Robots and Ice Age).
“Whenever I start thinking about animation, I start with a world in my head. What’s a cool place we can go? In this case that was the woods,” Wedge said on the Fox lot in Los Angeles.
“The forest like the woods in your backyard or the summer camp you went to when you were growing up. Like any forest, there’s always a battle between the forces of life and the forces of decay. And in our movie we are going to go into that in a very special way.”
Wedge is not only the filmmaker behind Epic, he also co-founded Blue Sky and has contributed his voice to many fan favorite roles, such as Scrat!
In this tiny world that Wedge has established, Movie Fanatic gathered several things about the plot. There are the forces of good, the Leafmen, who ride on the back of hummingbirds and live to protect the forest. They are led by revered Ronin (Colin Farrell) and he has a challenging upstart in Nod (The Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson) whose heart is in the right spot, even if his emotions sometimes get the better of him.
“Leafmen are two inches tall and they move through the forest like little superheroes. By virtue of their scale, they are like little grasshoppers,” Wedge said. “They can put their friends on their backs, ride hummingbirds through the forest and are like fighter pilots.”
They are led by a queen (Beyonce) who oversees the forest and ensures its continued vitality. “Queen Tara is literally the life of the forest,” Wedge revealed. “When she moves you see everything follow her and without Queen Tara there is no forest. Without her the forest will die.”
As teased in the Epic international trailer, the Boggans are our villains. They see their mission as that of bringing decay and destruction to the ecosystem of the forest. The Boggans are led by two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz. Movie Fanatic saw several scenes with Waltz and can say this: He is his usual bad self, but there’s a level to his evil here that is downright devilish.
The supporting cast gets a spotlight in our presentation too as we witnessed clips that featured hilarious quips from Aziz Ansari (who portrays a wisecracking snail named Mub) and Bridesmaids star Chris O’Dowd… who is a charming snail.
We don’t want to say too much, but can admit that in one scene a small plot point was revealed. Somehow… Seyfried’s scientist daughter will get shrunk down to the Leafmen’s size and then our adventure truly begins.
Other stand-out moments from the Epic scenes we witnessed:
- Sudeikis plays his scientist as a bit zany and is so enthralled by his forest discoveries, he has become estranged from his visiting daughter.
- An impressive scene was shown where Beyonce’s queen is set to choose a “bulb,” who will eventually replace her as the regal leader, when the ceremony is interrupted by an ambush by the Boggans.
- We also saw a scene that features none other than Aerosmith leader Steven Tyler, who plays Nim Galuu, the Keeper of the Scrolls. It is his duty to chronicle life in the forest.