The stars of the new DreamWorks animated gem, Rise of the Guardians, have gathered once again to talk to Movie Fanatic about this one-of-a-kind film. Alec Baldwin plays North, the leader of our group of childhood heroes… better known as Santa Claus. Hugh Jackman is the Easter Bunny, Isla Fisher portrays the Tooth Fairy and Star Trek star Chris Pine inhabits Jack Frost. And the final Guardian doesn’t say a word, yet his presence is strong… Sandman!
Rise of the Guardians is based on the book by William Joyce and follows the heroes of childhood imaginations as they band together to fight Pitch (Jude Law), the man more often called The Boogie Man, as he seeks to squelch the feelings of hope and awe that children possess.
The movie works on many levels, one of its stars asserted. “Rise of the Guardians is probably one of the greatest things that kids will get to see because it’s all their favorite characters come to life in one movie,” Jackman said. “These Guardians all know each other, they work together in looking after kids and guarding over them to make sure they have a great childhood. Pitch comes in to ruin the party.”
Pine added that what Pitch is attacking is simple, yet wide-reaching in its complexity over a population of youthful believers. “Pitch thrives on fear, and that can cause the loss of children’s belief in their childhood heroes,” Pine said. Pitch's plan is simple: Inject doubt in children's minds as to the existence of these icons and they will simply disappear. They only exist because of the wonder in children's dreams.
Evil is so strong in Pitch, it requires a different kind of hero to combat him. “In order to be able to take on Jude Law in the movie you have some contemporizing quality to these heroes, like my character,” Baldwin said. “He’s got the tattoos that say, ‘Naughty’ and ‘Nice.’ You can almost see him taking apart a Harley in the garage [laughs].”
Baldwin had a ball portraying Saint Nick, with his thick Russian accent, the leader of our band of childhood heroes. “It’s like the justice league of innocence. All the icons of childhood gather to save innocence in the world,” Baldwin said.
Jackman appreciated the universal message of Rise of the Guardians, something children cannot hear enough of as it’s something Jack Frost struggles with for the first half of the film. “Jack Frost represents the main thing: Finding yourself by doing things for others. By being in service of others, you get to join a team and become bigger than yourself. Also, having faith in believing in doing the right thing pays off,” Jackman said.
As shown in this Rise of the Guardians TV spot, Frost has been recruited to join the Guardians after centuries on his own creating snow and ice-centered joy. He’s not sure he wants to join. “In this story, this mythology we’re creating, for the past 300 years, he’s kind of been roving and roaming the Earth with no place to call a home. He’s the guardian of fun and mischief… and snow days and snow ball fights,” Pine said.
Even though we have the classic heroes of childhood, Jack Frost is the character least believed in and as such, if he can get children to believe in him, Pitch will be powerless. Jack holds the key to the fight for children’s imaginations. “Although kids enjoy his work, they don’t associate that with Jack Frost,” Pine said. He then reflects what Jackman said about the beauty of the film’s message. “Our film is about believing and how belief gives power and life.”
But a question is asked of Frost and it could be one of the most important questions asked of anyone. “What is your center? What are you meant to do? Jack’s story, that’s it,” Pine added. “It’s so human. What were we put on this earth to do? What are we supposed to do? I like that about Jack and how it relates to the entire story.”
Each star shares a wonder that is marveling at the look of Rise of the Guardians. Isla Fisher, for one, was mesmerized. “It’s almost like each image has been painted. You can individually see the brush strokes of every character,” Fisher said. “It doesn’t have a contemporary feel and there are no popular culture references in the movie. It’s more of a special and classic tale.”
“It is so beautiful, the colors and landscape. It’s a beautiful sweet story too. I haven’t seen anything out there now that’s as beautiful as this is,” Baldwin concurred.
Jackman believes that the film is unlike any people have ever seen, as proven in this Rise of the Guardians featurette. “Visually this movie is very different and very ambitious. It’s got a very sophisticated and beautiful look,” Jackman said. “It’s everything you expect from DreamWorks Animation. It’s first class. But there is a depth to it and I think visually a sophistication to it.”