Rise of the Guardians Actors Talk the Holiday Film
By: Lynn Barker
In Rise of the Guardians, a fun, animated holiday film from DreamWorks, a group of heroes you might recognize from fairy tales, each with extraordinary abilities, must join forces when an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world. It’s up to the Guardians (Jack Frost, North (Santa), the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and the Sandman) to get together and protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children all over the world.
Alec Baldwin ( “30 Rock” on TV) and Isla Fisher (voice of Beans in Rango) talked to press about their voice roles as North (aka Santa) and The Tooth Fairy.
Q: Alec what was it about this film that made you want to take on the role of North (aka Santa)?
- Alec: I think that when they showed me that these people were going to be an edgier version of the characters, (I was excited). When you see the Santa Claus figure it’s usually kind of a rosy cheeked, saintly man without a lot of dimension to it. I love how Isla’s character is hitting on Chris’ (Pine’s) character (Jack Frost) when she meets him. It’s real. I just thought it was good for kids. It’s very sweet and it reinforces the idea of believing in yourself. I found the arc of the Jack Frost character very, very touching.
Q: What do you think is the message of the film?
- Isla: I think the message in the movie was actually if you don’t believe in fear it doesn’t exist. Which I think is wonderful for everyone, not just children. I think that pretty much covers it right Alec?
- Alec: Yes. There’s a great deal of love and kind of warmth in the piece, because there’s always a chance to make it really, really bombastic. For me the key with these kinds of films, and I’ve done a few of them, is to work your way toward a much warmer humanistic place literally in your voice. We don’t want to cross a line and make it too excessive. With children’s films you want to make sure you do keep it warm, especially, with the Santa Claus character there’s a chance to make him very strident.
Q: Mr. Baldwin how did you feel about Santa and how did you find out your parents were actually Santa?
- Alec: Santa Claus, yeah I was like seven or eight and I walked into a room and my sister was wrapping presents with my mother and they told me what was going on. I think they only told me because the more kids my mother had the more wrapping they had to do. Then I became enlisted as a wrapper of gifts. So my mother said ‘Come in here I’m going to tell you something. Now pick up those scissors and let’s go’. So I think that’s really what it came down to. I was only devastated because it meant more work for me, I had to wrap presents all night.
Q: How did you first hear about this movie and what were your initial reactions to voicing your characters?
- Isla: I think I was shown the artwork. They brought me into a big room. Jeffrey (Katzenberg of DreamWorks) was there and it was very overwhelming how much work they had already put into the story and the movie before I even came onboard. At that stage Leonardo DiCaprio was doing (the voice of) Jack Frost but he dropped out. I thought it was so beautiful and original, magical and epic. It felt huge, and it just felt different from anything that I’d seen in the animated world.
- Alec: I had a small role in Madagascar 2, and when you get a phone call from Katzenberg and they want you to do one of these DreamWorks things the answer is pretty much always yes because they’re really the best at this. They called me, and asked me if I wanted to do it, and I said sure, and they show you the cells and the drawings and the renderings, and say this is what we have in mind, and you sign onto that program which is a number of sessions over the arc of an 18 month period or whatever it is. So I said yes, I mean I didn’t really think about it too much,
Q: Isla, in general do you think it’s important for children to believe in fairy tales?
- Isla: (Her kids are ages 5 and 2) I just think it’s a personal choice for every family what they want to tell their kids, and it just depends on your religious affiliation and how you were raised and the rest of it.
- Alec: Yeah. My 17-year-old daughter is on a beach in Hawaii with her boyfriend right now, so there’s a whole other fantasy that’s going on there, which has nothing to do with stockings and candy canes; it’s a different world now.
Q: Isla, when did you stop believing in Santa Claus and was it a big shock for you?
- Isla: I was six when I stopped believing in Santa and my brother broke it to me along with the tooth fairy not being real at the same time. It was a massive blow, and I actually remember feeling very betrayed by my parents. But, I was at least able to beg them more openly for the stuff that I wanted the following year.
Q: Do you think there is too much emphasis on “naughty vs. nice” at Christmastime?
- Isla: For me, growing up there wasn’t much emphasis on being nice or naughty. I feel like as a family there wasn’t much discipline. It was more relaxed at home, which I’m grateful for.
Q: While growing up, were there any children’s movies that you truly cherished that maybe now, you’ve rediscovered with your kids or teens?
- Isla: I loved The Dark Crystal, of course it was the first film that I ever saw. It seemed so magical to me. But, I’ve never wanted to see it again just in case that it didn’t live up to the expectation.
- Alec: Mary Poppins. (I’m older so) much of what was a childhood experience for me was a book. (I’d) watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on TV, you’d watch “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”, the animated version. There was a lot of Seuss and Charles Schultz programming, and in films I guess like The Wizard of Oz, the real pillars of children’s entertainment back then.