News From The How To Train Your Dragon 2 Voice Cast
By: Lynn Barker
Since the last “Dragon” film How To Train Your Dragon, Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) has grown a lot. As a young adult, he helps expand the world of the landlocked Vikings as they are able to ride dragons and explore. They will find strange new dragons and other cultures but, along with that, a dangerous threat to both dragons and humankind.
Coming back to voice Stoick, Hiccup’s dad, is the funny and formidable Gerard Butler who tells us his character has learned and grown a lot since the last film. Joining him are new “baddies” cute Kit Harington of “Game of Thrones” as Eret, a dragon trapper who sells his captured dragons to the very evil Drago, a meany wanting to control the world voiced by Djimon Hounsou (of Eragon and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy).
Check out what these guys had to say about the great personal story, beautiful visuals and pure fun the new “Dragons” offers.
Q: Gerard, how has Stoick changed since the first movie? It’s been five years.
- Gerard: I think, at the beginning of the movie you meet a Stoick who is much more relaxed and having fun. The pressure is off. There’s not a constant war with the dragons and his son’s doing great. He’s not the kind of weird boy that he was growing up so it’s a different world full of fun and adventure but I also feel that my time is coming to an end so, I want to pass on the mantle to Hiccup. It’s time for him, not just to show he can slay dragons but to show he can be a leader and take some serious responsibility.
Q: Djimon, your character is sort of an evil genius. How did you come up with the voice for Drago? It’s pretty scary, especially for little kids.
- Djimon: For Drago I felt extremely challenged because I remember seeing the first movie and I thought “Wow, Gerry’s voice has so much power and presence in the story”. When I got called in for this I thought “I have to outdo this man” (Butler laughs). It challenged me that I was participating in a serious fight with him. But, having a son, quickly you want to keep your legacy going and certainly being a part of an animated feature is quite important.
- I saw the first one with my son and never dreamed of being in the second one and with a name like Drago Bludvist I can’t be limiting myself as to how much I am giving to a character like that. He is a bad guy and you have to stay with that. You can’t polish him or tone it down just because you are doing a film kids will see. You are still a bad guy.
Q: Kit, you’re new to the “Dragon” franchise. Why do you think it’s so popular?
- Kit: I think it’s like any successful animated film. It crosses over. It’s not just a kids’ film. It deals with some very adult issues. The interesting part for me is the estranged parents. I haven’t seen many animated films where they deal with something that many kids in our world deal with, having parents who split up; a single father brings up a son then the sons meet their estranged mother. I think that’s great for kids to go and see parents dealing with it badly and well. It’s something they can relate to.
- I think one reason it’s so successful is that kids love fantasy. It you can show a boy grow up with a very specific talent and they can aspire to have this talent that he has. Then in the second movie we take him through his teenaged years. I think that’s what this movie is aiming towards as well, teenagers and the kind of strife they go through.
Q: This movie opens on Father’s Day weekend. What do you think the movie teaches about fatherhood?
- Gerard: I think that Stoick wants to teach Hiccup that there’s a time for fun and games. Hiccup has proved himself and what’s also interesting is what I learn from him; what Stoick picks up; there’s a different way to deal with challenges and the younger generation can actually show the older generation. Hiccup is off adventuring and has different views on how to deal with these new challenges. I’m trying to teach him about a different type of responsibility where it’s not just about how you would like to deal with something but you’re thinking about the other people around you as well. He has (to think about) the future of other people.
- He can’t deal with it always in his own headstrong way and I’m not always right either. You just see the love that I have for my boy and the love that everybody has for everybody in this movie. They might not always agree or see eye-to-eye but everybody really wants the best (turning to Djimon) except for you. (laughter).
Q: Gerard, how do you see the relationship between Stoick and (estranged wife) Valka? They separate and reunite.
- Gerard: I love that Kit picked up on that. In actual fact, I think that’s the reason people are getting so much out of this movie. Visually, it’s incredible but it’s the story itself. It goes to deeper and darker places than most animated movies dare to go. The issues are separation and abandonment because Valka (voice of Cate Blanchett) abandoned her child and she’s apologetic about it and she had a deeper cause that she wanted to fight for but she could have returned or even checked up on him “How’s he growing up? How’s he doing?” and she never did. Part of me personally wanted to yell “Where were you? What the hell? Not even a hello? I’m making helmets out of your breastplate and you are having a blast tickling dragons under the chin”. At the same time it’s so emotional.
Q: A lot of people can relate to that, don’t you think?
- Gerard: Yeah. This happened to me. I didn’t see my father for fourteen years. I didn’t even know he was alive and he turned up out of the blue. I’d had a dream and went to my mom and said “I’m never gonna see my dad again am I?” she said “No. I don’t think so”. I came home one night and my stepdad said “Keep your jacket on. Your dad’s here”. I had to go and walk around this packed restaurant going from table to table literally looking at men going “Is that my dad?” He stood up and was the weirdest-looking guy in the restaurant (laughter).
- So that part of the movie was profound for me but not just for me. It’s profound for a lot of people to imagine that a parent you didn’t think was there or the love of your life that you thought was gone, is actually still alive and well and there is a chance to rekindle everything you thought you had lost in your life.
Q: What was it like going into the recording booth the second time around and did you get to work with Craig (Ferguson who voices Gobber) and Cate (as Valka) or just meet them at the premiere?
- Gerard: I’d met Cate before but I never met her on this movie. I kind of wanted to make it up and say I did and we did all our scenes together and it was magical but it’s not true. Craig and I worked together in the booth in the first one and I wish we could do that more. There was one day that we did with Jay and we had a blast. It was fun. But, in this movie we didn’t get the chance but it’s fine.
- By this point you know the voice, you know the guy and you can throw off extra things a little bit more and play with it more. What’s cool about the movie as well is there was already a momentum from the first one and that can kill you if you don’t live up to that but if you get it right and put a lot of thought into where you can take those characters, then that momentum becomes something really powerful and that’s what I think they did in this movie. We had a chance to go richer and deeper and had a really cool story.
Q: How surprised were you by the worldwide success of the first film?
- Gerard: I’ve got to tell you the first one is one of my favorite movies ever. I was so blown away with it and all the more so because most of the stuff that made it incredible I had nothing to do with. I just went to the movie “What did they do with this thing? It’s amazing”. I went to a special screening for DreamWorks and there were like 500 crew members there. I stood up and said “Guys I can’t even tell you how impressed I am with the world you create”. Then, because I’m a worrier, once we were making the second, how is that going to live up to this? I think the second one is even better. It pushes the limits and the stakes in so many ways and animation has come along so much. I’ve seen it now with two audiences and it’s great to see it with an audience because they get so into it and everybody is crying or cheering. I’m very proud to be a part of it.
Q: What’s coming up next for you guys?
- Gerard: I just finished a movie two days ago called Gods of Egypt which is a huge, Avatar meets a Lord of the Rings style movie and I’m playing the villain (turning to Djimon) I’m playing you! I’m playing the God Set and it’s kind of cool. I kill my brother and according to Egyptian mythology was probably my sister or my lover as well. I kill my father and my wife. I kill pretty much everybody else so it was fun playing him in a really magical world as well. And I’m doing a remake of London is Falling and I’m doing a movie called Geo Storm about building a system of satellites around the planet because of global warming. I’m excited about that one too. I’m going to shut up now. I’m sick of my voice.
- Djimon: I’m in Guardians of the Galaxy. I’m a humanoid, a killer machine.
- Kit: I’ve just finished a couple of films in England that come out next year. Then the never-ending “Thrones” which just carries on. I get back to that in July.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is in theaters June 13th!