how to train your dragon the hidden world early screenings

Peter: Do you feel bad making everyone cry? 

Dean: No.  For me it’s a victory.  Yeah.  In fact, my kind of my pet peeve is when people say to me, oh I was so moved I almost cried.  ‘Cause I actually I feel like a personal pang of defeat in that statement.  It’s like saying you almost succeeded.  So if someone cries I feel great.  That was the intention that we want.  We want to create a roller coaster of emotion and move people to laughter and tears.  So if we get the tears, I’m especially proud.

Peter: Yeah.  Well, you got my tears.

Dean: Thank you.

Guillermo del Toro Dreamsworks Animation deal

Peter: Is Guillermo del Toro still consulting with the features here?

Dean: I haven’t seen him around.  I think he does have a consulting deal.  But the last time I saw Guillermo was a few years back.  I mean, in relation to DreamWorks.  I went to go meet him at Bleak House and he had read an early script for this movie and he was, he’s always very generous with his time and he was just talking, he actually inspired me to just get a little more connected with my inner fanboy.  And he said, he pointed out, this is such a rare opportunity to get to do a trilogy.  And he said, just go for it.  Put everything up on screen that you’ve ever wanted to see.  Don’t be so slavish to the continuity.

drew struzan how to train your dragon the hidden world

Peter: What’s the story behind the Drew Struzan posters?  Because there was one at Comic-Con, the last one. And then there’s some that were put online, but we don’t even know where those are going.

Dean: Yeah.  Yeah, yeah, I was talking to him about this last night.  He was at our crew party.  Well, I approached Drew back on Dragon 2, telling him I would love him to do a poster for us.  And we got the okay from the marketing department to come up with the money for it.  But then he got sick.  So he had, he did a couple of rough comps.  And one of them he just gave to me and that’s the one we reproduced and gave to fans at Comic-Con that year.  And then he recovered and happily started in doing his own work and happy in his retirement.  But I invited him to see a screening of the movie here himself.  And Dylan, his wife.  And they really responded strongly and cried.  And I said, I would love it, it’s my dream if you’d ever consider doing a triptych for us.  And he agreed to do it.  He came out of retirement and he painted these incredible posters.  They’re full size and they’re glorious.

Peter: Oh, wow.

Dean: And yeah, there’s a little tease on Fandango, but we’re still figuring out at what point we’re going to print them up nice and big and on high-quality stock and make them available to fans.

Peter: Yeah.  I definitely want those.  What is next for you?  I mean, this has been a long…  This has been like almost 10 years of your life, right? 

Dean: It has been, yeah, 10 years.  10 years.  It’s the end of a decade and I’m really proud of it, but I’m also eager to get back to other projects that have been sitting on the back burner.  And hopefully, do something live action at some point.

Peter: Oh live action, ’cause you’ve done some music video stuff, right?

Dean: Yeah.  And I sold three movies to write and direct back in the years between Lilo and Stitch and jumping on to How to Train Your Dragon.  And–

Peter: Are you talking about Banshee and Lighthouse?

Dean: Yeah.  Lighthouse and Sightings.  And those were movies that got stalled due to changes in the presidency at studios.  So I would love to pick up where we left off on a couple of those and bring them to fruition.  Or jump onto something that I feel a connection with that somebody’s making.  It’s all wide open.  First I just wanna take a little vacation, clear my head.

Peter: I understand that.  But those three are live action?

Dean: Yes.  All three of those are.

Peter: Oh, very cool.  And the other thing I wanted to ask you. This series has such fantastic world building.  When are we gonna get like a theme park ride where we can…?

Dean: Oh… that’s the dream, right? I remember back on Mulan, Chris Sanders and I joking that if we ever made it to like a Disney-like Ice Capades special that that would be like true success.  Like we made it to an ice show.  But yeah, now in this world, to be like a Harry Potter-esque theme park attraction would be amazing.  Who knows?

Peter: It makes sense to. I remember being in the theater for the first film and I think flying has never felt more real in a movie.  Like feeling the feeling of flight.

Dean: Well that’s great.  Yeah, I mean, we definitely tried to make it feel as visceral as we could within the confines of a movie theater.  But I agree with you in a virtual like kind of proper ride format that would be really impressive.

Peter: Plus, it would be cool just to visit the world.

Dean: I totally agree.  Go talk to somebody.  Tell them you want it.

Peter: Avatar came out like a year before your first film came out.  They announced five films and in that time, you’ve made a trilogy.  But I’m just wondering how did Avatar influence or not influence the series because there is some crossover with dragons, mythical elements and bioluminescence. 

Dean: Well, I remember seeing the first trailers come out and we saw the Banshees flying around.  And we thought oh now we’re gonna look like we copied them.  But we’d been at it for, we’d been working on the movie for 15 months and we were wrapping up as they were releasing. So we knew we had our flight sequences and we hoped that they would stand apart from all of the excitement that was gathering around Avatar.

And then when it came to designing The Hidden World, we were also really conscious of the fact that Avatar did bioluminescence so well that if we were going to include it, we had to make it feel different and unique unto itself.  So in terms of color palette and our use of it within the tunnels that connect these larger spaces, we wanted it to be almost like a black light effect that would actually cause the dragons flying through to reveal their own patterns.  And to have when you talk about something that feels magical within our understanding of geology and biology on this planet, there are only certain things like phosphorescence and bioluminescence and crystal caverns that might be carrying light from deeper magma veins that we were talking about like a salty atmosphere because the all that water spilling in and interacting with lava would create a steamy atmosphere in which coral could actually grow midair.

And these were all things that we were trying to make our own to do a version of a world that didn’t feel like an Avatar rip-off.  So hopefully that’s not the immediate instinct.  But I could see if because it’s such a strong, iconic imprint of Pandora that people might kind of make that connection.

Peter: Well thank you very much.

Dean: Thank you.

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