Words on Screen - Dreamworks Animation Skg - 4-28-2010
Jeffrey Katzenberg: I am very thrilled to announce yesterday that we are onto Dragons 2. I know that there are many, many, many people here who, uh, have been lighting candles wanting to go another round. This will be I think the fact you loved the characters in the film as much as you did, is why the movie is as good as it is. So we're all very excited and looking forward to more dragons.
Words on Screen - Dean DeBlois - Writer / Director
Dean DeBlois: Ok, well, here we are. Interesting spot in the history of the dragons franchise. Um, so it's my ambition to take some notions that were put in place in the first film and carry them through to the second film and develop them and answer some unanswered questions about Hiccup's life and the behavior of dragons. And then trace those forward into a conclusion that will be mind-blowingly traumatic and huge. So if I am going to jump into this I intend to do it with the whole script in mind, with the beginning and the end already in place, so that if we are doing the middle installment that it really does lead in an exciting almost cliffhanger sort of way into the third film. And that's the challenge. April 28, 2010, the adventure begins.
Words on Screen - 12-19-2010
Dean DeBlois: It is December 9th, 2010 and I have just finished the script, first draft. Ehh. My eyes are very blurry and I think I've mapped out just about everything that needs to be there, but uh, of course there is always change and a lot of the character arcs will be refined as will the moments, but it represents what I wanted to do. There it is, 110 pages.
Words on Screen - Norway - 4-23-2011
Dean DeBlois: I spend a lot of time thinking about the poles. I'm really attracted to the Arctic and Antarctic, and I read a lot of stories about adventure, real life self rescues like the Shackleton story. So when I was dreaming up ideas for the second installment my mind starting wandering to the North and what if Hiccup were to journey to the far deep Arctic. That's really where the meat of the adventure could take place. So the idea of taking a research trip to Norway had kind of been brought forward and I was really excited about that because I never had been to the majestic fjords and that incredible scenery Norway has to offer.
Dean DeBlois: Far deeper into the arctic lays a land called Svalbard. It's an archipelago. It's covered in ice and snow and polar bears. It's very remote and it's very magical and I was so curious to see what the light looked like there and what those landscapes looked like. Well, I carry a camcorder around with me everywhere and I try to record just about everything that happens on the movie. Part of the trip was for Roger Deakins, myself, James his wife, and one of our development executives, Gregg Taylor. We flew to Svalbard and spent a six day snow mobile safari just snapping photos and really taking in the breath of that place, and it absolutely found its way into the visuals of the movie.
Bonnie Arnold: But it ended up being an amazing, sort of bonding experience, just on the part of the team itself, and we had a lot of conversations creatively about the movie, not just what the movie would look like but, I think, what the movie would be creatively, and those were the people in that group that were really going to help him on a day to day basis to execute that vision. I think we used that, the feeling of just being connected because of that trip. We talked about it for the next three years after that, for the rest of the time we were working on the movie.
Pierre-Olivier Vincent: Those maybe ?????, but they may have some island ???. Maybe they would come across an island having that kind of ice on it, ???.
Dean DeBlois: You mean the ice on the black sand beach?
Pierre-Oliver Vincent: Yes.
Dean DeBlois: We’d actually put together about ten or fifteen boards that were just random photographs that either had an interesting mood or just some sort of beautiful light and atmosphere.
???: Yeah we’re in the skies, its beautiful
Dean DeBlois: But they began to establish kind of a colour script for the film, that mood from moment to moment that were driven by the narrative were we wanted to be in terms of the colour pallet. And its a really nice way to kind of, begin to visualise the film in those early days.
Words on screen - Vikings on the Backs of Dragons
Gerard Butler: This kid came along and told us a whole different way of tolerance, compassion and understanding and unity.
America Ferrera: Since Hiccup helped the people of Berk see that Dragons could be trained and could be friends with people, Berk has completely changed and now the dragons are integrated into everyday life of Berk and there like their pets but they’re also their partners in crime and it’s in the beginning of the film it’s one big happy family.
Jay Baruchel: If you live on Berk and don’t have a dragon your now in the minority, you know its, there’s Dragon racing and its just this beautiful testament to what Hiccup was a part of from the first one which is the bridging the gap and bringing the two of them together and so, dragons and humans on Berk in this movie live side by side, you couldn’t have one without the other.
Words on screen - Life with Dragons
Simon Otto: We wanted at the same time the dragons to feel real and believable and tangible but we also wanted them to have a sense of humour. Like we needed to make them entertaining and be communicating something that the audience recognises, that the way, you know, a stand-up comedian caricatures a politicians, you know. We wanted to caricature animals or different types of species.
Randy Thom: I think of the Dragons as if they were actors as if they were, you know, playing characters and each dragon has its own set of emotions. And we always want them to sound like real creatures so I wind up doing a few of the vocalisations myself. With you know a snarl or growl or something that sounds a little like a tiger, but then go into the whimper or whatever it is that we need a human for.
Simon Otto: For every dragon we can mix and match certain types of animal behaviours. For example, the Gronckle is a mixture of a bulldog, helicopter and a bumblebee. So it sounds abstract but when you actually put those elements together you get a flavour of a character and that along with the design, you get a very recognisable piece of animation.
Dean: Working with a production designers like POV means that you get somebody who’s thinking about the story as much as they are thinking about the design of the world. And in the case of the Bewilderbeast we had this idea that we were going to introduce the top of the chain. And this dragon instead of being a fire breathing, flying dragon it would actually be a water dragon that swallows back masses of water and then regurgitates with such extreme force that it tears apart its subject and freezes it mid-splash, leaving these really iconic, arresting images of ice spikes and devastating destruction. It was such a remarkable idea and such a strong visual that we pursued it to the full extent.