The first trailer for the upcoming new DreamWorks movie, Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken, is here, and it teases an epic coming-of-age story. The footage, which you can watch above, marks the first real look at the animated story about the lurking teenage sea monster, as well as introducing his stellar voice.
The teaser begins in the ocean as Jane Fonda’s voice-over warns us to forget everything we know about the fearsome sea monster, the Kraken. These are not the evil beasts that many fear, but are actually brave and noble creatures, and as it turns out, one of them is hiding too, being a teenage girl named Ruby. Voiced by To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before star Lana Condor, Ruby just wants to mingle and live a normal high school life, but when the evil mermaid Chelsea (Annie Murphy) warns her that she knows her secret, it looks like she might be able to resist. who she really is.
Total Film met with director Kirk DeMicco and producer Kelly Cooney to discuss the new trailer. We cover everything from the look they wanted to create with the new DreamWorks animation to a coming-of-age story with women and working with Fonda, Toni Collette and the rest of the voice cast. For that and more, here is our conversation with the filmmakers, edited for more length and clarity.
The trailer begins with a voice-over emphasizing that the ocean is a mysterious world. Why did you decide to open it this way, and what did you want to achieve by creating the look of the film’s underwater world?
Kirk DeMicco: Well, what we start with in the trailer was actually part of our production designer Pierre-Olivier Vincent’s idea from the very beginning, which was to show this world, the shape of which was largely inspired by the octopus. and the curve of an octopus. The curvy of our whole design, whether it’s the characters or the plants, or the actual buildings of Oceanside and the Kraken Kingdom, was to have this capability that felt like we were taking the audience and transporting them somewhere.
So, the idea of going through what we see and recognize are jellyfish, but to make a completely different presentation of how they move and how they zip through the ocean to engage an audience, it was a really amazing sight.
I think the thing about our movie is that we feel like we’re underwater, so we have stakes. This film is about a girl who discovers these incredible abilities, these almost superhero abilities, and she fights to save her world and the underwater kingdom. So we needed to constantly feel that we understand the stakes in physics, how we move in water and how fish move in water. We play with that when you meet the Kraken and all, but the idea is that at first glance the world you see is what you are supposed to know.
This underwater world contrasts with the world of Oceanside, where Ruby lives out of the water. Ruby looks very different in this world and seems to be trying to become smaller in this vibrant town. How important was it to introduce these visual differences between the two?
Kelly Cooney: Yes, I think that’s exactly right, I think you’ve completely captured the contrast between the two. When she is underwater and can be free to be who she really is, it empowers her and transforms her. While on land it has to struggle to adapt, it has to hide that tubular flexibility that is characteristic of it as a cephalopod. So, in both design and animation style, we’ve been working really hard to push that through and make sure we always keep that contrast in mind.
When she’s with other teenagers in high school, many of them are very hard and like they’re rooted in the ground. So their style is different than hers, which is just more flexible and flexible. We always try to promote it, but we still believe that she can blend in with high school.
I think another thing we were trying to do with the teen character designs was that we really wanted them to look like the teens we see right now? They have colorful hair and are dressed in fancy outfits. So I think that helped us create a world where you could believe that this blue character could potentially fuse with him.
You have such a great cast for the film, did those actors bring something to these characters that you didn’t expect?
Kelly Cooney: Yes, definitely, starting with Lana Condor, who is the voice of Ruby. I mostly knew her from the To All the Boys series on Netflix. I just think she was so charming in those films and I loved that she was the hero, but at the same time she was quirky. So, you know, when she started recording with us, she brought that part of herself into the character and so we were able to write more for her and play with that awkwardness. She was just a great collaborator in terms of defining this character. The same goes for Annie Murphy, who plays the villainess Chelsea. Annie has the same effervescent quality that Chelsea has, where you are simply drawn to her.
Kirk DeMicco: You are drawn to her until she turns around, and then you get scared, and then you want to run out of the room, she is so good at it. It’s like she just got into the evil evil side of that villain at the end. She transforms into this villain, it’s really amazing acting, especially the vocal performance, because it has such a range.
Kelly Cooney: And then just talk to a couple of the other main characters in the movie. Toni Collette plays Ruby’s mom, Agatha. As for Agatha, she is a very caring mom like many moms are, but she does it this way because she thinks it’s best for her family and that at its core is her love for her family. I think Toni is such a skilled actress that she can play that vulnerability and that sensitivity while still being a force to be reckoned with. So this mother gave up her life underwater and moved her family to land to protect them. And on top of that, you have Jane Fonda playing the grandmother, so you have the third generation of powerful women.
It was great to see Ruby surrounded by these powerful women who each have their own rights, who have the best intentions, and sometimes they can be a little wrong, and they kind of force her to follow the direction that they think is best for her. , but ultimately Ruby has to choose for herself. What is her path forward and who is she at her core? I think that’s what’s most appealing to me, having a little daughter, being able to tell a coming-of-age story where Ruby really becomes a hero and she really embraces who she is in her. basic. She can end the film in a completely self-fulfilling way, taking a little bit from all these strong women in her life, but she kind of synthesizes them in her own point of view, which I think is really powerful. message for girls right now.
The Kraken is a pretty unique piece of mythology that isn’t really well adapted. What was it like digging into that and also flipping expectations by making mermaids the antagonists?
Kelly Cooney: Yes, I think this is something DreamWorks has a long history of subverting the expectations of characters you think you know and showing them a potential side that you didn’t know existed. So that was definitely one of the things that really attracted us. How can you take this mythical mighty Kraken that sank ships, sank sailors and turn it into something ambitious and powerful? You know, maybe the story got it wrong and they just fell victim to some really bad publicity.
Then, on the other hand, with a mermaid, it’s an opportunity to take what you think is just a beautiful shiny thing, but there’s a kind of evil underbelly underneath that. To take that kind of high school image of the mean girl and war that girls sometimes do in high school and show it on a grand scale and in such an epic way was just really exciting for us.
For other upcoming movies, here’s our breakdown of movie release dates for 2023.