FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE NOVEMBER 4
On the surface, DreamWorks’ Trolls looks like a practice in nostalgic feature filmmaking. Based on the 90s toys of the same name, “Trolls” features the voice talents of Justin Timberlake, whose “Can’t Stop Thing Feeling” single from the soundtrack has already been named the anthem of the summer. The music video also stars many of the other film’s vocal talents like Anna Kendrick, Russell Brand, James Corden, Kunal Nayyar, Ron Funches, Icona Pop, Gwen Stefani. Earlier this week, 20th Century Fox released the first official trailer for the film, giving audiences their first look at Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake), two Trolls with polar opposite personalities who must put aside their differences to stop The Bergens from eating their fellow trolls. Of course with the kind of musical talent the film has, you can expect to hear a couple of cover songs as well as original ones too.
We were invited to an early preview of Trolls, which is scheduled to hit theaters later this year, and sat down with Kendrick and Timberlake, as well as producer Gina Shay, director Mike Mitchell, co-director Walt Dohrn.
Below you will find five things you need to know about Trolls.
1 – Music Makes The Troll World Go Round
As you may have heard in the trailer, Trolls will be a musical that contains cover and original songs. While there is a nostalgic influence that comes from the title characters, director Mike Mitchell talks about how the film will have families bond together with more than just its comedy. The music “seems to span like all age groups, and it does the same thing that like Guitar Hero did,” said Mitchell. “So, a lot of dads were like man, I like this song, and now my kids dig it too, man.”
Timberlake, who is an executive producer on the film’s soundtrack, talked about following the themes of Dreamworks, which is to take classic figures and modernize them. His hope is that seven-year-old kids will walk away knowing songs like “The Sound Of Silence” and “True Colors.” However, the songs were already picked and cleared before Timberlake jumped on board as a music executive producer. “My job for that was hopefully to put our own spin on it, make it sound unique, make it sound like it belonged in the scene, much like a musical theater, musical theater almost,” said Timberlake. Referring back to “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” Timberlake talks about writing a song specifically for a movie while giving it a “70s funk” vibe to it.
In addition to giving these songs a contemporary spin, the music artist also wrote four original songs for the film.
2 – It’s Not Easy Being A Cover Song
As part of the early marketing campaign for “Trolls,” Timberlake and Kendrick shared the stage for a duet cover of the Cyndi Lauper song “True Colors.” A really tall order to say the least, and one that would not only have to impress fans of the original but get the attention of the younger generation who may not have heard of it.
“I was very nervous, to be honest,” Timberlake said. “I remember the whole time I was doing the recording session, I was like, “What is Cyndi [Lauper] gonna think?” I still don’t know. It’s already in the movie.”
Kendrick added, I do think though that having an acting objective, it’s easier for me. When we sang it at Cannes, I was totally terrified. But, when I’m singing it in the movie and you know, and I’m listening to Justin, I’m thinking about like what we have to accomplish for the story, it sort of distracts from that. It gives me a simpler intention.
3 – All That Glitters Is Gold
One of the big marketing tie-ins for Trolls will be a Glitter Troll. “That’s the one time it doesn’t wear clothes,” says Mitchell. “They have a lot of body confidence. They just wear glitter.” He then admits that creating the Glitter Troll did have its share of problems for the animators.
Co-director Walt Dorn spoke about those difficulties and how they resolved them. He said “the computer couldn’t understand the glitter. So, we always say there’s this room somewhere where these guys have lab coats on, and they’re throwing glitter. It’s a glitter taskforce, typing code. We’ve got it. We thought it would be the hair because the hair does everything in this film. Like, it changes color. It changes shape. It stretches, you know, like a monkey tail, holds onto stuff.
4 – Trolling For Memories
Kendrick shared fond memories of the 90s toy when asked if she owned any as a kid “I had the pencil toppers, which made it seem like homework was fun, even when homework wasn’t fun,” the actress said. “They are that kind of ugly-cute,” and compared them to pugs. “They’re so ugly that they’re cute.” However, she didn’t exactly share the same sentiments with her Barbie dolls. I had a confusing relationship with my Barbies, but I love trolls. I tortured my Barbies.
Timberlake agreed. “I’m sure, growing up, it’s easy to go through some sort of body dysmorphia thing.” He believes that’s what made the Troll toys was their disarming look. Although he himself didn’t have one as a kid, he remembers the pencil toppers like the ones Kendrick used to own and how girls would brush the Troll’s hair.
5 – The Collaborative Process Of Two Trolls
While it isn’t easy to get a cast as big as this one to record dialogue together, it was key that Kendrick and Timberlake record songs together. Timberlake said it was fun, and recalled moments where it was just him sitting at the board or simply just talking to her about her singing and her vocal performance. He reveals that it is her that sings “Get Back Up Again.”
Kendrick calls “Get Back Up Again,” the “I Want” song of those Broadway musicals. While some takes of the song may have sounded good at first, the actress credits Timberlake’s coaching for helping push her to perfect it. “I think I would bet 95 percent of what’s in the movie is from my session with Justin because, as someone who’s a singer, he gives such specific notes that are so helpful that it just tightened it so much,” said Kendrick.
Anna Kendrick is Poppy, Justin Timberlake is Branch, James Corden is Biggie, Russell Brand is Creek, Gwen Stefani is DJ Suki and Junal Nayyar is Guy Diamond.
DreamWorks and Fox invited us to a special media Trolls Event. Our opinions are our own.