The Croods, featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds, is about a modern (as modern as modern gets in the caveman era) family, learning many firsts—such as how to make a fire, wearing shoes, using a creative form of a cell phone—while they journey to “tomorrow” to keep safe from the end of the world. Great for all ages, the movie is relatable and very family-friendly. Tribute had the opportunity to talk to the talented directors, Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco (some spoilers).
How did you guys make up the names for the characters?
Chris: Their first names, we really wanted names to sound a little bit like we thought their personalities were and Grug, you know feels like a Grug, especially at the beginning of the movie. And Eep, we wanted just a bright, cheerful tone. And then you know the Gran [self explanatory]. Sandy makes no sense, we just threw that out there as the two-syllable little toddler. And then Guy was one that we just wanted him to be the new guy and just be generic, with his “Belt” and it just made sense for the whole fanciness of who he was, is to just have a really simple name.
The movie has so many one-liners, how did you come up with all the great Grug-isms like “Never not be afraid” and “Anything new is bad?”
Kirk: Well the “Never not be afraid” is actually my motto that I live my life on, it’s not just a line—it’s a lifestyle (laughs). So, I think that just came naturally to me. Chris, talk about some of the other one-liners.
Chris: Oh golly, you know what, these things never happen overnight. We worked on these for such a long time. Every once in a while, you’re just in the right place, at the right time and a line just comes to you and it’s one of those fun things about writing actually.
Is it normal for it to take eight years to write a script?
Kirk: Yeah, well some movies, a lot of movies bounce around development. You know with Dreamworks, we only make two, sometimes three movies a year and with sequels, the originals do take time to get right because we love the worlds that we’re exploring, but we have to find the right story for that world.
Guy seems somewhat of a typical alpha-male and while Eep had a great personality, she wasn’t necessarily a typical beauty. While watching, I thought she would have some sort of physical transformation. I was surprised and happy that she didn’t—it was empowering. Why did you choose to do it like that?
Chris: You know, that’s funny you should say that because at one point, a big part, we always had a little index card up on the wall and when we were outlining and pitching it to people, we were like, “Okay, the makeover scene…” And it was something you held on to, but it was something as we went through, it just didn’t seem natural because for the makeover we really wanted to say it was their frame of mind, it’s their outlook that was changed.
They’re a family and they love each other and they looked a little bit dysfunctional, but they didn’t really need change. They just needed to kind of open their eyes and expand their horizons, but there was nothing wrong with them. We didn’t want it to be instant like he just snapped his fingers and boom, she’s just totally a different person.
At the end, The Croods seemed unstoppable. Will there be a sequel?
Chris: I think that would be great. I think that’s our dream come true. We wouldn’t embark on a sequel until we see how this film actually does, but one of the things I love about this film, I love the way it ends. I’m glad you picked up on it, because it really feels that in those last few moments, in the epilogue, like the sequel has already begun.
Yes! It’s like you’re ready for Eep to take on her next adventure. I felt like it was almost like that Steve Martin movie, where his daughter gets married…
Chris: Father of the Bride.
Kirk: Oh, I love that movie.
Yes, and Grug could be all paranoid about everything again and stressed for another big “first” event.
Chris: I think that’s a great idea actually. That’s fantastic.
My last question—is there anything you would like to add that you haven’t been asked?
Chris: It’s going to seem vague, but we really can’t say enough about the crews that work on these films because they really are story people. Every piece of the film is something to add to the story and so when you think of the teams of people that do lighting and the effects and the story crew—the guys that do the story sketches—they’re doing these version of the scripts and taking the drawings that we used for the very first version of the film that we put together and it’s just one of those things that we don’t get enough chances to talk about or to thank them. So, I think it would be nice to recognize the huge group of almost 400 people who made this film.
The Croods will be released in theaters on March 22, 2013. ~Renita Naraine