Behind the Scenes of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: To the Actors, Watching the Movie Itself Was the Most Fun

By Tom Snyder, Editor

To the actors doing the voices in the new animated 3-D movie by DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, watching the final completed movie in 3-D was the best part.

“It was one of the most satisfying experiences I’ve ever had,” said Gerard Butler, who voices the father of the movie’s spunky hero, a Viking named Hiccup.

“I remember Craig [Ferguson, who plays the dragon trainer Goobler] calling me when he had just seen a bit of it. He’s screaming, ‘I’ve just seen some of the movie. It’s better than LORD OF THE RINGS. It’s incredible.’ And, to see the whole thing finished in 3D, I thought everybody excelled themselves.”

Butler said that the flying sequences in the 3D movie were the most impressive for him.

In fact, they were so impressive that, if he had his own dragons as a pet, flying around riding the dragon is the one thing he would like to do most.

“The flying sequences in this movie are so breathtaking,” Gerard said. “You know, I heard about these kids after watching AVATAR who went into depression because they couldn’t really live in that world. Whenever I watch that in this movie, I think, ‘That’s where I want to be. I want to be up in that sky. I want to be flying through the clouds and to be living in that environment.’

“So, if I ever had a dragon, I would spend most of my time up in the air all over the place and taking in this beautiful planet.”

“The work of the animators is really spectacular,” agreed Craig Ferguson, star of CBS-TV’s LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON.

“I could never do anything that cool,” he added. “They’ve done an incredible job. Just to be part of something this cool is exciting.”

Ferguson said he also appreciated the filmmakers and animators collaborating on the project with the actors.

“They actually cared what we think,” Craig said.

“The integration of 3D into the material was a big thing for us,” noted Chris Sanders, co-director and co-writer. “It’s very comfortably baked into everything we did.”

Jay Baruchel, who plays Hiccup, the young hero, said, “To me, the movie is kind of an analogy for any kind of artsy kid in high school, any kid that isn’t playing football or hockey or whatever. Your failings or your inadequacies are ultimately what sets you apart and makes you kind of special and that’s what Hiccup is. The chicks are more alpha male than he is, and he’s forced to be in the back designing his own weapons. But, by the end of it, he is the one who changes everything for them. So that’s what it is. It’s about finding your own place and time.”

“We just get a big pleasure out of making movies for people and that kids can see,” Sanders added.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is based on a delightful children’s novel by Cressida Crowell, one of a series of books about Hiccup and the dragons who are part of the life in his Viking village.

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