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'Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken' director teases unique animation style for Dreamworks' latest
"It's a power that's inside her, and she has a choice to either embrace it or not," director Kirk DeMicco says.
Krakens aren't always loathsome villains. Sometimes they're the good guys — or gals. Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, an upcoming animated coming-of-age adventure from DreamWorks Animation and Universal Pictures, is about exactly what its title implies. And the film's creators are excited about showing the mythical sea creatures in a different light.
The story centers on the title character (voiced by Lana Condor), a shy teen who's having a tough time fitting in with her peers. And, oh yeah, she's also a budding kraken queen, which she's not aware of at first. "When she transforms into the giant kraken, there's something so powerful about that moment because she's a monster, yet she's beautiful and powerful and strong," producer Kelly Cooney Cilella told British movie magazine Total Film in its most recent print edition. "It's a great message that heroes come in all shapes and sizes."
Director Kirk DeMicco also shared some more insight into the movie with Total Film. "This isn't a gift that was given or a curse that happened to her," he said of Ruby. "It's who she is, it's a power that's inside her, and she has a choice to either embrace it or not." Ruby's overprotective mom (Toni Collette) seemingly tries to keep the truth from her daughter about what she is, while her grandmother (Jane Fonda), Warrior Queen of the Seven Seas, steers her towards it.
As Ruby struggles with choosing a life on land, as her mother decided on, or living out what she's meant to be, a teenage rival who just happens to be a mermaid (Annie Murphy) stirs things up by saying she'll out Ruby as a kraken. The flick also stars Colman Domingo as Ruby’s dad, Sam Richardson as her uncle and Blue Chapman as her brother.
"There's a long history of anthropomorphised animals at DreamWorks," DeMicco said of the film company behind projects like Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. "This was an opportunity to really play with more curves and stretched animation because of who they are as a family of sea monsters."
The director added, "We really played with the squash and stretch of the animation that I think a lot of animators all love but may not have had the opportunity [to do] previously. You could feel their excitement when all of a sudden you're like, 'Oh, does it have to be on a rig?' It's like, 'Well no, because they don't have a skeleton. You could turn him into a cube, we can flatten them out.'"
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken floats into theaters on June 30.