Oscars: 'Frozen,' 'Croods' Animators Reveal the Secrets Behind Their Breakout Characters
This story first appeared in the Feb. 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The Croods: Grug
In an early version of The Croods, Grug, the character voiced by Nicolas Cage, was to have been in charge of a whole village. But the direction of the film shifted midway through its eight-year development when the filmmakers eliminated the village and focused The Croods on one family. "That's when Grug went from being a leader over many to just being a dad. Grug became a regular guy that any dad can relate to -- he stresses, he worries about his family," explains co-director Chris Sanders. "Cavemen are pure of heart," adds co-director Kirk De Micco. "He is not looking for a promotion at work. All he's looking for is a chance for his family to survive." The creative team gave Grug a lot of mass to show that he can be protective. "This is a guy who could literally carry his whole family on his shoulders," says De Micco. "We chose a simple costume because we wanted him to feel unsophisticated. On How to Train Your Dragon, we had a lot of breakthroughs in fur and hair, and we benefited from that mightily on The Croods." Adds Sanders, "The most important thing in casting Grug was to find a voice that was inherently sympathetic. Grug is constantly saying 'no' because he is worried about his family's safety, but there still is a vulnerability in his voice."