Oscars: 'Frozen,' 'Croods' Animators Reveal the Secrets Behind Their Breakout Characters

The Croods
The Croods
 20th Century Fox

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."

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