'Awards Chatter' Podcast — Bonnie Arnold ('How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World')

One of Hollywood's top producers reflects on breaking into the biz in her native Georgia, unexpectedly winding up in animation and, most recently, devoting a decade to DreamWorks Animation's blockbuster trilogy.
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Bonnie Arnold

"I didn't really think I would spend this long working in animation," Bonnie Arnold, one of the most successful and respected producers in Hollywood, specifically of animated films, says on The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast. The 65-year-old, who is perhaps best known as a producer of 1995's groundbreaking Toy Story, is a best animated feature Oscar nominee this year for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the final installment in a trilogy of films — following 2010's How to Train Your Dragon and 2014's How to Train Your Dragon 2 — that she spent a decade making for DreamWorks Animation, where she also served as president of feature animation from 2015 through 2017.

"It went by all so fast," continues the two-time Oscar nominee, who has also won Golden Globe, Producers Guild, Visual Effects Society and Annie awards. Her other credits include 1990's Dances With Wolves, 1991's The Addams Family, Toy Story, 1999's Tarzan, 2006's Over the Hedge and 2009's The Last Station. "But what I love about animation and family films is they affect so many young people. It's so gratifying to me to talk to kids who saw the first How to Train Your Dragon when they were 9 or 10 who are now 19 or 20 and have decided to pursue a career in animation, and they tell me it's because they were so inspired by the first or the second Dragon film or Toy Story or something else. That touches a special place in my heart."

Regularly included on THR’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 list, Arnold — a veteran of all three of the biggest film animation companies, Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks — has been described by Jeffrey Katzenberg as one of the "most accomplished and prolific filmmakers working in feature animation today." Over the course of the conversation, Arnold speaks about how she managed to break into the business from her hometown of Atlanta; how, quite by accident, she wound up shifting her focus from live-action films to animation; what drew her to How to Train Your Dragon and explains its success; and much more.

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LISTEN: You can hear the entire interview below.

Past guests include Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Lorne Michaels, Barbra Streisand, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Gal Gadot, Warren Beatty, Angelina Jolie, Snoop Dogg, Jessica Chastain, Stephen Colbert, Reese Witherspoon, Aaron Sorkin, Margot Robbie, Ryan Reynolds, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Matthew McConaughey, Kate Winslet, Jimmy Kimmel, Natalie Portman, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Lopez, Elton John, Judi Dench, Quincy Jones, Jane Fonda, Tom Hanks, Amy Schumer, Justin Timberlake, Elisabeth Moss, RuPaul, Rachel Brosnahan, Jimmy Fallon, Kris Jenner, Michael Moore, Emilia Clarke, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Helen Mirren, Tyler Perry, Sally Field, Spike Lee, Lady Gaga, J.J. Abrams, Emma Stone, Al Pacino, Julia Roberts, Jerry Seinfeld, Dolly Parton, Will Smith, Taraji P. Henson, Sacha Baron Cohen, Carol Burnett and Norman Lear.