Hugh Jackman Interview For ‘Rise of the Guardians’
More than a collection of the well-known childhood legends, ‘Rise of the Guardians’ is an epic adventure that tells the story of a group of heroes – each with extraordinary abilities. When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children all over the world. ‘Rise of the Guardians,’ based on ‘The Guardians of Childhood’ book series by William Joyce, is directed by Peter Ramsey (Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space) and co-directed by Joyce. The film stars Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Jude Law. ‘Rise of the Guardians arrives in cinemas from November 21st in the US and November 30th in the UK.
In ‘Rise of the Guardians’ you’ve got these mythical childhood legends tasked with protecting the innocence and imagination of kids. It’s a bit like ‘The Avengers’ for the young and young at heart….
Hugh Jackman: Yeah (laughs)! ‘Rise of the Guardians’ is one of the greatest things kids will get to see (laughs), getting to see all of their favourite characters come to life in one movie. The Guardians are made up of Bunnymund, or the Easter Bunny, which I play; North aka Santa Clause, who Alec Baldwin plays. Then also there’s Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy, Sandman, and the bad guy is Pitch, or Pitch Black – or as I used to know him when I was a kid, the Boogie Man. These Guardians all know each other, they work together in looking after kids and guarding over them, making sure that they have a great childhood. Pitch comes in to kind of ruin the party, and that’s basically where ‘Rise of the Guardians’ starts.
‘Rise of the Guardians’ is very character driven, with each of them bringing their own individuality to the story. What are your thoughts on what your fellows cast mates brought to their respect parts?
Hugh Jackman: I think what’s great about the characters is that they’re all incredibly different. I mean, they represent incredibly different things. I think it’s exciting for kids to think of all of these beloved characters actually knowing each other and actually working together. I think that’s something really unique. And all the actors have brought their incredible individuality to each part. We have many accents, it’s like the most international voice cast you’ve ever heard in an animated movie (laughs). You have Alec Baldwin with his huge, deep voice and his big character, giving the film great presence. Then Isla Fisher has given it such beautiful humanity, she’s very funny and she plays a very fast, manic character. I think Chris Pine is terrific as Jack Frost because he just feels very believable and relatable and human. I tried to throw in as many “Aussie-isms” as I could (laughs). I tried to make him sound as unique as possible. I think as a group they all sound very different, and it melds together very well.
I can imagine it was fun voicing E. Aster Bunnymund, this rascally character?
Hugh Jackman: This Easter Bunny is the coolest character you’ve ever met, he’s pretty badass (laughs). Think Indiana Jones with a touch of Steve Irwin. He protects nature, he’s a brilliant martial artist and he’s very strong. He can jump high, of course, and he has these two boomerangs on his hips, instead of six-shooters, which he uses to great effect. It was great that they allowed me to play him as this irascible Australian – tough, a little bit grumpy, and no-nonsense (laughs). He doesn’t muck around. He’s got a job to do and he’s going to get it done, no matter what. That was certainly fun to play .
Was there a particular theme in ‘Rise of the Guardians’ that grabbed your attention when you read the script?
Hugh Jackman: I think the movie works on many, many levels. This idea that these beloved characters, that they know each other, that they work together….not always perfectly work together (laughs). But the fact that they know each other and have this world that is dedicated to looking after kids, I think that’s such a great, great idea and a great starting point for ‘Rise of the Guardians.’ The Jack Frost character really represents the main theme, which is finding yourself by doing things for others. By being in service of others you get to join a team and get to be bigger than yourself, you find out that you can contribute and you bring out the best in yourself, you know? And also having faith and believing, doing the right thing, that pays off.
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