"It's like having Santa Claus around," jokes author William Joyce at a press conference. Joyce is talking about Guillermo Del Toro, the executive producer of "Rise of the Guardians." The film, based on works by Joyce, already features a different Santa (voiced by Alec Baldwin). It also has the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), and Jack Frost (Chris Pine, although according to Fisher, Leonardo DiCaprio was in the role at one point).
As the franchise's origin story goes, once upon a time William Joyce's daughter came to him after knocking out her brother's tooth and asked if the Tooth Fairy knows Santa Claus. According to Joyce, the question "opened a Pandora's Box that I've been trying to answer for 18 years." The answer, still being fleshed out, is the Guardians of Childhood series which currently stands at five books, a short film, and this upcoming motion picture from DreamWorks.
Del Toro is overseeing the feature film project in the role of executive producer. Although as he explains it, he is doing an "apprenticeship" at DreamWorks, learning about various aspects of storytelling in general and here the process of animation in particular. Del Toro wants to learn "every tool there is to tell a story," because "in the next five to 10 years the way we tell stories is going to change radically" and he thinks that knowing about the process of telling a story in novels, videogames, and various styles of filmmaking will help him. Certainly, Joyce's "Guardians" series fits that bill with its existence across multiple media.
In Del Toro's eyes, his job as executive producer is, in part, "to give the best ideas you can." He noted prior to that statement that "if you make the mistake of thinking you are directing, then you're not producing right. You should support the director's vision."
Why is he executive producing "Guardians" specifically? Del Toro states that one of the first things that captivated him about the movie was that it wasn't about taking "pop references in the last 10 years or trying to be hip and now, but was actually trying to be timeless." As noted, the series as a whole puts together a handful of traditionally separate, iconic figures from children's stories, each of whom separately has become a timeless character.
The film takes place a couple of centuries following the conclusion of the book series and consequently the characters are somewhat different from one to the other. Despite this time differential, the bad guy from the book series, Pitch (the bogeyman), returns with a dastardly new plan. Voiced by Jude Law, Pitch's goal is to destroy children's belief in the guardians.
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