Happiness was foremost in the minds of “Trolls” director Mike Mitchell and co-director Walt Dohrn, even during the earliest stages of story discussions with screenwriters/co-producers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger and producer Gina Shay.
The two filmmakers had worked together on DreamWorks Animation’s blockbuster “Shrek” franchise, and their familiarity with the beloved ogres of that world led them to their distant cousins, the Trolls. Their research into Troll lore, which sprang from Scandinavian mythology, revealed that Trolls came in myriad shapes and sizes, from monstrous giants to tiny creatures who granted wishes. As DreamWorks had done with Shrek, Mitchell and Dohrn decided to adapt the Trolls mythology to create a new universe and set of characters.
The filmmakers note that they did embrace one aspect of previous Trolls history. “We were fascinated by how these creatures were originally scary and evolved over time into being cute and lovable,” says Mitchell. “In the 1970s they became a symbol for happiness.”
“Those ideas compelled us, as did the opportunity to create a story and mythology from scratch,” says Dohrn. “We decided it was time to start spreading some joy again. Mike and I had a blank slate, from which we could create anything with these characters, their story and their environments. With happiness as a guidepost, we wanted to create a film with a mix of fun, adventure, heart, music, color and textures.”
The Trolls even have a special kind of watch that reminds them to hug every hour on the hour. No matter what they’re doing, when the watch blooms, it’s “hug time.” Notes Mitchell: “Part of being happy is connecting with others, and what better way to show that than with a hug.”
“Trolls” now showing in cinemas nationwide (2D and 3D) from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.
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