Rise of the Guardians - Alec Baldwin
North (Alec Baldwin) and loyal elves helpers ©2012 DreamWorks Animation

We believe Rise of the Guardians is destined to become a holiday classic.

After spending time in New Zealand for the pre-production of The Hobbit, which he was initially going to direct before it fell back into Peter Jackson’s hands, Guillermo del Toro returned to the States looking for a project to excite him. He found it when he was asked to be Executive Producer of DreamWorks’ Rise of the Guardians.

When the evil Boogeyman, Pitch (Jude Law), attempts of spread darkness throughout the world, Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), The Sandman and Jack Frost (Chris Pine), must come together as the Guardians to protect and save children’s hopes and beliefs.

What appealed to you about Rise of the Guardians?

Executive Producer Guillermo del Toro © 2011 DreamWorks Animation

When I came back from New Zealand, I immediately started doing the rounds to see what projects were active and which ones I would want to be involved with.

When I came into the art room of Guardians at DreamWorks, I was immediately captivated by one thing that is still in the movie, that this is not a movie that was drinking out of pop references [of] the last ten years.

[It was not] trying to be hip and now, but actually was trying to be timeless. It was trying to capture a sense of storytelling that is lost in the audiovisual medium right now.

Producer Christina Steinberg, Director Peter Ramsey, Executive Producer and Author Bill Joyce and Producer Nancy Bernstein discussing DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians ©2012 DreamWorks Animation

I really was attracted by the possibility of exploring themes that are very important today, especially for kids, like dealing with fear, and how each of us is a guardian; things like faith, belief and hope  were what I was connected with.

What was your contribution to Rise of the Guardians??

The beauty of being a producer is to be half consigliore, half confessor. You are there to be a shoulder for the director to cry on. It’s a job that makes you be in their corner.

If you make the mistake of thinking you are directing, then you’re not producing right. You should support the director’s vision, and this is Peter (Ramsey’s) vision, without a doubt.

You’re also there to selflessly give the best ideas you can.

Do you have a favorite scene in Rise of the Guardians??

Moving moment: Tooth (Isla Fisher) and Jack Frost (Chris Pine) watch over Jamie (Dakota Goyo) © 2012 DreamWorks Animation

Action is great and I love it, that is almost a given with animation.

What is really great in animation is when you elicit emotion, and those are therefore my favorite scenes.

In the future will there be a complete DreamWorks animated movie by you?

Very quickly, yes. One of the things I was interested in was to do an animated movie where child characters could be sophisticated and complex, and you could have them go through the real emotions you go through as a kid.

Jack Frost (Chris Pine) keeps up with Jamie (Dakota Goyo) © 2012 DreamWorks Animation

As a kid, you fear death, you fear disease, you have mixed emotions about society.

Making a classic is recognizing the dark side of being a kid, which most parents try to hide and shelter, and helicopter around the kids so they won’t feel any pain. But pain is part of the world. It’s part of the learning experience.

We are developing and designing [a movie] right now.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter. More by Judy Sloane