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Gerard Butler and Craig Fergson talk 'Dragon' and NBC Late Night controversy

Category: How to Train Your Dragon News
Article Date: January 14, 2010 | Publication: HitFix | Author: Gregory Ellwood
Source: HitFix

Posted by: admin

DreamWorks Animation had a very entertaining show and tell for its 2010 slate today. The animation powerhouse showed extended scenes of the Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt voiced "Megamind," a nice chunk of "Shrek Forever After" and an almost completed full cut of this March's "How To Train Your Dragon." And while all three were entertaining and fun to watch, the best part of the event came when "Dragon" stars Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson sat down to chat during a reception afterward.

Friends for 25 years, the Scottish duo met when they both met while studying at the University of Glasgow. Ferguson joked that Butler used to listen to his stand up act while they were in college and now he plays his sidekick in movies. "He's the real star," Ferguson says humbly.

"Dragon" centers around Hiccup, a young Viking voiced by Jay Baruchel who can't live up to the warrior mantle of his father and village leader Stoick (Butler). Ferguson plays Gobber, Stoick's longtime friend who runs the weapons armory where Buttercup works. The Viking's village is regularly attacked by numerous different kinds of dragons and they have learned to stop all of them except for one in particular -- the night fury. Hiccup eventually captures a fury -- soon named toothless -- and learns they might not be as vicious as his fellow Vikings believe.

Butler and Ferguson said they had the chance to record with Baruchel at one time, but that overall it's been a pretty long process. Butler has been recording and re-recording every month or six weeks since "300" debuted in March 2007 and Ferguson has been on board for a year and a half. Needless to say the results are pretty impressive. The movie is embargoed from a full review at the moment and some shots were not completed, but its certainly up there with "Kung Fu Panda" as one of DreamWorks Ani's best films. "Dragon" features beautiful character animation (gorgeously lit by none other than Roger Deakins), some genuinely perilous moments and this pundit may have been close to being a tad verklempt at the end. In fact, while the movie is clearly it's own animal, er, dragon, it feels closer in town to a Pixar film than of DreamWorks previous releases. That's not to say it's trying to be one, but there is an artistic seriousness here the filmmakers pull off that takes it to another level (you could say the same for the stop-motion "Coraline" for instance).

The rest of the conversation with Butler and Ferguson was a bit to bawdry to be repeated here (perhaps due to the fact it wasn't being recorded), but I was able to ask Ferguson his thoughts on the current Jay Leno/Conan O'Brien fiasco.

Ferguson, who has hosted "The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson" since 2005, finds it ironic that he and Letterman are being lauded for their stability, but overall seems to be over the whole mess. "I feel like an AIG executive," Ferguson joked. He added that there's something wrong about all these white millionaires complaining about their shows and money.

We couldn't agree appears many in the industry are getting sick of it. So, with that in mind, back to the movies. Here are some quick thoughts on the other two projects DreamWorks previewed.

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