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November 2016

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TROLLS 32 POST NOVEMBER 2016 T here are nearly as many legends about the origins of why and when Thomas Dam created the first troll doll as there are fairy tales, but let's go with this one: In 1959, a poor Danish fisherman and woodcutter named Thomas Dam made the first troll doll for his daughter to counter her nightmares about baby-snatching folklore. The carved, wooden troll he crafted had glass eyes, woolen hair, magical powers and loved to make people happy. So happy that the little doll became a fad. Mike Mitchell, director, and Walt Dohrn, co-direc- tor, of DreamWorks' animated feature Trolls hope their characters have the same effect. DreamWorks began work on a trolls film in 2010, bought rights to Dam's trolls in 2013, and at about the same time, hired Mitchell and Dohrn, who pitched a unique story. "So many films today are so dark, even the light- ing," Dohrn says. "There's room for all sorts of films," Mitchell adds. "We wanted to make something that makes you feel good," Dohrn says. The two men have been friends so long and worked together so often they complete each other's thoughts. Mitchell had directed Shrek Forever After and The SpongeBob Movie, and had been a story artist on Shrek 2. Dohrn had been a SpongeBob SquarePants writer, a story artist for Shrek 2, and head of story for Shrek Forever After. "We remembered that trolls make you happy," says Mitchell. "We asked ourselves, 'Where does happiness come from?' " adds Dohrn. "Walt and I started there: Researching hap- piness," explains Mitchell. "Out of that came the story," chimes in Dohrn. "The colors, the design, the music," says Mitchell. Dohrn agrees, "I love colors in films. I miss colors in film. Not too much color. We wanted a balance." "We knew Kendal [Cronkhite, production design- er] and the team could pull it off. This is exactly the film we wanted to make," adds Mitchell. FUZZY LOGIC In Trolls, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the young, pink- haired, optimistic leader of the troll village, must rescue trolls captured by Bergen monsters. Bergen monsters only achieve happiness by eating trolls. So, with the depressed, recalcitrant troll Branch (Justin Timberlake) at her side, Poppy travels from the bright, colorful world of the trolls to Bergen town's blues, grays, muted purples. and what Dohrn calls, "that ghoulish, avocado green and brown from the '70s." "Our muse is a doll, but we wanted to make something cool, new, fun and a little edgy," says Cronkhite. "We wanted to make something com- pletely unexpected so no one would say, 'Oh, this is a movie based on a doll.' " According to art director Tim Lamb, "A project like Trolls could have looked very commercial. We wanted to bring as much artistry into it as we could. The film would take two-and-a-half years of our lives. We wanted to enjoy it." One of the first challenges was deciding how to portray the trolls. "Everyone loves the trolls," says Lamb. "They're cute and ugly. Putting a pin in cute and ugly was a big thing for us. We wanted to stay true to troll traits, but we wanted to make them appealing enough to watch for 80 minutes." At six inches tall, the digital trolls are a little taller than most troll dolls but, as in the real world, half their height is their hair, and the filmmakers gave their hair a big role. "The hair is a source of magic for the trolls," C'mon Get Happy A DREAMWORKS ANIMATION CREW FILLS A CG MUSICAL COMEDY WITH GOOD LUCK, CHARM & OPTIMISM BY BARBARA ROBERTSON © 2016 DREAMWORKS ANIMATION LLC

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