Academy Award® winner Matt Damon takes on the role of Cale. According to Bluth, Damon was instrumental in shaping the character. "Matt helped us create the guts of the workings of Cale," Bluth comments. "I think he really drew something out of his soul to create Cale's rebellious nature. And I think it was a real challenge, too:
Everything is happening very fast, and Cale undergoes rapid changes. Matt took all of those pieces and put them together and produced the 'sound' of Cale."
Cale is inexperienced in some ways. For one, he hasn't seen a woman since his childhood. Akima, the beautiful, no-nonsense pilot of the Valkyrie, is responsible for bringing about a change in Cale. She is a little older and worldlier than Cale. "Akima definitely has a lot of sex appeal," notes Goldman. "And there's something more than a little exotic about her."
Drew Barrymore gives Akima a strong and vital edge. Says Bluth: "Drew could easily have played the part like a piece of candy — all sweetness and nice. But she didn't want to do that. She told us, 'I want to play a character that's got some grit to it, who's tough.' And we thought that was exactly what was needed.
"When she's in her private moments, Akima is a very soft and sweet person, but as the pilot of the Valkyrie she's a 'kick-ass' and nobody messes with her. I told her to be tough, and she was."
Barrymore enjoyed the chance to work with Bluth, and the film's new approach to animation. "Don is one of our greatest animation directors, and I really trusted his instincts," she says. "Plus, I think TITAN A.E. has a maturity that's interesting. There's something very realistic about this film and the way it looks and feels."
Also playing an important role in Cale's journey is Korso, the charismatic captain of the Valkyrie who once worked closely with Cale's father on the top secret Titan project. It is Korso who finds Cale and guides him in ensuring the Titan's safe retrieval.
The casting of Bill Pullman as Korso was against the actor's nice-guy image as seen in films such as While You Were Sleeping, but tapped his complicated side as seen in David Lynch's Lost Highway, and The Last Seduction.
Pullman appreciated the chance to once again battle aliens that have destroyed much or all of Earth, as he did in the box-office
smash Independence Day. "1 guess I'm getting a reputation for saving the world from deadly aliens," he laughs. The actor also enjoyed the physicality of animated characters. "Korso is a better version of anybody I've seen slaving away at a gym. In this film, I'm bigger and stronger than someone in the WWF, but I also can run a lot faster."
The Cale-Korso relationship was Bluth's favorite. "Cale is angry at his father for not keeping his promise to find the young man," explains the director. "He is trying to grow up, but without any real human parental guidance he becomes a bully. But as Cale and Korso begin to bond, Cale lets go of his anger. This allows him to grow up and become truly heroic."
Screenwriter Joss Whedon helped bring the Cale-Akima and Cale-Korso relationships to life. "TITAN A.E. plays on an epic scale that's also very true emotionally," says Whedon, whose many credits include Toy Story and his current stint as the creator/executive producer of the acclaimed series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel." "Against a huge canvas, it's really about Cale, Akima and Korso. I think audiences will experience the sense of wonder you get with good science fiction and at the same time identify with the story on a personal level."
Whedon, who toiled on the screenplay during the wee hours of the night/morning after spending a full day on the "Buffy" set, wanted, he says, "to find the emotional connections Ca
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