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SURF'S UP

About The Characters

CODY MAVERICK

Shiverpool, Antarctica native Cody Maverick is an undersized Rockhopper penguin with an oversized yearning to be a winner. Because he thinks a surfing trophy will bring him the love and respect he knows he deserves, Cody is determined to do whatever it takes to win the 10th Annual Big Z Memorial Surf- Off.

Cody's idol is Big Z, a renowned surfer who once had everything Cody wants. Big Z was popular, successful, and adored by millions. Even though Z never returned from his final wave in a competition ten years ago, his legend has only grown in the young penguin's mind. Still, Cody has a lot to learn – including that being a winner doesn't necessarily mean taking home a trophy.

Shia LaBeouf leads the cast as the 17-year-old Cody. He notes that while the ultimate moral of Surf's Up may be "follow your dreams,” the emphasis should be on the follow and not necessarily the dream. "It's not the destination; it's the journey,” LaBeouf says. "It's a happier way to live.”

The heart of the film, according to LaBeouf, is the relationship between Cody and Big Z, the onetime great who took his chance to disappear from the rest of the world. "They're two loners who become best friends when they're forced together,” he says. "It's reciprocal; Big Z can teach Cody about the joy of surfing, but Cody can also show Z the path back to the life he's missed out on.”

That onscreen relationship was mirrored off-screen by LaBeouf and Jeff Bridges. "In the booth, Jeff is all about creating the scene, as if he were on a live-action set,” says LaBeouf. "He'll mime the scene – he'll say, ‘OK, here's the coconut, so don't come over here; if you step in the wrong place, you're going to trip' – and I'm thinking, ‘Oh, I've got to remember that's there.' And at first, you think it's insane, but then the scene begins and Jeff will say two or three words and we have a rollercoaster of emotion, all spawned by Jeff.”

"Creating a character that's fifty percent me, fifty percent the animator, was an interesting experience,” says LaBeouf. "I'm proud of how Cody came out – and it's completely a dual effort. To see him move – with detail from feather to feather – he comes to life.”

EZEKIEL "BIG Z” TOPANGA

The world of surfing had no bigger star than Big Z. With his chiseled physique, self-confident air, and sense of fun, he rode the crest of the surfing world, bringing the sport into the mainstream. His name was synonymous with surfing until his last competition ten years ago, when he went out for his final wave and never came back.

Since then, Z has grown from a star into a legend, thanks to the marketing genius of scheming talent manager, Reggie Belafonte. Under Reggie's greedy eye for attention, Big Z's legend has become a veritable industry of trinkets and tchotchkes that couldn't be further from the life of surfing he stood for.

"I surfed quite a bit in high school,” says Jeff Bridges, who plays the legendary surfer. "Then I stopped for about 20 years. I've just started to take it up again. I'm fair; my chops are coming back. At first, the thing that I feared was the temperature – the water is so cold out there – but with the wet suits they have today, the cold is no problem. It's the paddling – I have about 10 paddles in me and I have to rest for awhile.”

When Big Z went out for a final wave, he took his opportunity to disappear rather than disappoint the fans who expected him to win every time. "He's dead to the world – almost as if he's spending his whole life asleep,” says Bridges. "From out of nowhere comes this kid – and at first, he's irritated, but he can't help but find himself waking up to life and all the wonderful experiences out there. Cody gets him out on the water, which is what Big Z loved first.”

Surf's Up presented a spe

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