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DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO!

Meet The Characters
Horton is not like any elephant we’ve seen before. He is bigger than life in many ways beyond bulk; he has a big heart, big personality, and a big sense of fun. Horton shines through kindness, trustworthiness and perseverance. Despite formidable adversity, ridicule, condemnation and threats, Horton’s resolve to bring Who-ville to safety, remains steadfast. He’s always faithful…100 percent.

According to the filmmakers, Jim Carrey brings far more than his superstar comedy talents to the role of Horton. “Jim has a warmth and humor that’s amazing, and which kept Horton that sweet, lovable character we know from the books,” says Jimmy Hayward. “He’s a passionate, creative force and really owned the character.

“Jim really puts his entire face into everything he does,” Hayward continues. “He acts out every take just as he would if he were actually before the cameras. He gave us some great eye acting references, so we got an extraordinary amount of subtle Horton stuff out of Jim from his voice performance.”

Given Carrey’s full-throttle expressiveness, it comes as no surprise that he influenced Horton’s look. Says lead animator Dave Torres: “In early design stages, Horton had a smaller mouth. But when Jim came aboard, the character became very expressive; in fact, Jim led us to really push the boundaries of expressiveness for an animated character.”

Horton’s chief relationship in the story is with the Mayor of Who-ville, whom Horton never sees, and who cannot see him. Yet the bond they form is a remarkable one, rich with warmth, friendship and humor, even though the stakes for both are life and death. As Horton makes his epic journey to bring Who-ville to safety, the Mayor – the voice of all the Whos – risks everything to convince his constituents of the dangers ahead.

Dr. Seuss so memorably introduces the Mayor as “…devoted and fair, and a little bit odd. The Mayor and his wife, they had children to spare.” And how! They are proud parents to 96 daughters and one son. The endless parade of offspring is introduced sitting on chairs attached to a conveyer belt that rotates around the table, so that each has a brief but impactful audience with the Mayor; it’s an imaginatively patterned procession reminiscent of a scene from a Busby Berkeley musical.

 Steve Carell, says director Steve Martino, brings a sense of humanity to all his characters, like “The Office’s” perpetually-clueless boss Michael Scott and, now, the besieged and beleaguered Mayor. “All of Steve’s characters have a beautiful heart inside,” says Martino. “You want to root for them.”

“You like to watch Steve’s characters struggle,” adds Jimmy Hayward. “Watching him ‘spin plates’ – it’s a pleasure. He rubs the right amount of ‘Steve’ on every line of dialogue. He’s the one Who we really get to know, so you want to relate to him, and thanks to Steve, you do.”

Carell describes the Mayor as “kind, generous, well-intentioned, with a lot of internal fortitude. He’s sort of an everyman – a guy just trying to do his best in a very difficult situation.” The Golden Globe®-winning actor particularly appreciated the philosophical underpinnings of Horton’s insisting that a person’s a person, no matter how small. “It really speaks to the world around us – that no matter how different we seem on the outside, if there is decency, caring and commitment, things can get accomplished. It’s a good, sweet, and solid message that’s rooted in kindness. And that’s what I love about it.”

The M

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