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
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
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
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