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LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS THE OWLS OF GA HOOLE

About The Production
Young owlet Soren embarks on a quest to follow his dreams…only to discover they're real. Stepping into the legend that he's faithfully followed through his father's nest-time stories, he becomes a crucial part of the next chapter in the epic tales.

Now on a true hero's journey of self-discovery, young Soren and his friends join their mentors in an action-packed battle against the evil Pure Ones to protect not only their freedom, but the very existence of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole, who have sworn an oath to mend the broken, make strong the weak, and vanquish evil.

"Isn't it every kid's fantasy to become a character in his or her favorite story?” director Zack Snyder asks. "In our film, it's a young owl who wants to find these legendary warrior owls that have been part of his personal mythology since he was born. And when the stories actually turn out to be true, it's very powerful.”

In "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole,” Snyder and the gifted creative team at Animal Logic sought to open a window into a world that hasn't been seen before, with mythic environments and expansive terrains like nothing they'd ever imagined, and owls so wonderfully realized that you almost forget they're not real.

"Zack brings a visual language to his movies that is distinctive, and so do we at Animal Logic, so the marriage between Zack's vision and our vision was easy right from the get-go,” says the film's producer, Animal Logic CEO Zareh Nalbandian.

Drawing from his experience on the Academy Award®-winning "Happy Feet,” Nalbandian assembled a crew of more than 500 digital professionals, including a team of computer animation specialists, to bring "Legend of the Guardians” from the page to the screen, with the added dimension of a 3D film.

"We don't think about our movies as animated,” he continues, "we think of them as movies; Zack didn't come on board to make an animated movie, he came to make a great action fantasy adventure, tracking a hero's journey, which happened to be in an animated world. It was about creating a visual feast for audiences that would be unique.”

In addition to the challenge of taking on his first entirely computer-generated project, Snyder, whose previous work includes the epic action films "300” and "Watchmen,” found that his motivation for making this particular story hit close to home. "I know it sounds cliché,” the director admits, "but my kids are always saying to me, ‘Dad, when are you gonna make a movie we can see?' And the chance to work with the animators at Animal Logic really appealed to me; there were moments in ‘Happy Feet' that I found artistically breathtaking. So when I saw their initial ‘Guardians' artwork, and then read he stories of Soren and his friends on this incredible quest, I looked at it as a perfect opportunity to bring my own sensibilities to a family film.”

"Both Zack and I loved the notion of this young boy—who just happens to be an owl in an owl world—learning to believe in himself and in something bigger than himself,” executive producer Deborah Snyder says. "He has to battle the odds, and in doing so, becomes the owl kingdom's only hope for survival. We felt it was a story we would love to bring to the screen.”

The filmmakers first came upon the tales of these heroic owls when executive producer Lionel Wigram discovered the popular Guardians of Ga'Hoole series of 15 books by American author Kathryn Lasky. Recognizing their cinematic potential, Wigram urged executive producer Donald De Line to read them.

"I found the books completely enchanting,” De Line says. "They tackle traditional themes—good versus evil, believing in your dreams and becoming anything you want to be—all while telling a great adventure story. The Guardians of Ga'Hoole reminded me of the Knights of the Round Table.”

Actress Helen Mirren, who takes a rare turn as a villain, says, "I loved the classic, archetypal personalities of the characters and the fact that the story is set in the animal kingdom. While it is highly entertaining, it isn't sentimentalized, and still conveys a deep sense of morality.”

Wigram asserts, "We wanted to capture the feeling of the books and give the movie the same sense and tone of a grand adventure, something that would take on a life of its own. That is what Zack does in his work and what made him such an exciting choice for this picture.”

Jim Sturgess, who voices Soren, states, "Zack loves classic storytelling and is famous for putting together amazing visual sequences, so I knew from the start that this had the potential to be really stunning.”

"While some of his films may deal with dark material, Zack has a very child-like sense of wonder,” De Line observes. "He is also a real artist, and a whole different side of his talent comes through in this movie. Big action, creatures that fly through the air, huge battle scenes—combine all of those things with 3D animation in 3D and he's a kid in a candy store.”

"In taking this adventure from the ground to the air and across the sea, there was no better way to capture the scope of this expedition than to make it in 3D, and no medium lends itself better to 3D than computer animation,” Snyder affirms.

Author and executive producer Lasky put her stamp of approval on the filmmakers' efforts. "When I saw the film, it was a dream come true,” she states. "I couldn't believe how brilliantly Zack Snyder had realized the Ga'Hoole world on screen, yet remained so true to the spirit of the universe I created. I was totally swept up in ‘Legend of the Guardians.'”

Lasky's first three books in the series were adapted into screenplay form by writers John Orloff and Emil Stern.

"The day I finished reading the first book, I thought, ‘Oh, my God, it's a fantastic book and I have to do this,' Orloff declares. "Then, as soon as I knew Zack Snyder was directing, I knew the movie was really going to be mind-blowing and that it would look like nothing we've ever seen before.”

"It was a great deal of fun working with a director as visual and action-oriented as Zack, as well as getting to know Animal Logic's extremely gifted and dedicated team of animation wizards,” writer Emil Stern reflects. "We wanted to capture the spirit of the author's world in making the script both cinematic and adventure-packed.”

Nalbandian offers, "The books are rich in imagery and the world of owls is fascinating; add to that the idea of flying above the clouds in a 3D movie in a very naturalistic environment…at every phase it became more and more compelling to develop the world of this movie.”

"There's real vigor in the story and a full spectrum of characters, from cute and cuddly to downright evil,” says star Geoffrey Rush. "Adding to that, the sophistication, the brilliance really, of the technique has truly been elevated in animated movies. I believed this could be a film that would be appreciated by both kids and their parents on many different levels.”

Stepping into the animation realm for the first time, Snyder enthuses, "Animation is filmmaking without limits. When I saw the potential of what the movie could be, and thought about the chance as a filmmaker to actually be able to create any shot I wanted…I couldn't wait to see what we could do.”

"Words were the only proof I've ever had that the Guardians were real, and still I believed.”

In animation, nothing physically exists before the filmmakers begin to make the movie. Therefore, it's the responsibility of the director and the art department to imagine what the world and its creatures are going to look like. Simple pencil drawings turn into simple animation and the charac

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