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Super-Babies In Space
Destiny is a funny thing. Let's say you're a baby on the planet Krypton, and just before the planet goes kablooey, your dad deposits you in a space module and jettisons you toward the blue-green orb called Earth. Found and raised by good-hearted farmer folk, you grow up to battle evil in all its guises—which is easy for you, because your Kryptonian powers make you super powerful among humankind.

But what if you had landed with people not so good at heart? What would you have become?

Okay, so now, you're one of two kids in space, both popped in pods by your pops, both hurtling toward Earth. And just as in the tale we all know and love, everything depends on where you land—one in a palatial home with loving parents (hooray!), and one in a prison for the criminally gifted (uh-oh!). Super powers schooled in an upper-middle-class home become squarely focused on ‘doing good.' But equivalent powers sharpened in lock-down are set on an entirely different trajectory.

Welcome to the story of two babies who grow to become lifetime adversaries: Megamind, the criminal genius, and Metro Man, the charming do-gooder. In the world of superheroes, super-villains rarely get a chance to play the leading men – those roles are are typically reserved for the dashing and handsome heroes that oppose them. In the epic 3D comedy adventure "Megamind,” the traditional superhero movie is upended, as the evil genius finally gets the spotlight.

Megamind is a delusional, egotistical and completely inept criminal bent on taking over Metro City. When it comes to executing his ever evolving master plan, each wild attempt is a colossal failure, thanks to Megamind's nemesis, Metro Man, the beloved white-tighted hero of the city.

For director Tom McGrath—helmer of both "Madagascar” movies and voice of the beloved autocratic penguin, Skipper—given the choice, he'll take a villain every time. "Personally, I love villains,” says the director. "I've loved them since I was a kid: Darth Vader, Captain Hook, they were so fascinating. They have the most interesting personas, costumes, gadgets and catch-phrases. Villains are the most fun.”

McGrath was finishing up work on another animated film when he was approached regarding a new project brought to DreamWorks Animation by Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld's production company, Red Hour Films. The story revolved around a super-villain who accidentally destroys his archenemy, and the subsequent lack of competition renders his life meaningless.

The film was "Megamind,” and McGrath was immediately taken with the project's potential. McGrath states, "I heard it was about a villain who accidentally defeats his nemesis, creates a new hero to battle, and inevitably has to rise up and be the hero himself. And at the center of it was a love story. Just with that simple pitch, I said, ‘Wow, that sounds really unique—to tell a story from the villain's point of view.'”

Beginning as a script penned by Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons, "Megamind” takes its lead from well-known and beloved superhero stories, but asks, "What happens when the story is told from the other side?” The task the team at DreamWorks Animation had before them was to create a film about a super-villain, while making the character likable, relatable and most importantly, fun.

Although originally conceived as a live-action tale while at Red Hour Films, many came to believe that "Megamind” would be better told through animation. Yet despite its distinctive point of view, the story would still need to incorporate some of the customary devices of a superhero tale, but just take them down a different path. For fans of such stories (as many on the crew were), there was a voiced concern that the project might take on a mocking, instead of reverent, attitude. But from McGrath down, respect of the genre was mandated. Producer Lara Breay observes, "It was important to us that Megamind shouldn't just be a parody. There have been a few of those in the past and they haven't always been particularly successful or funny in our opinion. Besides, we love superhero movies; we would never set out to mock them. What we did want to do was take the audience's expectations -- their deep knowledge of this genre from the hundreds of movies and comic books that have come before -- and knowingly up-end them to create a story that would be fresh and surprising, even to fans of the genre. Nothing and no one in Megamind is what it first seems, and that leads to a lot of thrills and a lot of laughs.”

Director McGrath says, "If you love superhero movies, here's an entirely new take. We have a lot of fun with all the stereotypical trappings of those film, but I feel we made something new and fresh. And telling it in 3D animation is a big advantage over live-action. When creating an animated film, we can seamlessly blend huge effects and action sequences with intimate character driven scenes. It's all integrated. Everything in ‘Megamind' is in the realm of computer graphics, where you can push things a little further than you could in live-action and still be right there with the characters.”

McGrath felt that telling the story of Megamind and Metro Man using animation would better serve the story. Taking advantage of the limitless possibilities of computer animation, the filmmakers felt they were able to fully explore the theatrical nature of the movie, as well as the relationship between heroes and villains. McGrath says, "In the superhero movies I see now, everything is slicked up with polycarbon fiber and airbrushed metallic costumes. If there really were superheroes in the world, though, they'd be the biggest celebrities, regardless of the shine on their gadgets.”

"This is a re-telling of the classic superhero myth from the villain's point of view,” explains production designer David James. "Their natures can oft times be much more interesting than heroes, but also sort of dastardly. In this case, the big challenge for us was to make Megamind a sympathetic guy and to give him a history and a back story audiences could fall in love with.”

Producer Lara Breay adds, "This is a classic tale of redemption, but what is different here is that we haven't seen a supervillain take this journey before; to rise and become a superhero.”

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