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HAPPY FEET TWO

About The Production
"It's part of the job of life to find out who you are and what you've got…”

CONTINUING THE ADVENTURES OF "HAPPY FEET”

In 2006, a movie came along that not only delighted audiences, but had them tapping their toes and singing heartsongs. "Happy Feet” was an unqualified global hit that appealed to critics and audiences of all ages. The film went on to earn numerous awards, culminating in the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature. It also fueled greater efforts for environmental and wildlife conservation and even entered the modern lexicon, with "happy feet” becoming a synonym for tap dancing, its star Mumble's particular talent.

George Miller explains, "I often say that these stories are for the adult in the child and the child in the adult. I think one of the reasons why ‘Happy Feet' resonated is that it had a kind of nourishment to it, with the time-honored ideas of being true to yourself, being brave and trying to treat the world and yourself with respect.”

The idea for the story of "Happy Feet Two” actually began even as Miller and his team were putting the finishing touches on the first film. "

When you work on a film like that for so long, you actually fall in love with the characters. They became a part of your family,” the filmmaker continues. "As you're thinking about them, new stories arise, which is what led to ‘Happy Feet Two.' It was surprisingly easy to go back there, and so much fun hanging out with them once again.”

But Miller, who directed, produced, and also co-wrote the film with writers Gary Eck, Warren Coleman and Paul Livingston, aimed to do much more than simply return to Antarctica with Mumble, Gloria and the other penguins. He explains, "I think what a storyteller wants from every film is to have the audience somehow experience something that they can relate to, so that they can see their own lives through it. I think this new film—which is about family and community—gives them the opportunity to be able to do that through the characters of the penguins.”

In the new film, Miller wanted to imbue even more physical comedy and action, while staying true to the spirit of the first movie. "‘Happy Feet Two' has all the singing and dancing and beautiful Antarctic landscape, but there are new characters of every dimension, from the largest scale to very tiny creatures,” he says. In fact, the tiniest of the film's creatures are voiced by two of today's biggest stars: Brad Pitt and Matt Damon as Will and Bill The Krill.

Producer Bill Miller elaborates, "We had to reacquaint the audiences with the characters they know and love from the first film, but we needed to take those characters and the audience somewhere different. And we had to raise the bar with the music and dance.”

As the story opens, the vocally challenged but choreographically gifted Mumble, once again voiced by Elijah Wood, and the golden-throated Gloria, voiced by Alecia Moore (P!nk), are parents. Mumble's own difficult adolescence, however, did not prepare him to be the ideal dad. His son is a fluffy fledgling named Erik, who seems disinterested in dancing, while the rest of the Emperor nation is movin' and groovin'. But when Mumble encourages him to try tripping the light fantastic, Erik simply trips over his own feet… landing him head first in the snow and the object of derision. Erik hides in shame, and Mumble's attempts to reassure his self-doubting son only make matters worse.

George Miller observes, "Mumble is now a parent, and the tables have turned on him. Now he has the problem of being a father with a child who doesn't completely conform to the way Mumble thinks his son should be! And he truly wants to connect with his son. We all think when we become parents that somehow, we'll know how to do better than our parents did. And, of course, we often make the same mistakes, because there's no real instruction manual about how to be a good parent. And that's what I speculated in the story would happen with Mumble.”

Producer Doug Mitchell comments, "One of the themes in the film is clearly about the relationship between father and son. Mumble, like all parents, struggles with the intent to offer unconditional love and support—he wants the best for Erik, but he also may need to let go a little and let his son find his identity for himself.”

But the filmmakers ratcheted up the stakes: Mumble not only has to find his way through fatherhood, he ultimately must find a way to save the entire Emperor community, pitting penguin against nature. Violent shifts in the glacial landscape are threatening the Emperors' very survival, and it falls to Mumble to rally creatures both great and small, to save them.

"If you want it, you must will it. If you will it, it will be yours.

SvenTHINKTM. All rights reserved, copyright me.”

VOICES OF THE FLOCK, RETURNING AND NEW

When "Happy Feet Two” begins, "It's party time,” says George Miller, "and at the center of everything are Mumble and Gloria. Gloria is singing, Mumble is dancing, and everyone is inspired by the rhythm and chemistry between the two.”

Mumble has grown up to be a respected leader within the Emperor penguin community. Elijah Wood returns to the role of the masterful tap-dancing penguin, whose unique talents have captured the hearts of so many. "I knew that George would never do a sequel unless it was something that he felt was true to the original story and that there was another compelling story to tell.”

In fact, the same things that attracted the actor to the original film have been reprised in the sequel. "There are beautiful environmental themes throughout, pointing to the change that is occurring in our world now, and how it's affecting our precious animals,” Wood continues. "George handles it so well, just as he did in the first film. It's woven into the piece in an organic way, along with the themes of love and identity. I think it's especially good for young people to see a film like this and recognize that it's ultimately the things that differentiate us from others that are our strongest defining characteristics. Those are qualities to be celebrated, not ashamed of.”

If Mumble is the undisputed dance champ of Emperor Land, his mate Gloria is the undeniable diva. For the role of this powerhouse songstress, the filmmakers turned to Alecia Moore, also known as triple Grammy-winning recording artist P!nk. "P!nk was a natural for the role, and has been really superb,” says director Miller. "She had sung in the opening of the first movie and wanted to be involved again because she's compassionate and a great animal lover. So for this one, in addition to voicing Gloria, she wrote the wonderful lullaby called ‘Bridge of Light,' with Billy Mann.”

No stranger to a recording booth, Moore was nonetheless a little nervous about making her voice acting debut. Watching other cast members helped to change that. She recounts, "I got to watch Brad [Pitt] and Matt [Damon] not only record some of their dialogue, but they also had to sing. They just went for it, and I thought, ‘Wow, I really have nothing to fear in there.'”

Producer Mitchell says, "When it came to Alecia's turn to record, of course, she totally nailed it. She's a great professional and a lovely person. Her song, ‘Bridge of Light,' is wonderful and touches on one of the great themes in the movie.”

Another of Mumble's companions returns in the sequel: his best friend Ramon, the talkative Adelie penguin, who has been drawn to Emperor Land because he finds the senoritas altas alluring. Too bad they find him alarming.

Robin Williams again voices Ramon. "

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