Interview with The Croods Producers & Directors: On Father-Daughter Bonds

There’s nothing quite like the ever-evolving, emotional, roller-coaster ride of a father-daughter relationship. In The Croods movie that comes out on March 22, I found many parallels between Grug (the overprotective dad) and Eep (the fiercely-independent daughter) with my relationship with my dad. In an interview with the directors and producers of the movie, they talk more on this unique bond:

Q: Along with the family focus you had throughout the movie, is the father-daughter bond something you really wanted to emphasize?

Director Kirk DeMicco: I think the thing that kept it together through all the years whenever we’d come through and get lost, and when you’re going in different directions, and you come back to what it is. And it was a father-daughter story.

Here at DreamWorks, there’s been lots of families of friends, that’s the way it is. But, actually, a true father-daughter story was pretty unique, and everyone was really engaged by that.

And I think that once we got Nick [Nicholas Cage] the hard part wasn’t just pages and what you’re looking at when you’re doing it. It’s Grug, he’s very domineering and he’s strict.

But, when Nick brought to it what he brought to it, it was just this warmth and this beleaguered and the weight of the world on his shoulder. He has his heart in the right place for every frame of the film, which is also kind of rare. He just is trying to do his very best. He’s just in over his head.

And so, Eep is actually the one with the biggest arch, really. I mean, Grug has an arch kind of for thinking, but Eep’s got to really take on board so much, like when she says what her father’s done and what he’s been trying to do.

But, Grug he’s been in the right place. He’s just misunderstood.

Q: What process did you go through to choose and create Eep’s personality to grow as a strong woman while learning how to work together with her family?

Lunch at DreamWorks with Director Chris Sanders

Director Chris Sanders: To be honest, I’ve worked on a lot of different animated films. One of the things that’s always fascinated me is how they develop themselves, to some extent. You begin these processes by trying to role this object, this story to a place you want it to go. And the farther you go, the more it starts to roll in a direction that it wants to go.

And so, these main themes and secondary themes, they actually tend to grow all by themselves, especially with a group of characters like this where they’re together through the whole film. I rarely use the word magic, but it’s amazing how many times you work on one of these, and something that you left at the very beginning of the film, a little light bulb that didn’t light up for the longest time, but you just liked it, by the end of the process, years later, you do something down here at the other end of the film and that little thing lights up. It’s like it was supposed to be there the whole time.

And so, I always talked about how, on a story crew, you have to do as much listening to the story as you do trying to put things in and do your own sculpting, because at the end of the day, when you sit in the theater and you put all the stuff together and you watch it, it’s amazing how much the story is telling you.

Check out this trailer to get a glimpse of the relatable bond between Grug and Eep. As they take a prehistoric road trip across the jungles, you may find yourself laughing just like I did at how oddly familiar their family relationship are to your own.

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We saw this movie in advance of it’s official release to facilitate this post series about Dreamworks and The Croods. Travel and expenses were provided by Twentieth Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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