Rise of the Guardians is an upcoming 2012 American 3D computer-animated fantasy-adventure film based on William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood book series and The Man in the Moon short film by Joyce and Reel FX. Produced by DreamWorks Animation and directed by Peter Ramsey, the film will be released on November 21, 2012 in North America, and on November 30 in the United Kingdom. Joyce is also exec-producing, along with Guillermo del Toro.
Rise of the Guardians stars Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Jude Law. It will be the last DreamWorks Animation film to be distributed by Paramount Pictures, as DreamWorks Animation has signed a 5-year distribution deal with 20th Century Fox, starting in 2013.
Jack Frost is a carefree boy who has no responsibilities in the world aside from bringing winter wherever he goes. But everything changes when Pitch, the Nightmare King, begins his plan to engulf the world in darkness. The Guardians, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and the Sandman enlist Jack to join their group to stop Pitch and protect the children of the world.
In 2005, William Joyce and Reel FX launched a joint venture, Aimesworth Amusements, to produce CG-animated feature films, one of which was set to be The Guardians of Childhood, based on the Joyce’s idea. The film was not realized, but they did create a short animated film, The Man in the Moon, directed by Joyce, which introduced the Guardians idea, and served as an inspiration for the DreamWorks Animation’s film.
Early in 2008, Joyce sold the film rights to DreamWorks Animation, after they assured him that they will respect his grand vision for characters and that he would be involved with the creative process. In November 2009, it was revealed that Joyce and Peter Ramsey, a DWA’s storyboard artist, would direct The Guardians. Joyce acted as a co-director for the first few years, but left this position after the death of his daughter Mary Katherine, who died of brain tumor. Joyce continued to assist as an executive producer, while Ramsey took over the directing position, which made him the first African American who directed a big-budget CG animated film. As with some previous DWA’s films, Guillermo del Toro came on board as an executive producer. This time he was present almost from the beginning, and was able to help shape the story, character design, theme and structure of the film. He said that he was proud that they were able to make some parts of the film more “dark and moody and poetic”, and expressed hope that it will “set a different tone for family movies, for entertainment movies.” The final title, Rise of the Guardians was announced in early 2011, along with the first cast.
Although the film is based on the Joyce’s book series, The Guardians of Childhood, it is set up separate from the books. The series, which has been releasing since 2011, explains the origins of the characters, while the film takes place about 200 years after the books, and shows how the characters function in present time. Joyce explained: “Because I don’t want people to read the book and then go see the movie and go ‘oh, I like the book better’, and I also didn’t want them to know what happens in the movie.”
Originally, the film was set to be released on November 2, 2012, but DreamWorks Animation pushed the film to November 21, 2012 to avoid competition with Pixar’s upcoming film Monsters University, which had been pushed to November 2, 2012 to avoid competition with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2. Monsters University has now been pushed to June 21, 2013, with Wreck-It Ralph taking its place.
Chris Pine as Jack Frost, the spirit of winter. Frost is a teenage hellion who has no interest in being bound by rules or obligations and just wants to use his staff to spread his winter magic for the sake of personal amusement.
Alec Baldwin as North (Santa Claus), the leader of the guardians, and the Guardian of Wonder. He lives on the North Pole, in the Ice Castle, and is served by loyal North Pole natives, Yetis, who built the castle and workshop.
Hugh Jackman as Bunnymund (Easter Bunny), the fabled keeper and bringer of Easter eggs and the Guardian of Hope.
Isla Fisher as Tooth (Tooth Fairy), the mythical tooth collector and the Guardian of Memories. Tooth is part human and hummingbird, who collects the children’s teeth which hold memories.
Jude Law as Pitch (The Boogeyman), the essence of fear and the Nightmare King.
Dakota Goyo as Jamie, a child who has given up on believing in the guardians
Khamani Griffin as Caleb
Dominique Grund as CupCake
Sandy (The Sandman), the Guardian of Dreams, is the oldest of the Guardians, and the first Guardian chosen by Man in the Moon. He does not speak, but communicates through sand images that he conjures above his head.