America Ferrera is all about that dragon life. As Astrid in DreamWorks’ animated film, How to Train Your Dragon 2, she returns to ride Stormfly into more adventures along with an all star cast including Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, and many more. Here, the Honduran-American actress talks about HTTYD2, vacationing with her husband through Europe, and her favorite animated movie of all time.
What hashtag would you use to describe How to Train Your Dragon 2?
It would be just #awesome because this movie is awesome. I love this film. The first one was so moving and exciting and it was such a great experience and I think like everyone, we felt the burden of how do we make a sequel that lives up to that. What was incredible was that the second film is everything the first movie was, but even bigger and deeper and even more emotional.
How has your character, Astrid, evolved from the first film?
Well, the characters are all five years older now so their look is a little bit different. Astrid is still the competitive, natural born leader that she was in the first film and she’s got a lot of adventure and excitement in this one. While Hiccup goes off on his own discovery and journey with his family, Astrid leads the charge with the other kids and they run into the main bad guy in this film. She has a lot of adventure and it’s fun! I like that she continues to be in the action and she has a lot to do.
How would you describe the fan base for this film?
It’s actually quite varied. A lot of kids obviously love the movie, but their parents enjoy it so much and are just as excited to see the second one come out, mainly so they can have another movie to watch and not have to watch the first one for the 800th time, but also because they really enjoyed it. The second film, in some ways, goes even deeper and sometimes veers towards a darker place, but it’s very daring and brave and it still maintains what keeps kids excited and interested, but there’s even more for the older audience in the second film.
What are some of the differences in the sequel?
There’s almost more action and adventure in this one, but the emotional journeys of the characters are really nuanced and deep. One of the new characters in the second film is Hiccup’s mother, who comes into the story, and is voiced by Cate Blanchett, and some of the scenes between her and Hiccup, and her and Hiccup’s father, are really emotionally driven. There’s a lot of great juicy character stuff that’s happening for the older audience to really enjoy. There were times where I forgot I was watching animated characters because the animation is that good, but the performances are so deep and nuanced. The first film had a wide audience and I think this one will appeal to even more people
With HTTYD2 you’re shaping children’s memories forever. What animated film was your favorite as a child?
I’ll never forget when I saw the Lion King. That was sort of a watermark moment as a child. I think that that was at the forefront of animation at the time, and there was a two-year build up to the Lion King coming out. There were high stakes in it, and Simba’s dad dies, and I just remember watching that movie and really feeling like I’d been inducted into grown up life. It represents my childhood. I’m still very nostalgic about it and I’m sure I could recite every word from every song of that movie.