DreamWorks Animation had plenty of star power on hand for its first presentation at Comic-Con as Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick and surprise guest Alec Baldwin appeared to spotlight “Trolls” and “The Boss Baby.”
After a quick introduction by Chris Hardwick, the audience was treated to about 16 minutes of footage from “Trolls.”
In it, we were introduced to Poppy, voiced by Kendrick, and Branch, voiced by Timberlake. She’s eternally optimistic, he’s a big skeptic and an outcast because of it.
“Trolls” co-directors Walt Dohrn and Mike Mitchell, who also worked on “Shrek,” called Comic-Con a “rite of passage.” When asked about one of their favorite moments related to the making of the film, they replied that participating in this panel was among them, to the delight of the fans. The crowd also enjoyed the other panelists, screaming loudly for “Pitch Perfect” franchise star Kendrick and splitting eardrums for Timberlake.
The pop star-actor, who executive produced the “Trolls” soundtrack, said the joy of the film seemed to seep into the whole production. “When I started to write the songs, I said, ‘This actually makes me feel good.’ It’s one of my favorite things.”
Said Kendrick: “I felt like I got to play inside this 6-inch pink troll. I was so tired, and so happy.”
“Trolls” producer Gina Shay also mentioned that the creative team consciously took body image into account when creating the trolls, especially the princess, making sure they were not unhealthy images.
“I want [my daughter’s] mind to be imaginative instead of obsessing in the mirror,” said Shay.
During the panel, Hardwick hugged Timberlake for seven seconds, the time that research says is necessary for a proper hug. “That was awkward,” said Kendrick.
At the panel’s conclusion, many in the crowd stood sporting the pink and blue troll wigs handed out at the start.
The second half of the DreamWorks presentation concentrated on “The Boss Baby,” voiced by surprise guest - and first time Comic-Con attendee - Baldwin, who implored the crowd to not “eat him.” The panel also featured director Tom McGrath and producer Ramsey Naito. i"The Boss Baby” also boasts the voices of Lisa Kudrow, Steve Buscemi and Jimmy Kimmel.
McGrath said he knew that Baldwin would be perfect for the role - of a suit-wearing, briefcase-toting baby that comes into the family and starts calling the shots over his older brother - through their previous dealings in films such as “Rise of the Guardians.”
“And we did a baby test with him saying some lines from [Baldwin’s role in] ‘Glengarry Glen Ross,’” said the director.
Asked by Hardwick about his own sibling rivalry and how it plays out in his life, Baldwin commented on the differences in political opinion among his siblings.
“I have one brother at the Republican National Convention, and the other is protesting it,” he said of younger brothers and fellow actors Stephen and Billy, respectively.
But, he also quipped, “I like to say I’m here and they’re not,” which drew huge applause from the crowd.