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America Ferrera on How to Train Your Dragon

Published March 31, 2010 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of DreamWorks Animation
You won’t recognize America Ferrera in How to Train Your Dragon. She provides the voice of a Viking teen, Astrid, and the artists made her look completely different. Astrid is a Blonde, Caucasian fighter who holds her own with the Viking boys. Ferrera could relate to that.

America Ferrera Talks How to Train Your Dragon

“I was always the girl who, when I was younger, played baseball with the boys,” she said. “I did not play softball. I did not want to play softball. I wanted nothing to do with it. I wanted to play baseball with the guys and I wanted to be as good as them. So, I think I definitely related to Astrid.”

Astrid wasn’t always this cool. It was only when directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders came on board that she became such a heroine. “Before, she wasn’t a big part of the world. She was a smaller character, who was one of the friends, and then they made Astrid and Hiccup’s relationship stronger. Then, they really gave that character a purpose. Just in the way that Hiccup was trying to prove himself to his father, she had much more of a backstory than they did give her in the beginning. So, I totally related to the character. I was super-happy that girls can now go watch this movie and say, ‘I can train a dragon, too.’”

How to Train Your Dragon How to Train Your Dragon

As we said earlier, a blonde Viking girl doesn’t quite look like the America Ferrera we know. “I don’t know how Scandinavian I made her. She sounds like she came from the San Fernando Valley. She’s from the 818. That’s what was so much fun about it. She wasn’t really me, or a version of me. She was her own thing, and I just got to be one small part of creating her. I just had fun with it. I always came back from the sessions feeling so relaxed, like I had done yoga or something. The last thing that they always asked me to do, before the session was over, was scream. They were like, ‘Just give us five different kinds of screaming,’ because I do a lot of screaming in this movie. So, it was very cathartic and fun. I felt like I was in very able hands, and I could just have fun and give them what I had and they were going to turn it into something beautiful, and they did.”

In the beginning, before even the directors were on board, Ferrera was happy enough just to be involved. “I didn’t really care what the movie was about. When Dreamworks called and said, ‘Do you want to be in a Dreamworks animated film?,’ I said yes. They told me what the character was and showed me the world, but I would have said yes to any of it. When someone recently asked me what movie character, in the history of movies, that I related to the most, what I came up with was Ariel from The Little Mermaid. This was just wish fulfillment for me. Something that is really fun about this is being a very small part of a huge result. It’s so satisfying to show up and be a part of something so cool, that you were really just a tiny part of. The amount of hours we put in, compared to the amount of hours everyone else on the project put in, was incomparable. I just wanted to do this because it seemed like so much fun. I just feel very lucky that I fell into something really fun and good.”

How to Train Your Dragon is out in theaters now.

For the posters, stills, trailers and more movie info, go to the How to Train Your Dragon Movie Page.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of DreamWorks Animation

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