The melodious movie about a gruff little voice of warning hits theaters this Friday, March 2. Based on the beloved book, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is presented in colorful CG animation and stars the voices of Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Betty White, Rob Riggle and Jenny Slate. Here are some fun facts I learned about the movie from a series of round table interviews with some of the cast and crew:
- Main characters Ted and Audrey are named after Dr. Seuss and his wife. The late Dr. Seuss' full name is Theodor (Ted) Seuss Geisel. His wife Audrey served as the executive producer on the film, but at first, she didn't want the character of Audrey to be named after her. Screenwriter Cinco Paul told us, "She initially kind of demurred. She didn't want to put the focus on her too much. But, ultimately, we convinced her."
- Writers/producers Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul researched Seuss books for ideas about the settings and character names. "So, what we did was assembled all the books. We got images from every book. We said here are Seuss houses and buildings, and here are Seuss women, because there are not a lot of women in Seuss books. So, it was hard to find design. And we did that with names, also." Some of the side characters in the movie are named after characters in other Seuss books. See if you recognize them as you watch the movie.
- Before they started writing together, Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul were in a band together. They have been writing together since about 1997.
- The filmmakers were surprised by the MPAA PG rating. Writers Ken and Cinco told us, "We personally don't understand that at all. We wrote a G script."
- Ed Helms begged to be in the movie. The writers told us that Ed initially contacted them hoping for some small part in the movie. They said, "And so, we were looking, oh, man with cat or something, like little parts initially. And then, suddenly, it's like, wait I bet he could do the Once-ler. He would be perfect, and he was." Ed loved the book growing up. He recounted that he told the producers, "I really want to be in this movie, I'll take any part. I'll just be a Bar-ba-loot or whatever, and I just want to be a part of it."
- In the movie, Ted drives a monocycle. Zac Efron (voice of Ted) said, "And his monocycle, oh, man, he's like indestructible on that bad boy. I want one."
- Danny DeVito voiced the Lorax in Spanish, Italian, Russian and German. He wanted to get the pronunciation and the comedic timing right for each version. He said, "So, the way I did it was I had two translator expert people who know the language and all the inflections and the proper way to say the words. And then, I had another person from the country in the booth."
- Danny DeVito tries to "speak for the trees" in real life just like the Lorax. He told us about his car the Nissan Leaf, "the greatest thing about it is there are zero emissions, I plug it in at my house at night. You have to put a 220 in or some line because it charges it faster. And I plug it in." He also related that he doesn't use plastic water bottles at home and that his family uses cloth napkins.
- Betty White speaks for the trees in real life as well. Betty White told us that one of the reasons she accepted the role as the spunky granny in the movie is her love for the message. Her favorite part of the movie? She said, "Overall, the beautiful colors and the celebrating the environment and the caring about the environment, which is one of my big, big, big things." Betty donates to environmental charities and thinks it's important to pass the message on to the younger generation.
- The movie has some Easter egg references to the movie Despicable Me. As you watch the movie, look for a tiny minion hiding out as a logo, as well as a couple of other references.
(Photo © Universal Pictures )