Ready to return to the world of “Trolls?” Because “Trolls Band Together” is nearly here (watch the brand-new trailer above). It’s a hoot.
And what’s more, TheWrap spoke with director Walt Dohrn and producer Gina Shay about the upcoming sequel (the follow-up to 2020’s “Trolls World Tour,” also directed by Dohrn and produced by Shay) and what we can expect when the band gets back together.
When asked about the title of the movie, Dohrn replied: “First of all, it’s the reunion of a band. We didn’t know this when we made the other films but Branch [the character played by Justin Timberlake] you have four brothers. This was 20 years ago, when he was a kid, they all used to be in a family band together, a boy band called Bro Zone. [The band] broke up 20 years ago. As bands do and as big brothers do, they go out into the world. But we find out at the top of this movie that one of the brothers has been kidnapped. So the oldest brother comes to find Branch and says they’ve got to get the band back together, sing the perfect family harmony and free the brother who’s trapped.” You know. That old chestnut.
Obviously music is a huge part of the “Trolls” franchise, since each film is an interesting mix of jukebox musical, Baz Luhrmann-style mixtape and traditional, old-fashioned musical. And “Trolls Band Together” is no different. “It’s all pop music from many different eras and also a send-up of boy bands,” Shay explained. “And in the band we have to get back together, Branch’s old band Bro Zone, we’ve got Eric Andre, Troye Sivan, Daveed Diggs and Kid Cudi. And then along the journey, they pick up another troll played by Camila Cabello. And we have villains who are played by Amy Schumer and Andrew Rannells.” Dohrn describes Schumer and Rannells’ characters as “evil ’90s pop divas who happen to be brother and sister too.”
Zosia Mamet and 12-time Emmy-winning drag icon RuPaul Charles also appear in the movie as new characters. (Does RuPaul’s involvement mean the film can’t screen in Tennessee?) Returning performers include Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, the Icona Pop duo of Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt, Grammy winner Anderson .Paak, Ron Funches, Kunal Nayyar and Kenan Thompson.
And don’t worry, that signature arts-and-crafts look of the “Trolls” film returns in the new sequel, but of course expanded and elaborated upon. “There’s always new ways to find these different surfacing and texture ways to portray the world. But I’m also such a huge animation fan, besides working in animation my entire life,” Dohrn said. “I really like psychedelic animated cinema, from ‘Fantasia’ to ‘Yellow Submarine,’ so we do a little homage to that. We do things like shadow puppet animation a little bit. Anything that we feel can help tell our story and can broaden the visual canvas of the movie, we do it. It’s like everything – to be playful and entertaining and pay homage to artists from the past.”
That 2D, traditionally-animated-looking sequence teased in the trailer was produced alongside Titmouse, Inc., the animation studio behind “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” one of the more memorable installments of “Love, Death & Robots,” and the timeline explanation sequence from “Loki.” “Tt was so fun to collaborate with them going back and forth,” Dohrn said.
When “Trolls World Tour” came out in 2020, it was one of the first films to have a simultaneous theatrical and PVOD release. But Shay assured us that “Trolls Band Together” is worth experiencing in the theater. “We want to make this an event film of epic proportions and take people to worlds they never imagined with a whole concert film/music extravaganza, mixed to the nines.” Are you ready to rock?
“Trolls Band Together” hits theaters on November 17.