America Ferrera stars alongside Jay Baruchel in “How Tot Train Your Dragon 2,” the second film in the animated 3D trilogy about a young Viking calledHiccup and his dragon, Toothless.
As the thrilling story unfolds, Hiccup has an unexpected meeting with an extraordinary woman who shares his passion for dragons – his mother Valka (Cate Blanchett). Also starring in the film are Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse,T.J. Miller and Craig Ferguson.
Baruchel voices the story’s intrepid hero while Ferrera plays his feisty girlfriend, Astrid. Five years on from the original 2010 film from DreamWorks Animation, we find Hiccup enjoying life as an explorer. But his dad, Stoick, the mighty Chieftain of Berk (Gerard Butler), thinks his son needs to shape up and take his responsibilities as a future leader more seriously. There is currently peace on Berk, where humans and dragons are living happily.
“Astrid and Hiccup have an easygoing, relaxed and comfortable relationship,” says director Dean DeBlois. “Astrid is a natural Viking, in that she’s athletic, aggressive, capable, and super-smart with strong leadership skills, in contrast to Hiccup, who’s wavering and unsure of where he’s heading in life. In this film, Astrid becomes the strong, supportive voice of reason. America is wonderful as Astrid. She knows the character inside out. Jay and America play so well off of each other.”
“It is so exciting to play a great female character both boys and girls will be watching. It is wonderful that they will be seeing a male and a female character as equals in their capabilities and their excitement. Astrid likes to be a leader and Hiccup is a bit of a loner. He’s flying around and discovering new territories, exploring with Toothless. Astrid doesn’t look like me. She’s Nordic, blonde and blue eyed and so I thank them for not typecasting her and going for the essence of the character. Astrid is great, she is kicking butt and she is a natural born leader who is probably better suited to being the future Chieftain of Berk than Hiccup is. She is winning the tournament racing [with Stormfly, her dragon],” adds Ferrera.
There are challenges ahead for Hiccup. Together with Toothless, he has to defend his village from a terrible army of dragon trappers, led by Drago (DjimonHounsou), a mad genius and self-proclaimed ‘Dragon God’,who strikes fear into the hearts of even the bravest Vikings.
Ferrera further describes her character’s evolved relationship with Hiccup now that they’re grown-ups. “Their relationship is still very playful and competitive, but they match each other in their lust for life and adventure. What is fun is that our characters are more grown up now. Because there is a romantic aspect to their relationship, there are more tender moments between them. In the first film she was thinking: ‘Who is this guy? Why should he get to be chief of Berk when I’ve worked hard my whole life?’ But this time she’s his number one supporter because she sees that he’s special and totally capable of leadership. She is a partner in his adventure.”
“I’m so thankful that America came back to play Astrid,” DeBlois says. “She has such a strong, powerful voice and it comes through in the character with this spunky, up-for-anything quality. But also inherently in America’s voice is a sense of reason and self-assuredness that the character of Astrid really represents to the story.”
“It’s everything the first movie was and even better; it is just as exciting, but it’s deeper and more complex and more fun,” Ferrera concludes.
Ferrera is perhaps best known for her fearless portrayal of Betty Suarez on ABC’s hit comedy “Ugly Betty.” This breakthrough role earned Ferrera an Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series-Musical or Comedy, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance for a Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, as well as ALMA and Imagen Awards.
Her film credits include David Ayer’s crime thriller “End of Watch,” co-starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Anna Kendrick, Michael Peña and Cody Horn and Todd Berger’s comedy “It’s a Disaster” opposite Julia Stiles and David Cross, “Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants,” “Our Family Wedding,” “Towards Darkness” and “Under the Same Moon.”
“How To Train Your Dragon 2” opens in cinemas on June 11 from DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.