Ahead of the trailer launch on Thursday, Universal Pictures Ireland has published the first official details about Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, a new theatrical animated feature on the way from Dreamworks.
The film, which had been made under the working title of Meet the Gillmans, is directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Kirk DeMicco (Vivo, The Croods, Space Chimps) and produced by Kelly Cooney Cilella (Bilby, Trolls World Tour). Faryn Pearl (storyboard artist on The Croods: A New Age, Trolls World Tour) is co-directing.
Teenage Kraken’s voice cast includes Lana Condor, Toni Collette, Annie Murphy, Sam Richardson, Liza Koshy, Will Forte, Colman Domingo, Jaboukie Young-White, Blue Chapman, Eduardo Franco, Ramona Young, Echo Kellum, Nicole Byer, and Jane Fonda.
No release dates were included on Universal’s website. Dreamworks has often released one film in the first half of the year, like The Bad Guys in 2022, and one around the holidays, as it did with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. With the next Trolls movie penciled in for late 2023, one could reasonably expect Teenage Kraken to hit cinemas this summer.
Teenage Kraken follows a shy 16-year-old named Ruby Gillman (Condor) who learns that she is the next in a legendary line of royal sea krakens. Despite her lofty destiny, all Ruby wants to do is fit in. At school, she falls for a skater-boy that she’s tutoring who shows no indication of feeling the same way about her. Ruby struggles even more to fit in because her mother (Collette) forbids her from going to the beach with any would-be friends. But when Ruby decides to disobey her mom’s instructions, she learns that she’s descended from the warrior kraken queens and will one day ascend to her grandmother’s throne, voiced by Fonda, as the Warrior Queen of the Seven Seas.
In the film, the krakens are a race sworn to protect the world’s oceans from the vain, power-hungry mermaids, and the two sides have been battling for eons. The generational confrontation comes to a head when a popular mermaid named Chelsea enrolls at Ruby’s school
Last year, Dreamworks impressed with The Bad Guys and the Oscar-nominated Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, two films that showed the studio was willing to take risks in terms of design and animation. With the first official image from Ruby Gillman, it would certainly appear that those last two films weren’t outliers, and Dreamworks is continuing to stretch visual boundaries in cg.