Cast: Stephen Fry, Jim Gaffigan, Zendaya ., Diedrich Bader, Jennifer Grey, Carl Reiner
Director: Christopher Jenkins
Genre: Adventure, Animation
Running Time: 92 minutes
Synopsis: Two orphaned ducklings, feisty 16 day old Chi and her younger brother Chao, are separated from their flock by the over-enthusiastic flying antics of Peng, a freewheeling bachelor goose who'd rather practice aerial acrobatics than join the other geese preparing for their annual migration.
Afraid and alone, the ducklings ask for Peng's help to return to their flock, but he dismisses their pleas and hastily retreats; he doesn't need two little ones cramping his style! Pride comes before a fall however…when Peng badly injures his wing leaving him alone and vulnerable to prey. It is then that he agrees to help the kids get back to their flock, realising that walking with them provides the perfect cover to hide his injury.
From here the trio embark on a journey together, arguing their way across the Chinese landscape in search of their flocks and urged on by the oncoming winter. As they make their journey, a wild Pallas cat named Banzou is in hot pursuit, looking for exactly the kind of easy pickings that an injured goose and defenceless ducklings offer.
This is a story not just about finding your way through the obstacles of a long and difficult journey, this is ultimately the story of finding your way through the trials of life, of fatherhood, of responsibility to your community, and of family. Peng will grow to understand the power of unconditional love and Chao and Chi will likewise grow to see him as the best father figure they could ever have.
Duck Duck Goose
Release Date: May 24th, 2018
Duck Duck Goose is an animated tale of two young ducklings, Chi and Chao, who seek the help of a headstrong young goose, Peng, when they are separated from their flock. They must learn to work together to survive, growing closer as they overcome the obstacles of their dangerous journey and finally to love on another, illustrating that families come in all sorts of shapes and sizes!
The film is directed by Jenkins from a screenplay by himself and Rob Muir. Jenkins previously collaborated with Finkelman Cox and Rabins on the acclaimed motion picture Surf's Up when the duo launched Sony Pictures Animation back in 2002. Over the years they have collectively amassed a truly impressive CV including such films as The Prince of Egypt, Antz, Shrek, Surf's Up, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, Hotel Transylvania and live action hit Snakes On A Plane.
The film has been created and lovingly brought to life by Original Force Animation.
Original Force Animation
Original Force Animation, one of China's most prominent and successful digital animation studios, is dedicated to telling compelling, visually stunning stories through digital animation. With nearly 1,200 employees across its Los Angeles, Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and Chengdu offices, the company prides itself on being a major animation studio with production facilities in both the US and China.
Founded in 1999 by President and CEO Harley Zhao, Original Force is an established and well respected player in the video game arena, providing top quality content services to global clients including Microsoft, Activision, Electronic Arts, Sony, Disney, Rockstar Games and Tencent. Its art team has created in-game animation and effects for dozens of top-selling titles including Grand Theft Auto V, Need for Speed: The Run, League of Legends and The Sims 3.
The company's first foray into Hollywood came when it was chosen by DreamWorks Animation to serve as the lead animation house for Dragons: Riders of Berk, the television spin off of the Studio's 2011 Oscar®-nominated feature How To Train Your Dragon. The series premiered on Carton Network in 2012 and the studio is now working on the Guillermo del Toro created series, Troll Hunters, for DWTA.
Focusing now on the big screen, Original Force Animation now has a facility in Los Angeles which focuses on front end development.
The first thing to say is I don't know that I set out to make a deeply moving movie about poultry!
This all started because I think ducks and geese are comedians. When I lived beside a lake, every night and in all weathers I took to leaving the windows wide open so I could hear what sounded like raucous waterfowl comedy club! Maybe something took hold as I drifted off to sleep; a devious duck plan forming in my subconscious to get a CG movie made about them all?! All I know is that from that time forward, I wanted to make Duck Duck Goose.
Three years later, Duck Duck Goose, a story of parenthood written large, has been made. It's a movie for every kid, anyone who has ever been a kid and for anyone who's raising or has raised a kid; that pretty much covers the demographic we're aiming for.
They say write about what you know, and this story grew from my personal experiences of being a dad as much as it did from memories of growing up in a rural environment - I once rescued a stray duck and brought it home - another clue there I think?
Being a father is part of my everyday life. When kids are little they ask 'why' all the time - first it's cute, then it's annoying - then it's cute again sometime later after they've worn you down into a ball of jelly. Then, as the teenage years grind into view, they're asking 'why' again but with a different edge, particularly when you're asking them to do their homework or tidy their rooms. So writing and directing Duck Duck Goose was a form of parental therapy to myself. I discovered that surviving parenthood comes down to the message of the movie which is 'what you give freely of yourself, eventually returns'. There is a scene towards the end of the movie where the ducklings are underneath the broken wings of our hero, and he says 'I can't go on any further – you have to go without me – that's what mommies do.' Chi, one of the young ducklings, says 'well, we aren't leaving you…because that's what families do'. I guess I hope that in bringing up our kids in a way that helps them understand their lives and the world around them, one day they come to you and say 'it's okay Dad, I can take it from here'.
The look of Duck Duck Goose was key in making the movie as much a love story to the Chinese landscape as Walt Disney's Bambi was to the countryside of North America. I spent much of my career at Disney, and remain a devotee of movies like Pinocchio and Bambi. Every scene is a walk you want to go on; a bright Spring woodland that you want to explore. I love the play of the light, the way the story is told as much through breath-taking artistry as it is dialogue, and how each scene tells of the adventure beyond.
This painterly, impressionistic look wasn't easy to achieve on a computer, but after the wonderful inspirational art from the team at our visual development department was delivered, the next job was to try to achieve that look in the computer world. For a small studio this was an ambitious project; reality is easy, but the kind of transcendent look that makes you feel you're actually IN the movie is difficult to achieve in CG. Fortunately for us, our Nanjing crew expertly applied science, art, and a modicum of kicking the computers into submission, until we got something I think hasn't been seen in Computer Animation before. I want audiences to be transported to this unique world and forget about reality for 80 minutes. Duck Duck Goose takes the ups and downs of parenting, makes us laugh, makes us cry, and leaves us with a lingering sense of contentment. It's a warm movie and whether you're a parent, grandparent or child, you'll find something you recognise here that will make you smile in recognition.
- Chris Jenkins
Characters and Voice Cast
Ducks, geese, frogs, squirrels, roosters, cranes… Duck Duck Goose has a whole menagerie of beast and fowl brought to life in a spectacular way. Here we introduce you to some of those characters and the spectacular talent who voice them:
Peng – Voiced by Jim Gaffigan
Peng is a brash rebel who shuns team spirit in every way. His flock's motto is 'birds of a feather stick together', a sentiment Peng couldn't disagree with more as he looks out for himself and a good time, no matter what.
He is a typical young adult – an irresponsible young gun who lives in the moment. It's inevitable that one day he'll need others, but as a committed narcissist it will take some big event to change Peng's stubborn approach to life.
As his flock prepare for their biggest challenge, the annual migration, that big event comes in the form of two lost ducklings – Chi and Chao – who quite literally tumble into Peng's life and unveil the softer side to his character which he struggles to avoid.
Jim Gaffigan is a Grammy nominated comedian, actor, New York Times best-selling author, top touring performer, and multi-platinum-selling father of five. Jim Gaffigan is known around the world for his unique brand of humour which largely revolves around fatherhood and his observations of life and food.
Jim Gaffigan can next be seen in Chappaquiddick opposite Jason Clarke, Ed Helms, Bruce Dern and Kate Mara, You Can Choose Your Family starring Samantha Mathis, Anna Gunn and Logal Miller, Drunk Parents with Salma Hayek and Alec Baldwin, and Them That Follow alongside Walton Goggins and Olivia Colman.
In December 2016, Jim Gaffigan became one of only ten comics in history to sell out Madison Square Gardens and a few months prior, Jim Gaffigan had the honour of performing for Pope Francis and over 1 million festival attendees at the Festival of Families in Philadelphia. Indeed, streaming site Pandora recently announced that Jim Gaffigan is the most popular comic among its users with over 647 million spins to date.
Chi – Voiced by Zendaya
Chi is a smart little duckling, with a little bit of edge and a lot of sass. She has suffered a lot of disappointment in her short life and she's not shy about voicing her opinions. To Peng's discomfort, she often calls the shots, is very suspicious of Peng's 'help' and consequently often seems more of an adult than him!
Her strong opinions can make her appear a bit of a know-it-all but it's all motivated by her deep and unquestioning affection for her brother Chao. In spite of her tough exterior, she is a young (all of 16 days old!), vulnerable girl looking for the warmth and love of a family unit. As time goes by she begins to warm to Peng and begins to wonder if he could be the family she has been looking for…
Chi is voiced multi-talented actress and entrepreneur Zendaya. Zendaya stars and coproduces Disney Channel's number one hit spy comedy K.C. Undercover. Big screen appearances include Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Greatest Showman, Smallfoot and the recently announced Untitled Spiderman: Homecoming Sequel.
In addition to film, Zendaya continues to grow as a prominent figure in the fashion world, gracing the covers of Vogue, Glamour, In Style, Marie Claire, Essence, W, and more. Recognised among press and fans alike as a rising voice for her generation, Zendaya was listed in TIME Magazine's 'Most Influential Teens' list and she has also been included in Ebony's 'Power 100'.
Chao - Voiced by Lance Lim
Chao is a bouncy, bubbly, wide-eyed duckling full of energy and curiosity. He is completely oblivious to the dangers of the world and has a habit of wandering off at the most inopportune of times. As a growing boy he has an insatiable appetite and will put just about anything in his mouth to feed his never-ending hunger!
His young spirit is tempered by his longing for parental love and a need to belong (as only one who has never had a home can be). It is his unfiltered innocence that allows him to see something special in Peng.
The voice of Chao is Lance Lim, who can be seen in Independence Day: Resurgence and in the hugely popular School of Rock TV series as Zack.
Banzou – Voiced by Greg Proops
A thick furred, short-eared feline, built for harsh winters in the cold northern wilds of China. He is totally undomesticated and the kind of callous predator who enjoys playing with his food almost as much as the gamey aftertaste.
He takes pleasure in easy prey and avoids taking on animals that fight back. The one time Banzou stumbled into a fight he couldn't win was with Peng's mother who was determinedly protecting her nest. In that encounter he lost an eye, some dignity…and a few of his marbles.
Banzou is the first cat to exhibit Multiple Personality Disorder.
A seriously entertaining villain, this cat is as oddly comic as he is deliciously wicked. His desire for vengeance on Peng is embittered with the knowledge that you just don't mess with a bird that size. So when Banzou discovers the news that Peng has been injured and can't fly, he seizes the opportunity and will stop at nothing to track him down.
Banzou is voiced by Greg Proops, a much loved comedian whose credits include his unpredictable appearances on both the US and UK versions of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Flight of the Concords. He has an award-winning podcast The Smartest Man In The World which he records live in Australia, New Zealand, Montreal, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, San Franciso, Austin, London, Paris and aboard a ship in the Caribbean. He also has a book based on the podcast.
Greg Proops has lent his voice to Hell and Back, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Bob The Builder.
Jingjing and Bing – Voiced by Natasha Leggero and Diedrich Bader
JingJing is Peng's object of affection and the only flyer in the flock who can keep up with him. She has exemplary leadership and flying skills, as well as being nurturing, intelligent and instictive. When Peng tells her that he's choosing not to migrate with the flock she is both worried and angry – teamwork means everything to her. She is the only goose to see the good in Peng but this refusal to be part of the flock means he has to work really hard to win back her trust.
JingJing's father is Bing – tall, strong, the epitome of goose responsibility and leader of the flock…which is why he and Peng will never see eye to eye. Concerned with weather patterns, wing care and long haul energy maintenance, Bing is much like your average airline pilot. He exudes responsibility and is well meaning, but his monotonous tone can often bore rather than inspire.
JingJing is voiced by actor and writer Natasha Leggero, best known for her roles in Let's Be Cops, Bad Neighbours and He's Just Not That In To You.
Leader of the flock, Bing, is voiced by Diedrich Bader. A popular face on US television, Bader often lends his voice to animated projects including Big Hero 6: The Series, Tangled and Surf's Up 2'.
Carl – Voiced by Reggie Watts
Many of us have that friend who never quite grew up; Carl is that guy. Living constantly in the moment, without a care in the world (except for the next death-defying stunt he plans to attempt), this adrenaline junkie has lived on a mountaintop for a little too long and has had one too many collisions!
With plenty of alone time to develop a very original way of looking at the world, Carl comes across as your typical 'surfer dude'. He occasionally hears voices in the wind and – not unlike Tom Hanks in Cast Away, has made companions out of a couple of ginger and ginseng roots. While successfully mending Peng's wing, Carl reveals how his fellow flying squirrels have all left to start their own families. And, although he says he wants to remain free, it is clear he craves companionship and is delighted to have Peng's company.
Carl is voiced by Reggie Watts, an internationally renowned vocal artist, beatboxer, musician and comedian who wows audiences with his live, 100% improvised, performances. LA Weekly crowned him 'the most wildly inventive new talent of the past five years', while New York Magazine hailed him as 'spectacularly original'.
Recent television appearances include his much loved Netflix Special Spatial and his regular slot on The Late Late Show With James Corden and Comedy Bang! Bang!
Larry - Voiced by Carl Reiner
Larry is the 200 year old codger who's 'been there' and 'done it all'. Consequently he takes it upon himself to take Peng under his, erm, wing and offer a bit of advice to the young hothead.
He is as slow as Peng is fast and as loyal as Peng is brash; qualities that the youngster needs if he's to slow down and see the world – and his flock – from a different point of view.
Larry is a true friend to Peng and it is his steadfastness, combined with an indomitable spirit, that has him follow Peng on his journey, guiding him along the way.
Larry is voiced by Carl Reiner, a legend of American comedy, having achieved great success as a comic actor, director, producer, recording artist and novelist. He has won twelve Emmy Awards as an actor, writer and producer. He also won a Grammy Award for his '2,000 Year Old Man' album, based on his comedy routine with Mel Brooks.
Stanley and Edna – Voiced by Rick Overton and Jennifer Grey
Stanley the Rooster is a blustering bag of self-important hot air. He sounds like an old British Army Colonel but in spite of his puffy chested, macho persona, it's his wife Edna who wears the trousers in this family.
Edna is the essence of motherhood; as warm and as welcoming as her husband is obstinately territorial. She's cheery and soft spoken, but rub her the wrong way and she can bring the heat; just ask her husband! Rest assured this strong willed mother hen will go toe-to-toe with anyone who threatens her eggs.
Rick Overton is an American screenwriter, actor and comedian. His writing credits include Dennis Miller Live for which he received an Emmy Award, and is a familiar face on the US television with roles in The League, The Middle, Married With Children and Newsreaders. On the big screen he has worked with Ron Howard, Chris Columbus, Harold Ramis, Jay Roach and Steven Soderberg, with roles in films such as Bad Teacher, Cloverfield, Groundhog Day and Willow.
Jennifer Grey is most widely recognised for her role as Francis 'Baby' Houseman in the iconic coming of age movie Dirty Dancing, for which she received a Golden Globe 'Best Actress' nomination. In 2010 she won the hearts of the judges and the audience during Season 11 of Dancing With The Stars, eventually winning the competition. In 2011 she also appeared in the movie The Bling Ring and recently voiced Mrs Kurokawa in the English dub version of Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises.
Giles and Frazier – Voiced by Craig Ferguson (Giles) and Stephen Fry (Frazier)
These two Chinese cranes are rather like a couple of opinionated and high-minded cochairman of a stuffy homeowners association! They believe in rules, guidelines and the proper maintenance of lakeside etiquette.
With a haughty opinion on just about anything and everything and a penchant for pithy word play and dark humour, they are often a target for Peng's playful high-jinx.
In their spare time, Giles and Frazier enjoy fine caviar, ballet and sarcasm.
Giles is voiced by writer and actor Craig Ferguson whose voice can be heard on the How To Train Your Dragon franchise, Futurama, Winnie The Pooh and Family Guy amongst others. Stephen Fry
The voice of Frazier comes from Stephen Fry, an English comedian, actor, writer, presenter and activist. His acting roles include a Golden Globe Award nominated lead performance in Wilde, the title character in the television series Kingdom and Gordon Deitrich in V for Vendetta. Fry's voice-overs are much loved, reading all seven of the Harry Potter novels for audiobooks and most recently voicing the Cheshire Cat in Alice In Wonderland and Alice Through The Looking Glass.
Duck Duck Goose
Release Date: May 24th, 2018