TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES
About The Production
What makes a real hero? It's not the costumes, the gadgets,
the cool powers. It's having your own movie!
When teeny Teen Titan Robin learns that the story of Batman's greatest ally and
in the whole world is coming to the big screen, and it is not about him-and that
Hollywood is making
movies about every superhero but him-he declares, "It's time they make one about
But then he's hit with the cold, hard truth: Hollywood only makes movies about
superheroes. "Why don't they take us seriously?" the boy wonders.
Maybe because a superhero has to save more than...room for dessert?
Adapted for the big screen from Cartoon Network's "Teen Titans GO!" to be a lot
bigger, a lot
longer, but as cheekily irrepressible as ever, "Teen Titans GO! to the Movies"
is a superhero movie
for the whole family. It is also the brainchild of the same team that generates
the wildly popular half-hour
Director/producer Peter Rida Michail says that while the Teens-Robin, Cyborg,
Raven and Beast Boy-see themselves as superheroes, "our version of the Teen
Titans are more or
less outcasts from the hero world. They're a bunch of really silly friends
having a blast just hanging
out more than actually fighting crime."
Director/writer/producer Aaron Horvath believes the Teens have a pretty good
gig. "I would
say it's better to be a sidekick than a hero," he observes. "There's probably a
little more humiliation
involved, but a lot less pressure-you don't get the spotlight, but nobody's
looking at you when the
timer on the doomsday clock is counting down. That's for Batman to worry about!"
The Teens' sub-superhero status, combined with their inherent impertinence,
filmmakers to have the Titans skewer their own genre in their own genre film.
Michael Jelenic states, "In the movie, we subvert the superhero world in a lot
of ways, poking fun at
all the things fans expect out of those movies and all the things we've seen
before. So, it's a superhero
movie that's not your typical superhero movie; it turns everything on its head,
but it's all in good fun
and we stay true to ourselves, which we know is important to fans of the show."
"I think Aaron, Michael and Pete will all agree that we got to do so much more
than we ever
have in the series," producer Peggy Regan states. "TV is just such an aggressive
schedule so there is
little time to dwell on creative choices. With the movie, we got to spend time
developing the story
and characters, and when audiences see it in the theater, they'll see how vastly
The idea to supersize this team of teen heroes who kick butt (eventually) from
the small to
big screen came from President of Warner Bros. Animation and the movie's
executive producer, Sam
Register, a self-professed fan of the early comic book lineups. "The Teen Titans
comic came out in
the 1960s, and it was really just the sidekicks of the day: Wonder Girl, Kid
Flash, Aqualad and, of
course, Robin. But in the `80s, there was a new version done by Marv Wolfman and
and that's when I fell in love with the Teen Titans. That's when it became
Robin, Beast Boy, Cyborg,
Raven and Starfire as the core team. They were like the comics' version of the
'Breakfast Club' kids."
Register took his love from the page to the TV screen in 2002 with, as he
describes it, "a more
straightforward 'Teen Titans' action series with a lot of comedy in it." That
original incarnation, which
aired from 2003 to 2006, was also a huge hit on Cartoon Network and when
Register arrived at
Warner Bros., they decided to evolve it into an all-out comedy. "That's when we
threw in the 'GO!'
and 'Teen Titans GO!' became our animated version of the roster."
As anyone in animation knows, characters are only as good as they sound, so
voice casting is
key to bringing any role to life. Originally cast for the "Teen Titans" series,
and then brought on for
"Teen Titans GO!," there was no question who would voice the film's core heroes:
Greg Cipes as
goofball shapeshifter Beast Boy, Scott Menville as straight man Robin, Khary
Payton as optimistic boybot
Cyborg, Tara Strong as demon daughter Raven, and Hynden Walch as alien princess
"Working with this cast has always been a blessing, like we were given a gift,"
"They know these characters inside and out, and the actors themselves are just
the funniest people,
so we've been able to draw a lot on their personalities and what they bring to
Rida Michail concurs. "For the TV show, they all perform together, so they feed
off each other
and we let them run with it." While schedules didn't allow for them all to
record together for the
feature film, Rida Michail says it made no difference to the seasoned pros. "We
gave them the script
and they just rocked it, as always."
"Teen Titans GO! to the Movies" also attracted an impressive list of guest voice
including Will Arnett as the Super-Villain Slade and Kristen Bell as Hollywood's
hottest film director,
Jade Wilson, along with a host of talent in cameo roles-artists from movies, TV
and music that will
have fans staying in their seats for the credit crawl.
Finally, the filmmakers understood that, because it's "Teen Titans GO!," fans
would not only
expect belly laughs with their heroic feats, but catchy musical numbers as well.
As was the intent
with the story, they also knew they had to pump up the volume when it came to
the songs. They
went all out, creating original pop, rap, rock and EDM music "videos"-five in
all, including the Teens'
"GO!" anthem-and, as in a stage musical, each song serves to propel the story as
well as entertain.
Arnett, who is also a producer on the film as well as a longtime fan of the
"Music has always been at the heart of the Teen Titans experience, from
'Waffles' to 'Sour Grapes,'
but I think we've taken it to another level. There are so many great songs in
the film that will,
hopefully, get lodged into people's consciousness and have them annoying their
Putting it all together, "Teen Titans GO! to the Movies" is a toe-tapping,
adventure that takes our hopeful heroes from their native Jump City to the glitz
of Tinsel Town.
ROBIN: Sidekick No More!
Robin's biggest hang up (besides his super small hands) is being seen as a
he is the most famous sidekick in all of superherodom. Despite his pint-sized
body and lack of any
actual superpowers, Robin's got big aspirations. He dreams of becoming a star
because, to him, fame
equals respect, and respect is what it takes to be taken seriously as a
Scott Menville provides the voice for the Boy Wonder, who he describes as "an
manic, determined version of Robin. He's very one-track-minded and will stop at
nothing to get what
he wants, whether it's finding the perfect sandwich or taking down a
As with all things meta, in the film, Robin's focus is being in a film. "He
wants his own movie.
Whether it's with the team or just himself, he wants it to happen, and he's very
serious about it," he
Ironically, Menville says, the key to playing Robin-and all the Teens-is to be
opposite. "Nobody working on the show, or now on the film, takes themselves too
like the movie pokes fun at its own film universe, he notes, "we poke fun at
ourselves all the time;
it's about finding the humor wherever you can. There are jokes that go over
kids' heads that adult
viewers will laugh at, and I think that's the reason it works-it fires on all
Unfortunately for the onscreen crew, Menville offers, "Robin's determination to
movie career happen for himself affects the others. Sure, there's still going to
be bathroom humor
and arguments over what's better, burgers vs. burritos. But you might also see
some hurt feelings,
some fallout within the ranks. You might even see Robin's head swell a little
bit...which makes his
baby hands seem even smaller."
STARFIRE: She Is The Awesome!
An adorable alien princess with an affinity for all things cute, Starfire is
sweet and kindhearted,
but equally fierce, with such superpowers as flying, super strength, shooting
star bolts from
her hands and laser beams from her eyes, and creating force fields.
"She does have a little trouble with the English language, though," laughs
Hynden Walch, the
voice of Starfire, who equates her character with "a foreign exchange student or
a fish out of water.
She's not dumb, she's super smart. She's just from out of town."
Walch appreciated the opportunity not only to expand the series to feature
length, but to do
so with all of her longtime voice acting cohorts, with whom she's played some
form of the Teens on
and off for over 15 years. "We've obviously gotten to know each other over that
time and, while
we're all very different people, we genuinely like each other. Like the Teen
Titans, you can be very
different and still have so much love and respect for each other. That's our
She feels similarly lucky to work alongside the "GO!" creatives. "Aaron, Michael
and Pete are
phenomenal; they totally kill it with the writing." Like Menville, Walch says,
"Their brand of comedy,
high satire, is like taking a comic book and infusing it with Looney Tunes. It's
a multi-level experience
for everyone, of every age; it's hilarious if you're five and if you're fifty."
CYBORG: Half Robot, All Party Animal-Booya!
Waffle-loving, rowdy and robotic, Cyborg is part man, but the rest is all
Super strong, he can transform himself into any manner of machine, as well as
shoot lasers from his
fingers, and fly.
Khary Payton, who voices him, reveals that one of his favorite things about
aligns with one of his favorite things about the Teen Titans. "It's getting to
be around some of your
favorite people all the time, you know?" Still, he also understands the Titans'
independence-in the case of the film, especially Robin's. "There's nothing like
striking out on your
own, and that's what teenagers are always striving to do, working up their
courage to step out into
the world. That's what being a Teen Titan is about. But they always come
together again, because
that's also what being a Titan is about, the friendships. In Cyborg's opinion,
Robin is one of the
hardest working heroes in the world, with no powers and tiny little silly baby
hands. Somebody's got
to help this guy, right? So, they'll go to Hollywood and see if they can help
get him that movie."
Payton also appreciates that part of what unites the Teens is their differences.
"I love that
they're a group of people from all different walks of life. Literally, different
galaxies. They're gray,
green, orange, black and blue. Figuring out what makes them different is what
makes them special.
Cyborg is a half-robot dude who has learned to embrace the fact that he is a
half-robot dude, and he
thoroughly enjoys it."
As Cyborg is physically the biggest of the Teens, Payton doesn't hesitate to
play him that way
from the inside, as well. "Bigger is always better as far as Cyborg is
concerned," he smiles. "Nobody's
ever come to me and said, 'Could you be more subtle?' He may be mostly
mechanical, but Cyborg
lives with his human emotions right there for everybody to see. You never have
to wonder how he's
doing; he's just going to blurt it out and tell you. And usually throw a 'booya'
in at the end."
BEAST BOY: Maybe Not the Smartest, Definitely the Silliest!
Definitely in touch with his inner child, Beast Boy has a goofy sense of humor
but one of the
coolest superpowers around: the ability to transform himself into any animal
that's ever walked-or
flown over-the Earth.
Greg Cipes, the actor who voices him, is uniquely qualified to play Beast Boy.
spent as much time as I can with animals-dogs, cats, horses, snakes, parrots..."
he relates. "They've
got the ability to be completely present with you, and I feel like animals are
guides to living a happy
life. And that's Beast Boy, he is the Teen Titan who leads the way to having
Cipes won the role for the original "Teen Titans" series at his first voiceover
making his the first-ever voice of Beast Boy. It was a voice he'd never tried
before that day. "They
showed me a picture and described him as a loveable class clown. All of a
sudden, his voice came
out. He's so wild and free, and that's really therapeutic for me. Over the years
he's evolved, and it's
been really fun to play the many versions of Beast Boy I've helped create in
that time, and now to get
to be part of his first movie."
Amid all the Teens' excitement-hobnobbing with big time Super Heroes (even if
friends are just showing up to save the day), going to red carpet premieres (even
if they have to sneak
in)-Cipes says that "this new adventure is going to both test and unite the
team, but it's also going
to push their relationships to a new place: a place of greater trust. They'll be
using their collective
superpowers to make a difference in their world...and to make a great movie, of
RAVEN: Azarath... Metrion... Zinthos!
Daughter of the demon Trigon, mostly monotone Raven sports the dry sense of
humor of a
Goth girl, but that and the dark wardrobe are where the similarities end.
Incredibly powerful, Raven
can not only float and fly, but she can open portals that transport the Teens to
various locations in
space and time.
"Raven is sort of the silent hero of the group who would prefer to be reading or
says Strong, who finds the character's low-key nature a bit tricky. "She doesn't
really get excited, so
to make big moments work with her low, guttural voice may not be vocally taxing,
but, from an acting
standpoint, can be challenging."
Despite Raven's reserve, Strong attests, "If need be, she can save everyone." In
comes to the rescue on more than one occasion in the movie. "She can create
portals and do all kinds
of crazy spells, and that comes in pretty handy, as you can imagine."
Maybe Raven just wants to be alone, but Strong was thrilled that her TV family,
she helped create, would be taking their roles to feature length. "When we found
out, we were
extremely elated. It's such collaborative work, so it's really nice to know that
the network recognizes
we've been a big part of the series' success. To not only warrant a feature, but
to take us along for
that ride, as well. It's never a given, so we're all very grateful."
Like Starfire, Cyborg and Beast Boy, Raven supports Robin's desire to be a movie
because she thinks it's necessary, but because he's her friend.
And that's what friends do.
No matter how harebrained or insanely dangerous it is.
Even if it puts you and your friends in the path of the world's most
or worse: the world's greatest Hollywood movie director.
"I only make movies about real superheroes."
Hollywood director Jade Wilson has made a major motion picture about every
the planet, and is even dipping into their gadgets, but she draws the line
at...sidekicks. "I'm afraid it's
no," she tells Robin when he pleads for his own feature film.
Kristen Bell voices the pragmatic filmmaker who undoubtedly has her bottom line
"She understands that size matters," quips Bell. "In terms of a superhero film,
bigger is better. The
screen is huge, you want to fill it, but you do have to rely on having an
emotional story to make it
work. To her, the Teen Titans have dreams of being actual superheroes, but
they're not quite cutting
it. They're a ragtag group of misfits. She just doesn't view Robin, or his
friends, as that compelling."
The in-demand actress confesses that, for her, "Jade Wilson is a bit of a
caricature. She sees
herself as the one and only director of all directors, which is great because
she fits in with the
extremes and fantasies of the film. But, personally? In real life, I don't think
I'd be able to work for
her. She's not enough of a team player."
Rida Michail says it's not at all a description that fits Bell. "Kristen was
incredible to work
with, a ton of fun. She brought so much energy to the character."
Jelenic agrees. "We were lucky to get her. Anything we wrote, she made sound
She contributed a lot."
"Unless the project is specifically looking for you to invent something,
creating the voice for
any character is definitely a collaboration," Bell demurs. "'Teen Titans GO!' is
an established show
with well-known characters, and the directors wanted to come up with a character
unequivocally unearth them a little bit and set them off on this difficult
adventure that would lead
them to find each other. I just took all of their input about who they wanted
her to be, and that's
how I found her. She's someone who seems to have the best of intentions for the
team, but, well,
"I'm not Deadpool!"
If, as Robin believes, it's not the costume or the gadgets or even the cool
having a movie made about you that is the only way to be seen as a real
superhero, then the Teen
Titans' first order of business is to find themselves an arch nemesis. Every big
battles a Super-Villain, right?
A recurring villain in the canon-arguably the Titans' greatest foe-Slade is a
serious bad guy
and a master of mayhem, which the filmmakers knew would make for a real battle
and a great choice
for the film.
Like any good evil-doer, Slade's goal is to rule the world, and he's intent on
using the Teen
Titans to do it. He's a master of distraction and finds that when it comes to
the highly suggestible
Teens, a little sleight of hand goes a long way.
In a twist that would ruffle even Alfred's feather duster, the nefarious Slade
is voiced in the
movie by none other than LEGO Batman himself, Will Arnett.
Arnett, who also produced the film, is a huge fan. "My kids watch the series and
I would hear
it playing in the background," he says. "Most of the time when I hear shows that
my kids are
watching, I want to smash the TV, but with 'Teen Titans GO!' I'd hear jokes or
songs and they were
so good. I reached out to the writers and we got to talking about the idea of
making it into a movie.
Don't tell them I said this, but the more I get to know those guys, the more
impressed I am."
"Will Arnett is a triple threat," states Horvath. "He signed on as a producer
and helped us
creatively when we were developing the script, giving feedback and suggesting
jokes and so on. And
he's also playing our villain. I think he strikes the right balance with Slade
as someone you take
seriously; he's menacing, but also really funny."
"Slade's ultimate goal is to dominate the entire planet via mind manipulation,"
Naturally, the Teens play right into Slade's hands. After all, they need an
adversary, and he
needs the most gullible, easily distractible, completely adorable yet seemingly
dispensable supers in
the universe to unwittingly do his bidding. So...win-win?
Along with the five Titans, Bell and Arnett, the filmmakers cast a roster of
voice artists in
cameo roles, including Nicolas Cage as Superman and Halsey as Wonder Woman.
"Casting the film was really fun," Regan recalls. "We got some amazing talent to
come in even
for the briefest roles, and I'm excited for the fans to see whose voices they
MAKING THE LEAP FROM JUMP CITY
Because they were taking the Teens to the big screen, the filmmakers took every
to make the heroes' world as big as it could be. From Titan Tower in Jump City
to a Hollywood movie
studio, from Gotham City to Krypton, and even from the past to the future, "Teen
Titans GO! to the
Movies" goes where no Teen Titans have gone before.
Horvath illustrates, "The characters sing songs and they're funny, but when
Cyborg pulls out
his blasters or when Raven does her magic, it has to be even more awesome, so we
action set pieces for the movie to reflect that: Robin running through a
crumbling building as it's
exploding around him; the Titans fighting a giant robot or the Balloon Man,
who's the size of a city
block; aerial chases throughout Hollywood. They're life-sized action heroes now
and so is their
Between epic battles, there are musical extravaganzas unlike anything the Teens
before. "For the series, the music we can include is always like a 30- or
40-second jingle. Doing full-length
songs has been really exciting," says Rida Michail. "Jarod Faber and I have been
together on music for 12 years now, so to get the opportunity to work on a
feature film and produce
these songs with him, Michael Jelenic and Jacob Jeffries has been incredible."
The group went all out to musically enhance the characters' journey in the film,
songs as "Upbeat Inspirational Song About Life," "My Superhero Movie" and "Check
This Out," as
well as upping the ante on the team's anthem, "GO!"
They even attracted guest artists to sing along. "Michael Bolton is an icon, he
anything sound great," says Jelenic of the famed `80s artist who contributed to
the soundtrack's `80sstyle
tune. "When we had an opportunity to get him to sing a song in the movie, we
jumped at it.
Mixed in with the music and the laughs and inherent to the story, Regan notes,
are the themes
the Teen Titans represent: a message on the power of friendship, the importance
of teamwork and
the notion that to be a hero, you just need to be yourself. "Their journey in
the movie actually
solidifies their friendships," she says. "Unlike in the series, there's a point
in the story where we
might see the end of the team. They go through a real bonding experience, and
discover why they
can be proud to be the Teen Titans, which is something that we haven't explored
Register, who's been involved in every non-comic book incarnation of the Teen
he couldn't be more excited to show the film to moviegoers. "When I sat down and
watched the first
TV series with Marv Wolfman and George Perez, it was just an amazing experience
to give back to
those creators. To have seen it from that moment through the current series and
now a full-length
feature, makes me feel like a proud father," he grins.
Horvath adds, "We're all so proud of the movie and everybody who was involved in
the cast to the story department to the animators, everyone did an amazing job.
Loyal fans of the
series are going to come because they know it's gonna be funny, but I also think
the movie stands on
its own. There are jokes for kids and for adults. It's full of the distinctly
Teen Titans-style humor and
fun and craziness that's like nothing else, and I hope we're going to generate a
whole new fan base
for our heroes."
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