10:48 AM PST 2/19/2020
Alexandra Del Rosario
The ‘Avengers: Endgame’ co-stars hit the blue carpet at the El Capitan Theatre on Tuesday night.
Dan Scanlon’s Onward may boast a fantastical world of elves, sprites, trolls, spells and curses, but the director says that the magic that colors his family adventure flick existed decades before hitting the big screen.
The film, which follows a pair of elf brothers on a treacherous journey to bring their late dad back to life for one day, comes from the relationship Scanlon shares with his older brother and the experience of losing his father early in his childhood. “Not knowing my father growing up, everything I learned about him felt magical,” Scanlon told The Hollywood Reporter at the film’s world premiere at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre on Tuesday night. “It felt like he was something really special and unique,” he said.
Scanlon’s personal story-turned-animated film sees Tom Holland voice 16-year-old elf Ian Lightfoot and Chris Pratt is Ian’s rowdier, older, slacker brother Barley Lightfoot. Pratt told THR that hearing the the story that inspired Scanlon’s film encouraged him reflect upon and appreciate the connection he shares with his older brother, Cully Pratt.
“It really did touch a nerve because my older brother is very much like Barley to me,” he said. “Constantly loves me and supportive of the gift that I have and have been able to share with the world.”
While Pratt raved about his biological brother, he also brought up his relationship with Holland, his newfound brother from another mother. The actor told THR that the film featured “smart casting…because we’re playing brothers and we’re like brothers in real life.”
The actors’ friendship, which first started during Avengers: Infinity War, has become a “budding bromance in full bloom,” Pratt said.
“We know each other very well, we goof off a lot in between the takes and it’s just fun. The fun we have on these press tours and events, while doing this film and doing Avengers movies really translates on screen,” he said.
Holland told THR that re-uniting with the Guardians of the Galaxy star to voice the Onward brothers was only natural for them.
“I have a big brother in Chris,” he said. “When we finished Endgame, we didn’t know if that would be the last time we’d work together in that capacity and here we are again.”
Like Pratt, Holland’s time on the animated project also prompted him to think about the relationship he shares with his twin brothers and his father. The actor told THR that he felt inclined to be part of the project because he wanted to channel the special relationship he, his father and his siblings all share into the film.
When asked what he would do if he could bring his father back for one more day, Scanlon told THR he wants two things.
“I just want to know that he’s proud of the person that I’ve become and I’d want him to know what a wonderful job my mom did raising the two of us,” he said.
Additional cast members in attendance were Octavia Spencer, Ali Wong, John Ratzenberger, Tracey Ullman, Wilmer Valderrama, Mel Rodriguez and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Guests included Bob Iger, The Bachelor‘s Ashley Iaconetti, Kerri Walsh Jennings and Nina West.
Onward touches down at the 70th annual Berlin International Film Festival , which runs from Feb. 20 to March 1, and hits theaters March 6.