America Ferrera gained national attention and critical acclaim as the star of Ugly Betty. She has since gone on to star on the stage in London’s West End and lead another television series, Superstore. In How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Ferrera reprises her role of Astrid, a Viking and Dragon rider. Jay Baruchel plays Hiccup, the lead human character in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise. With his dragon partner Toothless, Hiccup shows his people that humans and dragons don’t have to fight and can live together in harmony.
Screen Rant: First of all guys, I was a grown man crying in this movie. I legit can be honest about that. Twelve years is a long time for any kind of franchise, but you guys are almost like surrogate parents to Toothless in a way. Has that affected or changed your characters in the third installment?
Jay Baruchel: Yeah, definitely. It puts Hiccup, in kind of a philosophical quandary. Because Toothless has been his inspiration. His like, the source of everything for him. His desire to create this kind of utopia where we and dragons can live side by side. That's all because of his friendship with this dragon. Right? And this movie, that's kind of tested. He has to ask himself a real question. Is everything that I’ve been fighting for, and my friendship with Toothless, is this the best thing for him? And, yeah, that puts them in an awkward place.
Screen Rant: Now, Hiccup and Astrid's relationship seems to mirror Toothless and Light Fury’s relationship also. What are you hoping audiences take away from that love affair?
America Ferrera: Which? Astrid and Hiccup’s?
Screen Rant: Both, because they kind of mirror each other in a lot of ways.
America Ferrera: I don't know necessarily what people were supposed to take from it. I think that for both Toothless and Hiccup, it's about stepping into their destinies as leaders with the right companion. And for so long, as youth, they were each other's number one companion, and sort of the future that's waiting for them requires a different kind of relationship. And I mean we can't give the spoilers obviously, but to see them both live out their true destinies is what you want for them. But you want them to always have each other. But you also want them to live the lives they're supposed to live. And that is such a relatable challenge in life, for adults or for young people, which is why you were crying, which is why I was crying.
Screen Rant: You'd have to have-- If you're not crying this movie, you don't have a heart your heart.
America Ferrera: Yeah, where is your heart?
Screen Rant: Exactly. Now, twelve years is a long time for any kind of franchise, whatever it is, and they always say that the ending is the hardest to write. For you guys, do you think the conclusion of this story, are you guys happy with where the characters end up?
Jay Baruchel: Completely. Completely, because this was an ending that feels like the right one. Like it was always going to go this way. And at the same time, it's still quite surprising. Because I don't know that anybody who's a huge fan of these movies would necessarily anticipate where the third act ends up in this flick. Right? And yet it feels like it could end no other way. And that is a testament to how good it is and how truthful it is.
America Ferrera: And I think it's a testament to [Dean DeBlois's] courage to end it. Because I think, with these types of films, you just think, “more, more, more.” Like, “more movies!” But, for Dean, he's always spoken about it as a trilogy. That's how he always envisioned it. And I have the sense, and you have to ask him, that when he sat down to write the first script, he actually envisioned this script, knew where he was going. So, he figured out how to get to where he was going. He always said that the series would answer the question, “where to dragons go?”
Screen Rant: Right. Well, you guys knocked it out of the park. Made me cry. About twelve years in the making. Thank you guys so much for your time.
- How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) release date: Feb 22, 2019