As if being a teenager isn’t hard enough as it is! Imagine above having to deal with your grades, your school life, your friends, your crush, your parents, your siblings and that annoying zit that sprang right in the middle of your forehead; you are also a Kraken! Yes, you heard that directly! You are a giant sea creature that has the power to destroy building with one swipe of your hand. That is Ruby Gillman’s life.)
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken is DreamWork’s latest animated movie starring Lana Condor, Jane Fonda, Annie Murphy, Toni Collette, Sam Richardson and more. A new coming-of-age story comes from the pioneering animation studio that brought us classics such as Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fo Panda. Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, will change how you look into your teenage problems because she has to deal with so much worse.
Before this new DreamWorks masterpiece hits theatres on 30 June, let’s get to know the story, the cast and the crew better to prepare for the new adventure!
How Ruby Gillman Came to be
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, has been in production in DreamWorks for years. Animated movies usually take many years to reach the final stage of gracing our screens. Some might even argue they are more complex to make than live action, but that is another argument.
Original titled Meet the Gillmans, this movie was supposed to be directed by Paul Tibbitt, the previous showrunner of Spongebob Square Pants. However, after Tibbitt was initially announced as the director in 2021, plans changed, and Kirk DeMicco was announced as the director in 2023 when the first trailer dropped.
The original pitch for the movie was about a family of sea monsters who moved to the land and have been living there for generations undetected. The story later changed slightly to focus on Ruby, the teenage daughter, instead of the entire family. However, the general idea stayed the same, with only minor tweaking here and there.
2021, the film’s production was announced in March 2023, when Universal Pictures announced the cast and crew, and the first trailer dropped. A second trailer was released on May 2023.
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken
The current plot of the movie is as follows: Ruby Gillman is a teenager who just wants to be expected! Or whatever normal is for teenage girls. Ruby lives with her mother, Agatha, her father, Arthur and her brother Sam in a small seaside town where she attends the local high school. Ruby’s mother is a little overprotective of Ruby and her brother and has one rule that they are not allowed to break no matter what: Never go near the ocean! Simple enough, right? Wrong!
Of course, Ruby, in her attempt to make friends and get on with the famous crew in her high school, goes a little too close to the water and falls in. Thinking she is about to drown, Ruby suddenly turns into a giant Kraken! In the middle of her freaking-out session, another Kraken finds her and introduces herself as her grandmother.
Ruby is a descendant of a royal line of Kraken who is sworn to protect the ocean and its creatures from the evil mermaids. Yes, in this story, mermaids are the evil ones! Ruby’s grandmother, the Warrior Queen of the Seven Seas, explains to Ruby that she is a princess and is expected to rule once her grandmother dies and, therefore, must learn to use her powers.
So much for Ruby’s plan to just be a normal teenager! Now Ruby must learn to control her powers, protect her school and family from the evil mermaids trying to destroy everything she holds dear and somehow maintain her everyday teenage life.
The Cast and Crew
The cast and crew of Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken were, for some reason, kept under wraps for quite some time. It can be because it took the movie a while to land on its final decisions regarding cast and crew, or maybe they just wanted to keep it a surprise. Either way, the film got an ensemble cast and a new director who seemed to know what they wanted their movie to say. From Gen Z sensation Lana Condor to Hollywood’s starlet Jane Fonda, Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken has a cast not to be messed with!
Kirk DeMicco (Director)
Kirk DeMicco took the helm of leading Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken after Spongebob Square Pants showrunner Paul Tibbitt dropped out. This might sound to some as a downgrade but trust us; it is not! DeMicco is a well-experienced animation director with hits under his sleeves.
Kirk DeMicco directed popular animation movies such as DreamWork’s The Croods in 2013, a film about a cave family that lived in pre-historic times. It was the 11th highest-grossing film of 2013 (give it a break; it competed with Frozen and Despicable Me 2!) and made around $500 million worldwide. DeMicco also directed Netflix’s Vivo in 2021. Vivo is a musical comedy animated film about a kinkajou who travels from Cuba to Miami to deliver a song and love confession from his dead friend to his longtime crush. Vivo was the highest-viewed film in the month of its release on Netflix.
The Croods was nominated in 2014 for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year.
Lana Condor voices no other than the one and only Ruby Gillman. Lana is an American actress who made her film debut playing Jubilee in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). Even short-lived, fans of Jubliee praised Lana for her portrayal of the character.
Lana’s breakthrough performance came later when she was cast as Lara Jean Song-Covey in Netflix’s adaptation of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018). Lana gained international fame for her portrayal of the lovable Lara Jean and later reprised her role in the sequels: To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020) and To All The Boys: Always and Forever (2021). Lana starred in other movies, including Alita: Battle Angel (2019) and Boo Bitch (2022).
Lana Condor won the Next Generation of Hollywood Award from the Hollywood Critics Association in 2020.
Toni Collete voices Ruby’s overprotective mother, Agatha. Collette is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning Australian actress who has been active since 1992.
Since her debut in 1992, Colette has participated in various projects, including movies and T.V. shows. Her starring role in Muriel’s Wedding (1994) gained her immediate success, her first AACTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and a Golden Globe nomination. She continued her successful career with her Academy Award-nominated role in Sixth Sense(1999).
Toni Collette’s filmography includes many films, including About a Boy (2002), Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Hereditary (2018), Knives Out (2019), and I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020). She is also the lead singer of the band Toni Collette and the Finish.
She might be the only evil mermaid ever to exist (do not quote me on that!). Annie Murphy voices Chelsea Van Der Zee in Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken. Chelsea is the new popular girl in school, and Ruby’s supposed new friend turned foe.
Annie Murphy is best known as Alexis in the sitcom Schitt’s Creek (2015–2020). Her portrayal of Alexis made her an internet sensation and an audience favourite character, but not only that. Annies’ role as Alexis professionally earned her her first Emmy Award win and Golden Globe nomination.
The magnificent Jane Fonda voices Ruby’s grandmother and the Warrior Queen of the Seven Seas. Fonda is a pillar of American cinema with two Academy Awards, two BAFTAs, seven Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy Award.
Jane Fonda started her career in the late 50s as a stage actress and then moved on to cinema and T.V. in the 60s. Her filmography includes classics such as Klute (1971), Coming Home (1978), Fun with Dick and Jane (1977) and The Electric Horseman (1979), among many others. She led a hit Netflix show with Lily Tomlin from 2015 to 2022 named Grace and Frankie, which earned her an Emmy nomination.
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken presents an ensemble cast of excellent actors, such as Euphoria’s Colman Domingo, Council of Dad’s Blue Chapman, The Lego Movie’s Will Forte, internet sensation and Work It’s Liza Koshy, as well as Strange World’s Jaboukie Young-White.
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, will be gracing our theatres on 30 June, ending the first month of summer on a blast! If you loved The Little Mermaid, you should give Ruby Gillman a chance because it has almost the same theme but the opposite.
While Ariel wanted to live on the shore, Ruby might find herself in the world of the ocean. And while mermaids are all beautiful, ethereal, and unique in The Little Mermaid, they are the cruel creatures in this movie, handing hero responsibilities to a creature only thought of as a destructive force that brings ships to their end.
Don’t pack up your fake mermaid tails or Kraken tentacles yet, because we are going on a sea adventure with a witty, funny and slightly insecure teenager!