"Owls of Ga'Hoole" swoop into movie with Aussie accents

Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:32am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

CANBERRA (Reuters) - When American writer Kathryn Lasky created a world of good and evil owls, she didn't envisage them with Australian accents but somehow it fit the movie screen adaptation of her "Guardians of Ga'Hoole" books.

The 3D animated movie "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole," which hits U.S. theaters on Friday, is based on the first three of the 15 books in the fantasy series written by Lasky between 2003 and 2008 about a post-human world of owls.

The movie, described as a cross between "Watership Down" and "The Lord of the Rings," was directed by Zack Snyder of "300" and "Watchmen" fame and produced by Oscar-winning Sydney-based animation house, Animal Logic, as well as Australia's Village Roadshow production company, which also collaborated on the 2006 dancing penguin film "Happy Feet."

The film features a list of top Australian actors voicing the owls including Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving, Anthony LaPaglia, Sam Neill and Abbie Cornish. U.S. actor Jim Sturgess voices the hero, Soren, and Britain's Helen Mirren is the evil owl Nyra.

Lasky, 66, a prolific writer with over 100 fiction and non-fiction books to her name, said she was happy with Snyder's decision to cast Australians in the majority of the roles.

"I didn't envisage the owls having Australian accents but it is fine with me," Lasky told Reuters in a telephone interview from her Boston home.

"It gives a certain 'je ne sais quoi.' Harry Potter had these British accents. For American filmgoers, I think particularly with fantasy, it is a little value adding to have a different accent as it adds something exotic."

The film follows the young barn owl Soren as he is kidnapped by the owls of the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls which brainwashes its wards into becoming soldiers for the Pure Ones who believe Barn Owls are superior to all others.   Continued...

<p>A scene from the film "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole"; a Warner Bros. release. REUTERS/Warner Bros. Pictures</p>