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Croods 2 director on why the movie is so special - Exclusive

Joel Crawford is a longtime fixture at DreamWorks. Over the course of his career there, he's worked on several really fun projects. Crawford has been a story artist on popular favorites like the Kung Fu Panda series, Trolls, and Shrek Forever After. He directed Trolls Holiday, a TV short released in 2017, and a few years later, he happily jumped back into the director's chair to govern The Croods: A New Age. Hitting theaters on November 25, this sequel to 2013's The Croods finds the cave family up to brand-new adventures. Joining the Croods this time are the Bettermans, whose name defines the way they see themselves. The two families are rivals — until a plot twist demands they put aside their differences.

The Croods are a riotously fun family who also share the layered emotional structure that most families have — a blend of good and bad times. It's the family structure that really attracted Crawford to the movie. 

"I love stories about family," the director tells Looper in an exclusive interview. "First and foremost, I have three young kids and family's really important to me, but also, I love shows like Arrested Development." The family-oriented scenario is one he thinks creates lots of possibilities and "so much great comedic potential."

Why Joel Crawford liked not working on the first Croods movie

Crawford was around when the first Croods movie was made, but he wasn't involved with the production. That actually made working on The Croods: A New Age all the more enticing and enjoyable for Crawford.

"I was working on other productions at that time, and it was one of the few DreamWorks movies that I got to see with fresh eyes because I didn't work on it. When I saw it, I was an instant fan," the filmmaker said of the original Croods. "When the opportunity [to direct the sequel] came up, I was already such a fan of what [co-directors] Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders created, and I love the Croods family, so I was excited to jump in."

Crawford then shared that another part of the Croods' appeal is their setting: "The world they live in so fantastical with all of the crazy creatures and the environments." Mostly, though, it's the familial bond that he thinks really makes the Croods franchise meaningful. 

"It's so relatable, because it is about family, and family facing change," said Crawford. "And for me, that's what Croods is about — it is something that even though it's set in a different, fantastical world, everybody universally can watch this and go, 'I see myself; I see my family in that.'"

For all you Croods and Animal Crossing fans out there, prior to the film's release on November 25, DreamWorks and Universal are holding a special event in partnership with Feeding America. Ryan Reynolds (the voice of Guy), Emma Stone (the voice of Eep Crood), Nicolas Cage (the voice of Grug Crood), and the rest of the movie's cast recently announced the #CroodsCare Feeding America Partnership that will help provide meals to families in need. One way for fans to contribute to the cause is through the "Virtual Fruit Drive" that will take place within Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Simply type in the unique dream code – DA-1282-8266-2121 — to visit "Croods Cave" within the game. On the island, you can donate virtual fruit that will translate to actual meals Universal will donate to families (up to 100,000 meals). The event runs from November 23 all the way to the end of the year, on December 31.

Additionally, you can show your support by tweeting with the hashtag #CroodsCare. Tweets will go toward providing up to half a million meals to families in need. Like the "Virtual Fruit Drive" event, the #CroodsCare hashtag campaign will last until December 31.

This holiday season, see how you and your family related to the prehistoric Croods when The Croods: A New Age hits theaters on November 25.

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