Feature: Norm Of The North

NORM the polar bear (voiced by Rob Schneider) doesn’t know how to hunt, but he does possess a rare gift: like his grandfather, who once ruled the Artic, Norm can speak to humans. When plucky real-estate marketing director VERA (Heather Graham) shows up at the Artic to shoot a TV commercial promoting luxury houses for her unscrupulous billionaire developer boss MR. GREENE (Ken Jeong), Norm knows he needs to do something to save his Arctic home. Emboldened by his seagull mentor SOCRATES (Bill Nighy), Norm leaves his family and stows away on a ship to the Big Apple with three tiny, mischievous — and nearly indestructible — lemmings as his loyal allies. In Manhattan, where jaded New Yorkers assume he’s an actor in a polar bear suit, Norm becomes an overnight celebrity, complete with Times Square flash-mob dance performances and dishy talk-show appearances. But it’s Vera’s brilliant daughter OLYMPIA (Maya Kay) who helps him concoct a scheme to sabotage Mr. Greene’s plans to colonize the Arctic. Brimming with great songs, eye-popping animation, high-energy dancing and plenty of laughs, Norm of the North proves that no matter how cold it is, there’s no place like home.

Inspired in part by one of the Arctic’s most iconic animals, Lionsgate Executive Vice President of Family Entertainment Ken Katsumoto reached out to Los Angeles-based Splash Entertainment to develop a story that had heart, humour and most importantly, a misfit hero. “It was important that our protagonist have a unique attribute that he perceives as a weakness but ends up proving to be a strength,” explains Katsumoto. “Similar to the way Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer thought he was flawed by having a shiny nose, Norm’s perceived weakness – speaking human and his ability to feel – helps him accomplish the goal of saving his home from a crazed developer in New York City.”

To accompany the gentle giant of a bear on his journey, Norm of the North producers surrounded him with comic relief in the form of three mischief-making lemmings. “We thought it would be hysterical to combine Norm, the largest creature in the Arctic, with lemmings that are small and indestructible,” says Nicolas Atlan, one of the film’s producers and Co-CEO of animation company Splash Entertainment. “They can get squashed, they can get stomped on, they can have an elevator close on them, but like Silly Putty, they bounce right back into their original shape.”

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