Meet Turbo (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), an underdog snail who dreams to overdrive just like his idol who races in the Indy 500. At the start, Turbo is somewhat of an outcast in the snail community, which is less about big dreams and more about punching a time clock at their place of employment.
Training tirelessly all his life, he miraculously gained speed at an opportune time he met a crew of streetwise, tricked-out es-car-goes. Learning that no one can make it on their own in the fast lane. He and his newfound pals help each other achieve their impossible dream of racing in the Indy 500.
“Turbo,” says director and co-screenwriter David Soren, is a mash-up of superhero and racing film genres, but “at its heart, TURBO really is an underdog story. The character Turbo has all the hallmarks of an underdog. You expect nothing of snails, whose lives are stacked with obstacles, like being really, really slow. But once you dig into it, a snail is the perfect character to have at the center of an underdog story.”
But turning an everyday, garden snail into a mighty mollusk who travels at super-speed? “Turbo’s dream of becoming something that’s completely in opposition to its nature is ripe for conflict, surprises and a satisfying payoff” when the dream becomes reality,” says Soren.
Soren came up with the idea for “Turbo” almost a decade ago. He described it to DreamWorks Animation management at one of the company’s “pitch program” conclaves, at which DreamWorks employees can pitch their ideas for possible future projects. “At the time it was a very complex idea – the ‘Fast and Furious with Snails,’” he remembers.
As he developed the idea, Soren was inspired by events and people very close to home. His primary muse, he notes, “was my young son, who since before he could talk has been obsessed with toy cars and racing, and could identify virtually any car on the street by its make and model.”
Soren also found motivation in his own front yard, which had a “snail problem” that was eating away at his tomato plants. “This marriage of the slow [the snails] and speed [his son’s preoccupation] was the catalyst that led me to the bones of the story centered on a snail who dreams of racing glory.”
Luckily,the requisite comedic and dramatic acting chops, and bigger-than-life persona, are embodied by Ryan Reynolds, whom Soren describes as “the perfect match” for Turbo. “It all really sounded amazing, and I fell in love with its classic underdog story, which TURBO takes to a new level,” Reynolds continues. “It takes a unique if not insane perspective to bring a snail to life in this way. What I love most about Turbo is his tenacity and refusal to give up on his dream. In fact, it doesn’t even occur to him to give up. Talent is a collision between hard work and luck, and that’s what Turbo is.”
“Turbo” also features a stellar voice cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph and Ben Schwartz.
“Turbo” (3D) opens July 19 in theaters nationwide from DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.