Characters from Dreamworks Animation's "The Croods"

In the Dreamworks Animation movie , the Croods are a cave family who have struggled to survive by leaving their cave only when absolutely necessary. But teenage daughter Eep is sick of being all cooped up. No matter the danger, she decides to venture out. Then, when their world begins to change drastically, the whole Crood family finds themselves on the adventure of a lifetime.

At Dreamworks Studios, I was able to sit down with supervising animator James Baxter and co-director Kirk DeMicco to find out more about the characters and the inspirations behind each of the unique Croods family members. Read below to get to know the family members and their pets, and find out why you'll fall in love with the Croods.

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Eep - The Rebellious Teenager

Eep from The Croods
Photo © DreamWorks Animation LLC

The epitome of a slightly rebellious but all around good girl teenage daughter, Eep is voiced by Emma Stone. Eep is adventurous. She wants to experience life. And like most teenage girls, she will listen to the advice of a cute Guy over the advice of her father.

But Eep isn't all animal. She's a strong, beautiful girl, and when you see her in the movie, you'll notice she's a lot Emma Stone. "When we started performance tests with her, we discovered the joys of Emma Stone," Baxter related. "Our supervising animator, Lena Anderson, was reviewing a lot of Emma Stone footage and noticed Emma's incredible mouth shape. She's so expressive when she talks, that she had all these pictures of Emma up on her walls and just the weird things that she does." The animators copied the way Emma's mouth moves, and the way she frowns just a little when she smiles. The authentic facial movements make Eep seem more like a real person, and her emotions come across as genuine and relatable.

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Grug - The Overprotective Dad

Grug from The Croods
Photo © DreamWorks Animation LLC

Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage) is a type A, safety-first kind of guy. His job is to take care of his family, and he takes his job seriously. He teaches his family that fear is good, and change is bad. He loves to tell stories, and his stories all have the same ending. He also greatly reveres cave paintings.

Like any dad, he's hurt when his teenage daughter rebels against his good intentions. He aches for the days when she looked up to him, and when she actually wanted to be snuggled up with her family in the cave. He's doing the best he can to protect his daughter, and he can't see how to do that without alienating her.

Grug's caveman look is something the animators played with a lot in order to get the body mechanics just right. They new they wanted a Grug who was a little bit ape-like, who could do super human things. But, if he walked on his knuckles all the time, it made him look a little too prehistoric. Baxter related, "We decided, yes, it's cool, but we don't want to do it all the time. It would be weird if you just spent the entire movie like that. We decided to mix it up. Sometimes, we'll put his fist down. Sometimes, we'll put his knuckles down like a gorilla. Sometimes, we'll put a flat hand down." Grug's versatility allows him to survive in a harsh world and makes his physical feats a bit more believable.

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Ugga - The First Modern Mom

Ugga from The Croods
Photo © DreamWorks Animation LLC

Ugga (voice of Catherine Keener) represents the voice of reason, and she's often the mediator between Grug and Eep. She wants to be loyal to her husband, but she has a feeling change is coming whether he likes it or not.

Ugga tosses her baby Sandy around like a chimp. Being a cavebaby, Sandy has to be a little tougher, so Ugga doesn't treat her like a fragile little thing. But even though she is tough, Ugga is also gentle with her children and has a great balance between tough love and motherly nurturing.

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Sandy - The Wild Child

Sandy from The Croods
Photo © DreamWorks Animation LLC

The youngest sibling of the family, Sandy can be a ferocious baby able to strike fear into the heart of a wild animal. She's good-natured and loveable, and she has a strong role in the family.

James Baxter told us, "We modeled [Sandy] after something like a little Jack Russell Terrier in behavior. Because, she runs around, bites everything...So, Sandy was just a blast to animate-- this crazy little feral kid."

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Thunk - The Meat Head

Thunk from the Croods
Photo © DreamWorks Animation LLC

Thunk (Clark Duke) is 6-feet, 3-inches tall, 280 pounds...and nine years old. He doesn't think too hard about things. He's the first to buy into his dad's "fear is good" mantra and the last to get a joke. Thunk is a good-natured, family oriented kind of kid who wants to be just like his dad, and he loves his pet crocopup, Douglas.

According to Kirk and James, Thunk's movements were modeled after a funny YouTube video of a baby chimp. "He's actually based a lot on this little baby chimp that [animator Hans Dastrup] found with these incredibly floppy arms," said Baxter. "Hans was doing these experiments with these crazy, overly floppy, goofy, arm movements...even with the feet, they're sort of turned in and sideways."

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Gran - The Mother-in-Law

Gran from The Croods
Photo © DreamWorks Animation LLC

Gran is everything you would expect from a cave grandma. She can be described by the typical clichés: tough old bird and crotchety old lady. She provides many comical moments in the film, but as you might expect, she has good heart and loves her family dearly--even her son-in-law, though she wouldn't admit it.

Animator James Baxter described: "I love the concept of Gran, this sort of crusty old lady in a hollowed out lizard skin. We wanted to infuse her a little bit with that sort of crocodile vibe. You notice in the movie, sometimes she sort of slinks around and does this slippery movement, but that coupled with like the classic sort of crunchy old lady vibe."

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Guy from The Croods
Photo © DreamWorks Animation LLC

When Eep fatefully happens upon forward-thinking cave dude Guy (Ryan Reynolds), her life, and the lives of her entire family, begin to change forever. Guy doesn't understand why, but he knows that crazy seismic things are happening and their world is about to undergo some mighty changes. Eep is immediately smitten with his good looks and new ideas. Her father? Not so much. And as for Guy, he admires Eep's prowess and doesn't mind too much that she can drag him around like a rag doll (as evidenced in this movie photo of Eep dragging Guy around).

"He's definitely the Human 2.0 of the group," says James Baxter. "His thing is definitely much less about being animal like. We wanted to try and make him special." He also said animators tried to "nail down the sort of frenetic kind of crazy 'I've been on my own for too long, I talk to myself' kind of vibe that he's got going on."

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Belt from The Croods
Photo © DreamWorks Animation LLC

This useful little sloth is full of both personality and purpose. He serves as Guy's belt, literally, and his little personality quirks provide a lot of comical moments in the movie. Belt is a loyal best friend, and as such, it's important for the Croods to remember that he is not to be eaten!

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Douglas - Caveman's Best Friend

Douglas from The Croods
Photo © DreamWorks Animation LLC

Douglas is a Crocopup -- you know, half crocodile, half canine. Those existed in caveman days, at least in the Crood's world, and they are caveman's best friend. Douglas may look like he has a nasty bite, but he's got a friendly disposition. The name Douglas came from actor Clark Duke (Thunk), who thought it would be fun to give the family pet his own agent's first name.

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Chunky the Macawnivore

Chunky from The Croods
Photo © DreamWorks Animation LLC

Chunky the Macawnivore has the body of a small tiger, an over-sized head and the colorization of a Macaw Parrot. He's a ferocious creature, but not without a weakness.