Interview with Zack Snyder, director of “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole” in Chicago

Director Zack Snyder doesn’t have what you’d call a kid-friendly resume. There was “Dawn of the Dead,” the 2004 remake of the ’70s-era horror flick, then “300,” the intense, bloody and artful portrayal of ancient Sparta. Even “Watchmen,” with its DC Comic roots, was rated R for some seriously graphic violence.

“Legend of the Guardians” may have owls in 3D, but there’s
nothing more lifelike than…real owls. After my interview with
Zack Snyder, I caught up with Geddy, an 8-year-old barn owl at the
Lincoln Park
. (You can also find these birds of prey at the
and Cosley Zoo.)

But Snyder’s latest film, “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole,” comes with a PG rating and a storyline kids will love.The film follows Soren, a young owl in search of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, a mythic band of owl warriors, to save all of owlkind from the evil Pure Ones.

“It’s really just an adventure story,” says Snyder, who was at the Lincoln Park Zoo on Wednesday. “It’s intense in places, funny in other places. I tried to ebb it and flow it, so right when it’s getting scary, something funny happens, and then when something funny happens, something serious happens.”

Snyder got some inspiration from his own brood of six kids, who ranged in age from 10 to 14 when production on the movie started three years ago.His 12-year-old son is an “Owls of Ga’hoole” authority, Snyder says, and has read all 15 books.

“Being a dad is a huge part of [directing a kids’ movie],” he says. “I showed them bits of the movie to see ‘is this too scary? Is this cool?'”

And don’t expect any film of Snyder’s to be a snoozefest for parents. The movie is a treat all around, with spectacular visual effects and some voices parents will recognize, including Geoffrey Rush and Helen Mirren.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole comes out in theaters Sept. 24. Starting Monday, Sept. 20, win tickets on our contest page.

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