Not used to being bad: Djimon Hounsou

Not used to being bad: Djimon Hounsou
Movie Still: Djimon Hounsou (L) and his character Drago, Gerard Butler (R) and his character Stoick in How To Train Your Dragon 2.

LOS ANGELES - Everything you loved about 2010's animated hit How To Train Your Dragon is back.

Its highly anticipated sequel, opening here tomorrow, has the Viking residents of Berk now living side by side with dragons.

But it does not last for long as the fantastical isle's peace is threatened by the power-hungry Drago Bludvist, a man whose reputation is well known across lands for all the wrong reasons.

Breathing life into How To Train Your Dragon 2's antagonist is Oscar-nominated Djimon Hounsou, who is known for portraying intense and often formidable roles in movies such as Amistad (1997), Gladiator (2000), In America (2002) and Blood Diamond (2006) to full effect.

His role as Drago is no different, as the Beninese-American actor took the villainous role to heart in order to create a menacing voice fit for a dragon-hater.

"For Drago, I felt extremely challenged," the 50-year-old said at the movie's press junket in Beverly Hills.

"I remember seeing the first one and thought Gerry's (Gerard Butler's) voice had so much power and presence in the story. When I got called in for this, I kept telling myself I can outdo this man, challenge this man."

While co-star Butler's unforgettable voice as Berk's tribal chief, Stoick the Vast, still steals the show, Hounsou's iteration for Drago comes in a close second.

Coming up with such a formidable voice was no easy task, with Hounsou looking from within for inspiration.

"With a name like Drago Bludvist, it just takes you there for the voice.

"That name took me places that I never dreamt for a character, especially since I'm not used to playing the bad guy," he revealed.

Hounsou said that Drago's presence had to be dictated by his voice, and he took a few "tries" to come up with his character's voice.

"I was trying to do so many things and break my vocal chords, so it took a bit of going back and forth to perfect," he said.


Voicing Drago in How To Train Your Dragon 2 meant a lot since it was something his five-year-old son, Kenzo, could enjoy.

"Having a son, you want to keep your legacy going, which is why I wanted to be a part of an animated feature like this," he said.

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