If you still think of America Ferrera as the headstrong Carmen in a pack of friends bonded by a magical pair of jeans or the beautiful young woman behind TV's favorite ugly heroine, time to think again. These days, she's lending her big-name star power to Dreamworks' latest 3D extravaganza and making a name for herself behind the camera too. The voice behind How to Train Your Dragon's Astrid talks about seeing the fruits of her labor after three years of trips to the sound booth. Plus, what it's like to say goodbye to her Ugly Betty alter ego.
Rachel Bertsche: Doing Ugly Betty, you're probably so used to the daily grind of a TV series. What was it like doing an animated film?

America Ferrera: It was fun and really a nice project that I did over three years. I just sort of stopped in and read some lines in a phone booth—well not a phone booth, a sound booth, but it felt like a phone booth. It was a really good time, and it was unlike anything else you do as an actor in front of a camera. And it was really cool to be a small part in a really big thing. The movie is so beautiful, and I'm so proud to be a part of it. I could never have imagined that the small little sessions I was doing here and there for three years was contributing to this really big, beautiful movie.

RB: Why does it take so long?

AF: Well, I don't really know the details, but when I came in there was a script and we put down lines. And then the animators animate for months and months and months, and then you come in and you have to redo lines to things that they animated, and then they take inspiration from what you did and they animate to your voice, and then you come in and do voice to their animation. It just sort of goes back and forth that way. I think there's a lot of complexities to doing these big beautiful visuals, especially since the film is 3D.


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