- “You'd be surprised how many people want to steal scrap. But, man, once I make it into art, I can't give it away. I mean, what am I? A junkman who makes art or an artist who sells junk?”
- ― Dean McCoppin to Hogarth Hughes
Dean McCoppin is tritagonist of the 1999 animated science fiction film The Iron Giant, voiced by Harry Connick, Jr. An artistic beatnik and junkman, Dean becomes a good friend and father-like figure to Hogarth and gives the Giant a home and food, while Hogarth is away. He appears to begin a relationship with Annie Hughes and possibly becomes Hogarth's stepfather at the end of the film.
Official Warner Bros. Website Bio
- Beatnik/Artist/Junk Yard Owner who sees art where others see junk. He's got a jazzy, creative energy that encourages people to think for themselves. His laid-back, freewheeling attitude is nicely tempered with a unique sense of humor. He helps protect Hogarth's 50-foot secret and in doing so finds himself sharing much in common with the nine year-old.
As the cool, artistic resident beatnik of the small town of Rockwell, Maine, 1957, where this film takes place, Dean is sort of an outcast. The rest of the town doesn't really take him seriously, but he's cool with that. He's a Bohemian junk man who sells art (or an artist who sells junk, even he doesn't seem to be able to tell the difference), and follows the beat of his own drummer. Dean runs into Hogarth first at the diner where Hogarth's mom, Annie, works, when Hogarth's new "pet" squirrel figures the best place to hide is in Dean's pants. Dean next encounters Hogarth when Hogarth decides a scrap yard is a perfect place to hide a metal-eating giant robot. Dean is reluctant, but after a few cups of espresso and 37 minutes of convincing, Dean lets the robot stay. When Hogarth finds his way back, he's surprised to see that Dean has the giant doing "arts and crafts", working as an advanced type of crane, helping Dean take his art to new heights. Dean is instrumental in hiding the robot from the scheming, self-serving Kent Mansley and the U.S. Government, who would destroy the robot without a thought to its origins or its innocence (if unprovoked). Dean is the one who first realizes that the giant only turns into a weapon when shot at, and tries to convey that to the government. When the giant sacrifices himself to save the town, flying straight into the Rockwell-bound missile, Mansley is dismissed and the government vacates the area. Sometime later, Dean makes a statue to commemorate the giant's contribution to the town, and Annie, is now married to Dean, calls it his best work yet. He is voiced by Emmy and Grammy winner and Tony nominee actor/singer Harry Connick Jr.
Role in Film
Dean's first appearance is while Hogarth is visiting his mother at the Chat n' Chew Diner. Likely exhausted from working late on his art, Hogarth finds Dean asleep behind his paper, while searching for his "pet" squirrel. Quickly composing himself after being awoken by Hogarth's actions, Hogarth informs him that his "pet" squirrel is under his table and pleads that he does not alarm his mother. Before they can really continue taking, the two are suddenly, interrupted by some fisherman having a conversation at table across from them. While the other men laugh at a particular fisherman who claims to have seen an object from space, Dean claims he saw it too. When pried by an excited Hogarth, Dean confess that he did not actually see anything and was simply supporting the "kook" since no one else would. The two are interrupted however, when Annie inquires if his son is bothering him. Rather oddly, Dean erratically declares "yes" before affirming "no" and tells Annie to call him Dean. Leaving Hogarth with Dean, Dean (still rather oddly) tells him that he's found his pet: in his pant leg. Although he tries to remain calm for Hogarth, the discomfort and the fact that its "heading north" causes him to apologize to everyone in the restaurant before unzipping his fly and releasing the squirrel in to the Diner. As the chaos ensues, Dean nervously asks for his check, and Hogarth presumably leaves.
Taking the Tractor
The following morning, after Hogarth discovers the Giant at the power station, Dean returns to the Chat n' Chew to take a heavily damaged tractor from an elderly farmer, while Earl watches. Hoisting the vehicle onto the back of his truck, Dean apologize that he cannot pay more for the vehicle as a result of the bite-like mark in its engine compartment. Dean ponders on what could have possibly caused the bizarre damage, before Earl reminds him of his story from the day before. Rather disbelieving, Dean shrugs off the idea of "strange invaders", as Earl thanks him for sticking up for him the day before. He assures Dean that he has since called the government and trusts that they will solve the entire problem. Dean finds this rather comical, however, and calls Earl crazy, as he cannot imagine who the government would possibly send for such a ridiculous and unlikely sort of case.
Taking the Car
Dean takes the old car to the scrapyard and takes to the McCoppin Scrapyard while the Giant and Hogarth are hiding while finding some food.
After Hogarth allowed the Giant to find some food, Dean sees Hogarth again and gives him coffee as Hogarth becomes excited and his story that he tells Dean. Dean discovers the Giant and he and Hogarth try to run, but the Giant tries to hurt him, but Hogarth tells him not to do it and Dean is a friend. Dean tells Hogarth that the Giant is staying at the Junkyard for now before Hogarth leaves. Hogarth returns to the Junkyard to see Dean and the Giant as the Giant begins to have fun with Hogarth such as playing blast off to the moon. Dean takes Hogarth and the Giant to the lake where the Giant makes giant splash which washes Dean away and Dean declares that is just enough fun for one day.
That night, while Dean is asleep on his chair while he is watching a late night television show, the Giant is dreaming about encountering the deer and hallucinating about the power station incident which fades to an army of giant robots that look identical to the Giant destroying a planet as Dean wakes up and sees the Giant's dream on his TV screen, but the Giant wakes up and Dean sees what is going on outside as the Giant goes back to sleep and Dean wonders if the Giant is okay.
Showing the Giant
As Hogarth, Annie, Kent, General Rogard and the army arrive at the junkyard, Kent tells Dean where is the giant metal man, Dean shows them the Giant disguised as a giant metal statue of art as Annie becomes impressed and Annie begins to have romantic feelings for Dean and Dean becomes attracted to her before she leaves and the army leave. As Dean tells the Giant that the coast is clear, Hogarth is pretending to be the Atomo from his comics and the Giant pretending to be Superman, one of Hogarth's favorite heroes. However, Dean tells the Giant to leave as the Giant sadly leaves and Hogarth tries to find him. Dean decides to help Hogarth find the Giant by using his motorcycle.
After the Giant proves that he is not a gun, the Army begins to fire and the Giant and Hogarth flee. Dean arrives and tells Kent that the Giant is only hostile towards guns and also tells Kent that the Giant has Hogarth with him before Dean tries to find the Giant and Hogarth along with Annie. After the Giant is shot and Hogarth is unconscious, Dean and Annie realize that Hogarth is unconscious, but still alive as they try to take him to the hospital while the Giant goes after Kent, the General and the army in it's heavily armed mode. Hogarth eventually regains consciousness and tells Dean to stop the car, but Dean refuses and tells him he has to be in a hospital. Hogarth finds the Giant and the Giant regains his senses as Hogarth tells him he has to show that he is good.
Saved by the Giant
As the missile is about to be launched, Dean and Annie tell the General that the Giant never killed Hogarth or anyone as Kent tells the General to launch the missile and Dean also tells him to end this right now. The General discovers that Hogarth is still alive and tells his men to stand down and abort the missile launch, but Kent snatches the Walkie Talkie to launch the missile. As Dean touch Hogarth's hair, Annie ask him to get to a shelter for safety, but he said it would not matter. The Giant decides to sacrifice himself in order to save Dean, Hogarth, Annie and Rockwell as everybody and Rockwell is saved.
Seven months later in May 1958, Dean and Annie are presumably a couple (possibly even married), based on the way Annie refers to Dean as "honey," and are admiring a statue that Dean constructed to honor the Iron Giant. Dean also gives a screw to Hogarth, explaining to him that the General said it was the only part of the Giant they could find and felt that Hogarth should have it.