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Rhett Wickham: Great Animated Performances: Profiles of Modern Masters
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RW

What was it like seeing it again? Has it been a while?

RC

I watched it again over the weekend ahead of time, just to stir things up. But we actually saw it without sound a few times about a year and half ago, because you know for a little while everything was supposed to go to IMAX, and ALADDIN was going to go to IMAX. And they started ….. uhm… when you go to IMAX a lot of things that look fine on the small screen or even the medium sized screen, you really SEE! So they actually go through and clean up a few things and put faces on little tiny characters and things like that.

RW

You guys didn’t add any songs or any new sequences, did you?

RC

No, no. There’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff that was cut and things like that. Songs that were cut and stuff like that but nothing we-

JM

They said “Do you guys have anything you didn’t use?!? And we’re like (deadpan) “No. Not really.?

RC

The Genie audition was going to be the main thing, the original Genie audition, and it was kind of a fun thing. We were actually in it - in terms of the way it was storyboarded - and it’s like Robin was sitting there…not Robin but the Genie…he’s sitting out in the lobby with other live action Genies, you know, waiting to audition. He’s got this…he’s reading Variety, and then he comes in and we’re sort of kind of bored by the whole thing. We’ve been searching for the Genie and the whole thing. He’s doing some things and we’re not responding very much, not getting excited about anything. And John finally says “Could you put a little energy into it??

JM (simultaneously)

“..energy into it.? Yeah.

RC

Then he finally does this huge tour de force thing where it was all based on stuff that, you know, we never used for ALADDIN.

JM

It was all outtakes from the original thing. And Eric went ahead and storyboarded it and it was very funny and…uh… hen they came to an impass with his camp (Meaning Robin Williams’ people.) I think somehow it turned on his participation, so I think he nixed it…so…

RC

But that was the only thing that would have been added. And if it had been in IMAX the original idea was that it was going to be in the end credits. And originally it would have been in IMAX, because the original plan was the first one was BEAUTY & THE BEAST, and we were going to be after that. Then when the whole Mid-East thing broke out again they thought they’d switch and put LION KING ahead of it.

RW

That’s a shame, but I don’t know if IMAX is really such a great format for animation. You know?

JM

Yeah. Certainly the strobiness and all that.

RC

It actually worked well with TREASURE PLANET weirdly enough. It wasn’t part of the plan, but because of the technology there was just a lot of really cool things that you could see in much more detail. It’s all there. And you see it, but it was just a little more overwhelming. It changed the tone of the movie. It became more of a spectacle. But it was kind of cool in IMAX. We were worried when they proposed it because we didn’t know what to expect when it was blown up. But it was all there.

Indeed, the beauty of the film is evident when viewed using the most current LCD technology or on the clarity of flat-panel monitors, even on computer screens as small as 17 or 19 inches. In proper formats the film has a clarity and crispness and lush other-worldly beauty that is hard to match in any live action film. Oddly enough, it turns out that John has never seen the film on DVD, except to preview a few sections of it before it was released in stores. When you’re busy it’s difficult to get around to everything. And indeed, contrary to ill-informed reports that say otherwise, Clements and Musker are still very busy at Disney for the moment.

RW

So, to paraphrase Mark Twain “the rumors of your departure have been greatly exaggerated.?

RC/JM

Yeah. Right.

RC

Well, we’re still at Disney, but we’re not exclusive to Disney. That’s kind of the deal we have. We’re developing a project at Disney, but it’s in development. It’s not greenlit and it’s not clear if it will be made or not.

Although it appears most likely that their next gig will take them away from Disney – a large scale project focused on both live action and animation that has them attached to direct, but as of yet doesn’t have a studio, in the interim the directors are still working from their offices on the Disney lot. At Disney’s for now they are working with a writing duo from New York who pitched an idea that is a little bit similar to something Ron and John had pitched recently.

JM

It’s a CG Comedy, not 2-D. We had been working on RAPUNZEL with Glen Keene for a while and we were pitching it as a 2D movie. They were just absolutely adamant about “No 2D!? We had tried to sell them on approaching even a 2D fairytale as a kind of retro thing; sell it in a good way like we’re the only people doing this and it’s a throw back and all that. We said “You did a good job of marketing LILO & STITCH with the watercolor backgrounds and its harkening back to something, and the press picked up on that so you could take a similar approach to this.? But it absolutely seemed like the door was shut to 2D on that project, or to anything else, so…

 

 

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