On Thursday August 21st The El Capitan Theater in Hollywood hosted a ThrowbackThursday screening of the animated classic Hercules. We arrived at the theater with minutes to spare before curtain. Sprinting to collect our popcorn buckets and soda, we made it to our seats and the show began immediately.
The theater burst into loud applause as John Musker and Ron Clements were introduced to the stage. The writer/director duo spoke very briefly of the creative process that went in to bring Hercules to the silver screen, touching on the challenges of presenting the Greek hero’s ancient story to a modern audience. The most memorable story was how they worked with a renowned music video director on the musical numbers featuring the Muses. A live action reference video was shot of the Muse models performing “Zero to Hero” in it’s entirety using the same method the music video director used for his popular clients. The audience was treated to the reference video, which fused the live action Muses with storyboard art. The video was a treat and definite crowd favorite for the evening.
Musker and Clements told the story of how they saw Susan Egan performing as Belle in Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast. They knew they had to have her, and after getting around some road blocks Egan was finally able to audition and, of course, she got the part. Susan Egan was introduced to the stage, welcomed with thunderous applause and fangirl-esque screaming. She reiterated the story of her casting and shared what a dream it’s been working with Disney over the years.
Susan’s favorite part of playing Meg was getting the body she always dreamed of, thanks to Meg’s animator Ken Duncan. Ken didn’t have much to say other than how fun it was to animate such a sassy character. Shortly after, Hercules’ animator Andreas Deja came to the stage and crossed directly over to an easel set up on stage left. Deja has animated some of my favorite characters, most notably Gaston, so the fan in me was beyond excited at the chance to watch him sketch right in front of me. He talked us through the character design of Hercules, first sketching out the somewhat goofy looking original concept, then sketching out the final design of the Hercules we all know and love. Smiles were seen throughout the audience as the group left the stage and Musker and Clements introduced the Goofy short The Olympic Champ and the feature film we were all there to see, Hercules.
Before attending this screening I hadn’t watched Hercules in years. I had forgotten how clever and truly wonderful the film is. Watching it back as an adult I feel as though I appreciated all of it’s elements infinitely more. It was especially fun laughing with my friends as Pain uttered the line “Remember, like, a few years ago, every other boy was named Jason, and the girls were all named Brittany?”
Keep your eyes peeled for future Throwback Thursday screenings at The El Capitan Theater. The experience from beginning to end is a blast, and with tickets as low as $10 the price was just right!
FanBoy is a Disney dweeb who has worked at Disneyland and Walt Disney World