Pixar Movie Moments Behind-The-Scenes Facts

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Nobody thought it was scientifically possible, but Bing Bong’s death was almost even sadder.

1.

Wall-E director, Andrew Stanton, told the A.V. Club that the screenplay for the movie looked “exactly like a regular script,” since he wrote actual dialogue for Wall-E (and other robots) that was later translated into the non-speaking characters’ series of robotic beeps and reaction noises.

Stanton said, “In my mind, Wall-E was going to speak. He’s speaking from frame one, all the time. It’s very conscious, the sounds we pick and what they mean. So I wrote every character as if they were speaking, and just put their dialogue in brackets, so I knew what I was having them say — that would be the intention of the line, and we would replace it with whatever noises would be a good surrogate.”


Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

In writing the script, Stanton was inspired by the formatting of the screenplay for Alien, which was written by Dan O’Bannon. Stanton explained that O’Bannon used an “amazing format where he didn’t use a regular paragraph of description,” and that this approach “would create this rhythm in the readers where you would appreciate these silent visual moments as much as you would the dialogue on the page.” It was this quality that Stanton tried to recreate in the Wall-E script.


20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

2.

Stanton told Slashfilm that originally what happened to Marlin’s wife, Coral, as well as all their other eggs besides Nemo, was revealed through a series of flashbacks, rather than one prologue sequence, in Finding Nemo.

Stanton said, “On Nemo, for three and a half years that entire prologue of him losing his wife and family was actually doled out as flashbacks through the whole movie, and then the real tragedy was exposed at the time of the fishing net. And you never related to Marlin. Everybody always thought he was too whiny and too needy. And then the minute we put it all to the front and didn’t change a line of his, everybody sympathized with him.”

3.

The creative team behind Ratatouille went to great lengths to accurately recreate the fast-paced, cutthroat environment of a haute cuisine kitchen. For instance, Jan Pinkava, who came up with the idea for a movie about a rat who wants to become a chef (and was ultimately replaced as director by Brad Bird) told the Ringer, “We can’t represent France and French culture and Paris in a really authentic way. We’re not French. But we can give this informed representation from a position of interest and affection.”

On a trip to Paris, the team visited restaurants like Guy Savoy and Taillevent, both to watch the kitchen staff work and to eat extravagant amounts of food. Producer Brad Lewis recalled, “It was an embarrassment of crazy high-end delicious food.”


Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

That’s not all: Back home in California, Anthony Bourdain gave a talk to Pixar staff about cooking and food. And Lewis and Pinkava got the chance to apprentice at famed chef Thomas Keller’s restaurant, The French Laundry. About this, Pinkava said, “It’s like a surgical team dancing together. The energy and determination that it takes to do that kind of cooking at its very, very, very best was pretty impressive to witness. It was weird that they allowed bozos like us into the kitchen.”


Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

Bozos or not, their attention to detail clearly paid off.


Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Pictured is Chef Thomas Keller and Brad Lewis preparing food together. 

4.

Aspiring-chef-turned-rat-puppet Linguini was voiced by Lou Romano, an employee in Pixar’s art department who was unexpectedly cast by director Brad Bird. And according to the Ringer, Bird actually gave Romano wine during the scene where Linguini gets drunk with a scheming Chef Skinner, which sounds like one of the more fun versions of method acting.

5.

During the scene where Dash is using his super speed to outrun Syndrome’s henchmen in The Incredibles, his voice actor Spencer Fox ran laps around the studio to sound realistically exhausted.


Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

In an interview, Fox recalled that director Brad Bird told him to “run four laps around the entire Pixar Studios so I could sound accurately out of breath.”


Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Fox added, “That makes it sound super menacing. It was super fun, it was just like a very high-energy moment where he was like, ‘No, no, you need to sound tired, more, more, more! Alright, come on, come outside!’ And he jogged the first lap with me. It was a very fun, wild time, but I was very truthfully out of breath while I recorded those lines.”

6.

During an interview with IGN DVD, Bird debunked a theory about the philosophical inspiration behind Syndrome’s line, “And when everyone is super, no one will be.” Namely, that it was a reference to the work of Ayn Rand. (It absolutely wasn’t.)

Bird said, “I think it got misinterpreted a few times. Some people said it was Ayn Rand or something like that, which is ridiculous. Other people threw Nietzsche around, which I also find ridiculous. But I think the vast majority of people took it the way I intended.”


Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

He went on, “Some people said it was sort of a right-wing feeling, but I think that’s as silly of an analysis as saying The Iron Giant [which Bird also directed] was left-wing. I’m definitely a centrist and feel like both parties can be absurd. … Ninety-eight percent of the people got that stuff the way I intended and two percent thought I was doing The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged.”


Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

7.

Up director, Pete Docter, told Time that when child actor, Jordan Nagai, was recording the scene where his character Russell discovers and befriends the giant bird Kevin, Docter “actually lifted him upside down and tickled him,” just like Kevin does to Russell. The director joked that you “probably wouldn’t do [that] with Ed [Asner, who voiced Carl].”

To help Nagai get as energetic as he needed to be to record his lines, Docter encouraged him to get active and hype himself up. Said Docter, “When Jordan had to be excited, he would get maybe 50%. So I’d tell him, ‘Run around the room, run back here and say the line — ready, set, go!’ We’d do it one line at a time like that.”


Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

8.

In an interview with Yahoo Movies, Docter recalled that possibly the most heart-wrenching moment in Pixar’s long and proud history of heart-wrenching moments — the moment in Up‘s opening montage where a doctor tells Ellie and Carl that they won’t be able to have a child — was nearly cut because it was just too tragic.

Docter said, “We got some notes from people in the studio that thought that the moment where they couldn’t have kids was going too far.” But when the team removed that scene, they realized that audiences “didn’t feel as deeply” without it, in the opening and the film as a whole. He explained, “Most of the emotional stuff is not just to push on people and make them cry, but it’s for some greater reason to really make you care about the story.”


Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

9.

The moment where Andy says goodbye to his toys before he heads off to college in Toy Story 3 was inspired by director Lee Unkrich’s last moments with his grandmother, who died during the production of the first Toy Story.

In an interview with Film School Rejects, Unkrich didn’t name the actual scene due to the fact that it would spoil the film’s ending. He said, “When we were making Toy Story, my grandmother was very ill, and she knew she was not going to make it. I went back to visit her, and there was a moment during that visit that I had to say goodbye, and I knew I’d never be seeing her again. I looked at her and knew that I was looking at her for the last time. Taking that in before I turned away and left. Of course, that’s something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”


Buena Vista Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

He went on, “That’s very much reflected in the film. There’s a scene, without giving too many details, toward the end of the film where a character’s having to say goodbye and move on into life. I very much used that experience that I had for the touchstone for that moment.”


Buena Vista Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

10.

According to a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) from Mary Gibbs, the voice actor who played Boo is Monsters, Inc., the song Boo sings in the bathroom came from “a few hours” of her singing nonsense, since the film wasn’t allowed to use an actual song for copyright reasons.

Gibbs, who was only two years old when she voiced Boo, wrote, “They told me to sing and I started singing ‘Wheels On the Bus,’ but they couldn’t use any actual songs for [copyright] issues, so they had me babble and sing random words for a few hours and took out the parts they liked the best!”


Buena Vista Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

11.

Bing Bong’s sacrifice of himself in Inside Out was somehow almost sadder than the final, devastating version of the scene, according to what his voice actor, Richard Kind, told MTV News.

Kind said, “When I first saw the movie, the scene down in the valley, where the memories have been lost and disposed of, was about 40 seconds to a minute longer. And I loved it. I actually talked to the producer’s daughter who agreed with me and said she didn’t like the shorter version as much. The reason why they cut it — and I think they’re sort of right — was because that earlier version was heart-wrenching. It was absolutely heartbreaking, and I likened it to the scene in Bambi when his mother dies. We don’t need to see that again. I think we felt exactly what we needed to feel in that scene.”

King went on, “When he finally extends his hand and says ‘I’ve got a good feeling about this,’ you had seen a lot more of him during that original scene so that when they’re trying and trying and trying to get back, you understand what he’s going through. You see him get a little desperate. It was a lot sadder.”

12.

In the Oscar “For Your Consideration” video for “Remember Me,” the Coco ballad that was nominated for (and won) the Academy Award for Best Original Song, songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez revealed that they were inspired by the Beatles’ song “Yesterday.”

Lopez said, “So we thought about, you know, the greatest ballad of all time. We thought about songs like ‘Yesterday,’ by the Beatles, Paul McCartney, and tried to give it that feeling.”

13.

Despite never actually appearing onscreen, Lucius’s wife, Honey, provides one of The Incredibles‘ most memorable moments. When Lucius, aka Frozone, needs to help save the Parr family from Syndrome’s robot, and inadvertently cancels date night in the process, Honey displays her admirably low tolerance for superhero antics.

This moment loomed so large in the public imagination that director Brad Bird decided to bring Honey back for The Incredibles 2; the team even designed her character. But in the end, it was decided that she should once again only feature as a disembodied voice, for one simple reason: It was just funnier that way.

According to BuzzFeed, Bird spoke about the decision to discard the idea of an onscreen Honey at a Pixar press event. He said, “We wanted to show Honey in this movie. We didn’t end up doing it, because [she’s] funnier as a voice.” Apparently, her character design was repurposed for another superhero who appears in the film.


Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

14.

Turning Red director, Domee Shi, spoke to Slate about the origins of 4*Town, the quintessential early 2000s boy band to which Mei and her friends are totally and utterly devoted. Shi said that when directing the animators working on the 4*Town sequences, she “made sure in my notes to say that we’re not making fun of boy bands.” Shi explained, “Boy bands are often kind of ridiculed in media — as a lot of things that teen girls like are — but when you’re that age, boy bands are our gateway into the opposite sex. Into boys, into relationships, into the concepts of love and dating and heartbreak.”

She recalled instructing the animators to “treat this like an Oscar-nominated movie” and “really earnestly make me feel like he’s speaking to me.

15.

And finally: In the same Slate interview, Shi explained why Aaron Z. was secret-4*Town-obsessive Tyler’s favorite member of the band.

Shi said, “Well, Aaron Z. is the sporty one and he’s very stoic. He’s Tyler’s favorite 4*Town member, which I guess is kind of a spoiler. But Tyler really bonds with him because he’s also —both of them are Blasian. So he really sees himself in Aaron Z.”



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