Directors On Bringing Together Classic & Contemporary Disney Animation

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Summary

  • Wish is a powerful and imaginative film that combines a classic Disney watercolor look with contemporary 3D animation styles.
  • Alan Tudyk brings depth and unpredictability to the character of Valentino, the talking animal sidekick, through his improvisation skills.
  • Chris Pine’s character undergoes a captivating transformation from a charismatic king to a full-formed villain, supported by Julia Michaels’ compelling song. Stay for the post-credit scene, a favorite Disney Easter egg that pays homage to the legacy.


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In Wish, Asha discovers a dark secret about King Magnifico, the magical ruler of her homeland, Rosas. Desperate for a clue as to how she can help her people, she looks to the stars for help. When Asha makes a wish that is shockingly answered by the cosmos, she teams up with the star that came down to answer her wish. This unlikely duo, along with Asha’s pet goat, try to save the wishes of Rosas’ people and the future of their home from Magnifico.

Wish stars a powerhouse cast led by Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, Alan Tudyk, Angelique Cabral, Victor Garber, Natasha Rothwell, Jennifer Kumiyama, Harvey Guillén, and Evan Peters. The movie celebrates Walt Disney Animation Studios’ hundred-year anniversary with an original story and all new music, as well as countless references to past movies and Disney’s legacy. Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn directed Wish, based on a script penned by Jennifer Lee and Allison Moore.

Related: Wish Ending Explained

Screen Rant interviewed Wish directors Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn. They explained how they were inspired by both contemporary and classic Disney animation for the look of the movie. They also discussed working with Alan Tudyk and Chris Pine, as well as why the post-credit scene is their favorite Disney Easter egg.


Chris Buck & Fawn Veerasunthorn Talk Wish

Screen Rant: I love this movie. Can you talk to me a little bit about finding the right balance when bringing multiple animation styles together? Because we have that watercolor, classic Disney look with the 3D style that we’ve seen in more contemporary Disney animated films, in the same scenes.

Chris Buck: Yeah. Well, it was the desire from the beginning because we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary. It’s like, “How do we celebrate our legacy, but also celebrate the technology we have today?” It was going back to Snow White, Pinocchio, looking at the gorgeous watercolor illustration, the backgrounds of those. It feels like a storybook.

But then also being able to move around those environments like we never would before. We weren’t able to back then. Started there, and then also… so then bring the characters into that with that same look, make them match that background. They did a technique that the texture on the backgrounds, and I think texture on the characters too, right?

Fawn Veerasunthorn: Yeah.

Chris Buck: I know you talk about… go ahead, you…

​​​​​​​Fawn Veerasunthorn: That it’s not just an overlay texture, because then it would just look very obvious. Right? [Our artists] create this system allowed the artists to choose amount of texture, the way to place them, the amount of lines and the subtlety of that, especially in the acting, in the closeup shot. We give them all these tools that they have with their incredible eyes, be able to make that decision.

Can you talk to me a little bit about what Alan Tudyk brought to the character of Valentino that wasn’t necessarily in the script, while still honoring that Disney tradition of the talking animal sidekick?

Chris Buck: So, Alan… we love Alan. He’s been in our movie since Wreck It Ralph, and love working with Alan. I worked with him a few times, know that he can do just incredible improv. We come up with lines, we come up with alts for that, and then we know that Alan’s just going to play, and go, and go, and go. The one fun thing was that at the beginning, the very first session, he started to play with the voice.

Chris Buck: Valentino is a very young goat and looks like a very cute young goat, so Alan was doing a cuter younger voice, and then started to play around a little bit more, and then came up with this much lower voice, much more dignified, much more intellectual, knew that he knows everything. We went, “Oh my gosh, that’s it. That’s unexpected, and it’s fun.” Alan just went from there, so he gets it.

​​​​​​​Fawn Veerasunthorn: Has influenced the acting, and the design, and the posting of Valentino. Because everyone used to draw him so cute and wide eyes. After hearing that voice, we were like, “Oh, we can play with this.”

Chris Buck: He’s got attitude. He’s got attitude. If you notice in the film, before he actually is given the power of speech, it’s the same character. We made sure they were the same character. The first time you see Valentino, he’s trying to talk. It’s like, “I’ve got a lot to say, but all you’re hearing is the goat baa’s. That’s it.”

I loved it. Then can you talk to me a little bit about Chris Pine and how the evolution of his character’s descent into villainy, and how we see that both in the voice acting, and the song itself.

​​​​​​​Fawn Veerasunthorn: Yeah. We know from the start that we want to bring back classic Disney villains. Right? But how do we put a new twist to this character? Instead of coming out on screen as a full form villain, it would be so fun to see this person, the beloved, charismatic, powerful king get challenged, and then make a decision to descend into the full formed villain that he is.

Chris Pine brought all of that range within one person, going from charming, going to scary, also funny, and intrigued to watch on screen.

Chris Buck: Yeah, and also it was Julia Michaels writing, This is the Thanks I Get which is such a great song. He was starting down that road a little bit, but in that song, he really takes a turn. He starts off funny and he’s perturbed at the people, but then he takes that turn into the forbidden world. You really do start to see it. Julia helped us in that three minute song, really get a lot of storytelling out, and very effectively, and entertainingly.

Definitely. Then I love all of the Disney Easter eggs that are scattered throughout the movie. I was very mad at myself, because it took me a minute to get a couple of them, and then I was like, “Oh, wow, for sure should have picked up on that.” Can you tell me, without necessarily spoiling the Easter egg, but what was one of your favorite Disney movies to bring into Wish?

Chris Buck: Let’s see. Well, just to back up a little bit, we did, we worked on the story and made sure the story was solid and made sure it was an original story and stood on its own. Then once those sequences went into production, then we started playing with the nods. We’re like, “Okay. Okay, we can play with this. We’ll play with this.” Everybody did it. Every department, every artist was like, “Hey, what if we tried this? What if we tried this?” That was always fun. I will say there is… and I don’t want to give away where it is, or what it is.

​​​​​​​Fawn Veerasunthorn: You shouldn’t say the movie either.

Chris Buck: Oh, okay. I’m not going to say what the movie is. I’ll say where it is. I want people please to stay past the credits. After the credits roll, there’s one last tag that is my favorite nod to the legacy.

Do you have one?

​​​​​​​Fawn Veerasunthorn: Yeah. No, that one is a big one, because for a moment we didn’t have that. When we started this movie, we pin up all these iconic moments in the Disney film of the past 100 years. Right? The theme emerged of people wishing upon the star, and that’s how we got this idea. There’s been such a genesis of this movie, that certain things that we wanted to put in from the past films, we couldn’t find a spot for it. It kept going in, going away, going in, going away. At the end of the day-

Chris Buck: It was very last minute. I think it was the last thing that was done, was that tag.

​​​​​​​Fawn Veerasunthorn: Yes. Very last thing that was done.

Chris Buck: Thank goodness.

About Wish

Asha and Valentino stand on a balcony in Wish

In “Wish,” Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force—a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together, Asha and Star confront a most formidable foe—the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico—to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen.

Check out our other Wish interviews:

Wish is exclusively in theaters now.

Source: Screen Rant Plus

  • Disney Wish Poster

    Wish

    Release Date:
    2023-11-22

    Director:
    Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn

    Cast:
    Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, Alan Tudyk, Dee Bradley Baker, Frank Welker

    Rating:
    PG

    Runtime:
    95 Mins

    Genres:
    Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

    Writers:
    Jennifer Lee, Allison Moore

    Studio(s):
    Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios

    Distributor(s):
    Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures