Pete Docter Goes Up
Bill Desowitz chats with the Pixar director about his upcoming feature, in which a grumpy old man and an irksome boy in a flying house wind up in a South American adventure.
July 29, 2008
By Bill Desowitz
For Pixar's next release, Up, the challenges included making cloth behave on a caricatured body and bringing Venezuela's Tepui Mountains to life. All images © Disney/Pixar.
After debuting with the fantastical Monsters, Inc., Pete Docter follows up with Pixar's next feature, Up (opening May 29 from Disney's Buena Vista): a more grounded but still exotic comedy/adventure involving a 78-year-old grumpy old man named Carl (voiced by Ed Asner) and an eight-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell. The director presented Up at Comic-Con in San Diego last weekend, sneaking some footage of the widower and former balloon salesman using his remaining balloons to lift his house up to the sky -- with Russell as a stowaway -- on a trek to Venezuela, where his late wife, Ellie, always wanted to visit.
Docter explained that they encounter the strange and isolated region of the Tepui Mountains, thanks to inspiration from video provided by Production Designer Ralph Eggleston (WALL-E). The story of Up, written by Docter in collaboration with co-director Bob Peterson, was inspired by Docter's correspondence with Disney legends Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston as a young animator, as well as the fascinating life stories the elderly often provide when you take the opportunity to spend some time with them. Docter spoke with AWN after his presentation about the challenges of making Up. They're still trying to figure out how to apply main animation solutions such as cloth. For instance, Carl's head is three feet wide and he's five feet tall and he has expansive limbs. How does the cloth behave on such a caricatured body? And how do you make the Tepui come to life in a believable yet stylized way?
Animation World Magazine