Randy Fullmer and Mark Dindal are so gung-ho about their new movie, Chicken Little, it's easy to forget how high the stakes really are as its Nov. 4 release date approaches.
Some would say that in their hands rests the very future of Disney's legendary animation division. That's because their retelling of the beloved fable about a chicken who keeps insisting the sky is falling marks a crucial turning point for the studio.
This is Disney's first fully computer-animated feature film, and it reflects the studio's determination to prove to the world it can succeed in this technology without Pixar, the pioneering CGI company whose partnership with the Mouse yielded such phenomenal hits as Toy Story, Monsters Inc. and The Incredibles. It is also arriving at a time when this partnership is on the verge of dissolving.
So there's a lot riding on the success of Chicken Little. Yet Dindal, who directed it, and Fullmer, its producer, insist they felt no pressure.
"The only pressure we ever feel is to make a great movie," Fullmer says. "To make it funnier -- and to preview it more times to figure out what the audience is connecting with to make it better."
Furthermore, Dindal denies he ever felt the formidable pressure of Pixar looming over the project. Instead the boyish filmmaker talks about an Olympic runner he knew as a youngster.
"I don't remember his name but he said: 'If I concentrate on the guys beside me too much, I'm going to trip and fall.' I thought -- what a cool way to look at life."