David: John, are we going to see Mickey Mouse in a feature movie?
John: Mickey Mouse, in a feature movie? Well. What’s interesting is that I love the old characters. And one of the things that we are bringing back is shorts at Disney animation with some new shorts. And we are in production developing some new shorts with, we call them the Fab Five characters. Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and Minnie. We’ve got some new ideas coming up. And you will start seeing new animation of those characters. And it’s going to be great. But it will be short films for right now.
Marci: With the merger of Pixar and Disney, you have an expanded role. You’re overseeing both Disney Animation and Pixar. John: That’s right.
Marci: So you might have some influence over Mickey making it to a feature film.
John: Yes, I like Mickey. He’s a good friend of mine.
Marci: Let’s talk a bit about Disneyland. I love Disneyland. I read that you used to work there?
John: Yes. When I was going to college, I worked for a summer as a ride operator on the Jungle Cruise. People who know me can’t believe this, but I was shy once.
Marci: I haven’t known you that long, but it’s hard to imagine you being shy.
John: And I actually credit the Jungle Cruise with bringing me out of my shell. I love that ride. I loved being a ride operator because you are part of the ride. Anybody who has ridden on that, you know that the skipper, he has all of these bad jokes. And trust me, they are really bad jokes. You know, you show people the “back side of water” and so on… But one of the things that I loved was that you have this captive audience and I honed my comic sense of timing because of being on this ride and doing the jokes over and over, and really trying to make the audience laugh. And I loved it! Marci: What’s your favorite attraction at Disneyland? John: Jungle Cruise, naturally.
Marci: What’s the next one? Marci: How important is it in your new role to preserve Walt Disney’s legacy?
John: Well, Pirates. I would say Pirates, the one at Disneyland. It’s fantastic. And I am so proud, I don’t know if people have heard this. I also for a while was a sweeper in Tomorrowland, when Space Mountain opened. And I am so proud, that we are bringing back the Submarine Voyage at Disneyland, with “Finding Nemo” characters. We have been working with Walt Disney Imagineering and they have come up with this very innovative way to put our animated characters under water and in the Sub ride. And so it’s like you’re taking a voyage on the Great Barrier Reef and you get to see the “Finding Nemo” characters. So, the Submarine Voyage at Disneyland is coming back this summer.
John: Very important. One of the things to me, the reason why I do what I do, is because of the films of Walt Disney, because of the amazing theme park that he built in Anaheim. For me, it was about how he entertained audiences. And audiences of all ages. This is a thing that I take great pride in at Pixar. All of the films that I have directed have been rated G. We’ve only had one PG movie, a soft PG movie, which was “The Incredibles”, because of the super hero cartoon violence. But other than that, they’ve been rated G. I’m very proud of that. But our films also play fantastically for adults and teenager. I believe that you can make great entertainment for the whole family. And it’s not that when you hear the phrase “family entertainment”, it’s not just for kids. It’s truly for everybody. And that’s the thing that Walt Disney started. And I’ve always believed in that because it entertained me deeply. And so I am very proud to be back at Disney, helping to do that. Because, I believe in quality. To me, that’s the thing that we have always done at Pixar, to be the make the best quality films. The best DVD’s. The best lunch boxes -- the best whatever. To me, it’s about making a quality product.