Clements & Musker Go Deeper into Princess and the Frog
With The Princess and the Frog opening wide today and with a little more distance from the film, we thought we'd delve further into the experience of making this landmark 2D feature with Ron Clements & John Musker.
Bill Desowitz: My response has been that it's like being reacquainted with an old friend and I wondered if you had a similar experience in making the film?
Ron Clements: That was somewhat our intention. Because it was a return to hand-drawn animation and the fairy tale and the musical, we embraced the Disney aspects of the movie. We didn't shy away from them. We wanted to recapture the feeling we had watching Disney films as a kid and what inspired us. And yet wanted to re-examine and reinvent it too for a new audience.
BD: And what was it like as your second go-around in reinventing 2D?
John Musker: Certainly there are similarities. Both times there was a moribund state of things before that and in both cases I think we concentrated on the movie at hand and not try and revive or revolutionize anything. We just wanted to make the best movie we could and if we did that it might achieve more than that.
RC: The similarity is that the stakes felt really high. When we made The Little Mermaid, we had sort of been exiled from the main lot and were moved into these warehouses in Glendale. I think everyone felt a kind of do or die sense about the movie to some degree. And I'd say with this movie the stakes were high.
JM: It was leaner and meaner and we had to be more efficient. On this film, there were no color scenes left on the cutting room floor. We were rewriting it throughout the course of making the film: we were trying to fix problems and make things work better. But managed to stay ahead of the production that way.
BD: And it didn't hurt having your old pal from CalArts, John Lasseter, at the helm of the studio.