Schneider and Hahn Talk Waking Sleeping Beauty
PS: Yes, he tells the story. When you listen to the music, he's telling the story through music and the lyrics. And he sings the songs the way they're supposed to be through all those demos. He came up with the idea of Ursula being the divine-like character, sort of larger than life. He was the one in the movie who says make the crab Sebastian more modern and hip. And, of course, you realize it's such a smart nuance -- it's not Maurice.
BD: What about the unsung Frank Wells?
PS: Yeah, I think people don't know much about Frank. My favorite story about this movie is that we're screening in the Frank Wells building for Disney employees. And there was one employee who had no idea who Frank Wells was. And I said, "Well, where do you work?" And she said, "In the Frank Wells building." And she had never put together that Frank Wells was a modern person and had some huge influence on the company to have a building named after him because it was all about the present. Frank died 16 years ago. That was a long time ago and people forget.
BD: And yet when Roy waits outside his office to get him to sign off on CAPS, you realize how important he was.
PS: A little thing: it changed the course of history at Disney… and funding Pixar. All these things, moving so fast, I don't think we ever stopped to think about them. And it's fun to be looking back at them and giving people a sense of what happened. And the idea of using old footage cut against modern interviews is the artistic key to the movie and why I'm so thrilled that Don directed the movie because it's a real nuanced thing he did.
BD: And the dark side of success seems so inevitable. What was the alternative: failure?
PS: I heard later on that what Frank said to somebody was, "What they really need is to have a movie that doesn't work." That's an interesting comment in terms of not getting carried away with yourself because, like everything in life, most of it is fleeting.
BD: Was this cathartic?
Don Hahn: Yeah, not only for me but for everybody. I recorded so many interviews with all of the directors from the period and many of the key animators and executives and it was very cathartic. And everyone has strong memories and stories to tell. Even Jeffrey Katzenberg was so generous with his time: he gave me a two-hour interview on tape and watched the movie with us when it was all cut, and it was very cathartic for him and Michael and Roy, for that matter, before he passed away.
BD: What did Roy think of movie?
DH: He saw it on DVD because he was quite ill toward the end and liked it a lot. He sent us a very, very nice note. And actually his caregiver later said he had watched it four times just before he passed away, so I think for him it was a nice capper about a big part of his life.
BD: I've heard about the great reaction at Disney and Pixar, but what's the reaction been outside the studios?
DH: We've actually shown this to a few business schools at USC, UCLA, the University of Chicago and the conversations have been as interesting as anywhere just about the lessons that this movie might reveal, and it's an interesting time because of that.