Clements & Musker Bring 2D Back to Disney -- Again
RC: It is a bit of a gumbo -- a bit of a Disney gumbo. And right from the get go, gumbo is a big, popular dish in New Orleans, but it's also a metaphor for this [unique] city with so many different cultural elements fused together.
BD: What was it like assembling this animation crew, a combination of veterans and newcomers?
RC: One of the really great things about this movie was the opportunity to put a dream cast together, which couldn't have been done 10 years ago because when hand-drawn animation was at its peak -- well, maybe more than 10 years ago -- they were spread out at other studios and Disney split up its own staff with multiple productions going on at the same time. So no one worked on the same movie. On this one, we were, with a few exceptions, able to get everybody we wanted, partly because there were no other hand-drawn features being done anywhere else. And even though many people were successful in digital animation, everyone who worked in this kind of art form wanted to return to it. They missed it…
RC: And Mark Henn, who had moved to Florida. He worked on Tiana.
JM: But, as you say, we also had newcomers like Hyun Min Lee, who worked with Eric Goldberg [on Louis, the jazz playing crocodile], a student right out of Cal Arts and did the Jules Engel program and a wonderful animator. And it was great having these guys in their twenties working alongside these veterans in their fifties. They really took to it and it was great to see people embrace this who might otherwise go in a different direction.
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.