Gary Rydstrom Takes a Hawaiian Vacation
Not to worry, Toy Story is still around, if only in short form. With Hawaiian Vacation (opening Friday with Cars 2), comes the launch of the new Toy Story Toons brand, coinciding with Pixar's 25th anniversary. The gang of toys comes to the rescue of Ken and Barbie to save their ill-fated excursion plans. Gary Rydstrom (Lifted) tells us all about directing his second short.
Bill Desowitz: How did this come about?
Gary Rydstrom: The first idea was to make a short with the Toy Story characters, so what John Lasseter said to have the story happen after Toy Story 3, which means we got to use some of the new characters. And we realized there are lots of stories you can make with these characters. So we pitched many, many possible ideas and landed on this one. Because we wanted to give all the characters their moments, and this seemed like a good story to hang all the characters on.
BD: What were some of your wilder ideas?
GR: I shouldn't say because there's going to be more and we might want to use them. But I think shorts are a wonderful way to keep these characters alive and not ruin the fact that Toy Story 3 was the perfect ending. There's a lot these characters can do – they're like a comedy gold mine.
BD: What sparked the idea of giving Ken and Barbie their Hawaiian vacation?
GR: We were talking about with couples how it's fun to pull those surprise vacations. And John and his wife have a tradition of doing this. It sounds very romantic, too, to pick up a spouse on a surprise vacation and take care of all the planning. So in talking about Ken and Barbie with [the team] from Toy Story 3, the idea was that Barbie wears the pants in the family and to give Ken the chance to plan the perfect romantic vacation, with the added thrill that this vacation would give him his first kiss with Barbie and screw it up seemed like a good starting point.
GR: Yeah, that gave us the excuse to dress up all the characters. How do they help out with this vacation? The other thing I liked about it was the contrast of setting up this fake vacation in the middle of a bedroom in winter, and having it end in the snowy Midwest.
BD: So what was it like honing it down with this breathless pace?
GR: Well, the first challenge was figuring out how many characters you to have in a given moment.
BD: How many did you cram in here?
GR: I thjnk we had close to 15 or more speaking roles. So considering that my last short had no dialogue, I think I made up for it. All the main characters from Andy's toys and Bonnie's toys make it quite a gang -- and then we throw in Ken and Barbie. The other story element was figuring out how to get Ken and Barbie in Bonnie's room from the daycare.