Oscar 2012: Pixar’s Enrico Casarosa and Kevin Reher Talk La Luna
EC: Especially people like Dice, who had just come off Toy Story 3 and everybody was trying to grab him. They’re very much in demand. Bill was an interesting scenario because we were trying to work with Robert Kondo and Dice who were whisked away to a main production, so it’s “Well, who have you got?” Bill Cone is your plan B. I was like, “Wow, that’s best plan B I’ve ever heard of.” We were pretty lucky with that.
DS: Was there any point in this production where you said “This is in trouble, it’s nott going the way I want?”
EC: I can say we never had real serious panic. There were specific things that you’re trying to do in a specific shot. The slightly different look that we were trying for, “Well, can we put this 2D effect on the water.” That’s a good example of something that we tried. For example, the wake of the boat, from my watercolors, that I wanted to be a slightly Miyazakian kind of wave. It’s not very realistic. Of course, the computer is not so good at doing not-realistic. I animated it. We couldn’t get it. We kept on trying. It wasn’t working. It kept on feeling like some sort of cob web stuck on the water. So, I tried animating it by myself in 2D. Then we gave it to one of our effects guys. It took a lot of iterations. There were moments like, “That’s not right…this is not quite there yet, [but] we have to show this to John tomorrow.” You’re trying to make a call of, “Do I really stick up for this little subtle thing, or just give up on it?” That’s the closest that we got to it [panic]. We found a way that worked out but it was a close one. It felt great when it finally was there.
The same thing happened a little bit with grooming. The hair was a challenge. We had moments where it was, “Wow, we can’t control this hair in the way we want.” The animator doesn’t see that on his end usually. The animator is controlling topology. The hair is simmed. It’s what we call baked in. [When] all this physics got added to it, the hair was moving all over the place and the animators had no control of it. We had to find ways around some of those specific things. You could see it in some tests where you had very, very strange things happening. We have moments of, “Oh, how the heck are we going to do this?” But they were pretty specific to a few problems.
KR: I think from the producing standpoint, probably the biggest challenge was music. We went down a path with a composer that, it didn’t work out, scheduling wise. So, John said, “We’ve got this Italian guy who has worked on a couple of our movies. You might want to talk to Michael Giacchino.” And when Michael Giacchino came in, he was like, “No problem, I get it, I got it, I got it.” Enrico and I gave him this rundown based on the color script, of where we wanted the music to go emotionally. And Michael goes, “Wow, I was going to do this, thanks.” Literally, we did the scoring piggybacking on to the Cars 2 scoring. He did it in 45 minutes.
DS: He did it in 45 minutes?
KR: The whole recording. And he was like, “You want less mandolin? Hey, less mandolin over there.” This guy went, “OK” and did the section that had less mandolin in it. It was just amazing. But from a producer standpoint it was probably the biggest challenge.
EC: Yeah, Michael was pretty amazing with that. We really asked him to reach for his roots and we were hoping that he’d be game for that, and he did it. You know, what happens in lot of these animation projects is that you listen to the scratch music for a long time and you may get scratch love, which means, you kind of want the scratch back there somehow.
KR: Nothing is as good as the temp track.