A Q&A with “TinkerBell” Filmmakers
BY KEVIN CARR
After being shut down in June of 2007, the “TinkerBell” movie is back in gear. After showing advanced clips of the film to press in February 2008, producer Jeannine Russo and director Brad Raymond were on hand to answer some questions about the film.
Q: What was it like bringing TinkerBell alive in 3D?
BRADLEY RAYMOND: Well, it was definitely a challenge because Tinker Bell is such great character, her design. Marc Davis designed her in such a perfect design. And to be able to capture the essence of Tinker Bell to put her into a 3-D believable world was a challenge. We wanted to capture the essence but there’s all kinds of things like the hair and making sure her hair looks like that same silhouette that you see in Marc’s great drawings and interpret it.
Q: How was the fairie mythology brought into the piece?
BRADLEY RAYMOND: Actually, it was John Lasseter who actually brought this mythology. He was inspired by the “Realm of the Never Fairies.” It was a book that Disney Publishing produced. It’s an amazing book that he touched on. And you have the use of nature and how fairies–what they do with nature. Each one has a job but it was John that thought, “Why not have them take that to the mainland and change the seasons?” And so, he gave us the option to bring it into a relatable world so that children can now have that question answered like, “How are the leaves changing? Who makes the snowflakes and the dew drops?” And so, giving us sort of that “John Lasseter pixie dust” to bring us into that world was amazing, and then we just followed it from there.
Q: What’s in the movie for boys?
BRADLEY RAYMOND: For a wider appeal, we did as we have two characters that are the two Tinker fairies that Tinker Bell meets and are both boy fairies. And I liken them to Laurel and Hardy or Disney’s Timon and Pumbaa where they love what they do. Tinker fairies love what they do and literally it’s like guys talking about Batman can beat Superman on a fight or which team could beat which team in which era. That was one of our ways of just putting in comedy and humor with these male fairies.
Q: Who is the villain in the movie?
BRADLEY RAYMOND: As far as the villain, we drew from publishing. So, I won’t really call her a villain but she’s the antagonist and it’s Vidia. And you could find her in the publishing books we used. We used the design from publishing, beautiful designs.
Q: Will Peter Pan be in the movie?
JEANNINE RUSSO: We toyed with the idea of that and not to say that he won’t, but we really want to explore kind of this new mythology, meet Tinker Bell, where she lives, where she comes from, her other friends that lived in Pixie Hollow with her. So, we’re kinda just focusing on that right now. But not to say that he won’t. Right now, there’s four films planned and yeah, we might have a surprise coming up.
Q: Is this the first time TinkerBell talks?
BRADLEY RAYMOND: She always talks. It just came out in jingles because humans can’t understand fairies, they’re just jingling. So, when you go outset into her world, you’re going to the Pixie Hollow where the fairies are from, they are able to talk and they can understand each other, so the audience–I mean, we didn’t think subtitles would be appropriate.
Q: Was Loreena McKennitt your first choice for the music?
JEANNINE RUSSO: Yes. I think when we were originally looking for a songwriter for this, we wanted something that was very kind of ethereal and has an otherworldly quality to it. And really, the first person that came to mind was Loreena. As you can tell from that song, it’s just like–it really sets such a beautiful kind of foundation for this movie to sit on. So, yeah, absolutely, she kind of just like the first one that came to mind.
BRADLEY RAYMOND: I believe she really is from Pixie Hollow and then she came and we went to see her concert and it’s just amazing. Her music is just perfect for the movie. But she came into our studio, she looked at all the artwork, we showed her some footage, she sat down and she actually sat down and she wrote that song in our studio.
Q: What was it like working with John Lasseter?
BRADLEY RAYMOND: Everybody is so excited to be associated with John Lasseter. He’s a legend. And for me, I was just excited for that chance to meet him, let alone work with him. I think everybody, when he came on board, I mean, the entire studio just was revitalized. Everybody was so excited in this opportunity and he has such great ideas. And whenever you’re in meetings with him, he just comes up with these amazing ideas that you just, “What am I gonna think about?” And then you just follow his lead and the entire stage you can see, they’re just dedicated.
Q: What was it like when Lasseter restarted the project?
BRADLEY RAYMOND: We are so excited to have him come in and see what we’ve done and to be able to get some of the magic that he has. It was a lot of fun. And again the whole studio had that same feeling. Everybody was so excited and anything that was done before, you think maybe people would be like, “Oh no, I did that all hard work.” No, no, they were so excited and everybody was just revitalized. Everybody just jumped in and was just in love with his idea.
JEANNINE RUSSO: I think it really was the inspiration of John coming on board and being part of the team. It’s not like he just said “Go do it.” He was integrally involved every step along the way and he just supported Brad’s vision 100% and it is just such an amazing experience.