Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Director Rich Moore of Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph" Talks Pac-Man and Working with Nintendo

The Hollywood Reporter's Jordan Zakarin had a very cool interview with Rich Moore, director of Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph." Here's an excerpt:

Director Rich Moore discusses Disney's comeback and cooperating with video game companies. Nintendo, he says, was "very vocal about how tall Bowser is and how Bowser would hold a Styrofoam cup of coffee."

Rich Moore never quite aimed to work at Disney, and at first glance, the body of work he'd put together over two decades in the animation business -- including stewardship of The Simpsons, Futurama and The Critic -- certainly wouldn't seem to align with the studio of Cinderella, Snow White and The Lion King. Yet with the studio stuck in a rut, it turned to Pixar's John Lasseter to try to turn it around, and so began the adventure that would become Wreck-It Ralph.

The Hollywood Reporter: You came to Disney from a career in shows like The Simpsons and Futurama, which are less Disney-ish, so to speak. Disney, I guess, has a more family-friendly tone, so was that an adjustment to make?

Rich Moore: You would think, well, did they say, "Okay, I know you come from Simpsons and Futurama, but we don’t do that here." It was pretty much the exact opposite. I came in from an invitation from John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton, and on my first day at the studio I saw John and we gave each other a big hug and he took me aside and he said to me, "Look, I’m so glad you’re here. You’re just what we need right now. And you have to promise me that you do not try to develop and direct a quote-unquote Disney movie. I don’t want you double-guessing yourself or being untrue to who you are as a filmmaker. I want you here for you and your point of view and your sense of humor and your sensibility. Not you trying to fit into the box of what you think a Disney movie is."

THR: One of the things that interested me in Wreck-It Ralph is that there were so many characters that weren’t Disney property. Was it a risk to do all those characters that aren’t Disney-owned?

Moore: It was definitely one of those things, again, if I thought about it too much I probably would’ve said, "Let's not try to do this. I don’t know if we’ll be able to get all of these guys. What are we thinking?" But I would think of Roger Rabbit. That movie came out right when I graduated from college, and I’m getting into animation and I thought it was so cool seeing all those different characters that I grew up with and that I knew from old cartoons. It just seemed like that was such a cool movie, and I would use that as a comparison to Wreck-It Ralph, to have that kind of feeling to it with all the video game characters. To me, it only really seemed worth it if we could do it with real characters...

We had a whole year of working on the story before we even reached out to the different video game companies to see if this was even possible. In that year, I would just say to the writer and story artists, "Let's just act like we got them. Let's just pretend we got them. Let's not go, well it would be cool to have Pac-Man in the scene but we probably can't get him so I didn’t do it and made up a kind of fake Pac-Man thing. Let’s just pretend we got them. What are different kind of jokes we could tell or situations we could put them in?" And we proceeded that way. It always felt like, looming in the future, there will come a day when we’re going to have to go to these people and show them what we’ve been doing for the past year with their characters.


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