Director Klay Hall and Producer Traci Balthazor-Flynn have the coolest jobs, like, ever. These two work at the amazing DisneyToon Studios where they create animation magic. Their newest piece of awesome is Disney’s Planes which will be soaring into theaters on August 9th.
Klay Hall has worked on the film over a course of four years with the assistance of super producer Traci Balthazor-Flynn and a whole team of extremely talented animators, writers, and their star studded cast.
So, if you’ve seen the ads, and you know you have, Disney’s Planes might remind you of something; Pixar’s Cars. In fact it is being marketed as a look at “the world above Cars.” The aesthetic, the look, and the feel all are reminiscent of Cars, but Pixar did not have a heavy hand in the making of the film. When we talked to Hall about the Pixar connection he noted that they were, “Not hands on.” This is a DisneyToons production, but Pixar and DisneyToons have someone in common – John Lasseter.
“First off John Lasseter is the man behind all this, the creative tour de force,” Hall told us. “He was involved with this from the very beginning to the very end. And he had the past ten years of creating these worlds and these movies, so that was the information we needed. So, there was no direct collaboration except for John.” But you may see a couple of cars that look like autos from Pixar’s Cars, and for good reason, they were able to borrow some of the “assets.” The Disney’s Planes team then created about four hundred new characters. Yes, four hundred!
When asked about the origins of the project Hall told us that he and John Lasseter had a great working relationship and they began to talk about a new project. “I had an idea about working on a train movie, I love locomotives and I wanted to do a historical piece on the railroad but then set it the present with flashbacks,” Hall said. ” And he liked that idea, he’s a railroad guy too, we talked back and forth. And then he called out of the blue one day and said, “what do you think about planes? I know we have the train thing going, but how about you set that aside and we do something with planes?” Hall was enthusiastic, “He knew I had a passion for aviation, if there is one thing I love more than trains, it’s planes.”
John Lasseter told Hall, “Let’s make it new, let’s take it above the world of Cars, let’s introduce all new characters.” Initially it was going to be a direct to DVD release, but Hall shared that it, “was resonating with a lot of different people. We set out to tell a really good story. And over a period of time, when we figured out this world, it was decided that it would be theatrical release.”
And with a voice cast like they got, it really does deserve a big theater release. “We wanted to get as many funny people as we can in the movie,” Hall said. “They were all eager to sign on. We laughed a lot while recording.” The cast includes: Dane Cook, Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Stacy Keach, John Cleese, Brad Garrett, Carlos Alazraqui, Sinbad, Gabriel Iglesias and Cedric the Entertainer among many others. PLUS an awesome cameo of Val Kilmer and Anthony Edward. “My dad was a pilot,” Hall said. “And I’m a huge Top Gun fan, and we got Val and Anthony to do cameos. I couldn’t believe it, I got to sit down with Ice Man and Goose!”
So cool! You can see the cameos and all the other Disney’s Planes magic when the movie opens in 3D in theaters everywhere on August 9th .
Photo Source (top photo): Meredith Nichols