Disney’s Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast shares the special bond between Fawn and her newfound friend. The movie introduces new characters, including Scout Fairies and Gruff the Neverbeast. Follow this heartwarming adventure out on Blu-ray, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere March 3rd!
While in LA for the McFarland, USA press trip, we had the opportunity to visit DisneyToon Studios to speak with Director – Steve Loter (right) and Producer – Makul Wigert (left), about the new Tinkerbell film.
Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast Interviews
Q: So what’s your favorite part of the animation process?
Makul: “My favorite part of the animation process is the collaboration and seeing an idea come to life through the work of a fantastic team of Artists. It’s been an absolute joy seeing Steve’s idea, which started 4 1/2 years ago, through story boarding and design.”
Steve: “For me it was a story. You get to this really sweet spot when you’ve got a script and then you’ve got Storyboard Artists visualizing the script. And they look at the written word and they say, “Oh I can add a joke here. I can put the camera here that’s gonna’ emphasize this moment or emotion.” And for me that’s when things really elevate. So that’s a magic time for me.”
Q: Can you share the story behind the film?
Steve: “The movie was inspired by my daughter. I grew up in a household with no pets of any kind, none. No dogs, no cats, nothing. And because of having no pets around I have a fear of very large dogs, like Irish Wolf Hound dogs and Horse Line dogs. And my daughter loves one thing above all else, very large dogs. So she’ll see a neighbor walking a dog down the street and she’ll run up to the dog and she’ll throw her arms the dog in a big loving hug. And it showed me something you know once the fear subsided, something very important that my daughter has a huge open heart. So I had to sit her down and we had to talk about this encounter we just had with the dog. And she would say, “Well all animals are my friends. Why wouldn’t they be? In fact, the bigger they are the bigger the love they have to give.” And I thought that’s the story. It’s beautiful to think with an open heart. You need the balance to have a happy life and I thought that’s exactly the story that I wanted to tell.”
Q: What did your daughter think of the movie?
Steve: “My daughter loved the movie. My daughter was not just the inspiration for the initial idea, she basically became Fawn. I looked to her for acting, for moments. I just kept looking to her for dialogue for moments… movement. She just became infused into the film and she is also Calista the Bunny in the film. There is one Bunny that refuses to hop. [LAUGHS] She walks.”
Steve adds that, “Nyx, the over protective Scout Fairy is me. She was a very easy character to write for because that’s the helicopter parent that I am. Nyx is not a villain. Nyx has a point of view. She’s right about it. She’s trying to protect Pixie Hollow. She believes in this strongly.”
Q: When you guys were creating the story did you have an idea who you wanted to cast in the various roles? Or was it more of an audition process?
Makul: “Well we knew Ginnifer Goodwin. We loved Ginnifer Goodwin and her voice – we knew was going to be Fawn. That was easy for us. We had a conversation about then who would be playing against her and we wanted somebody who could contrast the joyful bubbly nature that was Fawn. And so for Nyx we then discovered Rosario. You can hear her passion and her belief in what she feels is right and that contrast we thought was really beautiful and really nice. And working with both of them was just an absolute joy.”
Q: The design of the Neverbeast, how much did that evolve from when you first started to the character that he ended up being?
Steve: “The Neverbeast came very quickly. Initially I hired a few designers to work with me to do some drawings from a verbal idea, but pretty quickly I realized that I had this character in my head. So I did a drawing very early in the process and we did a painting of it and then we showed it to John Lasseter and John said, “That’s it, done, there’s your character.” So the thing about Gruff is he’s made of a bunch of different animals because what I wanted is I wanted elements to be recognizable by a child. So he has the walk of a Hippo or a Rhino. He has Horse fur like a Yack and it’s white. He has these floppy dog ears. He has an Armadillo tail that he can hang on stuff, but it also acts like a cat. You could tell his mood by the swinging of the tail and these big beautiful green cow eyes that you see you’re reflection in.”
Makul and Steve finish by sharing that they’re excited for a much needed vacation after working 4 long years on the film. Makul and his family were headed to Disney World the next day and ended up on the same flight as myself, so that was neat to run into him again.
I was invited as media to cover this press event. All opinions are mine alone. Pictures are courtesy of Disney.