Dis­ney teases ‘Find­ing Dory,’ ‘Toy Story 4’ at event

The China Post - - ARTS & LEISURE - BY LIND­SEY BAHR

Beanstalks will grow, an­i­mals will walk up­right, oceans will part, a for­get­ful fish will re­mem­ber her fam­ily, and toys will fall in love in Dis­ney and Pixar An­i­ma­tion’s up­com­ing films.

The stu­dio pre­viewed its an­i­ma­tion slate and made a num­ber of an­nounce­ments at the fan con­ven­tion D23 Expo on Fri­day, with spe­cial ap­pear­ances from some voice ac­tors in­clud­ing Ellen DeGeneres and Dwayne John­son.

John Las­seter, the chief cre­ative of­fi­cer of Pixar and Walt Dis­ney An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios, hosted the pre­sen­ta­tion, where he an­nounced a Jack and the Beanstalk adap­ta­tion, “Gi­gan­tic,” and the ti­tle of their Dia de los Muer­tos film, “Coco.” It was also re­vealed that Shakira would be both pro­vid­ing an orig­i­nal song for and voic­ing a char­ac­ter in “Zootopia.”

“Gi­gan­tic” di­rec­tor Nathan Greno (“Tan­gled”) said his film would be the de­fin­i­tive ver­sion of the fairy tale — with a few spins, in­clud­ing the ad­di­tion of a 18-me­ter-tall, 11-yearold girl who Jack meets when he climbs up the beanstalk. “Frozen” song­writ­ers Robert Lopez and Kris­ten An­der­son-Lopez, who penned the hit “Let It Go,” will be writ­ing the songs.

Dwayne “The Rock” John­son was there as well to preview the South Pa­cific-set “Moana,” out Nov. 23, 2016, which fol­lows a high spir­ited, 16-year-old princess 2000 years ago. As an act of re­bel­lion, she sets sail to a fa­bled is­land with the tat­tooed demi-god Maui (John­son).

Di­rec­tors Ron Cle­ments and John Musker (“The Lit­tle Mer­maid,” “Aladdin”) and John­son teased con- cept footage and spoke about their ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion with lo­cal an­thro­pol­o­gists and ar­chae­ol­o­gists to en­sure they ac­cu­rately rep­re­sented the area. They also took great pains to char­ac­ter­ize what the ocean means to the cul­ture. In the film, it func­tions as Moana’s spir­i­tual com­pan­ion.

Opetaia Foa’i, Grammy-win­ner Mark Mancina, and Tony-win­ner Lin-Manuel Mi­randa will be han­dling “Moana’s” mu­sic.

John­son said it has been his ca­reer dream to be in an an­i­mated Dis­ney movie.

“It is my her­itage, it is my cul­ture. I am proudly half-Samoan and half­black,” said an ex­cited John­son. “I’m so deeply con­nected to this movie.”

Con­tin­u­ing with the in­ter­na­tional fo­cus, “Coco,” from di­rec­tor Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”), will be about a 12-year-old boy liv­ing with his big fam­ily in Mexico who in­ad­ver­tently sets off a life-al­ter­ing chain of events.

For­get­ful Fish Charm

But it wasn’t all new prop­er­ties on the agenda. Pixar also teased in­for­ma­tion about “Toy Story 4” and “Find­ing Dory,” a se­quel to the 2003 film “Find­ing Nemo.” In the film, out June 17, 2016, the for­get­ful Dory (DeGeneres) en­deav­ors to track down her fam­ily.

Di­rec­tor An­drew Stan­ton said even though he thought that the story ended with “Nemo,” he re­al­ized that Dory’s char­ac­ter needed more de­vel­op­ment. “I wanted to know that if this charm­ing, for­get­ful fish ever got lost again, that she would be OK,” he said.

Randy New­man closed out the nearly three-hour pre­sen­ta­tion with a per­for­mance of his “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” on stage in an­tic­i­pa­tion of “Toy Story 4,” which will be a love story be­tween Woody (Tom Hanks) and Bo Peep (An­nie Potts). Las­seter, who is co-di­rect­ing, said it’s a very emo­tional and per­sonal story that’s inspired by his own wife.

Not all the films talked about are years down the line, ei­ther.

Pixar’s long-de­layed “The Good Di­nosaur” will fi­nally be out on Nov. 25. Af­ter pre­view­ing the film at the 2013 D23, Pixar re­moved Bob Peter­son as di­rec­tor and pushed its re­lease date back over a year, even­tu­ally re­plac­ing him with Peter Sohn.

The film puts a new spin on the clas­sic boy and his dog tale. Here, the “boy” is a friendly Apatosaurus named Arlo (Ray­mond Ochoa) and the “dog” is a feral child who walks on all fours. His name is Spot.

Pro­ducer Denise Ream said a main goal was to cre­ate “a world that feels vis­ceral and im­mer­sive.”

They used new tech­nolo­gies to fash­ion “ma­jes­tic land­scapes,” in­clud­ing some strik­ingly re­al­is­ti­clook­ing rapids, which sweep Arlo away from his fam­ily into un­known ter­ri­to­ries.

Di­rec­tors By­ron Howard and Rich Moore were like­wise there to preview “Zootopia,” out March 4, which is set in a hu­man-like city pop­u­lated by an­i­mals who walk up­right, wear clothes and hold hu­man jobs. The film cen­ters on bunny cop Judy Hopps (“Once Upon a Time’s” Gin­nifer God­win) who heads to the big city to pur­sue her law en­force­ment dreams. There she gets en­tan­gled with a mis­chievous fox, Nick Wilde (Jason Bate­man).

AFP

(Above) Ac­tor Dwayne John­son takes part in Pixar and Walt Dis­ney An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios: The Up­com­ing Films pre­sen­ta­tion at Dis­ney’s D23 EXPO 2015 in Ana­heim, Cal­i­for­nia, Fri­day, Aug. 14. (Left) Dis­ney fans ar­rive for a cos­tume com­pe­ti­tion at the Dis­ney D23 EXPO 2015 held at the Ana­heim Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Ana­heim, Cal­i­for­nia on Fri­day.

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