Princesses as­sem­ble!

How Ralph Breaks The In­ter­net gath­ered 13 Dis­ney princesses in one scene

Empire (UK) - - PRE.VIEW - JOHN NU­GENT

THE PITCH

As glimpsed in the lat­est trailer, the Wreck-it Ralph se­quel Ralph Breaks The In­ter­net sees ar­cade hero Ralph (John C. Reilly) and pint-sized pal Vanel­lope von Sch­weetz (Sarah Sil­ver­man) travel to the world wide web and the of­fi­cial Dis­ney web­site, where Vanel­lope en­coun­ters 13 of Dis­ney’s princesses, from Snow White to Moana — the first time they’ve all ap­peared on the big screen to­gether. The scene was “in the very first ver­sion of the film”, says pro­ducer Clark Spencer, orig­i­nat­ing from the ob­ser­va­tion that Vanel­lope, as heir to the throne of the Sugar Rush king­dom, is tech­ni­cally a Dis­ney princess her­self. In the first sto­ry­board-based screen­ing, “It played through the roof.”

THE SIGN-OFF

As Dis­ney own the copy­right to all 13 princesses, us­ing the char­ac­ters didn’t re­quire Who Framed Roger Rab­bit-es­que cor­po­rate ne­go­ti­a­tions. But the Mouse House’s top brass were still made aware of the scene, and Dis­ney CEO Bob Iger at­tended an early screen­ing. “We weren’t ask­ing for per­mis­sion,” ex­plains Spencer. “If they didn’t en­joy that bit, there might have been a dif­fer­ent con­ver­sa­tion, but ev­ery­one’s been in­cred­i­bly sup­port­ive.” More im­por­tantly, the film­mak­ers reached out to ev­ery liv­ing di­rec­tor in­volved with the princesses, seek­ing their bless­ing, and ad­vice.

THE VOICES

All of the sur­viv­ing princess voice ac­tors par­tic­i­pated in the film. Record­ing re­quired chess-like co­or­di­na­tion, as­sem­bling 13 in-de­mand ac­tors from around the world. De­spite min­i­mal di­a­logue, the di­rec­tors were keen to be in the booth each time. “Mostly be­cause it felt like we’re ask­ing peo­ple to do some­thing that’s a lit­tle crazy! If you read the pages by them­selves, you might think, ‘I don’t know about this thing.’ But once you de­scribe how it’s fit­ting within the over­all story, they had fun with it.”

THE AN­I­MA­TION

For many of the princesses, this is the first time they have ap­peared in CGI. The an­i­ma­tors re­ferred to the orig­i­nal movies for ex­pres­sions and move­ments, and re­cruited vet­eran an­i­ma­tor Mark Henn, who worked on five Dis­ney princess films, to main­tain a level of au­then­tic­ity. A big­ger chal­lenge was stag­ing: plac­ing the ‘cam­era’ in a way that gives 14 dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters roughly equal foot­ing. Spencer was only con­fi­dent it worked when it de­buted last year at D23, the con­ven­tion for the Dis­ney faith­ful. “That was the test,” he says. “To hear 8,000 peo­ple laugh like that was a mo­ment I’ll never for­get.”

RALPH BREAKS THE IN­TER­NET IS IN CINE­MAS FROM 30 NOVEM­BER

Clock­wise from left: Vanel­lope (Sarah Sil­ver­man) finds her­self sur­rounded by a load of mis­trust­ful Dis­ney princesses; Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanel­lope hang out with liv­ing al­go­rithm Yesss (Taraji P. Hen­son); Vanel­lope and Ralph en­ter the world wide web.

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