Now available on Blu-ray and DVD is Pixar’s latest feature film Monsters University. As the studio’s first prequel, the pic’s initial announcement was met with a mix of excitement and skepticism, but this summer audiences were treated to a film that was not only hilarious and gorgeous to look at, but also gutsy in its themes and message to young viewers. While attending the press day for the film’s Blu-ray release at Pixar, I was able to sit down with director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae to talk all things Monsters University.
Scanlon and Rae discussed how involved they were in the extras and special features that are included on the Blu-ray, how they initially came to land their jobs as director and producer of Monsters University, the initial pitch meeting that explored possible Monsters Inc. sequels, making a significant last-minute change to the film by swapping the gender of a major character, and more. Additionally, since the people at Pixar are all massive fans of a large variety of movies, I asked if there was one “bad” movie that they each love despite its less-than-stellar reputation. Watch the video interview after the jump, and if you missed my interview with The Blue Umbrella director Saschka Unseld and producer Marc Greenberg, click here.
As a fan of many of their movies, I’ve been wanting to go to Pixar, for some time now. And since you have to either work there, know someone who works there, or get an invite to go there, I jumped at the recent opportunity to make the trip to Emeryville, Calif.to do interviews for their latest feature film, Monsters University, and had a great time while I was there. The film follows Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal), who arrives at the campus with the dream of becoming a Scarer while James “Sulley” Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman) feels like he doesn’t have to put in the time or work to succeed because he was born with his talent. When their journeys both prove to be a bit more complicated than they anticipated, they find help and friendship in the unlikeliest of places.
At the film’s press day, producer Kori Rae (Up, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc.) talked about why they decided to go with a prequel to tell more of Mike and Sulley’s story, the biggest challenge in going backwards, why they chose college, the technological advances in lighting, how they got such a terrific cast of voice actors, that there might be a spin-off short featuring one of the supporting characters, and what sort of Easter eggs can be found in the film. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
During our recent set visit to Pixar Animation Studios for Monsters University, we had a chance to sit down with producer Kori Rae to talk about the behind-the-scenes production of the studio’s newest animated film. During this roundtable interview, Rae talked about the inherent challenges of creating Pixar’s first prequel, getting to explore existing characters more thoroughly, other variations of the film that were discussed and her various roles within Pixar. Since casting was part of her responsibilities for Rae on Monsters University, she also talked about getting Helen Mirren to sign on, searching for Billy Crystal’s younger counterpart to voice Mike Wazowski in grade school and just how they go about crafting roles for John Ratzenberger. Hit the jump for the full interview. Monsters University, also featuring the voices of John Goodman and Steve Buscemi, opens June 21st.
Last night I had the opportunity to check out a late showing of Pain & Gain during which I encountered a few thoughts that I couldn’t shake: 1) I wish Michael Bay would make more films like this and less of the transforming car variety. 2) Why can’t Dwayne Johnson be in every movie? 3) This is probably the craziest “Based on a True Story” movie I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard Bay say that some of the most extreme elements of the plot are also the most true to the original story. This is good to know because had someone written a lot of what shows up in the film I would likely call it too farfetched for my suspended disbelief to withstand. Make no mistake, this is a wild, entertaining ride that utilizes layers of action, crime, comedy, sex, and even a touch of sadism to keep you invested from beginning to end.
My mini-review aside, this week’s Top 5 includes the first trailer for Thor: The Dark World, Pain & Gain interviews with Michael Bay, Mark Wahlberg, and more, a recap of our visit to Pixar for Monsters University, news that Zack Snyder could take the helm of Justice League pending Man of Steel‘s success, and the first entry in a new interview series from Steve: “Breaking Down the Movie” with The Place Beyond the Pines director Derek Cianfrance. As is customary, a brief recap and link to each of the above is ready and waiting after the jump.
Shortly before world premiering Monsters University at CinemaCon, I was able to speak with director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae on the red carpet. We talked about the way the story changed during development, how many versions of the film they went through, how John Lasseter kept reminding them that it was “college fun,” and more. In addition, they also showed they have a sense of humor, because I may have started the interview off by asking whether it was tough to get Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton back for the sequel to Monsters Ball…
Finally, while I had to miss the screening of Monsters University due to my interview schedule, I spoke to a number of people that saw it and they all said it was great and is exactly what they expect from a Pixar movie. Hit the jump to watch the interview. Monsters University hits theaters June 21st.
Disney has released new images from Monsters University. Like we saw in previous images and trailer, these new images show that Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) was a nerd, and Sulley (John Goodman) was his frat boy tormentor. Monsters University is the story of how they went from enemies to besties. ““They both approach life in different ways,” producer Kori Rae tells EW. “Mike is the go-getter type, anything is possible, and he’s the super-hard worker. Sulley is different because he’s a great scarer, he has this natural ability, but Mike has to work for it.”
Hit the jump to check out the new images. The film also features the voices of Steve Buscemi, Dave Foley, Julia Sweeney, Joel Murray, and Peter Sohn. Monsters University opens June 21, 2013.