Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. The Incredibles was clearly a mammoth undertaking,
what was the biggest hurdle?
A. The truth of the matter was that there were ten huge
hurdles and the scale of the project demanded that we all get
over all ten.
Humans are considered the toughest thing to animate because everybody
knows how they move. But we had to simulate fabric, we had to
simulate hair, we had to simulate fabric and hair underwater and
blowing through the air, we had four times the number of sets
of any Pixar movie, it was our longest film - hair and water and
So, it was just one big car crash of a film and, miraculously,
Q. Do you think that we're now reaching a point, in terms
of technology and attitudes of the entertainment industry, that
we're bringing comics to life?
A. Certainly we are now seeing a number of ideas that
film-makers are wanting to do for quite a while but have been
I don't think Lord of the Rings
would have been attempted until recently just because of the scale
of it and the incredible complexity of the world.
I think a lot of studio films are happening now, not because people
are suddenly wanting to do them, but because they can present
the stuff that you read in comic books in a convincing manner.
So I think it's just a matter of resources. We've now reached
a point were we can put any idea on screen and make it convincing.
Q. You started animating as a kid what drew you
A. I started drawing at the age of three and I didn't
figure this out until later but the the first drawing I did were
I would tell the story while I was doing this and I think in my
own crude three-year-old way I was trying to do movies.
I loved animated shows when I was a kid. I saw movies many times
when it was not very common for people to see movies, before video.
Around the age of 11, it occurred to me that someone was making
these things happen and there was an actual job that people went
in with adult intelligence and analyse what a stuffed panther
might look like.
It flabergasted me and it amazed me and it made me think that
adults weren't nearly as dull as I thought they were.
I asked how do you do that, how would someone like me do that,
and I happened to be with a guy who took an animation class at
college and he explained to me that you need an animation camera
that shots a single frame at a time.
So my dad got a camera that shot single frame and I started shooting
a movie. It was called The Tortoise and the Hare it was
the same story but it was more like a Road Runner film.
The tortoise was the bad guy trying to catch the hair and it ends
in a five-way tie so it's not the usual version. It took me three
years to make that film and it's 15 minutes long.
So you can see me learning animation over the course of that.
And I sent it to Disney and it just went from there.
Q. The theme of the film
seems to be that if everyone is special then no one is where
did this come from?
A. Basically I watch my kids play soccer and we have
these elaborate ceremonies where everyone gets a trophy and the
kid who never gives his all and slept his way through the practices
and whined a lot and didn't do anything for the team gets the
trophy along with the kid who killed himself to do his best, listened
to everything the kid said and ran in front of bigger players
and really gave his heart out to it.
And that ticked me off! In this effort to make every one special
we've devalued achievement and it ticks me off. So I put it in
Q. Did working on The Simpsons for eight seasons influence
the way you developed the family dynamic on The Incredibles?
A. Actually I got the job on The Simpsons because of
this thing that I did on Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories Family
Dog which already had a dysfunctional family in it and they responded
to that because they saw some common elements with the show they
were about to start.
Certainly, Matt Greoning has a similar sense of humour. I loved
his comic strip Life from Hell.
He's from Oregon and I'm from Oregon and so there's a similar
sense of humour. I'm also a big fan of Jim Brooks' stuff.
So it was an opportunity to work with those guys. I learned a
lot from those guys, but it wasn't so much about the family dynamic.
It was more about the process of seeing more that 160 episodes
go through the growth and birthing process.
In TV, you have to move quickly. You can't linger over decisions.
That helped me tremondously when Iron Giant came around because
we had half the time and a third of the money of other animated
features so we still had big ambitions.
So I think the very fact of having to make decisions quickly and
then Iron Giant helped me tremendously because we were trying
to make a much larger film than we had resources and it allowed
us to do a number of tricks to make us look bigger than we were.
Q. Was the footage from the teaser trailer purely designed
for the teaser or was it ever a part of the film?
A. Yeah, for the teaser. It was the only set we had built
at the time. So if we didn't do something with that, there would
have been nothing out there.
So that was designed to come out with Finding
Nemo. Our story supervisor, Mark Andrews, came up with the
idea of doing a play on the idea of the Superhero suiting up and
then not being able to fasten the belt.
Once we had that idea, I knew how to lead into it. Then I knew
if I threw this idea to the animators, I knew they'd come up with
25 ways to make it funny. I picked the best eight and then we
had the first teaser.
Q. Did you plan the ending to set it up for sequels?
A. No I just tried to make a satisfying ending and when
you have a satisfying ending people always think: "You're
setting up a sequel."
Q. Having worked on this scale, could you see yourself
ever going back to working on something smaller?
A. The world may not view me as a film-maker yet, but
as some sub-species of animation, but I refuse to stay there.
But I plan to do a lot of different things.
There are different styles of animation, I hope to do live action,
I hope to do blends of the two.
I have some small ideas and I have hugely ambitious, crazy ideas.
Unfortunately, those always tend to influence me more, at least
at this stage in my life. All of the crazy impossible ones attract
me and it's the bane of my existence.