Disney/Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is one of the most emotional movies that I have ever seen from the franchise. The concept of the movie could have only been brought to life by a special person that could eloquently tell the story from beginning to end. Not only did this film have to be told creatively, but it also had to be developed in a way that would easily be understood by all ages. I believe Director Peter Sohn’s passion for the film is the reason the core message of the movie is so cleverly woven into every scene. I was able to attend this event because Disney/Pixar, Disney Channel, and ABC sent me to Los Angeles on an all-expenses-paid press trip in exchange for my coverage of DWTS as well as many other events. All opinions are my own.
Disney/Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is a heartwarming tale about friendship, self-discovery, and determination. It takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend named Spot. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he’s truly capable of. I was blessed to sit down with Director Peter Sohn & Producer Denise Ream where I discovered some interesting facts about the development of the movie that I thought I would share with you.
How did Peter Sohn become the Director?
The movie was originally pitched by Bob Peterson in 2009 and at the time Peter Sohn was creating the story and designs for him. Eventually, Sohn was asked to be the co-director of the film by Peterson. Throughout the construction of the concept there were several revisions of the story that included a boy and dog, a father-son duo, and a community story. After going through this process for some time, since Peter Sohn had been there from the beginning, he was asked to take over as the Director. As the new director he was able to simplify the script to apply it to a larger market.
Capturing the Landscape
The realism in the animation is mind blowing and inspired by a research trip that Peter Sohn & Producer Denise Ream took to the Rockies. The captured the beautiful landscaped using different forms of technology. They started with USGS topological survey maps, available through Google maps, to create a lot the locations that were in the film. After that they populated the terrain with modeled trees, leaves, mulch, rocks, and most of the other vegetation. Next, they developed a special tool to create 3-D clouds and flowing water. Finally, the river was inspired by a snake river in Monument Valley, Utah.
The McKay Family
The development of Arlo’s family was created around a ranching family Sohn and Ream met in Oregon named the McKays. The McKay’s owned a large ranch on the border of Idaho and Oregon. The family consisted of parents who were both Caucasian, and they adopted five Haitian kids. After spending time with the McKays, Director Peter Sohn liked the uniqueness of the family and was moved by how loving the father was towards his kids. During his stay, the McKay’s treated with such kindness, to honor the them the T-Rex family that Arlo meets on his journey parallels to the McKay family.
The Pet Collector
My favorite character in ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is the Pet Collector. It is based on a character that Director Peter Sohn created when he was attending Cal Arts. One of the funniest facts about the film is when he pitched this character to John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios), Lasseter instantly wanted Director Peter Sohn to do the voice of the role. Although he did not want to voice the role he reluctantly agreed to do it and John Lasser directed the scene.
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Thank you Disney/Pixar for blessing me with the opportunity
to meet such an amazing director and producer.
Disney/Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ in Theaters November 25, 2015