“Finding Nemo” returns to the big screen—for the first time ever in thrilling Disney Digital 3D™—introducing a whole new generation to the stunning underwater adventure. Director Andrew Stanton, a two-time Oscar® winner for “Finding Nemo” and 2008’s “WALL•E,” says that the 3D version of the film is breathtaking—literally. “Watching the first few scenes from ‘Finding Nemo’ in 3D was like I’d never seen a 3D movie before,” says Stanton. “It took my breath away. It felt like I was more underwater. It makes the scary moments scarier. It makes the beautiful moments more beautiful. It really drops you deeper into the story. It just amplifies everything.”
Teeming with memorable comedic characters and heartfelt emotion, “Finding Nemo” follows the momentous journey of an overprotective clownfish named Marlin and his young son Nemo––who become separated when Nemo is unexpectedly taken far from his ocean home in the Great Barrier Reef to a fish tank in a dentist’s office. Buoyed by the companionship of Dory, a friendly-but-forgetful blue tang, Marlin embarks on a dangerous trek and finds himself the unlikely hero of an epic journey to rescue his son––who hatches a few daring plans of his own to return safely home.
“Finding Nemo” won the 2003 Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature; the film was nominated for three additional Oscars (Best Writing, Original Screenplay; Best Music, Original Score; Best Sound Editing). It was also nominated for a Golden Globe® Award for Best Motion Picture–Comedy or Musical. In 2008, the American Film Institute named “Finding Nemo” among the top 10 greatest animated films ever made. At the time of its release, “Finding Nemo” was the highest grossing G-rated movie of all time. It remains the fifth highest grossing animated film worldwide.
“‘Finding Nemo’ was an amazing film to work on and it exceeded our expectations at every step of the process,” says producer Graham Walters. “Throughout the production, people on the crew would walk into the dailies and be blown away by what they were seeing.”
With an Oscar®-nominated screenplay by Stanton, Bob Peterson and David Reynolds, “Finding Nemo” is co-directed by Lee Unkrich, who went on to direct the Oscar® -winning “Toy Story 3.” John Lasseter is the executive producer. Award-winning composer Thomas Newman (“The Help,” “WALL•E”) contributed an exciting and sophisticated score that earned him an Oscar® nomination, among other nominations and awards.
“‘Finding Nemo’ is the perfect movie in 3D,” says Lasseter, who creatively oversees all films and associated projects from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. “We didn’t realize it when we made it originally. Every scene has what we call particulate matter in the water to give it a sense of place. When you see that in 3D, it’s unbelievable. There’s so much depth. From the layers and layers of coral reef to the rows of teeth in Bruce the shark’s mouth, it’s absolutely amazing.”
“Finding Nemo” will be released in Digital 3D™ for a limited theatrical engagement on Sept. 14, 2012, and will be released for the first time ever in high-definition Blu-ray™ and Blu-ray 3D™ on Dec. 4, 2012.
A WHOLE NEW DIMENSION
Filmmakers Invite Audiences to Dive Deeper with Stunning 3D Imagery
The underwater setting of “Finding Nemo” required a great deal of research and experimentation to achieve the spectacular look filmmakers wanted to capture in the original 2D film. But, it turns out, the pieces put into place so many years ago actually set the stage for a rather brilliant 3D realization.
“I can’t imagine a movie better suited for 3D,” says director Andrew Stanton of “Finding Nemo.” “Firstly, there’s something hyperdimensional about computer animation that’s interesting even when it’s on a 2D plane. Secondly, this movie is set in an environment that has a very definitive three-dimensional quality to it—being underwater is like being in a big cube, there’s space on all sides. We had to introduce all these elements—light shafts, particulate matter, changes in the current—to remind the audience of that space. It turns out that those tricks were a huge aide in incorporating the 3D effect. It’s as if we planned for it.”
Joshua Hollander, who oversaw the 3D production of “Finding Nemo,” says that like lighting, camera angles, color or texture, 3D is a tool they use to support the story. “Our goal always is to honor the original film. We seek to create a captivating and rewarding 3D experience that takes the audience even deeper into the emotional aspects of the film.”
According to stereoscopic supervisor Bob Whitehill, Pixar Animation Studios has a clear philosophy when it comes to 3D. “When we approach 3D, we often think of what we call the three Cs,” says Whitehill. “First off, we want to make it comfortable, so it’s easy to watch. Secondly, we want to make it consistent with the original vision of the film—so if Nemo is meant to feel trapped in a small space in the tank in the dentist’s office, we need to make it feel small in 3D, too. Thirdly, we want to make it captivating. We want to bring a new world to the audience. If they’ve gone out of their way to see ‘Finding Nemo’ in 3D, we want to make it more immersive than ever and pull them into this world in a new and different way.”
The 3D team begins the effort by pulling the original assets, which according to Hollander, must be converted to today’s technology and copied to preserve the original film. Then they do what’s called triage, in which each shot is evaluated and made to look like the original. Like opening an old word processing document with new software, today’s technology—while superior—can’t translate every aspect of the original. “Many problems can occur as a result of changes in software or systems infrastructure, location of files or missing files, and that sort of thing. Not everything matches the original or even renders correctly. A big part of our job is to sweep through the film and fix these sorts of issues,” says Hollander.
That’s when the shots are rendered, assembling the components of the animation. “We’ve re-rendered the entire film at a higher resolution,” says Whitehill. “And because in 3D, you see a slightly different view for your left eye than your right eye, you get a brand new, bigger and clearer image to each eye.”
Whitehill, who evaluates every shot and determines where each object and character should exist in 3D space, says that while the process might be arduous—it took about nine months to complete—there is a distinct advantage in creating a 3D version of “Finding Nemo” versus a live-action film. “Imagine if you were recreating a movie ten years after it was filmed—getting all the actors back, putting them in the exact same position in an identical set and having them deliver their lines exactly as they did before with the cameras positioned just so—it’d be impossible. But we can do that here because our films are computer generated. It’s really not a conversion—we initially filmed ‘Finding Nemo’ in 2D. This time, we filmed the exact same movie in 3D.”
The result? Spectacular—though filmmakers are hard-pressed to pick just one scene that best illustrates the power of 3D. Says Whitehill, “During a sequence we call ‘First Day of School’ when Marlin brings Nemo out to the reef, you travel along with Mr. Ray and it almost feels like you’re scuba diving—you feel like you can reach out and touch the fish swimming by. Seeing it in 3D just heightens that connection to the environment and makes it more powerful.”
Adds Hollander, “Many of the characters are really cool in 3D—Nigel the pelican is fun when his beak plays with the 3D space, and the anglerfish with its little lure. A scene that really surprised me when I first saw it in 3D was the one with the whale’s approach. It’s a very long, slow shot—Dory is speaking whale and Marlin is doing what Marlin does. The whale approaches camera slowly, the krill swim past and the whale swallows Dory and Marlin. The 3D effect is really cool. I wasn’t expecting it.”
But it’s the jellyfish sequence that left Hollander in shock. “”The first time I saw the sequence I was struck by how swept into the story I got,” he says. “The purpose of the review was to evaluate the shots technically and make sure we’re doing everything right, but I found myself getting caught up. Marlin has Dory in his fins, the jellies are all around, he’s looking around for a way out, and the camera spins around them. The jellyfish are so bright and beautiful and the 3D effect really heightens the claustrophobia of the moment and enhances our emotional state. It’s a really powerful shot and I think it captures the whole emotion of that scene.”
And that’s the idea. “The whole point of this movie,” says Stanton, “is the idea of this predatory world—how do you let your kids cross the street alone when you know there are creatures all around that you can’t see? How do you deal with that fear? This film in 3D provides us with yet another way to push the audience that much deeper into the story. I can’t think of a better application for the technology.”
WHO’S WHO IN “FINDING NEMO” 3D
Memorable Voices Bring Colorful Cast of Characters to Life
Marlin’s journey along the Great Barrier Reef to rescue his son Nemo is filled with a host of colorful underwater characters. Optimistic but forgetful friend Dory joins him on the adventure, which introduces the sheltered Marlin to everything from a trio of sharks practicing a self-help program to a bale of hip sea turtles who know their way around the East Australian Current. Meanwhile, Nemo—snatched from the reef by a diver—finds himself in an aquarium at a dentist’s office, surrounded by a group of spectacular saltwater friends known as the tank gang.
The iconic characters and the roster of talented actors that helped make them so memorable are what make “Finding Nemo” a favorite among moviegoers.
MARLIN is a fretful and slightly neurotic clownfish father voiced by the acclaimed actor/director/comedian Albert Brooks (“Drive,” “This is 40”). He sports just three stripes (“One, two, three—that’s all I have?”) and for a clownfish, he’s not as funny as one might expect. But he’s fiercely protective of his son Nemo, wanting to do everything he can to make sure nothing ever happens to him.
Director Andrew Stanton said Brooks was a pro at maximizing his scenes. “Even when his character wasn’t asked to be funny in a scene, he knew exactly how to play it for entertainment.”
DORY is the eternally optimistic and forever forgetful blue tang brought to life by the Emmy®-winning comedian Ellen DeGeneres (“The Ellen DeGeneres Show”), who was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance.
“She brought a real kindness and gentleness to the part, along with rhythm and quirkiness,” said Stanton of DeGeneres’ performance.
What Dory lacks in short-term memory, she makes up for in heart. Always quick to lend a fin, she’s the only fish in the sea who offers to help Marlin when his son Nemo is plucked from his ocean home. Dory knows how to party with sharks, play hide-and-go-seek with sea turtles and—fortunately for Marlin—she even speaks whale.
NEMO is an adventurous young clownfish born with a bad fin, though his overly protective father calls it his “lucky fin.” After being captured by a diver and dropped in an aquarium, Nemo meets an oddball tank gang who dub him “Shark Bait” and help him hatch a plan to escape back to the ocean to reunite with his dad.
Alexander Gould (“Weeds”) was 9 years old when he lent his voice to Nemo; he “brought a genuine, untainted quality to the voice of Nemo,” said Stanton. “It’s amazing how many kids sound prepped or have some preconceived notion of what a good actor should sound like. Alex sounded real and he totally understood direction. We were really lucky to find him.”
GILL is the brooding moorish idol leader of the tank gang who takes newcomer Nemo under his fin. Willem Dafoe (“The Aviator,” “Platoon”) gave voice to Gill, who—like Nemo—hails from the big blue. He’d give anything to go home.
BLOAT is a blowfish with a tendency for emotional as well as literal blowups. Voiced by Emmy® winner Brad Garrett (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Gleason”), Bloat conducts the tribal ceremony that officially dubs Nemo as “Shark Bait” and welcomes him into the tank gang.
PEACH is an astute starfish who has her eyes peeled at all times on behalf of the entire tank gang. Allison Janney (“The Help,” “Juno”) provided the voice for Peach, a perceptive matriarch who keeps a protective eye on Nemo.
GURGLE is a quick-to-panic royal gramma with a fear of germs. He’s voiced by film and stage veteran Austin Pendleton (“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”). Despite his disdain for dirt, he’s all drama when the dentist foils the gang’s messy escape plan with a new tank cleaner. “Curse you, Aqua Scum!”
BUBBLES is a bubble-obsessed yellow tang. Stephen Root (“J. Edgar,” “The Conspirator”) lent his voice to the effervescent character. “Bubbles! Bubbles! Bubbles!”
DEB (& FLO) is a reflective blue-and-white humbug damselfish who believes her reflection is her twin sister. Voiced by Vicki Lewis (“How I Met Your Mother”), Deb is always in touch with her “twin sister” Flo, who is always there when Deb needs her. But Deb secretly doubts Flo’s mental capacity—“She’s nuts.”
JACQUES is a fastidious cleaner shrimp. Late Pixar storyman Joe Ranft (“Toy Story 2” as Wheezy, “A Bug’s Life” as Heimlich the caterpillar) gave Jacques a debonair French accent. “Voila! He is clean.”
NIGEL is a gossipy Australian pelican who’s befriended the tank gang despite the potential conflict of interest. Academy Award®-winning actor Geoffrey Rush (“Shine,” “The King’s Speech”) gave a top-flight performance.
CORAL is Nemo’s mom who meets an unfortunate fate. Elizabeth Perkins (“Weeds”) gave voice to Coral.
CRUSH, the unflappable sea turtle voiced by director Andrew Stanton, is the ultimate laidback dad that throws Marlin for a loop. Crush’s biggest fan is offspring Squirt who agrees with his dad that almost everything is awesome and righteous.
MR. RAY is a musical manta ray teacher. Pixar veteran Bob Peterson, one of the screenplay writers for the film, provided Mr. Ray’s popular pipes, known for clever, rhyming songs like, “Seaweed is cool. Seaweed is fun. It makes its food from the rays of the sun.”
BRUCE is a great white shark who desperately wants to stop eating fish. Voiced by Barry Humphries (Dame Edna Everage), Bruce holds meetings for him and his shark companions to share their problems and practice their motto—“Fish are friends, not food.” Bruce’s vegetarian efforts get derailed when a minor injury to Dory changes his friendly demeanor.
ANCHOR is a soft-hearted hammerhead shark who believes a group hug can help his shark pals’ problems. Eric Bana (“The Time Traveler’s Wife”) lent his voice to Anchor.
CHUM is the hyperactive mako shark who “misplaces” his fish friend. Bruce Spence provided his voice.
How “Finding Nemo” Came to Be
The story of “Finding Nemo” was very personal for director/writer Andrew Stanton, derived from a series of events in his own life. A visit to Marine World in 1992 started him thinking about the amazing possibilities of capturing an undersea world in computer animation. This was three years before “Toy Story” made its debut, but Stanton was fascinated with the prospect of creating such a wondrous environment. Another piece of the puzzle came from Stanton’s childhood memories of a fish tank in his family dentist’s office. He recalled looking forward to going to the dentist just so he could look at the fish. Stanton remembered thinking, “What a weird place for fish from the ocean to end up. Don’t these fish miss their home? Would these fish try to escape and go back to the ocean?”
The final piece of the puzzle for Stanton was his own relationship with his son. He explained, “When my son was five, I remember taking him to the park. I had been working long hours and felt guilty about not spending enough time with him. As we were walking, I was experiencing all this pent-up emotion and thinking ‘I-miss-you, I-miss-you,’ but I spent the whole walk going, ‘Don’t touch that. Don’t do that. You’re gonna fall in there.’ And there was this third-party voice in my head saying, ‘You’re completely wasting the entire moment that you’ve got with your son right now.’ I became obsessed with this premise that fear can deny a good father from being one. With that revelation, all the pieces fell into place and we ended up with our story.”
Pitching the story to his mentor and colleague John Lasseter was the next step in “Nemo’s” evolution. Stanton prepared a roomful of elaborate visual aids and launched into a pitch to sell his story idea. After an hour, an exhausted Stanton asked Lasseter what he thought. “You had me at ‘fish,’” Lasseter replied.
Lasseter recalled, “Andrew had this great little drawing over his desk which showed two small fish swimming alongside a giant whale. And I always liked that. He told me it was something he was thinking about but I didn’t hear anything more about it until the pitch. I’ve been a scuba diver since 1980 and I just love the underwater world. When he pitched this idea, I knew that it was going to be amazing in our medium. We always pride ourselves at Pixar on matching the subject matter of our movies with the medium. I really did know when he said ‘fish’ and ‘underwater’ that this film was going to be great.
“Andrew is such a great storyteller,” added Lasseter. “He has an absolute fantastic devotion to making sure that the movie is not predictable. He’s always added that to all of our films and I’ve learned a lot from him in that area. He believes that if something is getting too schmaltzy, he has to turn it on its ear. He has a way of getting sincerity through insincerity, but it’s not so insincere that it doesn’t have heart. He tends to be a little cynical but, in the end, there’s so much heart underneath what he’s doing.”
Stanton concluded, “Telling a story where the protagonist is the father got me excited. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an animated film from that perspective. It made me interested in wanting to write it because I knew I could tell that story. I also thought that the ocean was a great metaphor for life. It’s the scariest, most intriguing place in the world because anything can be out there. And that can be a bad thing or a good thing. I loved playing with that issue and having a father whose own fears of life impede his parenting abilities. He has to overcome that issue just to become a better father. And having him in the middle of the ocean where he has to confront everything he never wanted to face in life seemed like a great opportunity for fun and still allowed us to delve into some slightly deeper issues.”
He added, “My dad gave me some good advice about parenting. He said, ‘The tough choice you have is you can either be their parent or their friend. Pick one.’ It’s a lifelong dilemma and I love indulging in that truth with this film. I’m considered the most cynical of the group here at Pixar. I’m the first one to say when something is getting too corny or too sappy. Yet, I’d say I’m probably the biggest sucker romantic in the group, if the emotion is truthful. I just loved the idea of doing a father-son love story. They’re in eternal conflict.”
Pixar’s Animators Draw Inspiration from a Fish Expert and a Tankful of Fish
It’s all about the research when it comes to developing the kind of story-driven films for which Pixar Animation Studios is known. For “Finding Nemo,” visits to aquariums, diving stints in Monterey and Hawaii, study sessions in front of Pixar’s well-stocked 25-gallon fish tank, and a series of in-house lectures from an ichthyologist all helped to get filmmakers into the swim of things.
The team also looked at some of the Disney classics that involved underwater scenes—“Pinocchio,” “The Sword in the Stone,” “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” and “The Little Mermaid”—for inspiration. In the end, it was the naturalistic portrayal of animal life in “Bambi” that left the biggest impression.
Stanton explained, “We kept coming back to ‘Bambi’ because of the way the filmmakers adhered to the real nature of how these animals moved and what their motor skills were. They used that as the basis for getting as much expression, activity and appeal. We wanted our characters to work in that same way. We thought of it as ‘Bambi’ underwater.”
Supervising animator Dylan Brown and directing animators Alan Barillaro and Mark Walsh (director of Pixar’s new short “Partysaurus Rex”) were responsible for guiding the animation team. With a large cast of characters—ranging in size from the petite cleaner shrimp, Jacques, to the enormous blue whale—this group had their work cut out for them as they learned about fish locomotion and discovered how to create believable behaviors for characters without arms and legs.
“Each film has its own unique set of challenges and we always begin by trying to figure out what they are and how to solve them,” said Brown. “With ‘Nemo,’ we had an entire cast of fish characters with no arms or legs. Since they didn’t have the traditional limbs to allow strong silhouettes, we had to invent a whole new bag of tricks. In the beginning it was a bit daunting and frustrating. We began analyzing what was appealing in terms of posing fish. We put a lot of work into the face and getting the facial articulation just right. We didn’t want them to be just heads on sticks like in a Monty Python sketch. Their faces had to be integrated with the entire body language. Where a human character might just turn his head to look at something, a fish might turn his head just a little and the entire body would pivot along with it.”
In the past, animators were always told to “ground their characters” and avoid letting them “float.” With “Finding Nemo,” they had to figure out the exact opposite—how to make them look like they were floating, but in water—not air.
Barillaro said, “It became fun and challenging to come up with a whole new range of how to communicate and gesture. You don’t have gravity to deal with underwater, so we discovered things like when a character gestured, he would tend to drift a bit more. I found that a lot of the gestures humans make could be boiled down to eye and face movements. I would look at my own face in the mirror and imagine I had a tail on the back of it.”
Walsh recalled, “The first thing that Andrew did on the film was to sit with us in front of the fish tank and basically pitch the story to us. He explained that the magic of the world was going down to the perspective of a clownfish and imagining him going through an entire ocean and encountering sharks, turtles, jellyfish, etc. You imagine moving in closer and seeing this little fish and how hard he is trying.”
Helping the animators get up to speed on fish behavior and locomotion was Adam Summers, a noted professor in the Ecology and Evolution department at the University of California at Irvine. “I’m what is called a biomechanic or sometimes a functional morphologist,” said Summers at the time of the film’s release. “My specialty is applying simple engineering principles to how animals move and eat. They asked me to come in and talk about things like fish shapes and colors, and I ended up teaching an essentially graduate-level ichthyology course to the Pixar staff. There were at least 12 lectures. It was really an incredibly rewarding thing because I found that these folks like their job as much as I like mine. They were infinitely curious about fish and they were flat-out the best students I had ever had.”
Summers also gave the character designers and animators some important insights into fish locomotion by explaining the difference between flappers and rowers. Clownfish are rowers who tend to propel themselves by moving their pectoral fins in a horizontal motion. At higher speeds they wiggle their entire body. Blue tangs, like Dory, are flappers, who flap their fins up and down to move and almost never wiggle their entire body. The result was that Marlin’s movements were more fluid and graceful, while Dory tended to flit sharply about.
“In most animated films with fish,” said Summers, “the characters move back and forth with no visible propulsive device and that really offends the eye. You don’t need to be an ichthyologist to know there’s something wrong with that kind of locomotion. It’d be like watching a horse trot with two of its legs still. In ‘Nemo’ if a fish is moving, its fins are moving. There’s a sort of kinetic feel to the characters that tells you they’re underwater. They’re not acting in air. When they flap around, it has consequences for their whole bodies.”
A New High-Water Mark for Computer Animation
Water has traditionally been one of the most difficult elements to create effectively and economically in computer animation. Faced with a film that was set largely underwater, the technical team on “Finding Nemo” had to find new ways to meet the enormous demands of the production and solve some of the problems that had been encountered by others in the past. Supervising technical director Oren Jacob led the effort to give Stanton and his team exactly what they wanted.
“Our starting point was to watch a lot of films with underwater scenes and analyze what made them seem like they were underwater,” explained Stanton. “What made them not seem like they were in air? It was a bit like getting a great cake and trying to figure out how somebody baked it by breaking it down. We came up with a shopping list of five key components that suggest an underwater environment—lighting, particulate matter, surge and swell, murk and reflections and refractions.”
Jacob added, “Even before we had a finished script, we knew we had a story about fish in a coral reef. That was enough for our global technology group to begin coming up with tools for making water move back and forth. Early on, we took a diving trip to Hawaii with some of the film’s key players. Then we looked at every Jacques Cousteau, National Geographic and ‘Blue Planet’ video we could find. We also studied every underwater film to understand what the filmmakers chose to caricature. We came up with our own idea of what audiences expect to see with water and developed our own ratios and proportions.”
Under Jacob’s supervision were six technical teams specializing in different components and environments seen in the film. Lisa Forssell and Danielle Feinberg were the CG supervisors responsible for the Ocean Unit. David Eisenmann and his team handled the models, shading, lighting and simulation for the Reef Unit. Steve May headed up the Sharks/Sydney Unit, which tackled the submarine scene, shots inside the whale and most of the above-water scenes in the Harbor. Jesse Hollander oversaw the Tank Unit, which created all the elements for the fish tank. Michael Lorenzen was in charge of the Schooling/Flocking team, which created hundreds of thousands of fish plus key elements for the turtle drive sequence. Brian Green led the Character Unit, which created the look and complex controls for nearly 120 aquatic, bird and human characters.
The Ocean Unit was responsible for such scenes as the school of moonfish, the angler fish chase and the turtle drive in the East Australian Current. The unit’s most challenging and impressive scene, however, was the jellyfish forest. This rich and colorful moment finds Marlin and Dory in an ever-expanding and increasingly dangerous sea of deadly pink jellyfish.
Forssell explained, “This scene involved several thousand jellyfish. Our unit built the model for a single jellyfish and put a lot of work into the build-up of jellyfish density. This involved creating a simulation for the group that controlled the movement of the tendrils, how quickly they swam and in what direction. We had some great reference footage and were particularly fixated on one species from Palau that we found at the Monterey Aquarium. David Batte wrote a whole shading system we called ‘transblurrency.’ Transparency is like a window and you can see right through it. Translucency is like a plastic curtain that lets light through but you can’t see through it. Transblurrency is like bathroom glass; you can see through it but it’s all distorted and blurry.”
For David Eisenmann and his team on the Reef Unit, the challenge was to create a caricatured version of the coral reef. They were responsible for the film’s rich and vibrant opening scenes and building the anemone home of Marlin and Nemo. “Our group started with a realistic approach to the reef,” he said. “The director wanted about 30 percent of whatever you see on the screen to be moving to make it feel like it was underwater. For the reef scenes, this meant simulating movement for sponges, moss, grass and other kinds of vegetation.
“The reef is very stylized and almost dreamlike,” continued Eisenmann. “The color palette opens with purples and blues and jumps to vibrant reds and yellows. There is a real storybook, fantasy quality to it. As the story progresses to the drop-off, things become more real and less colorful. Because this is a journey film, our main characters travel quite a distance through the reef. Our modelers were able to keep the reef scenes interesting and exciting by mixing together different shapes and textures. We had a whole grab bag of vegetation we could use to populate a scene and, by putting different textures and shaders onto the cats paw and staghorn coral and the sponges, we could make it feel like completely different models from scene to scene. We spent about a year researching corals and sponges. In the end, we were able to take one basic form of sponge and shape, shift and mold it into more than 20 variations.”
“Instead of building a reef set and flying a camera around, David and the Reef Unit had an amazing system for building the reef on a shot-by-shot basis,” explained producer Walters. “They had an entire nursery of coral, plant life, etcetera, that they could throw together in different configurations and custom sculpt each shot for the needs of the story. They did an amazing job.”
Picking up where the Reef Unit left off was the Sharks/Sydney Unit, under the direction of Steve May. This group took on a wide variety of scenes with diverse locations, including the fishing net scene with hundreds of thousands of grouper fish, the scene inside the blue whale, all of the shots in Sydney Harbor and the submarine set where the sharks meet.
May explained, “The submarine is supposed to be like a haunted house. It’s very spooky and creepy. There are nearly 100 mines surrounding the sub and we worked hard to cover them all with moss and have them move with the surge and swell of the ocean. Inside the sub, it’s supposed to feel very tight all the time. It’s crammed full of knobs, valves and pipes. Because we had our own layout and modeling people, we were able to quickly build and dress the sub as we went. We knew what we needed and built customized parts along the way.”
One of the big challenges for May and his team was simulating the splashing water inside the blue whale. “Pixar really hadn’t done splashing water before,” said May. “We had to figure out a way to do three-dimensional water, develop the software and new techniques for running simulations to compute the motion of the water and then render it to look realistic. And the entire time, the whale is swimming and going up and down. Water had to explode and splash all around as the whale’s giant tongue lifts Marlin and Dory out of the water. This was a whole different water dynamic than the film’s underwater scenes, and we had to allow for the large-scale behavior of the crashing water and the very small detailed behavior of our two fish characters. Those different resolutions were very difficult to accommodate. Lighting that scene was probably the hardest thing we’ve ever had to light because the entire set was moving, organic and filled with splashing water.”
Jesse Hollander and the Tank Unit were responsible for all of the lighting, modeling, shading and rendering associated with the dentist’s office and the fish tank. Creating the tank itself and dealing with issues of reflection and refraction were a major challenge for this resourceful group. They also built a wide range of set pieces for their scenes ranging from dental equipment to the tiki heads and volcano in the tank, plus nearly 120,000 pebbles on the tank floor.
“Among the biggest things that our unit had to develop for this film were the reflections and refractions connected with the tank,” recalled Hollander. “Our starting point was the actual physics of what happens to light when it enters not just water, but a glass box filled with water. This meant computing for glass, then water, then glass into water. But in our movie, we’re not dealing with just physics, we need to be able to have control over those physics. Most of the time we were able to achieve the effect we wanted by offsetting the camera. At certain angles inside the tank, there is something called TIR—total internal reflection—where the glass becomes a perfect mirror. We play off this quite a bit with the characters of Deb and Flo. At other angles, the view from the tank shows double imagery. Whenever we’re inside the tank, we always use reflections. Refractions become more of a selective thing and we only use them where necessary.”
As with all Pixar films, attention to detail was critical. Hollander explained, “As far as the objects in the tank, we tried to give them a very cheap, kitschy Vegas feel—lots of color and cheap plastic. We went to a lot of effort building fake molding lines and flashing for the plastic items.”
Another key contributor to the film’s overall technical advances was Michael Lorenzen, who oversaw a group of animators and technicians in the Schooling/Flocking Unit. This unit helped to create spectacular crowd scenes that included tens of thousands of fish. The unit also populated the turtle drive sequence with nearly 200 background turtles.
THE LOOK OF “FINDING NEMO”
Production Design, Cinematography and Lighting Complete the Picture
Overseeing the production design for “Finding Nemo” was Ralph Eggleston, a Pixar veteran who directed the studio’s Oscar®-winning short “For the Birds” and went on to serve as production designer for “WALL•E.” He prepped for his role on “Nemo” with several diving trips and a visit to Sydney Harbor to get the lay of the land and sea. The film’s two directors of photography—Sharon Calahan and Jeremy Lasky— brought their expertise to the areas of lighting and layout, respectively, to help capture Stanton’s vision for the film on screen.
“One of the biggest decisions we had to make was how much to caricature reality,” said Eggleston. “Fish have an almost caricatured shape to begin with and Andrew was fairly adamant that he didn’t want to overly anthropomorphize the characters. And so we actually had to go the other way and bring the world closer to the caricatured nature of the fish. If we put these fish in anything that looked even quasi-real, it wouldn’t work. The characters and the world had to be on a parallel track.
“One of our first priorities was to make the fish seem appealing,” he continued. “Fish are slimy, scaly things and we wanted the audience to love our characters. One way to make them more attractive was to make them luminous. We ultimately came up with three kinds of fish—gummy, velvety and metallic. The gummy variety, which includes Marlin and Nemo, has a density and warmth to it. We used backlighting and rim lights to add to their appeal and take the focus off their scaly surface quality. The velvety category, which includes Dory, has a soft texture to it. The metallic group was more of the typical scaly fish. We used this for the schools of fish.”
Eggleston and Calahan shared a love for the soft, bright Technicolor films of the 1940s and had frequently discussed making a CG animated film that looked like it was from that period of time. With “Nemo,” they got their chance. The underwater setting lent itself to soft backgrounds and characters with a glow around them.
Eggleston said, “‘Nemo’ doesn’t look like a three-strip Technicolor film, but rather a modern version of the quality you could achieve with this process. Another big inspiration for us was Disney’s ‘Bambi.’ It’s a very impressionistic film. Things fall off in the backgrounds, and you focus on the characters. That’s the approach we adopted. The film begins with an intense Garden of Eden coral reef. From there, the underwater backgrounds tend to become more impressionistic with just a mountain or sandy bottom in view.”
“A big part of our job was creating believable underwater environments,” said Calahan. “And that took on many forms since we had clear water, super-murky water and even water in a fish tank. We had to figure out the common elements so that stylistically we could tie them all together.”
Calahan credited Stanton with “having an amazing eye for forms and designs. Design themes and strong graphic elements are really important to him and he really gravitates towards them—which is great because it creates a strong visual structure for the film. He’s also a lot of fun to work with because he is willing to take some risks and experiment. Andrew also took a real interest in what lighting could do to plus the emotional content of the movie.”
THE SOUNDS OF “FINDING NEMO”
Thomas Newman’s Score and Gary Rydstrom’s Sound Effects Add Authenticity
Music and sound effects are integral parts of any motion picture experience and the filmmakers at Pixar have always used these elements to maximum advantage. With “Finding Nemo,” director Andrew Stanton collaborated with composer Thomas Newman and multiple Oscar®-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom.
Co-director Lee Unkrich described Newman’s music for “Nemo” as “a very lush orchestral score that has a lot of very quirky and interesting instrumentation layered in. There’s an unexpected quality about it. You don’t always know what you’re hearing or what some of the sounds are.”
Producer Graham Walters added, “Thomas would play everything for us on his keyboard sequencer at his house. Towards the end of production, we would go down there almost once a week and hear all the music to picture mocked up in his studio. It was an unbelievably good working experience. By the time we got to the recording sessions, we had heard everything, but it sounded so much better with a 105-piece orchestra. For our film, he also did his signature overdubs, where he goes in with his posse ahead of time and records things to go on top of the orchestral stuff. With the turtle drive scene, the music breaks into a full-on classic surf rock sound. His score is very classy and it plays the emotions a lot.”
Multiple Oscar®-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom lent his incredible talent to complete the experience of “Finding Nemo.” Complementing the visual excitement of the film, Rydstrom’s inventive catalogue of sounds adds to the sensation of being underwater. “This was a movie with no feet, no footsteps and no traditional foley,” said Rydstrom. “So one of the basic things we had to do was make a believable movement track for all the various fish, and give each of them their own character. One of my favorite sounds was the one we came up with for Nemo’s damaged fin. It has a little flutter almost like a wing flap. I created a very simple flapping sound with a paper towel. There’s almost a hummingbird quality to it. Marlin propels himself with tail flaps so he sounds a bit neurotic. Dory makes more of a smooth cutting sound as she moves through the water. She’s just going through life having a good time. We tried every trick in the book to differentiate the main characters with sound.
“For the sharks,” Rydstrom continued, “I used a device where I could modulate real sounds with my voice. I took real water sounds of various types and growled into a microphone so that my vocal characteristics would shape the river-gurgle sound or whatever we happened to be using. This gave a deep scary feeling to their water movement. If you listen carefully during the shark chase, the water sounds are saying ‘Nemo.’ It’s kind of my own subliminal Beatles trick.”
Rydstrom’s team dipped microphones into aquariums to help differentiate that with the sounds of the sea. “Occasionally, you hear weird, cheesy filter buzzes, goofy bubbles and things that happen in real aquariums,” he said.
Rydstrom recorded sounds in the ocean, in Jacuzzis and even in a coastal cave to get the sound of water sloshing and crashing. The latter ended up being used to approximate the inside of the whale. The sound of Marlin and Dory bouncing on jellyfish proved to be a bit elusive. Rydstrom finally got the desired effect when he bounced his finger on a hot water bottle to get the nice little muted, watery “glug” sound he wanted.
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Now that “Finding Nemo” is returning to the big screen and into fans’ homes in a whole new way, Stanton says he looks forward to sharing the film with a whole new generation. “My favorite memory of making this film is the fact that ‘Finding Nemo’ forced me to form a new relationship with the ocean. I’d always respected the ocean—and feared it at the same time. But to make this film, I learned to dive. I went to amazing locations. I made an amazing group of friends—all centered around this amazing, real environment. It was a privilege getting to know the ocean better.”
ABOUT THE TALENT
ALBERT BROOKS (voice of Marlin) is among the most inventive practitioners of motion picture comedy, as well as one of its most incisive commentators on contemporary life. Brooks began his career as a stand-up comic, and went on to become an award-winning actor, writer and filmmaker and best-selling author.
His recent role in “Drive,” playing the villain Bernie Rose, garnered him a Golden Globe® nomination and 17 Best Supporting Actor wins from the country’s major critics groups including The National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle. In December he will be starring with Paul Rudd in “This is 40,” Judd Apatow’s sequel to “Knocked Up.”
His first novel “2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America,” published in 2011, was a New York Times bestseller. Brooks has written, directed and starred in seven feature films, many of which have been named the best comedies of all time from numerous critics and The American Film Institute: “Real Life,” “Modern Romance,” “Lost In America,” “Defending Your Life,” “Mother,” “The Muse” and “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World.”
He is also known for his numerous voice-over characters, some of which include Hank Scorpio, Brad Goodman and Jacques the bowling instructor from “The Simpsons.” He also played Russ Cargill, the villain in “The Simpsons Movie.”
Brooks made his acting debut in Martin Scorsese’s 1976 classic, “Taxi Driver.” His other acting credits include such films as “Private Benjamin,” “Unfaithfully Yours,” “I’ll Do Anything,” “Critical Care,” “Out of Sight” and “My First Mister.” He earned an Academy Award® nomination for his performance in “Broadcast News.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Brooks studied drama at Carnegie Mellon University before starting his performing career in 1968, doing stand-up comedy on network television. He began on “The Steve Allen Show,” later became a regular on “The Dean Martin Show” and performed on such variety programs as “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Merv Griffin Show” and “The Hollywood Palace.” He had more than 40 appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”
Brooks has recorded two comedy albums: “Comedy Minus One” and “A Star is Bought,” the latter earning him a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Comedy Recording. His first directorial effort was in 1972 for the PBS series “The Great American Dream Machine.” He adapted an article he had written for Esquire Magazine, “Albert Brooks’ Famous School for Comedians,” into a short film. Following this, he created six short films for the debut season of “Saturday Night Live.”
Brooks was honored by the American Film Institute with a retrospective of his work at the first U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo. He is married to artist Kimberly Brooks and has two children.
Beloved television icon and entertainment pioneer, ELLEN DEGENERES’ (voice of Dory) distinctive comic voice has resonated with audiences from her first stand-up comedy appearances through her work today on television, in film and in the literary world.
DeGeneres made a home for herself in the daytime arena with her hit syndicated talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Entering its tenth season on September 10,the show earned 38 Daytime Emmy® Awards in nine seasons. Additionally, DeGeneres has won 12 People’s Choice Awards and most recently, the Teen Choice Award for Choice Comedian for a third consecutive year. Additionally, the show won two Genesis Awards and a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Talk Show Episode.
DeGeneres was included in Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women and was featured in Entertainment Weekly’s 50 Most Powerful Entertainers. She was honored with Television Week’s Syndication Personality of the Year and has been included in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.
DeGeneres had the honor of hosting the highly rated 79th Annual Academy Awards® and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. In addition to hosting the Oscars®, DeGeneres has hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards three times. Her performance hosting the 2001 awards show garnered rave reviews for its perfect balance of wit and heartfelt emotion to the post-September 11 telecast audience. DeGeneres served as host for other industry events including the 38th and 39th Annual GRAMMY® Awards, for which she earned an Emmy nomination.
DeGeneres also received critical success for her HBO stand-up specials. “The Beginning” received two Emmy® nominations in 2001 and the special entitled “Here and Now” was also nominated for two Emmys in 2003.
DeGeneres, an accomplished best-selling author, released her third book titled, “Seriously…I’m Kidding,” which includes a compilation of photos, quotes and stories from her life. DeGeneres’ second book, “The Funny Thing Is…,” comprised of the author’s comedic short stories and essays, hit the New York Times’ bestseller list upon its release. In 2005, DeGeneres was nominated for a GRAMMY® for Best Comedy Album for the audio version of the book. Her first book, “My Point…And I Do Have One,” published in 1995, debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
This past year, DeGeneres brought awareness to the anti-bullying issue by creating a PSA titled “Be Kind.” DeGeneres and the show partnered with the Trevor Project and the Pacer Center to raise money and awareness for the cause. DeGeneres also showed support for her hometown, New Orleans, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, leading to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” raising more than $10 million to improve the lives of New Orleans residents.
DeGeneres continues to share her love of animals and has brought attention to the Gentle Barn, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates animals. Overall, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has raised more than $50 million and brought attention to various causes, including global warming and breast cancer awareness. Additionally, DeGeneres served as spokesperson for General Mills’ breast cancer awareness initiative, Pink for the Cure, and hosted special episodes of her show to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
DeGeneres’ career began as an emcee at a local comedy club in New Orleans, which led to national recognition in 1982, when her videotaped club performances won Showtime’s Funniest Person In America honor. When DeGeneres moved to Los Angeles, she filmed her first HBO Special, “Young Comedians Reunion,” then in 1986, “Women of the Night.” That same year, DeGeneres became the first female comedian to sit down with Johnny Carson after her performance.
DeGeneres began her acting career in television on Fox’s sitcom “Open House.” She moved on to ABC’s “Laurie Hill,” prior to being offered a part on that network’s “These Friends of Mine.” After the first season, the show was renamed “Ellen.” Running from 1994 to 1998, the show garnered record ratings, with DeGeneres receiving Emmy® nominations each season in the Best Actress category. In 1997, DeGeneres was the recipient of the coveted Peabody Award and earned an Emmy® for writing the critically acclaimed “Puppy Episode” in which her character came out as a gay woman to a record 46 million viewers. DeGeneres followed with the CBS sitcom “The Ellen Show,” which ran from 2001 to 2002.
In the course of producing and starring in “Ellen,” DeGeneres received numerous accolades, including the People’s Choice Award in 1995, two Golden Globe® nominations and two Screen Actors Guild nominations. Other television credits include executive producing and starring with Sharon Stone in the Emmy®-nominated “If These Walls Could Talk 2” for HBO, as well as a guest appearance on “The Larry Sanders Show,” for which she received another Emmy nomination. DeGeneres also served as the fourth judge on “American Idol” during its ninth season alongside Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi.
On the big screen, DeGeneres scored unprecedented popular and critical response to her character Dory, the forgetful fish in Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Nemo.” DeGeneres’ feature film credits include “EDtv” for director Ron Howard, “Mr. Wrong,” “The Love Letter” for DreamWorks, New Regency’s “Goodbye Lover” and “Coneheads.”
In May 2010, DeGeneres announced eleveneleven, a record label created in partnership with Telepictures, which finds new acts and platforms them on the talk show with the first release of 12-year-old Internet singing sensation Greyson Chance.
DeGeneres is a sought-after spokesperson who’s been featured in highly successful and popular campaigns including American Express, CoverGirl and JCPenney.
After completing his work on “Finding Nemo” at age 9, ALEXANDER GOULD (voice of Nemo) began his eight-year run as Mary Louise Parker’s youngest son in the Showtime hit series “Weeds.”
During this time, Gould also provided the voice for Bambi in Disney’s “Bambi II,” as well narrating a variety of children’s books for Scholastic. Gould’s guest-star appearances include “Criminal Minds,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Pushing Daisies” and “Supernatural.”
Gould is currently setting his career aside to pursue higher education.
WILLEM DAFOE’s (voice of Gill) first feature role was in Kathryn Bigelow and Monty Montgomery’s “The Loveless.” He has subsequently performed in over 80 films. In Hollywood: “Spider-Man,” “The English Patient,” “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” “Clear and Present Danger,” “White Sands,” “Mississippi Burning,” “Streets of Fire” and “American Dreamz.” Independent cinema in the United States: “The Clearing,” “Animal Factory,” “The Boondock Saints” and “American Psycho.” Abroad: Theo Angelopoulos’ “The Dust of Time,” Ho Yim’s “Pavillion of Women,” Yurek Bogayevicz’s “Edges of the Lord,” Wim Wenders’ “Faraway, So Close!” Nobuhiro Suwa’s segment of “Paris je t’aime,” Brian Gilbert’s “Tom & Viv,” Christian Carion’s “Farewell,” Steve Bendelack’s “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” and the Spierig brothers’ “Daybreakers.”
He has chosen projects for their diversity of roles and for the opportunity to work with strong directors including Wes Anderson (“The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox”), Martin Scorsese (“The Aviator,” “The Last Temptation of Christ”), Spike Lee (“Inside Man”), Julian Schnabel (“Miral,” “Basquiat”), Paul Schrader (“Auto Focus,” “Affliction,” “Light Sleeper,” “The Walker,” “Adam Resurrected”), David Cronenberg (“eXistenZ”), Abel Ferrara (“4:44 Last Day On Earth”, “Go Go Tales,” “New Rose Hotel”), David Lynch (“Wild at Heart”), William Friedkin (“To Live and Die in L.A.”), Werner Herzog (“My Son My Son, What Have Ye Done”), Oliver Stone (“Born on the Fourth of July,” “Platoon”), Giada Colagrande (“A Woman,” “Before It Had a Name”) and Lars von Trier (“Antichrist,” “Manderlay”).
He was twice nominated for an Academy Award® (“Platoon” and “Shadow of the Vampire”) and once for the Golden Globe®. He was recently nominated for an AACTA Award (Australian Academy Cinema Television Arts) in the category of Best Lead Actor for his work in “The Hunter.” Among other nominations and awards, Dafoe received a Los Angeles Film Critics Award and an Independent Spirit Award for “Shadow of the Vampire.”
His upcoming films include Scott Cooper’s “Out of the Furnace,” David Jacobson’s “Tomorrow You’re Gone” and Stephen Sommers’ “Odd Thomas.”
Dafoe is one of the founding members of The Wooster Group, the New York-based experimental theater collective. He created and performed in all of the group’s work from 1977 through 2005, both nationally and internationally. Since then, he worked with Richard Foreman in “Idiot Savant” at the Public Theater (NYC) and most recently abroad in Robert Wilson’s “The Life & Death of Marina Abramovic.”
BRAD GARRETT (voice of Bloat) was only 23 years old when he first appeared on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” making him one of the youngest comedians ever featured. As Garrett’s career propelled, he began headlining at national venues and opened for legendary singers Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Liza Minnelli and Sammy Davis Jr.
Garrett is best known for his role Robert Barone on the Emmy®-winning CBS series “Everybody Loves Raymond,” for which he won three individual Emmys. Garrett starred as Jackie Gleason in the telefilm “Gleason,” which earned him both Emmy and Screen Actors Guild nominations. Additionally, he starred on Broadway opposite Matthew Broderick in Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple.”
Garrett’s live-action film credits include “Music and Lyrics,” “Suicide Kings,” “The Pacifier” and Woody Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown.” He will be seen in “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” and David Chase’s directorial feature debut “Not Fade Away.” In animation, Garrett’s trademark voice has been featured in more than 20 films, including the contemporary classics “Casper,” “Ratatouille” and “Tangled.”
Garret currently co-stars in the ABC series “How to Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life.”
Garrett recently opened his own comedy club at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. He hopes the club will provide both legendary comedians and the next generation of comics a place in Las Vegas to call home.
Displaying astonishing versatility with a wide range of roles, ALLISON JANNEY (voice of Peach) has taken her place among a select group of actors who combine a leading lady’s profile with a character actor’s art of performance. Janney has been busy with back-to-back films, completing production on Lynn Shelton’s “Touchy Feely” and the untitled Christian Camargo project also starring William Hurt and Jean Reno. She is currently filming “The Way, Way Back” with Steve Carrell and Toni Collette and is lending her voice to the DreamWorks’ animated film “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.” Next up for Janney is “The Oranges,” alongside Catherine Keener and Hugh Laurie; “Liberal Arts” with Josh Radnor; and “Struck By Lightning” with Chris Colfer. She co-starred in the much anticipated feature film “The Help,” based on the best-selling novel of the same name. For their extraordinary performances, the cast won Ensemble awards from the Screen Actors Guild, National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics. Additionally, the film was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Picture.
Janney has delighted audiences with outstanding performances in the Oscar®-winning ensemble hit “Juno” and in the movie version of the Tony Award®-winning play “Hairspray.” For her role in Todd Solondz’s film “Life During Wartime,” she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress. Additionally, she appeared in Sam Mendes’ “Away We Go,” the comedy “Strangers with Candy” and was heard as the voice of Gladys in DreamWorks’ “Over the Hedge.”
Janney received another Spirit Award nomination for her work in the independent feature “Our Very Own” and starred opposite Meryl Streep in “The Hours,” which received a SAG Award® nomination for Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture. Other feature credits include the Academy Award®-winning film “American Beauty” (for which she won a SAG Award® for Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture) as well as “Nurse Betty,” “How to Deal,” “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Primary Colors,” “The Ice Storm,” “Six Days Seven Nights,” “The Object of My Affection” and “Big Night.”
Throughout her career, Janney has made a handful of memorable guest-starring appearances on television, but she is renowned for her starring role in the acclaimed NBC series “The West Wing,” for which she won a remarkable four Emmy® Awards and four SAG Awards® for her portrayal of White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg.
While a freshman studying acting at Kenyon College in Ohio, Janney auditioned for Paul Newman and got the part. Soon after, Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward suggested she study at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. She followed their advice and went on to make her Broadway debut in Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter,” for which she earned the Outer Critics Circle Award and Clarence Derwent Award. She also appeared in Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge,” receiving her first Tony Award® nomination and winning the Outer Critics Circle Award. Janney was last seen on Broadway in the musical “9 to 5,” for which she earned a Tony nomination and won the Drama Desk Award.
Film actor, stage actor and director AUSTIN PENDLETON (voice of Gurgle) will soon be seen in “HairBrained,” “He’s Way More Famous Than You,” “Black Box” and “Omphalos.” Recent credits include “Hans: A Case Study,” for which he portrayed Sigmund Freud, and “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” For the small screen, he recently appeared in “Game Change” as Senator Joe Lieberman, “Person of Interest,” “Fake Henrik Zetterberg,” “Cupid” and “Life on Mars.”
Raised in Warren, Ohio, Pendleton fell in love with performing as a child when his mother acted with and directed the local Trumbull New Theatre group as they rehearsed and performed in the Pendletons’ living room. As a teenager Pendleton formed his own theater group with friends, the Atlantic Players. He later worked with the Williamstown Theater Festival while attending Yale, earning a degree in English in 1961.
Pendleton made his off-Broadway debut in 1963 in the play “Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in The Closet And I’m Feeling So Sad.” His other New York credits of that period include “Fiddler on the Roof” (1964), in which he originated the role of Motel the tailor, “The Little Foxes” (1967) and “The Last Sweet Days of Isaac” (1970).
The Williamstown Festival invited Pendleton to direct “Tartuffe” in 1969, and in 1972 he directed the Festival’s production of “Uncle Vanya.” Pendleton retains a relationship with the Festival, as both actor and associate director. His Broadway directing credits include “Say Goodnight Gracie” (1979) and the multiple Tony®-nominated “The Little Foxes” (1981), which marked Elizabeth Taylor’s Broadway debut.
A Chicago director requested that Pendleton bring “Say Goodnight, Gracie” to Chicago in 1979, insisting Pendleton direct it using a young company of actors called Steppenwolf. The cast, which included John Malkovich and Joan Allen, breathed such new life into the play that Austin completely re-adapted the production for his new cast. It marked the beginning of Pendleton’s relationship with Steppenwolf Theatre, for whom he later directed “Loose Ends” (1982), “The Three Sisters” (1984) and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1987). In 1987, he was granted full membership in Steppenwolf.
Pendleton has written three plays: “Booth,” whose first New York production was in 1994; “Uncle Bob,” produced in New York, then staged at Steppenwolf and the Edinburgh Festival in 1995; and “Orson’s Shadow,” which premiered at Steppenwolf in 2000 and is currently touring.
His film debut came in 1968 in director Richard Lester’s “Petulia.” His more than 65 film credits include “Catch-22” (1970), “What’s Up, Doc?” (1972), “The Front Page” (1974), “The Muppet Movie” (1979), “Starting Over” (1979), “My Cousin Vinny” (1992), “Searching for Bobby Fischer” (1993), “Guarding Tess” (1994), “Don’t Drink the Water” (1994), “The Fifteen Minute Hamlet” (1995), “Amistad” (1997), “A Beautiful Mind” (2001), “Counting Sheep” (2002), “Christmas with the Kranks” (2004), “Piccadilly Jim” (2005) and “Lovely by Surprise” (2007).
STEPHEN ROOT (voice of Bubbles) is one of Hollywood’s most prolific character actors, with more than 100 film and television credits on his extensive resume.
Root’s recent credits include “Cedar Rapids” with Ed Helms, “Everything Must Go” with Will Ferrell, “The Conspirator,” directed by Robert Redford, and the voices of Doc and Merrimack in Paramount’s animated feature “Rango,” starring Johnny Depp and directed by Gore Verbinski.
Root stars in Kevin Smith’s film “Red State.” Smith self-released the film following a nationwide tour that included packed screenings and Q&As. The tour launched at New York’s Radio City Music Hall with Root in attendance.
Root appears in the biopic “J. Edgar,” opposite Leonardo DiCaprio for director Clint Eastwood, playing Arthur Koehler, a wood specialist who helps Hoover piece together the mystery of the Lindbergh kidnapping. Root also appears in Universal Pictures’ “Big Miracle,” opposite John Krasinski, Kristen Bell and Drew Barrymore, and directed by Ken Kwapis.
Root has earned rave reviews for bringing a variety of characters to life in such films as “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Leatherheads,” “The Men Who Stare at Goats” and “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.” He was catapulted into the realm of cult heroes when he starred as the put-upon Milton Waddams in Mike Judge’s “Office Space.” His animated features include “Ice Age,” “Ice Age: The Meltdown” and “The Country Bears.” Root’s videos include “The Fox and the Hound 2,” “Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare” and “Dr. Doolittle: Million Dollar Mutts.”
Root starred as the eccentric station owner Jimmy James on NBC’s “NewsRadio.” He’s recurred on “True Blood,” “24,” “The West Wing” and “Pushing Daisies,” as well as “Justified” on FX. His many memorable guest appearances include “Californication,” “The Defenders,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “Louie.”
Root was the voice of Bill and Mr. Strickland on FOX’s Emmy®-winning hit animated series “King of the Hill” for an impressive 13 seasons. He also lent his voice to a number of animated series including “American Dad,” “Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness” and Syfy’s “Tripping the Rift.”
Born in Sarasota, Root majored in acting and broadcasting at the University of Florida and remains a diehard Gator fan. After three years of touring the U.S. and Canada with the National Shakespeare Company, Root settled in New York, honing his craft in many regional theaters and starring off-Broadway in “Journey’s End” and “The Au Pair Man.” His Broadway debut came in “So Long on Lonely Street,” which was followed by the Tony Award®-winning production of “All My Sons” with Richard Kiley. A starring role as Boolie in the Broadway national touring company of “Driving Miss Daisy” with Julie Harris brought Root to Los Angeles where he currently resides. He starred with Helen Hunt and Lyle Lovett in “Much Ado About Nothing,” an LA Shakespeare production.
VICKI LEWIS (voice of Deb/Flo) starred as Beth on the hit NBC series “Newsradio” and as Nora on NBC’s “Three Sisters.” She stars as Dr. Sonya on “How I Met Your Mother” and has had recurring and guest-starring roles on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “The Middle,” “Bones,” “Dirt,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “‘Til Death,” “Surviving Suburbia,” “Sonny with a Chance,” “Melissa & Joey,” “Caroline in the City,” “Norm,” “The 5 Mrs. Buchanans,” “Phenom,” “Murphy Brown,” “Grace Under Fire,” “Seinfeld” and “Home Improvement.”
Film and TV credits include “The Ugly Truth,” “Den Brother,” “Always a Bride,” “Last Day of Summer,” “Californina Dreaming,’” “Godzilla,” “Mousehunt,” “Pushing Tin,” “I’ll Do Anything,” “The Huntress,” “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Breakfast of Champions.” Her voice can be heard in “Alpha and Omega,” “Wonder Woman,” “Justice League: The New Frontier,” “Doctor Doolittle: Million Dollar Mutts,” “Scooby Doo,” “Ben 10,” “Betsy’s KinderGarten Adventures,” “King Of The Hill,” “Rugrats,” “An Extremely Goofy Movie” and “Phineas and Ferb.” Lewis also voices Wonder Woman in the “Batman” series for Warner Bros.
She starred in the Broadway productions of “Chicago,” the Tony® nominated “Damn Yankees,” “An Evening With the Pops” at Carnegie Hall and “Pal Joey” (opposite Patti Lupone and Peter Gallagher) for Encores. Lewis also performed “Chicago” in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. She received the Ovation Award for her performance in the world premiere of Michael John Lachiusa’s “Hotel C’est L’amour” at The Blank Theatre in Los Angeles, and was nominated for an Ovation Award for her performance in “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” for Reprise. Also for Reprise: “I Love My Wife,” “My One and Only,” “City of Angels” and “Carol Burnett In Conversation.” Lewis starred in “Funny Girl,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Into the Woods” and “Gypsy” for California Music Circus. Her debut album “East of Midnight” is available on iTunes. She can be seen in her autobiographical solo show “It’s Always Eleven O’Clock.”
A beloved Disney•Pixar storyman, the late JOE RANFT (voice of Jacques) was widely regarded as one of the top story specialists in the animation field. Dedicating 14 years of his career to Pixar Animation Studios, he played a major role in writing and shaping many of the studio’s blockbuster hits. He helped to conceive the original story, along with Pixar’s John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter, for “Toy Story” and served as story supervisor on the film. He served in the same capacity for “Toy Story 2” and “A Bug’s Life,” and was a story artist on “Monsters, Inc.” He was head of story for “Cars” prior to his passing in 2005.
Born in Pasadena, Calif., and raised in Whittier, Ranft studied animation at CalArts for two years before joining the Disney animation team in 1980. He trained under legendary animator Eric Larson and cut his teeth as a storyman on “The Brave Little Toaster,” as well as an EPCOT Center TV special and early versions of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and “The Great Mouse Detective.” He went on to provide storyboard work for “Oliver & Company” and “The Little Mermaid” before moving up to head of story on “The Rescuers Down Under.” He and Mark Kausler also storyboarded the hysterical “What’s Cookin’?” cartoon.
In 1990, Ranft moved to Seattle for a year to write a children’s book, and he relocated to the San Francisco area the following year to work with both Pixar and Henry Selick on their respective films. His credits include Selick’s innovative stop-motion projects, “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993) and “James and the Giant Peach” (1996).In addition to his story credits on “Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2” and “Monsters, Inc.,” Ranft provided additional voices for all the Pixar features, including Lenny the Binoculars in “Toy Story,” insatiably ravenous Heimlich the Caterpillar in “A Bug’s Life,” Wheezy the Penguin in “Toy Story 2,” Pete “Claws” Ward in “Monsters, Inc.,” and for “Cars,” he lent his voice to both Red the fire truck and Peterbilt.
GEOFFREY RUSH (voice of Nigel), an acclaimed actor who started his career in Australian theater, has appeared in over 70 theatrical productions and more than 20 feature films. A multiple award winner, Rush catapulted to fame with his starring role in director Scott Hicks’ feature “Shine,” for which he won an Academy Award® for Best Actor, a Golden Globe®, SAG Award®, BAFTA, Film Critics’ Circle of Australia Award, Broadcast Film Critics, Australian Film Institute and New York and Los Angeles Film Critics’ Awards. In addition, Rush won an Emmy®, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for his captivating performance as the title character in HBO Films’ “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.” He also earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Philip Kaufman’s “Quills,” and Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominations for his role in “Shakespeare in Love.”
Recent film credits include Weinstein Company’s “The King’s Speech,” in which he starred as speech therapist Lionel Logue and served as executive producer. He won the BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor and earned an Academy Award® nomination, a Golden Globe® nomination and a SAG nomination. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture. His film projects include Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” He starred in all three previous films in the Pirates series, which grossed more than $2.7 billion worldwide. Rush will appear in Giuseppe Tornatore’s “The Best Offer.” Other credits include “The Warrior’s Way,” “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole,” “Munich,” “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” “Candy,” “Intolerable Cruelty,” “Ned Kelly,” “Lantana,” “Frida,” “The Tailor of Panama,” “House on Haunted Hill,” “Mystery Men,” “Les Miserables,” “A Little Bit of Soul,” “Children of the Revolution,” “Dad and Dave: On Our Selection,” “Twelfth Night,” “Oscar and Lucinda” and “Starstruck.”
Rush received a degree in English at the University of Queensland, then studied at the Jaques Lecoq School of Mime, Movement and Theater in Paris. Returning to Australia, he starred in the theater production of “King Lear.” He also co-starred with Mel Gibson in “Waiting for Godot.” He was a principal member of Jim Sharman’s pioneering Lighthouse Ensemble in the early 1980s playing leading roles in many classics. His work on stage was honored with the Sydney Theatre Critics’ Circle Award for Most Outstanding Performance, the Variety Club Award for Best Actor and the 1990 Victorian Green Room Award for his performance in Neil Armfield’s “The Diary of a Madman.” He also received Best Actor nominations from the Sydney Theatre Critics’ Circle Awards for his starring roles in Gogol’s “The Government Inspector,” Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” and Mamet’s “Oleanna.” In 1994, he received the prestigious Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award for his work in theatre. In 2009, Rush won a Tony Award® for Best Leading Actor in a Play for his acclaimed performance as the ailing king in Eugene Ionesco’s comedy “Exit the King.” Rush recently starred in the stage production of “The Diary of a Madman” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for which he received rave reviews.
Rush lives in Melbourne with his wife, Jane, and their two children.
ELIZABETH PERKINS (voice of Coral) has distinguished herself with an eclectic mix of roles over the span of her career. Her critically acclaimed performance in “Weeds” earned her 2006 and 2007 Golden Globe® nominations and 2006, 2007 and 2009 Emmy® nominations for Best Supporting Actress.
Perkins made her feature-film debut in Ed Zwick’s “About Last Night.” Her breakthrough performance was opposite Tom Hanks in the smash hit “Big,” directed by Penny Marshall, and she received critical acclaim for her performance in Barry Levinson’s “Avalon.” In 1991, she starred opposite William Hurt in the touching drama “The Doctor,” and with Kevin Bacon in “He Said, She Said.” She went on to star in “Indian Summer” before bringing cartoon character Wilma Flintstone to life in the blockbuster motion picture “The Flintstones.” Perkins portrayed Dorey Walker in the John Hughes-produced remake of the 1947 holiday classic “Miracle on 34th Street” with Sir Richard Attenborough. She co-starred opposite Kathleen Turner, Gwyneth Paltrow and Whoopi Goldberg in “Moonlight and Valentino.”
Perkins’ credits include “From the Hip”; “Sweet Hearts Dance” with Jeff Daniels and Susan Sarandon; Alan Rudolph’s “Love at Large”; “Enid is Sleeping;” “Lesser Prophets”; Bruce Wagner’s independent film “I’m Losing You,” co-starring Frank Langella, Rosanna Arquette and Amanda Donohoe; “Crazy In Alabama,” directed by Antonio Banderas and co-starring Melanie Griffith, Paul Mazursky and Cathy Moriarty; the independent feature “Under the Mimosa,” co-starring Brad Renfro and directed and written by Bo Brinkman; “28 Days,” opposite Sandra Bullock; “Cats & Dogs”; “Jiminy Glick in Lalawood”; “The Ring Two”; “Must Love Dogs”; “Fierce People”; and “Hop.”
Perkins made her television debut in “For Their Own Good.” Her other television projects include “Baby 2000,” Showtime’s “Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Women,” “What Girls Learn,” “Speak,” the miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon,” and the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of “My Sister’s Keeper,” opposite Kathy Bates.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
ANDREW STANTON (Writer-Director/voice of Crush) is vice president, creative, for Pixar Animation Studios. He made his directorial debut with the box office record-shattering “Finding Nemo,” an original story that he co-wrote. The 2003 feature film garnered Stanton two Academy Award® nominations for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Screenplay. The film won the Oscar® for Best Animated Feature, the first such honor Pixar Animation Studios ever received for a feature film.
On September 14, 2012, “Finding Nemo” will be released in Digital 3D™ for a limited theatrical engagement and will be released for the first time ever in high-definition Blu-ray™ and Blu-ray 3D™ on December 4, 2012.
Stanton has been a major creative force at Pixar Animation Studios since 1990, when he became the second animator and ninth employee to join the company’s group of computer animation pioneers. As vice president, creative, he currently oversees all feature and shorts development for the studio.
One of the four screenwriters to receive an Oscar® nomination in 1996 for his contribution to “Toy Story,” Stanton went on to contribute as a screenwriter on many subsequent Pixar films, including “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Finding Nemo.” Stanton wrote and directed the Academy Award®-winning feature film “WALL•E,” for which he also received a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination.
Stanton served as co-director on “A Bug’s Life” and was the executive producer of “Monsters, Inc.” and the Academy Award®-winning films “Ratatouille” and “Up.” His most recent executive producer credit is for Disney•Pixar’s feature film “Brave.”
In addition to his multiaward-winning animation work, Stanton made his live-action writing and directing debut with Disney’s “John Carter,” released in March 2012.
A native of Rockport, Massachusetts, Stanton earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Character Animation from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), where he completed two student films. In the 1980s, he launched his professional career in Los Angeles, animating for Bill Kroyer’s Kroyer Films and writing for Ralph Bakshi’s production of “Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures” (1987).
LEE UNKRICH (Co-Director) is an Academy Award®-winning director at Pixar Animation Studios and the vice president, editorial & layout.
Unkrich co-directed the studio’s first-ever Oscar® winner for Best Animated Feature, the 2003 film “Finding Nemo.” As the director of Disney•Pixar’s critically-acclaimed box-office hit “Toy Story 3,” Unkrich was awarded an Academy Award®for Best Animated Feature. He was also nominated by the Academy in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay for his story credit on the film. In addition to his Oscar® win, Unkrich received the Golden Globe® for Best Animated Feature and the award for Best Animated Film from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).
Unkrich joined Pixar in April 1994 and has played a variety of key creative roles in nearly every animated feature film since his arrival. Before co-directing “Finding Nemo,” he was co-director for “Monsters, Inc.” and the Golden Globe®-winning “Toy Story 2.”
He began his Pixar career as a film editor on “Toy Story” and was supervising film editor on “A Bug’s Life.” Unkrich also contributed his editing skills to numerous Pixar films, including his role as supervising film editor on “Finding Nemo”.
In 2009, Unkrich and his fellow directors at Pixar were honored at the 66th Venice International Film Festival with the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Prior to joining Pixar, Unkrich worked in television as an editor and director. He graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in 1991, where he directed several award-winning short films.
A native of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Unkrich spent his youth acting at the Cleveland Playhouse. He lives in Marin County, Calif., with his wife and three children.
GRAHAM WALTERS (Producer) made his producing debut on “Finding Nemo” following a distinguished career as a technical director, supervising technical director and production manager in the world of computer animation. Walters served a seven-year stint at Pacific Data Images (PDI) before joining Pixar in 1994. His Pixar credits include contributions to “Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life,” and “Toy Story 2.”
In 2008, he executive produced the documentary “Ready, Set, Bag!”
Born in Paris, France, Walters spent his formative years in a variety of locations in the United States, England and Canada. At the University of Pennsylvania, he majored in computer science and engineering. Sponsored by fellowships from NASA and the National Science Foundation, he continued his graduate studies there and received a master’s degree in 1987.
At PDI, Walters worked on projects for Jim Henson Productions. At Pixar, he started as a technical director on “Toy Story,” served as supervising technical director on “A Bug’s Life” and went on to assume the role of production manager on “Toy Story 2.”
JOHN LASSETER (Executive Producer) is a two-time Academy Award®-winning director and creatively oversees all films and associated projects from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. Lasseter made his feature directorial debut in 1995 with “Toy Story,” the first-ever feature-length computer-animated film and, since then, has gone on to direct “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2” and “Cars.” He returned to the driver’s seat in 2011, directing “Cars 2.”
His executive-producing credits include “Monsters, Inc.,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “WALL•E,” “Bolt,” “Up” and “Brave.” Lasseter also served as executive producer for Disney’s Oscar®-nominated films “The Princess and the Frog” and “Tangled” as well as Pixar’s Academy Award® winner for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, “Toy Story 3,” which is based on a story written by Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich.
Lasseter wrote, directed and animated Pixar’s first short films, including “Luxo Jr.,” “Red’s Dream,” “Tin Toy” and “Knick Knack.” “Luxo Jr.” was the first three-dimensional computer-animated film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award® when it was nominated for Best Animated Short Film in 1986; “Tin Toy” was the first three-dimensional computer-animated film ever to win an Academy Award® when it was named Best Animated Short Film in 1988. Lasseter has executive-produced all of the studio’s subsequent shorts, including “Boundin’,” “One Man Band,” “Lifted,” “Presto,” “Partly Cloudy,” “Day & Night” and the Academy Award®-winning “Geri’s Game” (1997) and “For the Birds” (2000).
Under Lasseter’s supervision, Pixar’s animated feature and short films have earned a multitude of critical accolades and film-industry honors. Lasseter himself received a Special Achievement Oscar® in 1995 for his inspired leadership of the “Toy Story” team. He and the rest of the screenwriting team of “Toy Story” also earned an Academy Award® nomination for Best Original Screenplay, the first time an animated feature had ever been recognized in that category.
In 2009, Lasseter was honored at the 66th Venice International Film Festival with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. The following year, he became the first producer of animated films to receive the Producers Guild of America’s David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures. Lasseter’s other recognitions include the 2004 Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery award from the Art Directors Guild, an honorary degree from the American Film Institute, and the 2008 Winsor McCay Award from ASIFA-Hollywood for career achievement and contribution to the art of animation.
Prior to the formation of Pixar in 1986, Lasseter was a member of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm Ltd., where he designed and animated “The Adventures of Andre and Wally B,” the first-ever piece of character-based three-dimensional computer animation, and the computer-generated Stained Glass Knight character in the 1985 Steven Spielberg-produced film “Young Sherlock Holmes.”
Lasseter was part of the inaugural class of the Character Animation program at California Institute of the Arts and received his B.F.A. in film in 1979. Lasseter is the only two-time winner of the Student Academy Award for Animation, for his CalArts student films “Lady and the Lamp” (1979) and “Nitemare” (1980). His very first award came at the age of 5, when he won $15 from the Model Grocery Market in Whittier, Calif., for a crayon drawing of the Headless Horseman.
BOB PETERSON (Screenplay by/voice of Mr. Ray) is an Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter and director at Pixar Animation Studios as well as the voice of several of the studio’s memorable characters. Peterson and his fellow writers, Andrew Stanton and David Reynolds, were recognized with an Oscar® nomination for Best Original Screenplay for Pixar’s 2003 film “Finding Nemo.” In addition to his writing contributions to the Oscar®-winning Best Animated Feature, Peterson lent his voice to the character of Mr. Ray, the tuneful manta ray teacher.
Peterson has been a key player at Pixar since 1994. His first assignment was as a layout artist and animator on “Toy Story.” He went on to work as a story artist on “A Bug’s Life” and “Toy Story 2” and as story supervisor on “Monsters, Inc.”
Peterson made his directorial debut as co-director of the Academy Award®-winning 2009 feature “Up.” Peterson, Pete Docter and Thomas McCarthy were nominated by the Academy for “Best Original Screenplay” for their work on the film. He is currently directing Disney•Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur,” scheduled for release in 2014.
Peterson has voiced several of Pixar’s most memorable animated characters, in addition to Mr. Ray from “Finding Nemo.” He was the voice of the aged chess-playing hero of the short “Geri’s Game,” the paperwork-obsessed slug-woman Roz in “Monsters, Inc.” and the lovable and loyal Dug the dog in “Up.”
Born in Wooster, Ohio, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and Dover, Ohio, Peterson earned his undergraduate degree from Ohio Northern University. While studying for a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana, Peterson had his first experience working in a computer graphics lab. It was there that he also first experienced cartooning, writing and drawing for “Loco-Motives,” a daily four-panel strip for Purdue University’s “Exponent” newspaper.
Upon graduating from Purdue, Peterson moved to Santa Barbara, California, to work for Maya creator Wavefront Technologies, and then to Hollywood-based Rezn8 Productions before joining Pixar in 1994.
He currently lives in San Francisco with his wife, three children and two dogs.
DAVID REYNOLDS (Screenplay by) is a veteran comedy writer whose film credits include the screenplay for Disney’s animated feature “The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000). He was one of the original staff writers on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”
In 2001, Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton asked Reynolds to join him and Bob Peterson to work on the “Finding Nemo” script. That following year of work with the Nemo creative team is still one of the most enjoyable of his career.
Besides “The Emperor’s New Groove,” Reynolds has contributed dialogue, gags and additional material to such Disney animated features as “Mulan,” “Tarzan,” “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” and “Chicken Little” as well as Disney•Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2” and “Toy Story 3.”
Reynolds is currently writing both live-action and animated movies as well as television. He and his wife, Dawn, have two daughters and two energetic dogs. They live in Los Angeles.
THOMAS NEWMAN (Composer) is widely acclaimed as one of today’s most prominent composers for film. He has composed music for more than 50 motion pictures and television series and has earned ten Academy Award® nominations and five GRAMMY® Awards.
He is the youngest son of Alfred Newman (1900-1970), the longtime musical director of 20th Century Fox and the composer of scores for such films as “Wuthering Heights,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “All About Eve.” As a child, Thomas Newman pursued basic music and piano studies. However, it was not until after his father’s death that the younger Newman, then age 14, felt charged with the desire to compose.
Newman studied composition and orchestration at USC with Professor Frederick Lesemann and noted film composer David Raksin, and privately with composer George Tremblay. He completed his academic work at Yale University, studying with Jacob Druckman, Bruce MacCombie and Robert Moore. Newman also gratefully acknowledges the early influence of another prominent musician, the legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, who served as a great mentor and champion.
A turning point in Newman’s career took place while he was working as a musical assistant on the 1984 film “Reckless,” for which he soon was promoted to the position of composer. At age 27, Newman successfully composed his first film score. Since then he has contributed distinctive and evocative scores to numerous acclaimed films, including “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “The Lost Boys,” “The Rapture,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “The Player,” “Scent of a Woman,” “Flesh and Bone,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Little Women,” “American Buffalo,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” “Oscar and Lucinda,” “The Horse Whisperer,” “Meet Joe Black,” “American Beauty,” “The Green Mile,” “Erin Brockovich,” “In the Bedroom,” “Road to Perdition,” “Finding Nemo,” “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” “Cinderella Man,” “Jarhead,” “Little Children,” “The Good German,” “Revolutionary Road” and “WALL•E.” His most recent projects include “The Debt,” “The Adjustment Bureau,” “The Help,” “The Iron Lady,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and HBO’s “The Newsroom.” Newman also composed the music for HBO’s acclaimed 6-hour miniseries “Angels in America,” directed by Mike Nichols. He received an Emmy® Award for his theme for the HBO original series “Six Feet Under.”
In addition to his work in film and television, Newman has composed several works for the concert stage, including the symphonic work “Reach Forth Our Hands,” commissioned in 1996 by the Cleveland Orchestra to commemorate the city’s bicentennial, as well as “At Ward’s Ferry, Length 180 ft.,” a concerto for double bass and orchestra commissioned in 2001 by the Pittsburgh Symphony. His latest concert piece was a chamber work entitled “It Got Dark,” commissioned by the acclaimed Kronos Quartet in 2009. As part of a separate commission by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the work was expanded and adapted for symphony orchestra and string quartet, and premiered at Walt Disney Concert Hall in December of 2009.
JOSHUA HOLLANDER (Director of 3D production) joined Pixar Animation Studios in November 2000 as modeling coordinator on the Academy Award®-winning feature “Finding Nemo.” After a year in this role, he moved on to manage Pixar’s first character department, also for “Finding Nemo.” Upon completion of his work in the character department, Hollander went on to work in Image Mastering as the Camera Manager for “Finding Nemo” and another Academy Award winning film, “The Incredibles.” For the 2005 Golden Globe®-winning feature “Cars” and the Academy Award®-winning feature “Ratatouille,” Hollander served as manager of image mastering, then became director of image mastering for the Academy Award®-winning feature films ” “WALL•E” and “Up.”
While working on “WALL•E,” Hollander began to assemble the team and processes for the 3D production of Pixar’s films, and as the requirements for 3D production at the studio have grown, Hollander let go of the image mastering process to focus on 3D. He has since supervised the 3D for Academy Award® winner “Toy Story 3,” the 2011 feature “Cars 2” and the most recently released feature film “Brave.” As director of 3D production, Hollander oversees all aspects of stereoscopic production at the studio, including new releases and re-releases.
In addition to working on “Finding Nemo” in 3D, Hollander is currently overseeing the 3D production of “Monsters, Inc.” re-releasing in 3D for a limited engagement on December 19, 2012, and Disney•Pixar’s upcoming feature, “Monsters University,” scheduled to release on June 21, 2013.
Prior to joining Pixar, Hollander worked in publicity and distribution in urban music in New York City, and as a producer and DJ of underground hip-hop. He is on the board of directors at Youth Movement Records, a nonprofit organization in Oakland, where he also mentors and teaches classes. Hollander has volunteered for other nonprofit organizations including The Jane Goodall Institute and the Oakland Animal Shelter.
A lifelong enthusiast of film and animation, one of Hollander’s earliest influences was the Disney feature film “Dumbo.” This film brought forth his strong feelings about animal rights and environmental protection, as well as creating an appreciation for the art of storytelling through animated film. He also cites the classic ’70s cartoons “The Herculoids,” “Thundarr the Barbarian” and “Battle of the Planets” as sparking his love of the medium.
Raised on the upper west side of Manhattan, Hollander received a degree in cultural anthropology from New York University and currently lives in the Bay Area.
BOB WHITEHILL (Stereoscopic Supervisor) began his career at Pixar Animation Studios in April 2004. Brought on as a layout artist on the Golden Globe®-winning feature “Cars,” he continued in this role on Pixar’s animated short film “Lifted” and the Academy Award®-winning film “WALL•E.” Whitehill served as layout supervisor for four of the Cars toons, “Mater and The Ghostlight,” “Rescue Squad Mater,” “El Materdor” and “Mater the Greater.”
Following his work on the short films, Whitehill moved on from the layout department to work as stereoscopic supervisor on the 3D production of the Academy Award®-winning feature “Up” and on the 3D conversion of the original “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” films. Whitehill continued as stereoscopic supervisor on the 3D production of Pixar’s Oscar®-winning “Toy Story 3,” Golden Globe®-nominated “Cars 2,” the most recent box-office success “Brave,” as well as the upcoming 3D re-releases of “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters, Inc.”
As stereoscopic supervisor, Whitehill determines how much depth—or 3D effect—is put into each shot of the 3D version of the film. His main focus is to create a rich, dimensional viewing experience that enhances the film’s storytelling and results in a comfortable viewing experience. In his work with the film’s directors, Whitehill determines a depth script to plan how to use 3D over the course of the film’s story. Once the depth script is established, he works to ensure the dimensionality, scale and consistency of that depth vision.
Prior to joining Pixar, Whitehill worked as a layout artist and supervisor at PDI/Dreamworks on various projects including “Antz,” “Shrek” and “Shrek 2.” One of Whitehill’s earliest influences in 3D work was Peter Anderson, a 30-year veteran of 3D filmmaking. Whitehill worked with Anderson on the Universal Studios theme park attraction “Shrek 4D.” John Lasseter’s passion for and interest in 3D has also been a great influence on Whitehill’s creative use of 3D in Pixar’s films.
Whitehill grew up in San Mateo, Calif., and attended college at Harvard University. He resides in Oakland with his family.