22 October 2012
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Go behind the scenes of Disney's new animated film WRECK-IT-RALPH where we meet old and new video arcade characters voiced by John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, and Adam Carolla. The cast and crew give you an in-depth look at the animated production.
ABOUT THE FILMFrom Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Wreck-It Ralph,” a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping adventure. For decades, Ralph has been overshadowed by Fix-It Felix Jr., the good-guy star of their game who always gets to save the day. Tired of playing the role of a bad guy, Ralph takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a journey across the arcade through multiple generations of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero.
“Ralph is the bad guy in an old 1980s arcade game who’s wondering—after 30 years of playing his assigned role—‘Is this it?’” says director Rich Moore. “So, like a lot of us, he tries to solve an internal problem with an external solution: he’s going to try to win a medal—if he could win just one, he thinks he’ll earn the kind of love and respect Felix gets.”
“So Ralph embarks on this journey across the arcade to try to earn that medal,” says producer Clark Spencer. “Of course, the real journey is for him—and everyone else—to realize that while he’s programmed to be one thing, it doesn’t mean that’s what he is on the inside.”
On his quest, Ralph meets tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty, and feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz from the candy-coated cart-racing game Sugar Rush, who may just be his first real friend. But everything changes when a deadly enemy is unleashed, threatening the entire arcade and Vanellope herself. Ralph finally gets his chance to save the day—but can he do it in time?
WRECK-IT RALPH Character Movie Posters
John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, is the executive producer of “Wreck-It Ralph.” “A good animated film like this does three things really well,” says Lasseter. “It tells a compelling story that’s unpredictable and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, it populates the story with really memorable and appealing characters, and it puts that story and those characters in a believable world.
“One of the things I love about ‘Wreck-It Ralph,’” continues Lasseter, “is that we have four really unique worlds. One is the 8-bit world of Fix-It Felix Jr., one is the hyper-realistic world of Hero’s Duty, and one is the super-cute Sugar Rush that has a Japanese anime flavor. The fourth world is Game Central Station, which is inspired by Grand Central Station in New York.”
According to Lasseter, filmmakers pulled out all the stops—visual development, art direction, animation, character development, visual effects, lighting, cinematography and music—to shape and differentiate each of the worlds. Nearly 190 unique characters populate the worlds—three times that of any other WDAS film—each designed to fit within its own world. Tying it all together is Ralph, who’s on an epic journey to find acceptance.
“‘Wreck-It Ralph’ is a road movie,” says screenwriter Phil Johnston. “It’s just a little more complicated with four different worlds. But whether your character’s stuck in a small town or in a land made of candy, someone has left home in search of something bigger. Ralph may go to these fantastic, diverse places, but he’s always true to himself—even as his character evolves.
“One of the really cool things about this movie is that the characters are real—despite being arcade-game characters,” continues Johnston. “They’re real people with real feelings.”
That emotion is what will most appeal to audiences, says Lasseter. “The hallmark of a Disney film is the heart and it’s the foundation of ‘Wreck-It Ralph.’ It is one of the funniest films I’ve ever been associated with—so clever and beautiful. But it’s the heart that just catches you by surprise.”
Adds Spencer, “The film takes place in the world of arcade-game characters with all the fun that goes with that, but at its core, it’s really a relatable story. We’ve all wondered at some point in our lives if maybe there’s something more out there. We’ve all imagined taking off on that adventure.”
“A good movie makes the audience feel like they’ve journeyed with the characters,” says Moore. “I think the audience will expect comedy and action. They’ll expect the state-of-the-art animation and spectacle that’ll blow them away. But I think they’ll be surprised by how much they’re going to love these characters.”
“Wreck-It Ralph” is directed by Moore (“The Simpsons,” “Futurama”), who won a directing Emmy® Award in the category of Outstanding Animated Program for “Futurama’s” “Roswell That Ends Well.” Moore also directed an Emmy® Award-winning episode of “The Simpsons” titled “Homer vs. Lisa and the Eighth Commandment.” Spencer (“Bolt,” “Lilo & Stitch”) produces. The screenplay was written by Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee based on a story by Moore, Johnston and Jim Reardon.
Providing the voice of Wreck-It Ralph is John C. Reilly, who received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the musical “Chicago” and starred in films including “Carnage,” “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “The Aviator” and “Step Brothers.” Emmy®-winning actress and comedian Sarah Silverman gives voice to Vanellope von Schweetz. Silverman starred in her own Comedy Central show, “The Sarah Silverman Program.,” and can be seen in the drama feature “Take This Waltz.” Tapped to voice Fix-It Felix, Jr. is Jack McBrayer, an Emmy® nominee for his role on “30 Rock” who can be seen in “The Campaign” and “The To-Do List.” Jane Lynch, who gives voice to Sergeant Calhoun, won Emmy® and Golden Globe® Awards for her role in “Glee.”
Filmmakers maximized the performances by pairing up cast members during their recording sessions. “In animation, we typically record the actors by themselves—it’s a good process, it works,” says Moore. “But a big part of my job is making the movie feel like it’s happening before the audience’s eyes, as if it’s just been captured on film and not worked on—frame by frame—for years. So to get a certain spontaneity in the performances of the actors by allowing them to work together—to look each other in the eye and act and react while recording their voice tracks—worked really well. It became a very collaborative room—me, the writers, the actors. It got crazy at times, but that’s when we knew we were getting close to finding gold.”
The voice cast also includes Alan Tudyk (“Suburgatory”) as King Candy, Mindy Kaling (“The Office”) as Taffyta Muttonfudge, Joe Lo Truglio (“Wanderlust”) as Markowski, Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”) as arcade owner Mr. Litwak, Dennis Haysbert (“The Unit”) as General Hologram, Adam Carolla (“The Adam Carolla Project”) as Wynnchel, Rachael Harris (“The Hangover”) as Deanna, Edie McClurg (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”) as Mary, Horatio Sanz (“Saturday Night Live”) as Duncan and Stefanie Scott (“A.N.T. Farm”) as Moppet Girl.
“Wreck-It Ralph” features cameos from both classic and modern real-life games. Lending their voices, among others, are Roger Craig Smith (Ezio from franchise “Assassin’s Creed”) as Sonic The Hedgehog, and from “Street Fighter,” Reuben Langdon as Ken, Kyle Hebert as Ryu and Gerald C. Rivers as M. Bison.
Helping to differentiate the diverse worlds of “Wreck-It Ralph” is an aptly diverse soundtrack, featuring a collection of unexpected artists to help tell the story, including songs from pop sensation Rihanna and the iconic Kool & the Gang. Classically trained composer Henry Jackman (“Winnie the Pooh,” “Puss in Boots”) created the film’s score, which is complemented by original music from GRAMMY®-winning artist Skrillex, Japan’s pop phenomenon AKB48, Owl City (“Fireflies,” “Good Time”) and Buckner & Garcia (1982’s Top-10 hit “Pac-Man Fever”). The film’s soundtrack from Walt Disney Records will be available Oct. 30, 2012.
“We have four completely different movies in terms of look and feel,” says Spencer. “It’s tough enough to get it right with one world—but to create and unify four arcade-game worlds took research, thinking outside the box, a lot of work—and reworking—plus innovation in technology and how we approached the film on every level.
“‘Wreck-It Ralph’ was made in the pioneering spirit of Walt Disney,” concludes Spencer. “This movie is a great example of where Walt Disney Animation Studios has been and where the studio is going—Rich Moore led a fantastic team in creating a fresh and highly original movie that will appeal to everybody—with humor on so many levels, nostalgia and incredible heart and emotion.”
Rated PG by the MPAA, “Wreck-It Ralph” crashes onto the big screen on November 2, 2012, in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.
“We have an amazing 3D crew here—they use it as an art form,” says Moore. “I’m astounded at the depth and scope they can create. It really enhances the moviegoing experience and helps tell Ralph’s story. I’m blown away at what they’ve done and I think the 3D version is the definitive version of the movie.”
FIX-IT FELIX JR.
Wreck-It Ralph’s Totally ’80s, Totally 8-Bit Home-Not-So-Sweet-Home
Some call it old school. Some call it vintage. Others—like Wreck-It Ralph himself—call it home. Fix-It Felix, Jr. is the ‘80s-era 8-bit arcade game featured in “Wreck-It Ralph.” For game players, the objective is simple: help good-guy Felix fix an apartment building wrecked by—you guessed it—Ralph. He’s the bad guy.
But life—even in arcade games—isn’t that simple. The problem? Ralph is tired of being the bad guy. According to director Rich Moore, the idea behind “Wreck-It Ralph” boiled down to one thing: free will—and how arcade-game characters have none. “They’re programmed to do one thing day in and day out—they don’t have a choice in the matter,” says Moore. “Within this world, there are strict rules: you do one job and one job only. But, what if there was a character who didn’t like his job?”
At 9 feet tall and 643 pounds, Ralph is certainly a force to be…well, wreck-oned with—not that the residents of Niceland give him a second thought. To them—it’s all about Felix. But who can blame them? “Felix is praised and adored by all of the Nicelanders in Fix-It Felix Jr.,” says producer Clark Spencer. “Ralph is ostracized. He lives in a brick pile by himself.”
WHO’S WHO IN FIX-IT FELIX JR.
Wreck-It Ralph: Bad Guys Finish Last
Ralph is a heavy-handed wrecking riot with a heart. For 30 years—day in, day out—he’s been doing his job as “The Bad Guy” in the arcade game Fix-It Felix Jr. But it’s getting harder and harder to love his job when no one seems to like him for doing it. Suffering from a classic case of Bad-Guy fatigue and hungry for a little wreck-ognition, Ralph embarks on a wild adventure across an incredible arcade-game universe to prove that just because he’s a Bad Guy, it doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy. “He’s rough on the outside,” says Moore, “but he has a sweet nature to him.”
John C. Reilly was called on to provide the voice of Ralph. “When we were talking about making the main character a ‘bad guy,’” says Moore, “we knew we needed someone the audience could get behind—support and love—even though he’s kind of rough around the edges. John inhabits the characters he plays and he connects to the humanity. He brought a lot of himself to Ralph, too, which is amazing.”
Reilly actually spent time with the production team, learning about the animation process, physically acting out certain scenes to provide reference to animators and contributing his own thoughts on the level of emotion a certain moment might demand. “After we talked with John, I think everybody felt a much deeper connection with the project,” says Renato dos Anjos, animation supervisor. “He really believed in the character and he probably knows Ralph better than anyone.”
“Wreck-It Ralph is an amazing character,” says Reilly. “He has a huge heart, but he’s misguided. He has all the foibles of a real person even though he’s an arcade-game character. He means well in the beginning, but just goes about it in all the wrong ways. But in the end, he realizes what a hero really is.”
“He’s a man-child,” adds head of story Jim Reardon. “He wants to put his bad-guy days behind him, but it’s not until he starts thinking about somebody other than himself that he gets what he really needs, which is love—appreciation. A lot of kids’ movies are about becoming whatever you want to be just because you really want it, with no strings attached. Ralph's story is a little more realistic."
In a film that features so many distinct worlds, it falls on Ralph’s shoulders—as the protagonist—to tie it all together. “Ralph is Ralph no matter what world he goes to,” says screenwriter Phil Johnston.
Director of look and lighting Adolph Lusinsky and his team helped drive that message to audiences. “Ralph is the one thing that’s constant, and the way he reacts to light is the same in each of the worlds.”
The exception, says Lusinsky, is when Ralph is with Felix. “When they’re together, Felix is well-lit with a nice rim light on him, while Ralph is usually up-lit with what we call monster lighting. For example, when Ralph is in the penthouse suite, he’s up-lit from the bounce of the cake. When he’s in the mud, he’s got this up lighting from the side of the building. Even when he goes to Sugar Rush and he finally hooks up with Felix there, he’s up-lit while Felix is nicely lit by the back of the window.”
According to art director Mike Gabriel, Ralph went through more than a few wardrobe changes. While Felix and the Nicelanders represented civilized society, Ralph needed to be distinct. “At one point he just had a red shirt and shorts on,” says Gabriel. “But he’s the bad guy, right? That’s where the plaid shirt came in—we wanted to make him a MOUNTAIN MAN. Then someone suggested the henley and I put that on him.”
The team decided an accent color was in order and gave Ralph a blue-green undershirt, roughing up the whole look with a five o’clock shadow. Gabriel was sold. “I said, ‘That works. Now, he’s definitely a mountain man!’”
A mountain man with really big hands. Dos Anjos and his team had to figure out how to navigate Ralph’s hands around other characters and the surrounding set. “They’re so massive, they were a huge challenge for us to animate because any time he moved, they’d crash into everything that was around him—which is typical Ralph, right?”
If only they’d had Felix around to fix the damage.
Fix-It Felix Jr.: The All-Around Good Guy
“Fix-It Felix, Jr. is just the ultimate good guy,” says Jack McBrayer, who was tapped to bring the character to life. “He loves doing good and he loves his job.”
Felix is the popular star of Fix-It Felix Jr. and Niceland’s hammer-wielding maintenance man who’s beloved by all. When he is not busy fixin’ all of Ralph’s wreckin’, this gold medal–winning good guy is being showered with kisses, praise and pies from his tenants. Hardwired for niceness, anything other than being “The Good Guy” just doesn’t compute.
“It’s what he knows,” says McBrayer. “He’s a great contrast to Ralph, who destroys everything, but Ralph wants to change, so they have to find a middle ground in their relationship, which is actually pretty relatable.”
The Nicelanders: Apartment-Dwelling Residents in Peril
When they aren’t playing the victims in Fix-It Felix Jr., the Nicelanders live to worship Felix. Responsible for baking power-boosting pies to aid the good guy’s in-game mission, the fawning fans of Felix spend their free time planning cocktail parties— but they are always sure to leave Ralph off the guest list. These blocky, pint-size window dwellers, including Gene, Roy, Mary and Deanna, can’t seem to get past Ralph’s title—and the wreck-less behavior that goes with it. Nothing short of a heroic miracle could convince them to include Ralph in their lives.
“They see things in black and white,” says screenwriter Phil Johnston. “They have a very simplistic view of the world: Felix is good; Ralph is bad. They don’t see shades of gray. Gene, the martini-swilling Nicelander represents that voice that Ralph can’t get out of his head: ‘You are bad. You’re not worthy.’”
“Rich wanted the Nicelanders to be very simplistic in nature, like the 8-bit style of animation in the Fix-It Felix Jr. game,” says dos Anjos. “When animating the Nicelanders, we had to change our mentality since there was no need to be realistic or to be bound by physics. Still, we had to find ways to make the acting believable for these characters. At the end of the day, they were fun to work on and I think they turned out great.”
Edie McClurg lends her voice as Mary and Rachael Harris was cast to voice Deanna. Raymond Persi, a story artist at WDAS, provided the voice of Gene.
GETTING THE LOOK OF FIX-IT FELIX JR.
Filmmakers approached the overall design of Fix-It Felix Jr. like they would for any film—with extensive research. The team took field trips to headquarters of video game companies, grilling ’80s game designers on how they do what they do. And they played games—lots of games, including classics in the spirit of Fix-It Felix Jr. Tough research, of course, but someone had to do it. “As animators,” says dos Anjos, “we had a very challenging task of playing a lot of video games. We actually had classes to show the team how to play video games—to interact with the characters and how to use the controllers.”
Much like Ralph’s wardrobe, the world of Fix-It Felix Jr. went through several derivations. But the idea to feature a single apartment building was director Rich Moore’s, says Gabriel. “Rich handed me a sketch one day, saying ‘I just want a building, a simple building in the middle of nowhere with little walkways going up to it.’ It was a very minimal drawing. So that’s where that world started, Rich’s simple sketch. A lot of the film started with a simple sketch from Rich.”
And simple was important. For Fix-It Felix Jr., artists had to figure out how to take their world-renowned animation talent into an 8-bit format. “We work at a studio known the world over for its innovation and artistic excellence—particularly now,” says producer Clark Spencer. “It’s not easy to tell animators who’ve spent their entire careers working to create the best, most sophisticated animation that the world of Fix-It Felix Jr.—Ralph’s ‘80s-era arcade game—must be extremely simple.”
Spencer says that while Fix-It Felix Jr. is realized in CG with fully sculpted characters, the overall design was created to feel like an 8-bit world—rudimentary with simplified characters that move on a grid—staccato movements at 90-degree angles.
Says Moore, “Everything from the art direction, animation acting and camera moves to the music and lighting is very simple, which is a huge contrast to the rest of the worlds.”
“Our animators have been taught to make the best animation in the world so they had to learn to think differently,” says Spencer. “It took a lot of work to figure out how to pull back and make it authentic, but when the first couple of scenes came in and we saw how cool it was and how much it added to the overall film, everyone got excited.”
According to co-art director Ian Gooding, simple didn’t mean easy. “John Lasseter liked to say, ‘Celebrate 8-bit,’” says Gooding. “We had to find clever and intelligent ways to put detail in that world to bolster the whole 8-bit effect.”
The team decided early on that Fix-It Felix Jr. would reflect the pixilation found in 8-bit games, incorporating squares and rectangles into the overall design language of the world. The choice presented artists with a few challenges, says art director Mike Gabriel. “Our effects team had to be very inventive—how do you make an 8-bit fireplace with a burning fire? Or 8-bit fireworks? But they did it.”
“The effects team made a really cool fire out of little cubes,” adds Gooding. “It goes through a really simple cycle, but it glows and little embers come off. The logs are all square cross section and rectilinear.”
Something as simple as smoke or fire would have a consistent look in any other movie. Not so for “Wreck-It Ralph,” says Cesar Velazquez, effects supervisor. “A big part of our job was taking these effects and making them fit in each individual world. Fire in Fix-It Felix looks very different from what fire would look like in Sugar Rush.”
Says Gabriel, once the look of Fix-It Felix Jr. was set, designers were able to give the world more detail without ruining the 8-bit look. “We let go of the ‘simple’ reigns a bit so we could include more charm and warmth, making it a really full world.”
According to Gooding, the key to achieving the right look was in taking it to a new level. “The more seriously we took the design, the funnier it became,” he says. “If you have a little guy that looks like a Weeble living in an apartment that looks like it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, that’s funny. Gene has a full wet bar and everything.”
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
The lighting team, headed by Adolph Lusinsky, director of look and lighting, embraced the vivid colors established for Fix-It Felix Jr.. “The sky is black and there is very little atmosphere, so we kept the lighting simple to differentiate it from the other worlds,” says Lusinsky.
Rob Dressel, layout supervisor, oversaw the team behind the camera. He says they too heard the mantra common to the 8-bit world, “Keep it simple. There was limited camera movement in Fix-It Felix,” he says. “It was more about the cutting.”
Dressel adds the team paid homage to the 8-bit world, utilizing 90-degree angles and movement to the action in a nod to classic game worlds.
Composer Henry Jackman traded his classic roots for a joystick—sort of. Jackman researched decades of arcade games to find and incorporate classic sounds into the film’s score and bring arcade games like Fix-It Felix Jr. to life. “The music transports you,” said Moore. “It channels each era perfectly. [Henry Jackman] is fantastic.”
Also lending their classic sound to the ‘80s-era game is Kool & the Gang with their 1980 chart-topping single “Celebration.” It’s the perfect tune for the Nicelanders to mark their game’s 30th anniversary at a penthouse party. The occasion features some cool cameos from the era’s best arcade games, as well as a DJ that bears a striking resemblance to GRAMMY®-winning artist Skrillex. But, of course, Ralph is left off the guest list. But that doesn’t stop Ralph, who gives new meaning to crashing a party.
The Gritty, Hostile and Enemy-Infested Land that Holds that Coveted Medal
It’s cool. It’s contemporary. It’s infested.
“Hero’s Duty is a modern, first-person shooter game,” says producer Clark Spencer. “It’s brand new, the best game in the arcade, the most advanced game out there. In this game, Sergeant Calhoun heads up a platoon of soldiers fighting off Cy-Bugs that are annihilating the universe. It’s very intense.”
And Ralph’s not exactly ready for intense. “He’s lured to Hero’s Duty when he hears about this medal—the Medal of Heroes,” says director Rich Moore. “He figures if he can just win that medal, he can prove he’s got what it takes to be the good guy—for once.”
But if Ralph thought he had it bad in Fix-It Felix Jr., he’ll have a rude awakening. “Hero’s Duty is this crazy, chaotic, frenetic world where Ralph is way out of his league,” says screenwriter Phil Johnston.
In a word: hostile. Art director Mike Gabriel says he assigned a word or two to each of the worlds to help guide the design. For Hero’s Duty, he decided “hostile” aptly summed it up. “Everything is hard, sharp-edged, abrasive,” he says. “You wouldn’t want to touch anything there. It’s a dangerous place—only the best of the best can make it in a place like Hero’s Duty.”
WHO’S WHO IN HERO’S DUTY
Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun: One Mean Space Marine
“Sergeant Calhoun is the woman who actually runs the platoon of soldiers in Hero’s Duty,” says Spencer.
In the sci-fi battle zone of Hero’s Duty, Sergeant Calhoun is more than just a pretty face—she is the tough-as-nails, take-charge leader who fights for humanity’s freedom. When she’s not offering in-game intel, she’s training her troops for the next attack wave. This unrelenting commander is driven by a personal vendetta and will stop at nothing to protect the player and the arcade from a virulent Cy-Bug invasion.
For the look of Calhoun and her troops, artists wanted to amplify the typical military uniform—these soldiers would be fighting the ominous Cy-Bugs, so ample protection would be in order. “We sent our animators to watch an NFL football game,” says Spencer. “They were able to watch from the sidelines to get a good feel for what it’s like to move with all that gear on.”
According to animation supervisor Renato dos Anjos, when it came time to animate Calhoun and the rest of the soldiers, “Rich [Moore] wanted to have a really strong line of action. We went for superhero action-oriented animation, just trying to find really strong poses, almost comic book–like action poses—but in Calhoun’s case, we added that subtle warmth the character called for.”
Filmmakers actually studied a host of haircuts to get the look right for Calhoun. “You can’t give your female lead a really cool-looking haircut if you don’t actually know how haircuts work,” says Gooding. “So we had people talking to hairdressers and finding out how exactly to do this haircut we liked—because we have to actually grow the hair on the character to achieve a desired style.”
Jane Lynch (“Glee”) lends her voice to Sergeant Calhoun, a character that really came together once filmmakers saw what Lynch was bringing to the performance. “She’s everything you love about Jane Lynch—with an action-adventure twist. It’s very funny and exciting,” says Spencer.
“She’s definitely tough and in charge, but she has a heart—she has a soft side,” says Lynch of Calhoun. “But she’s almost unreachable because she’s suffered a huge heartache thanks to the horrible Cy-Bugs that have become her great nemesis.”
Cy-Bugs: Insects Gone Bad
Menacing creatures known as Cy-Bugs are a deadly threat not only to their game, Hero’s Duty, but to the entire arcade. They know just three things: Eat, destroy and multiply. Players beware! Cy-Bugs can morph into anything they eat—from an attack buggy to an assault rifle. They do have one weakness—an attraction to bright light. (They are bugs, after all.)
Visual development artist Cory Loftis contributed to the design of the Cy-Bugs. “After it was decided what would be required of the bugs in animation, I went back to the design to tweak it here or there to allow for things they needed to do. A strong jaw was needed so they could chew, plus wings so they could fly. And we needed a way for them to lay their eggs. At the same time, I tried to make them more intimidating and more robotic. Insects are already very robotic in their appearance, so I had to integrate very clear mechanical parts wherever possible. Little hints of technology—shielded cable, coaxial connections, LED lights and molded plastic and screws—are all over the final design.”
According to director of look and lighting Adolph Lusinsky, acid green—the color chosen to represent the Cy-Bugs and their evil ways—lights up the bugs’ wings, tails and eyes, creating an ominous look against the thick, dark landscape.
General Hologram: Man with a Medal
General Hologram is the consummate soldier: He’s bold and distinguished, serious and professional. Tapped to stand sentinel over the ultimate prize in Hero’s Duty—the coveted Medal of Heroes—General Hologram is honored to bestow the medal to anyone who is skilled enough to make it to the top of the 99-story tower.
Providing the voice of General Hologram is Dennis Haysbert.
GETTING THE LOOK OF HERO’S DUTY
The team initially planned to base Hero’s Duty on a barren, rocky planet. “After pushing that idea as far as we could, it still felt clichéd,” says Loftis. “We decided that the entire planet should be constructed—a single sharp, aggressive and chaotic land guaranteed to give you tetanus—perfect.”
The triangle served as the shape reference for Hero’s Duty. Says Loftis, “We worked that shape into the design of the environment and characters—we pushed it so far that when you see final frames from Hero’s Duty, it is literally made of triangles. The shape is so pervasive it appears in every level of the world’s design. This complete integration of the triangular shape is what helps the world feel dangerous and sharp. It’s a world ready to stab and cut you at every turn.”
According to Gabriel, the focal point of Hero’s Duty—the 99-story tower that holds the medal Ralph covets—features angular plates that seem to spring straight from the hostile environment, complementing it perfectly. “We did something we’ve never done before—hire architects,” says Gabriel. “Imagine—hiring architects to design a building.”
Gabriel says top members of the in-house design team enhanced and finalized the architects’ work. “The result is so terrifying and dark with lights flashing across it. Rich loved the idea and helped guide us along the way. Like the rest of the world—it’s unexpected and gritty.”
Co-art director Ian Gooding says the team had to be inventive when it came to the angular environment—more so than ever before. “In most fictitious places, trees are still trees, grass is still grass and buildings are still made of the things that buildings are made of. But when Ralph goes to the sci-fi world of Hero’s Duty, there is no landscape. There isn’t a single tree or a grain of dirt anywhere. It’s all made of razor-sharp pieces of metal and rebar. It’s meant to be this ultracomplex, weird place that if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could get lacerated walking down the road.”
Strictly populated by soldiers fighting their Cy-Bug enemies, Hero’s Duty is at its simplest—a battleground. So, as part of their mission to conquer the design, filmmakers naturally enlisted the help of military experts. “We sent our visual development team to Edwards Air Force Base,” says Spencer, “so they could incorporate aspects of a real military operation into the look and feel of Hero’s Duty.”
“We talked to some Air Force generals and fighter pilots,” adds Gabriel. “We asked them about weaponry and what their ideal weapon might be.”
The information was relayed to the effects team, headed by effects supervisor Cesar Velazquez. “We wanted to immerse the audience in this sci-fi warlike environment,” says Velazquez. “One of our challenges was to make each world feel unique, so that when the audience sees smoke or another effect, they’ll instantly know it’s from Hero’s Duty. It’s meant to be a first-person shooter, so we needed to create that immersive environment that the audience wants.
“The visual effects in Hero’s Duty are state-of-the-art,” continues Velazquez. “It looks and feels as real as possible. There are many layers of effects, so not one effect stands out, but it’s all these layers of effects working together to give you that impression of a real world. More is better in Hero’s Duty: bigger explosions—we have futuristic bug explosions—more debris in the air. Our weapons are powered by plasma, not bullets. We added a lot of fog and steam. This is war.”
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
Adolph Lusinsky and his lighting team lent their tools to the warlike look of Hero’s Duty. “In contrast to the vivid colors in Fix-It Felix Jr., there’s very little color in Hero’s Duty, plus there is volumetric atmosphere—the air is thick with an almost ashlike debris. Then we introduce sparks, lightning, gun flashes. Every shot has dust on the lens and there are lens flares. It’s all very photo real.”
According to Andy Hendrickson, chief technology officer, Walt Disney Animation Studios actually created a camera specifically for Hero’s Duty. “We built a camera capture stage where we could walk around with a virtual camera inside the CG world and really put the camera where we want, do dolly shots, do tracking shots, things of that nature. It’s virtual camera capture—it’s as if you were in that world moving the camera around in real time, live. It’s an innovation for this film.”
Layout supervisor Rob Dressel utilized a loose handheld camera feel to Hero’s Duty—even for the calmer moments, he says, which illustrated the high-stress atmosphere. And, mirroring big action movies, the team utilized smooth dolly shots in the scene in which Ralph nabs his medal. “The camera never stops moving,” says Dressel.
“The camera moves are jarring and on a diagonal, reflecting the aesthetic of Hero’s Duty,” says Gooding. “We capitalized on every opportunity to showcase the intensity of this world.”
Underscoring the chaos and excitement of the first-person shooter game, GRAMMY®-winning artist Skrillex wrote the game-play music, “Bug Hunt,” hand-picking Netherlands’ producers/DJs/video game soundtrack composers Noisia to remix the track for the album. “The mood of that game world is high-energy and futuristic,” says Skrillex. “I make music with many different colors of the emotional spectrum—this reflects a more aggressive side of my music.”
“We wanted to work with some really talented artists,” says Moore. “I love that they aren’t necessarily the people audiences expect to hear in a Disney animated movie. But when they hear the music and how it supports the story and drives the emotion, they’ll say, ‘This is perfect.’ Skrillex is a great collaborator and he’s fantastic to work with.”
Moore said he took his lead from the original director of animated movies. “Walt Disney was a pioneer when it came to music. What sounds like classics to us now—Ukulele Ike in ‘Pinocchio,’ Peggy Lee in ‘Lady and the Tramp’—were very unexpected choices.”
According to Skrillex, Moore walked him through the world of Hero’s Duty but kept the process open and collaborative. “We sat down and talked about the emotion, the depth and the whole vibe, and that’s what really fueled the music.”
Colorful, Sweet and Built for Speed: But Not What It Seems
If only every crash landing was in a pile of frosting.
With the Medal of Heroes in his possession, Ralph jets out of the intense Hero’s Duty—not a moment too soon—and his misguided space pod takes him to the sweetest world in the whole arcade. “Sugar Rush is a 1990s cart-racing game set in a world that’s made entirely out of candy,” says director Rich Moore. “So this world is more whimsical. It’s got a classic Disney feel mixed with an anime influence.”
“But while it has a sweet veneer,” adds producer Clark Spencer, “there’s a dark side to Sugar Rush.”
There’s also a scrappy little girl named Vanellope von Schweetz who’s the first to spot Ralph. “Vanellope lives on the fringes of Sugar Rush,” says Moore. “She’s a glitch—a programming error—so she’s ostracized from the activities of Sugar Rush and has to take care of herself. Ralph and Vanellope don’t really like each other at first—she gives him a hard time—but they start to realize that they’re a lot alike. They’re both misfits.”
“They’re both broken characters when we meet them,” says Spencer. “They both are desperate to be something else, which they think will help them get the acceptance and love they crave.”
Ralph learns that Vanellope is on her own quest to join the ranks of the Sugar Rush racers, even though none of the other Sugar Russians support her. As a result, she’s developed a tough exterior and an attitude to go with it. But Ralph can handle it—and truth be told—he actually starts to like her. A little.
WHO’S WHO IN SUGAR RUSH
Vanellope von Schweetz: Hard Candy
Known as “The Glitch,” Vanellope is a pixelating programming mistake in the candy-coated cart-racing game Sugar Rush. With a racer’s spirit embedded in her coding, Vanellope is determined to earn her place in the starting lineup amongst the other racers. Only problem: the other racers don’t want her or her glitching in the game. Years of rejection have left Vanellope with a wicked sense of humor and a razor-sharp tongue. However, somewhere beneath that hard shell is a sweet center just waiting to be revealed.
“With Vanellope, we were looking for a character that would mirror Ralph’s struggles,” says screenwriter Phil Johnston. “She’s an outsider. The kids pick on her. Nobody really likes her and they exclude her from the races. And all she wants to do is race—to be part of the game—just as Ralph wants to be a part of his community in Niceland.”
When it came to casting Vanellope, filmmakers knew what they didn’t want. “We didn’t want a child to play the part,” says Moore. “We wanted someone who was acerbic and quick, and could carry the more serious parts of the performance.”
Enter Sarah Silverman, whose quick wit and likability lend themselves perfectly to the Sugar Rush resident. But Silverman brings something to the role that audiences might not expect. Says Moore, “We all know Sarah Silverman is funny—she’s a comedian. But Sarah’s a great dramatic actress as well.”
Adds animation supervisor Renato dos Anjos, “The performances that Sarah brought to the table were so rich. There was so much emotional content that matching it in animation was tough. It’s not easy. But we had very talented artists who worked on Vanellope’s scenes to make sure she had strong, appealing performances.”
With the friendship between Vanellope and Ralph being integral to the emotional core of the movie, filmmakers had Silverman and John C. Reilly record many of their scenes together, which is uncommon for an animated film.
“John and I were able to record together a lot,” says Silverman. “It’s fun to be able to look into someone’s eyes when you’re saying the lines and to improvise off of each other. We improvised, we overlapped. It felt very organic.”
The character’s look was a bit harder to achieve, according to art director Mike Gabriel. “Vanellope’s design was a real journey,” he says. “We literally did thousands of designs on her. But two little girls helped bring it all together. A girl at my church had the best ears—cute ears for a funny little kid—and I saw pictures of a colleague’s daughter with her hair pulled back with pieces dangling in front. Perfect.”
The final details were in the wardrobe. “We dressed her in a little brown skirt fashioned from candy wrappers,” adds Gabriel. “When Rich [Moore] saw her, he said, ‘Give her a hoodie. That’ll make her look kind of street.’ That did the trick.”
King Candy: King of All That’s Sweet
All hail King Candy—ruler of the racetrack, captain of confectionary, sovereign of sugar. Not surprisingly, the most powerful figure in the Sugar Rush game is also the best racer on the track. He may look noble enough, but don’t be fooled—this mysterious monarch rules his kingdom with a sugary fist and he is determined to keep his kingdom safe from glitches, rabble-rousers and outsiders.
“King Candy is wacky, but a really rich character,” says Spencer. “He pays homage to the Mad Hatter in Walt Disney’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ as voiced by Ed Wynn.”
Filmmakers turned to Alan Tudyk to provide the bubbly, vaudevillian, slightly nutty voice of the King. “He laughs a lot,” says Tudyk. “I start with the laugh and then add the lisp and then go from there. King Candy is actually a complicated guy with a definite agenda.”
Don’t expect him to go easy on Ralph and Vanellope. The King is ably assisted by his strong-arming security donuts, Wynnchel and Duncan, and his diminutive henchman Sour Bill.
Sour Bill: A Tiny Little Ball of Unsweetness
As King Candy’s diminutive henchman, Sour Bill is often left to handle the stickier situations—but this long-faced little ball isn’t exactly happy about his depressing duties.
Art director Mike Gabriel spearheaded the look of Sour Bill. “I knew he had to be a ball,” says Gabriel. “And Rich [Moore] wanted him to have eyes like Buster Keaton. I kept looking at images of Keaton and everyone else with eyes like that to understand what makes them sour, but not sad.”
But when it came to Sour Bill’s arms and legs, the artists were stumped. “Sour Bill couldn’t have arms and legs or else he wouldn’t look like a ball of candy,” says Gabriel, “so we just floated him and added the jelly beans as hands and feet.”
Gabriel says Disney veteran Eric Goldberg helped figure out how the character would move. And Rich Moore pulled double duty and provided the voice of Sour Bill.
Wynnchel & Duncan: Strong-Arming Security
Wynnchel and Duncan are King Candy’s muscle, ensuring order in the Sugar Rush community. Just don’t make ’em mad or their frosting might melt.
Adam Carolla provides the voice of Wynnchel, while Horatio Sanz gives voice to Duncan.
Taffyta Muttonfudge: Serious Competition
The lollipop-lickin’ Taffyta Muttonfudge is a top-notch racer in the game Sugar Rush. She is a fierce competitor who keeps her eyes on the prize and isn’t afraid to derail anyone who gets in her way. Though King Candy is Sugar Rush’s reigning racing champion, Taffyta always manages to give him a run for his money with her wicked driving skills.
Mindy Kaling was called on to give Taffyta her attitude.
Joining Taffyta on the racetrack are Jubileena Bing-Bing, Snowanna Rainbeau, Rancis Fluggerbutter, Adorabeezle Winterpop, Minty Zaki, Gloyd Orangeboar, Swizzle “The Swizz” Malarkey, Crumbelina DiCaramello and Candlehead.
GETTING THE LOOK OF SUGAR RUSH
“The genesis of Sugar Rush,” says Johnston, “was just thinking of what the worst place in the world would be for a guy like Ralph—this irritable, grouchy guy. Ending up in this super sticky-sweet kids’ game would be terrible for him, especially since he wants to prove he’s this big hero.”
While squares guided the design of Fix-It Felix Jr. and triangles spearheaded Hero’s Duty’s look—Sugar Rush is all about the circle. “Sugar Rush is soft and curved,” says Gabriel. “Everything is round in that world. Everything feels nice to the touch. The clouds are soft cotton candy, the trees are lollipops or candy canes—even the dust is cocoa powder.”
To create the sweet, over-the-top look of Sugar Rush, filmmakers went to great lengths—and distances—to develop the overall architectural feel of the land, as well as the individual delicacies that would be used to build it.
Lorelay Bove, one of the visual development artists, hails from Spain. “I was inspired by the Catalán Modernist architectural movement in Spain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” she says. “Growing up there, I could see Antoni Gaudí’s work, as well as other modernist architects in Spain. To me, it all felt like candy houses with the detail, color, shapes, whimsy and texture.”
“So when the opportunity came to design a world made of candy,” continues Bove, “I brought the inspiration of Gaudí and other Catalán Modernist architects that fit perfectly. It just seemed fresh and different.”
“We sent our visual development team over to Barcelona, Spain,” says Spencer. “They spent a week studying the architecture, gaining a sense of Gaudí’s shape language and the way he designed things to figure out how we could incorporate that into the look of Sugar Rush.”
“Lorelay has this style in her DNA,” adds Gabriel. “She was on fire doing these incredible designs for the Sugar Rush characters, buildings and sets. She was terrific.”
To give the team a big-picture look of the developing land, Gabriel created a giant detailed map of Sugar Rush—complete with pink clouds, the volcano and King Candy’s castle.
Filmmakers decided early on that they wanted to give Sugar Rush a Japanese flavor. “Rich wanted to explore Harajuku for the racers’ character design, and we started to look at incorporating Japanese candy and sweets,” says Gabriel. “Eventually, that broadened to include a mixture of international candies and cookies and treats from around the world.”
“We sent the visual development team to Cologne, Germany, to the largest confectionary convention in the world,” says Spencer. “They studied candy from all over the world.”
“Every floor of this huge convention hall was teeming with sweets—chocolate fountains, fondues—it was really intoxicating,” says Gabriel.
The art director was inspired by a French confectioner whose use of mint green led to the decision to make the sky in Sugar Rush the same shade, which the team felt complemented its palette of soft pinks, reds and chocolate browns. It also differentiated Sugar Rush from the majority of real-life racing games. “Mint green felt so fresh,” says Gabriel.
When it came time to select which sweets would make the Sugar Rush cut, the team concluded that they’d squeeze just about every treat ever created into this world. Says co-art director Ian Gooding, “We have a gumdrop forest and gumdrop lighting fixtures—the drops are lit inside so they glow, which is cool. “We have marshmallows that represent fall leaves. We’ve got the candy-cane forest that looks like a pine forest. We used chocolate truffles everywhere—some forming parabolic arches in the spirit of Gaudí. We use a lot of ice cream, both soft serve and hard scoop ice cream. We have chocolates with nuts inside. The inside of the volcano is strata of different candy bars, some with nougat, some with nuts. The floor inside is made of translucent, shiny peanut brittle with nuts. There’s a lot of fondant frosting everywhere, plus cake, chocolate curls and lollipops of all shapes and sizes. We even have tumbleweeds made of caramel.”
According to Spencer, the production team welcomed a few sweet-treat cameos, as well. “We have Nestle Quik Sand and Wonka Laffy Taffy.”
HOW TO BUILD A RACECAR
For Vanellope to fulfill her dream of racing, filmmakers knew she’d need a racecar. In Sugar Rush, the cars are built in the King Candy Kart Bakery. “We went to Detroit to see how Ford trucks were built,” says Gabriel. “We had a daylong tour and saw the complete assembly.”
The team also visited a bakery and candy factory since Vanellope’s racecar is made of—what else?—sweets.
PUTTING THE ZIP IN SUGAR RUSH
“For Sugar Rush,” says effects supervisor Cesar Velazquez, “the effects are a huge contrast to Hero’s Duty. We added more personality and charm to the effects.
“Our signature effect is the glitch effect,” continues Velazquez. “Whenever she hits an emotional state, she glitches. It’s almost like a short circuit, or a hiccup—with lights and twitches. It turned out really well.”
Other effects include the gumdrop lights and stylized dust—yes, stylized dust. “Even something as mundane as the dirt the racecars drive through during the races,” says Velazquez, “is made to look like cocoa powder or frosting.”
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
There’s a trick to making food look tasty—even animated food. “We invited food photographers to the studio to share with us what makes food appealing on camera,” says Adolph Lusinsky, director of look and lighting.
The team also built a lighting studio where they could practice shooting different foods and textures under a variety of lighting circumstances to get a solid understanding of what works—and what doesn’t. “It’s really hard to capture the look of a piece of chocolate, for example,” says Lusinsky. “The difference between a piece of brown plastic and a piece of real chocolate is how the light goes through it.”
And since nobody could say for sure what a field of frosting would do when a space pod crash-lands in it, the team had to test it. “We filled a baking pan with icing that was about an inch and a half thick,” says Lusinsky. “Then we took a toy ship and hit it as hard as we could to get the right splattering effect so we could study the resulting ripples and shapes in the icing.”
Lusinsky accompanied the team on the research trips to Detroit, Cologne and Barcelona—taking many of his lighting cues from his observations. “The lighting in King Candy’s throne room is inspired by a cathedral in Barcelona,” says Lusinsky.
Cinematography for Sugar Rush was a far cry from the gritty handheld look of Hero’s Duty, says Rob Dressel, layout supervisor. But Sugar Rush presented his team with a dilemma: should the dynamic cart races be shot in the style of a sporting event—or in the spirit of a car chase? Filmmakers chose the latter. “We wanted it to feel more gritty and treacherous,” says Dressel. “Less sport and more adventure. We kept the depth of field shallower and the background softer.”
CUE THE MUSIC
Japan’s pop phenomenon AKB48 accompanies Ralph to the land of sweets with the aptly named theme song “Sugar Rush.” “We’ve always thought of Sugar Rush—with its nod to anime—as a game that may have originated in Japan,” said Spencer. “So we went to Japan and got the hottest J-pop group to perform the song that really sets the tone for this ’90s-era cart-racing game: young and hip.”
Accompanying the scene in which Vanellope learns to drive her new racecar is none other than Rihanna with her hit 2007 single “Shut Up and Drive.”
ARE WE THERE YET?
Bringing the Worlds Together—Literally—is Game Central Station,
Plus the Rest of the Worlds
Arcade games? Check. Bad guy? Check. Ready to commence big life-changing journey? Yep. Now what?
Screenwriter Phil Johnston remembers when he and director Rich Moore were still trying to figure out how the characters would travel from game to game. “There were all kinds of stupid ideas—including a vortex in a toilet,” he says. “I lived in New York at the time and Rich would travel there to work on the story, so it was just a matter of time before we came up with Game Central Station. It looks just like Grand Central Station with the great shafts of light that you see there at different times of the day. To us, it’s a power strip—all the games plug into this surge protector. To the characters, it’s a hub—they travel through the cords of their games on these little trains that dump into Game Central Station.”
And just like its inspiration, Game Central Station is a bustling hub of activity. “Characters can go there after gameplay is over and meet and mingle with each other and then actually travel to each other’s games,” says producer Clark Spencer.
“Rich Moore really wanted to ensure authenticity,” continues Spencer, “so we populated this world with characters that everybody knows from their favorite video games, which establishes the world of Game Central Station and provides several attendees for the Bad-Anon meeting.”
But how does one go about getting permission to include a host of existing characters in a movie? According to Moore, they just asked.
“It all started with a few face-to-face meetings with people at the different gaming companies. Clark and I shook their hands, sat down with them and took them through the story. There’s a lot of history in video gaming—serious nostalgia. Really, these characters are just imperative to making a movie about gaming. We couldn’t imagine making this movie without them.”
WHO’S WHO IN GRAND CENTRAL STATION Q*Bert: Unplugged
Q*Bert, whose game was long ago unplugged, spends most of his time in Game Central Station, the travel hub for all arcade-game characters—and the unfortunate “home” to those whose games are over. Coily, the bouncing purple villain from their game, now hangs with his former adversary.
“When something is unplugged,” says Johnston, “the light comes into Game Central Station through the three-pronged plug. Ominous, but really cool.”
Surge Protector: The One with the Clipboard
With the duties of a high school hall monitor and the officiousness of a mall rent-a-cop, this straight-laced civil servant is more hassle than help. But electrical voltage spikes are no laughing matter.
Sonic The Hedgehog: Still Saving the World
When this hero who moves at the speed of sound is not busy saving the world in his own videogame series, Sonic The Hedgehog slows down to make public service announcements reminding his arcade-game colleagues to stay safe—especially when outside their own games.
Roger Craig Smith, the voice of Sonic The Hedgehog, was called on to provide the iconic voice in the film.
Also spotted in Game Central Station are Ryu and Ken from the “Street Fighter” franchise, voiced by Kyle Hebert and Reuben Langdon, respectively, who are the voices of the characters in the game.
WHO’S WHO AT BAD-ANON
Ralph’s struggle with his longtime role as a bad guy leads him to a support group, which is held in Pac-Man’s digs and led by the game’s own Clyde, the orange ghost. Attendees run the gamut, including some of the industry’s most notorious bad guys.
Neff: Purple’s the New Black
As “Altered Beast’s” resident evil wizard, Neff is a natural for the Bad-Anon meeting roster.
M. Bison: The Ruler of Darkness
M. Bison, the unforgiving world dictator from “Street Fighter,” learns to quell his Psycho Power at Bad-Anon.
Gerald C. Rivers, the voice of M. Bison in the game, provides the voice in the film.
Zangief: The Red Cyclone
The muscle-bound, hairy-chested, bear-grappling, mohawked wrestler from “Street Fighter” is a regular at the Bad-Anon meetings.
Dr. Eggman: Hedgehog’s Nemesis
Dr. Eggman, the mustached, goggle-wearing antagonist from “Sonic The Hedgehog,” takes a break from his World-conquest mission to attend the weekly Bad-Anon meeting.
Clyde: Orange and Finally in Charge
Clyde, the orange ghost who—along with pals Inky, Blinky and Pinky—has made Pac-Man’s life difficult. These days old Clyde leads the weekly Bad-Anon meeting in his spare time.
Adding to the list of distinct worlds created for “Wreck-It Ralph,” the production team also designed full sets for Litwak’s Family Fun Center & Arcade and the classic arcade game Root Beer Tapper’s, where Ralph goes to have a cold one and get some advice from a busy Tapper.
While so many distinct worlds posed challenges for the production team, director Rich Moore says the hope for “Wreck-It Ralph” remained unchanged throughout the filmmaking process. “Our goal was to create a piece of entertainment that speaks to the heart in worlds that are engaging to audiences with characters that they care about.”
ROLL THE CREDITS
Filmmakers Call on Owl City and Buckner & Garcia to Cap the Film
Classically trained composer Henry Jackman infuses arcade-game sounds into the score, while highlighting the film’s emotion. According to Jackman, the score was driven by the story, which allowed him to tap his classical roots, too. “When something emotional is developing, it actually opens the door to the orchestral score without it feeling imposed,” he said.
And with original music by Skrillex and Japan’s AKB48 complementing the individual worlds, “Wreck-It Ralph” had to bid adieu to moviegoers with the same musical panache.
Owl City (“Fireflies,” “Good Time”) provides the upbeat and story-driven cap to the film with “When Can I See You Again?” According to singer/songwriter/instrumentalist Adam Young, the song offers a bit of an emotional tug-of-war. “It’s a very bouncy, happy, uplifting song, but there’s a bittersweet part of it, leaving a key relationship in the film open-ended.” Also contributing to the end credits are Buckner & Garcia, the team behind the 1982 Top-10 hit “Pac-Man Fever.” Jerry Buckner of Buckner & Garcia co-produced the song “Wreck-It, Wreck-It Ralph” with hit songwriter/producer Jamie Houston (Steven Tyler, Macy Gray). “It was great to be invited to contribute a song to the movie and soundtrack,” said Buckner. “The song has an ’80s pop flavor with a contemporary twist—we’re really happy with how it turned out.”
ABOUT THE VOICE TALENT
Acclaimed actor JOHN C. REILLY (voice of Wreck-It Ralph) has made an impact with both comedic and dramatic roles in film and theater.
His films include “God of Carnage,” “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” “Cyrus,” “Stepbrothers,” “Walk Hard,” “Talladega Nights,” “The Aviator,” “Chicago,” “Gangs of New York,” “The Perfect Storm,” “Magnolia” and “Boogie Nights.” His theater appearances include “True West” and “A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway.”
He is a native of Chicago and a graduate of the Theater School at DePaul University.
Emmy® winner SARAH SILVERMAN (voice of Vanellope von Schweetz) is a versatile performer with a repertoire that includes everything from film, television and stand-up comedy to iconic online videos. She added author to the list when she released her first book last spring. Silverman was most recently seen starring in the third season of “The Sarah Silverman Program” on Comedy Central. Her New York Times bestselling book, “The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee,” was recently released in paperback.
Silverman was nominated for a 2009 Primetime Emmy® in the Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series category for her portrayal of a fictionalized version of herself in “The Sarah Silverman Program.” This marked Comedy Central’s first-ever Emmy nomination in a scripted acting category. She also received a WGA nomination last year for her work on the show. Silverman won a Primetime Emmy in 2008 in the Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics category for her musical collaboration with Matt Damon. In addition, she was honored with a Best Actress Webby Award for her online video “The Great Schlep,” in which she persuaded young Jewish kids to encourage their grandparents in Florida to vote for President Obama prior to the 2008 election.
On the film side, Silverman will next be seen in the dramedy, “Take This Waltz,” opposite of Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Sarah Polley wrote the script and is directing; Silverman will play the sister of Rogen’s character. She also appears in the comedy “Peep World” opposite Michael C. Hall and Rainn Wilson about a group of dysfunctional adult siblings who are fighting over a novel that one of them is writing about the family. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and was released in theaters earlier this year.
In 2004 Silverman made an impressive splash with her concert film “Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic.” Directed by Liam Lynch, the film garnered major attention at the Toronto Film Festival and created huge national buzz. Silverman also garnered critical praise in the documentary feature “The Aristocrats,” in which 100 of the industry’s most prominent comedians tell a version of the same joke. Her other film credits include “Saint John of Las Vegas,” “I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With,” “School for Scoundrels,” “The School of Rock,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “The Way of the Gun,” “The Bachelor” and “Say It Isn’t So.”
Silverman co-starred on the Fox comedy “Greg the Bunny” and has guest-starred in a slew of acclaimed and notable television shows, including the Emmy®-nominated drama “The Good Wife” and “Monk,” which earned her an Emmy nomination in 2008 in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series category. Credits also include “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Seinfeld” and “Mr. Show with Bob and David.” Silverman also lent her voice to the Comedy Central show “Crank Yankers.”
In 2007, Silverman hosted the MTV Movie Awards and she has also twice hosted the Independent Spirit Awards.
Silverman grew up in New Hampshire and attended New York University. In 1993 she joined “Saturday Night Live” as a writer and feature performer and has not stopped working since. She resides in Los Angeles with her dog Duck.
JACK MCBRAYER (voice of Fix-It Felix Jr.) is an Emmy® nominee for portraying Kenneth Parcell on the multi-award winning and critically acclaimed series “30 Rock” for NBC. He starred in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” opposite Jason Segel, directed by Nicholas Stoller and produced by Judd Apatow for Universal. McBrayer also appeared opposite Will Ferrell in “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” directed and written by Adam McKay and produced by Judd Apatow for Columbia Pictures. He can next be seen opposite Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis in “The Campaign,” directed by Jay Roach for Warner Bros.; opposite Bill Hader in “The To Do List” for CBS Films; and “They Came Together,” with Paul Rudd, directed by David Wain for Lionsgate .
McBrayer’s animated film voice credits include “Despicable Me” for Universal, “The Simpsons” on Fox and “Archer” on FX.
JANE LYNCH (voice of Sergeant Calhoun) cut her theatrical teeth at The Second City, Steppenwolf Theatre, and in many church basements all over the greater Chicagoland area, helping her become the comedic talent she is today. She can be seen in the Golden Globe®- and SAG Award®-winning Ryan Murphy television series “Glee” on FOX as the one-liner powerhouse coach Sue Sylvester. With her magnificent comedic timing, Lynch has earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, and a SAG Award nomination for her role. With her wit and luminous stage presence, Lynch served as the host for the 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Some of her other television credits include the STARZ series “Party Down,” Lifetime’s “Lovespring,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Weeds,” as well as the last season of “The L Word” opposite Cybill Shepherd. Lynch has recurring roles on “Two and a Half Men,” for which she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress, “Criminal Minds” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”
Lynch has a long list of film credits, including the upcoming film “The Three Stooges and A.C.O.D.,” “Paul,” “Julie & Julia,” “The Post Grad Survival Guide,” “Brownie Masters,” Christopher Guest's “For Your Consideration,” “A Mighty Wind” and “Best in Show,” as well as “Role Models,” “The Rocker,” “Spring Breakdown,” “Walk Hard,” “Talladega Nights,” “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” Margaret Cho's “Celeste and Bam Bam,” Alan Cumming's “Suffering Man's Charity,” “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” “Sleepover,” “Surviving Eden,” and many more. Lynch has lent her voice to “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” “Space Chimps,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “The Cleveland Show,” “The Simpsons” and “Shrek Forever After.” Lynch recently added author to her repertoire. Her memoir, “Happy Accidents,” was released in September 2011 and includes a foreword written by the legendary Carol Burnett. Lynch’s play “Oh Sister, My Sister!” had runs at the Tamarind Theatre and Bang Theater garnering the LA Weekly Comedy Ensemble of the Year Award.
ALAN TUDYK (voice of King Candy) recently completed work with Harrison Ford on “42,” a film about Jackie Robinson.
Tudyk's first film role was that of a hyper-paranoid mental patient with Robin Williams in “Patch Adams.” He has gone on to play a rainbow of hyper-paranoid mental patients in other films such as ”Knocked Up,” “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” ”Death at a Funeral” (original British version), “A Knight's Tale,” and “Tucker and Dale Versus Evil.” Additional film credits include “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter,” “3:10 to Yuma,” ”I, Robot,” “Serenity,” “Wonder Boys,” “Rx” “Beautiful Boy,” “Ice Age,” “Ice Age: The Meltdown” and “ Ice Age: Continental Drift.”
On Broadway, Tudyk appeared opposite Kristin Chenoweth in “Epic Proportions,” played Lancelot with the original cast in Monty Python’s “Spamalot” and had the lead role of Peter in “Prelude to a Kiss,” opposite John Mahoney. Television credits include “Firefly” and “Dollhouse” for creator Joss Whedon, “Arrested Development” and “Strangers with Candy.”
Tudyk is a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard Conservatory and grew up in Plano, Texas.
Emmy® nominated MINDY KALING (voice of Taffyta Muttonfudge) is a quadruple threat to be reckoned with. Kaling is an actor, writer, producer and director. She wore all these hats on the critically acclaimed and Emmy® Award-winning NBC show “The Office.” Additionally, she is a New York Times bestselling author and can currently be seen on Fox’s “The Mindy Project,” which she created, stars in, writes and executive produces.
Kaling played the memorable role of Kelly Kapoor on “The Office.” She’s wrote more than 18 episodes, including “Niagara,” which earned her an Emmy® nod. She debuted as a director with the episode “Subtle Sexuality” in 2009, and also became an executive producer of the hit television show. “The Office” has been nominated and won multiple awards, including Writers Guild of America Awards, Television Critics Association Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Golden Globe® Awards and Emmy Awards. Kaling was nominated for a 2008 Image Award in the Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series category for episode “Branch Wars.” The show was nominated for a 2012 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. The writing team, including Kaling, was nominated for a 2010 Writers Guild Award for outstanding achievement in television in the comedy series.
Kaling penned her first book in 2011, titled “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).” The book was featured on the New York Times Best-Sellers list as well as USA Today’s Best-Sellers list. The book is a collection of comic essays detailing moments from a woman’s life, including everything from relationships to fashion.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
RICH MOORE (Director) makes his feature directing debut for Walt Disney Animation Studios, following a phenomenally successful career in television animation with directing efforts on such groundbreaking shows as “The Simpsons” and “Futurama.” He has directed numerous episodes of “The Simpsons” and served as a sequence director on “The Simpsons Movie.” Among his professional achievements are two Emmy® Awards, as well as an Annie Award, a Hugo Award and a Reuben Award.
A graduate of California Institute of the Arts’ (CalArts) renowned Character Animation Program, Moore launched his career as a designer and writer for Ralph Bakshi’s “Mighty Mouse – The New Adventures.” He then became one of the original three directors on “The Simpsons,” directing numerous episodes over the series’ first five seasons, including the Emmy® Award-winning “Homer vs. Lisa and the Eighth Commandment.” From there, he moved onto Gracie Films’ second animated series, “The Critic,” and served as the show’s supervising director.
Moore reteamed with CalArts alum Gregg Vanzo and Claudia Katz at Rough Draft Studios, Inc., where he oversaw the creative development and production of Matt Groening’s “Futurama.” While supervising and directing on “Futurama,” Moore was awarded the 1999 Reuben Award (from the National Cartoonists Society) for Best in Television Animation, the 2001 Hugo Gold Plaque (from the World Science Fiction Society) for Special Achievement in Animation, and the 2002 Emmy® for Outstanding Animated Program (the “Roswell That Ends Well” episode).
Moore’s credits include director or supervising director on the Warner Bros.’ theatrical short “Duck Dodgers -- Attack the Drones,” the CBS prime time pilot “Vinyl Café,” “Drawn Together” for Comedy Central, “Spy vs. Spy” for Mad TV, and “Sit Down, Shut Up” for Fox.
CLARK SPENCER (Producer) has served in a variety of top executive capacities for Walt Disney Animation Studios over the past two decades. He joined Disney in July 1990 as a senior business planner in the finance and planning department, earning subsequent promotions to manager of studio planning in August 1991 and director of studio planning and finance in September 1992. During this time, he was involved in the launch of the Disney Channel in Asia, the acquisition of Miramax Films and the creation of the business plan for Disney’s Paris-based animation studio.
In October 1993, Spencer joined Walt Disney Animation Studios as the division’s director of planning and was quickly promoted to the role of vice president of planning and finance. The Hollywood Reporter ranked Spencer in its class of 1995 among the Next Generation of emerging young executives under the age of 35. In October 1996, he was elevated to the role of senior vice president of finance and operations for Walt Disney Animation Studios and Theatrical Productions, a post he held until his move to Disney’s Florida-based animation studio in September of 1998.
Spencer served as senior vice president and general manager of the Florida Studio, where he oversaw all aspects of operations and production at the studio. Six months later, the Company approached Spencer to produce the second animated feature to be made at the Florida Studio, “Lilo & Stitch.” The hit movie proved to be a franchise for the Walt Disney Company, spawning three DVD sequels, an animated TV series and characters which are still popular today. In 2002, Spencer returned to the animation studio in Burbank as executive producer of “Meet The Robinsons,” overseeing the story development of the project. he then went on to serve as producer on Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Bolt.” Spencer was an executive producer on Disney’s 2011 release, “Winnie the Pooh.”
A native of Seattle, Washington, Spencer is a 1985 graduate of Harvard University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in history. He spent three years on Wall Street as a financial associate with Bankers Trust Company before returning to Harvard Business School, where he earned his M.B.A. in 1990.
PHIL JOHNSTON (Story by/Screenplay by) is a feature film and television writer. His screenplay for “Cedar Rapids,” starring Ed Helms and John C. Reilly, was a 2012 Independent Spirit Award nominee for Best First Screenplay.
Johnston is currently writing and executive producing “Harve Karbo,” a TV show he created with Joel and Ethan Coen. Upcoming film projects include the adaptation of “A Confederacy of Dunces” (Paramount, with Zach Galifianakis starring), a spy comedy with Sacha Baron Cohen (Paramount) and the comedy “Reply All” (DreamWorks).
Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Johnston worked as a broadcast journalist, earning three Emmy® Awards for his work. He holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.F.A. in film from Columbia University. He lives in Brooklyn and Los Angeles with his wife, two kids and a cat.
JENNIFER LEE (Screenplay by) joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in March 2011 as a co-writer for “Wreck-it Ralph.”
She has feature films in development with Troika Pictures and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions, and her script “Lucid Dreams” was optioned by Wolfgang Peterson's Radiant Productions. She is writing the screenplay for Walt Disney Animation Studio’s upcoming epic adventure film “Frozen.”
Lee holds an MFA in Film from Columbia University and a BA in English from the University of New Hampshire.
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.