Superheroes are out in full force at the House of Mouse. INCREDIBLES 2 — coming out June 15 — is a fresh, fun and exciting sequel 2004’s THE INCREDIBLES. MouseInfo had the chance to sit down at a press conference with the people involved in making the film. We got to hear from Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, and Huck Milner who represented the Parr family plus Samuel L. Jackson, Sophia Bush, Catherine Keener, and Bob Odenkirk who rounded out the cast along with some of the crew including director Brad Bird and producer John Walker.
Brad Bird quickly acknowledged the 14-year span between THE INCREDIBLES movie and INCREDIBLES 2 during the chat. A lot of factors were in play. During the time pop culture saw the emergence of the explosive Marvel Cinematic Universe and the 3-point superhero landing. Bird would not have any of that in this movie, “It’s not cool anymore”.
Bird knew he had to take a fresh dynamic and approach to this world and those included role reversal between the power dynamic of Helen and Bob and the reveal of Jack-Jacks powers with a hilarious raccoon fight which were all visions that Bird had at the time of the original in 2004. But the rest of the story kept changing, causing continuing adjustments during production. The end results are a phenomenally great film. It moves seamlessly from villain fights to sibling fights and adolescent travails that keep it exciting and fresh.
And while a 2-hour runtime might suggest that it’s not a kids movie, the Pixar magic comes into play here. There are many themes and characters that unfold here to which the whole family can relate. Bird commented, “Kids are treated like beards.”
Bob Odenkirk notes, “everyone in my family, including nieces and nephew, young, my son and daughter, older, teenagers. Everyone related to, they enjoyed the whole story, and everyone related to different characters and themes because there are so many and they’re delivered on so well.”
Bird recalls when they got the green light, “I realized that what excited me about the idea in the first place was not the superheroes. It was that it was about the family dynamic. And people’s roles in different parts of their lives and how superheroes, that genre is like a twisted lemon that you squeeze on top of this. It’s not what the movie is about. And then I got excited again. Because to me, families are kind of a continent of fresh opportunities. Because it’s so universal. And so I got excited again when I thought about it that way. And that was really what excited me about the first movie.”
Women in power is also another emerging trend in cinema that wasn’t as big of a deal 14 years ago and Holly Hunter was all too glad to be part of the wave of strong female characters who can hold their own. “I started gleefully singing during our recording sessions about how great my part was,” she commented, “But to me, it was just really fun. I don’t think that this is a message movie in any way. I think it’s purely like luck, luck of the draw that this happens to be dovetailing with #metoo, and #timesup. But obviously, time is up. Okay. And I feel that way personally. And it happens to be serendipitously reflected in this particular movie.”
Craig T Nelson on Bob’s support of Hunter’s Elastigirl, “having to deal with Elastigirl out there doing what I want to do and being able to give her the encouragement. Let her know that everything is okay. It was just a lot of fun. I’m so honored to be a part of it.”
Another huge part of this movie is the increased visual presence of mid-century modern design and that is capped off in the movie with a — SPOILER ALERT — shoutout to Johnny Quest. Besides Birds rule to only include animated clips playing on TV’s in an animated movie, he found inspiration in Johnny Quests’ characters, style, and stories. “I LOVE Johnny Quest. It was made for prime time, adults watched it.” Bird exclaimed. “And it’s the style of the film. It’s that kind of action adventure style from the early 60s. So it fits with our film.”
On the technology changes in the 14 years since the last film, producer Nicole Grindle added, “that makes the world feel richer and more alive. Not to mention all the other visual effects stuff. And we’ve also got a lot of artists who have had 14 years to get better at their craft. And a lot of artists, who were some of them kids when the first film came out, and it’s a dream come true for them to work on this film.”
I just hope it’s not another 14 years before we visit with the Parr family again.
We also got to learn more about the animated short BAO which is showing ahead of INCREDIBLES 2. The animated short is directed by newcomer Domee Shi marking not just her debut but also the first time a woman has directed a Pixar short! Shi was inspired by her own family experience growing up as an only child in a Chinese immigrant family in Toronto, Canada.
A bao is a steamed bun but also refers to “treasure or something precious” according to Shi. She was working as a story artist on Inside Out, her first job outside of school, and while having a great time was itching to do something of her own. Her obsession at the time was food so Bao was a natural creative outlet. She says that food is a “universal pleasure” that everyone can relate to. A Chinese version of the gingerbread man story, inspired by her mother’s cooking. Shi calls her the “dumpling making queen”. Her mother even came into Pixar on two occasions to demonstrate dumpling making to the crew and is credited in the film.
Bao is a fantasy about food, family, and love. Bring tissues. I’m not crying. You’re crying.
INCREDIBLES 2 bursts into theaters with BAO ahead of it on June 15, 2018.