Ratatouille Premiere - Brad Bird, Lou Romano, and Peter Sohn
How do you guys keep
The animation is amazing in this. How do you guys keep topping yourselves?
Brad Bird: "I think that Pixar's full of people that love movies, and we just try to tell the story the best way we can. Each story is really different, which is one of the things that I love about Pixar. I think Ratatouille is very different from Cars and Incredibles and Nemo. And the next film, Wall-E, is very different from Ratatouille. We try to just make movies that we would want to see, and then hope that the rest of the people come along with us."
How do you guys decide who is directing what and who is attached as a producer, and who is working on what?
Brad Bird: "It happens a number of different ways. This film happened a really odd way because it was begun by a guy named Jan Pinkava, who had this brilliant idea about a rat who wants to cook. But about a year and a half ago the project was having trouble coalescing all of its story possibilities. John Lasseter and Ed Catmull and Steve Jobs asked me to come on and write a new script, and get all the work pulled together. It was a fast project for me, but it's been about seven years in the making overall."
I understand that you actually made them look more like rats when they weren't originally going to look like that. What was the decision for that?
Brad Bird: "Well, everyone loved the premise, but the fact that people kind of go, 'ick,' when they think about rats…"
In a kitchen.
Brad Bird: "Right, in a kitchen, the 'ick' factor, that made them start to lose confidence about the rats and put them on two legs and shorten their tails and make them like little humans. I felt that this was a story about a rat who was trying to move into the human world, and I wanted to see the rat make that choice. So we had to kind of back engineer it and get them all on fours, and have our lead character choose to become more and more human. I think it gave the story a little more depth."
What was more difficult for you to capture right – the food or the rats themselves?
Brad Bird: "Both were difficult. I think that the food might have been a little trickier because it had to look delicious."
And it does.
Brad Bird: "Well thanks. We worked really hard on that. But a lot of people…we're getting our first reactions now and a lot of people are saying they're hungry after watching the movie. So it's a good date movie and get a good restaurant afterwards. I think you won't be disappointed."
Do you guys have the inside track when it comes to doing the voices? Did you expect to be the final tracks?
Peter Sohn: "No, not at all. It was a huge surprise for me. I mean, you go in and you just like try to do these lines and then they're like, 'You know what? You're going to play the character.' You're like, 'Oh, whoa. Wow.'"
Lou Romano: "It's common for people at the studio to provide temporary voice tracks for the story reels, but sometimes people are cast. It's not uncommon. Like the late Joe Ranft played Heimlich in A Bug's Life and Wheezy in Toy Story 2. It's kind of a Pixar tradition."
But you get to be the leading man in this and even have a love interest.
Lou Romano: "Right. That's a nice perk."
How much did the characters develop from the first time you saw them until what's on the screen?
Lou Romano: "For Linguini, he started as a much smaller character and then as the film progressed, he became a much bigger character out of necessity, I think, in how to work with Remy, you know, and their relationship, which was fun for me."
Peter Sohn: "Emile, he was always a food lover, but he always loved to eat garbage. But I think his caring grew a lot more for his brother during the making of the movie. He became more understanding of him where before he was kind of like, 'Uhh, do whatever you want.' But now he's like, 'I love you Remy. You shouldn't be doing that kind of a thing.'"