“The idea of ​​En Avant came to me from the loss of my father” Interview with Dan Scanlon

Accompanied From producer Kori Rae, Onward director Dan Scanlon tells us how he worked on the new Pixar animated film. Interview.

To talk about the latest from the animation studio Pixar, En Avant, we asked questions to its director Dan Scanlon and its producer Kori Rae who had previously collaborated on Monsters Academy. In this interview, they evoke in turn the very personal inspirations of En Avant but also their work at Pixar. En Avant sets up a modern world populated by fantastic creatures such as elves, fairies and even centaurs. The animated film follows the journey of two brothers who lost their father very young and will try, using magic, to live a day in his company.

You had already worked together on Monsters Academy. Was the writing of En Avant different?

Dan Scanlon: It was important to do something personal for us. Even if we love Monsters University and what it tells, En Avant was an opportunity to start from scratch and do something that spoke to us in a very personal way. The idea came to me from the loss of my father when I was young and we made this story of these two boys who go on an adventure hoping to live a day with their dad. We also wanted to make a film that would be funny while having real stakes and a real adventure. And above all, tell a story that people could identify with.

Pixar artists are masters in the construction of universes in which to tell their stories. During design, do you rather start with the story or the universe?

Kori Rae: I think it more or less always starts with the story.

DS: Afterwards, it can come from elsewhere. I’ve heard people say, “Wouldn’t it be cool to make a movie where monsters live under your bed?” because it’s something that every kid has believed at some point. We then wonder what this film would look like. Other times, we think more about the story: “I lost my father, and if I could meet him? How would it be possible? And in what world?” So we can take inspiration from both.

“It’s an exciting time right now at Pixar. New voices are emerging within the studio.” – Kori Rae

Pixar seems to have more or less left aside the sequels to make more original movies. What do you think?

KR:

I don’t know if it was a very conscious decision. We do sequels when someone has a great idea that happens in that world. In any case, it’s an exciting time because we’re making lots of original films and new voices are emerging within the studio. We happened to do a few sequels in a row and now more original scripts. But I’m not sure it’s a conscious effort. It is especially played on the filmmakers who carry these ideas.

Did you play role-playing games when you were little?

DS: No! Strangely, we didn’t play there. But we worked with so many people who were role-players that we learned a lot during the making of the film. We also learned a lot about the genre of fantasy.

KR: We gained a greater understanding of the genre. I didn’t understand everything it said before. And now I have a much better understanding of the world of roleplaying and even LARPing. These are extremely creative hobbies. It was good to learn more about it.

What fantasy books and movies inspired you?

DS: We watched movies and read books that are fantasy classics. Whether good or bad, both enable us to learn. I couldn’t cite any specific ones because we were looking for the shots, to have a vast…

KR:

A vast panorama of shots so that we can choose. The tavern, for example, we see a lot of quest movies or fantasy films that start in taverns. So we took these kinds of images and we thought about how to insert them into our modern fantasy world.

En Avant – Cinema release on March 4 2020 in France

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