Go Behind The Scenes Of The Jungle Book With Brigham Taylor and Rob Legato #JungleBookBluRay
While I was in Los Angeles last week I had the amazing opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes peek into Disney’s The Jungle book with the producer, Brigham Taylor and the visual effect supervisor, Rob Legato. These are some of my favorite parts of my trips with Disney. I get a real glimpse into how these movies are made, all the way from the stars who are voicing the characters to how the characters are created on the “big screen”. I cannot tell you how surreal it feels and the ‘dream’ I feel like I’m living when I’m sitting in front of the geniuses who create Disney movies. Oh, to be inside of their heads and know what they know. The creativity these guys are able to portray to the world is just unimaginable! Now, you get to take a peek into it with me 🙂
For this interview, we went to the ABC Building at Walt Disney Studios. I am always in awe of Walt Disney Studios and the magic that you feel just driving onto the lot. We always know there’s something great in store for us and this day did not disappoint. Brigham Taylor and Rob Legato walked into the room ready to chat; and the questions began!
The first question was asked. The answer is lengthy, but so worth reading!
How long does that whole process, from start to finish, what was the actual time?
Brigham Taylor: Tell me if you agree with this Rob, you know, something in there was sketchy, but there’s a period of time where you’re just working on a story before you’re really engaging and for that, not any movie can take any amount of time. This movie is probably about six months, eight months, something like that. From the time you’re really starting to prep the film to about the time we first met and started talking, you’re talking about a year of sort of pre-production and another year to finish it.
Rob Legato: It was very short to actually produce the film from the moment we started shooting until the moment we released it. Up until now, it was impossible to do a film that has this many shots in it, in 3-D, all computer generated. It was a miracle. It was about 2-1/2 years when I originally came on to start talking about it. We had built up and make sort of in house mechanisms to do this movie. Two and a half years, I think is a full-on production but I don’t know what happened prior to that.
Brigham Taylor: Just story development that was, about six to eight months. But for me, it wasn’t unique to see the better part of the year in post-production to finish all these shots, whether you’re working on a complex movie like “Pirates” or “Narnia” or something like that. For me it was the nearly a year spent making all of the many specific decisions to get to the point of photography because once you saw that kid on the stage, everything had to have already been worked out in terms of the scale of each creature, the scale of the jungle, you had to know exactly where you were pointing, what you were looking at.
Rob Legato: Well part of the drill was also to create something that when you go on stage you have great authority. You know exactly what it’s going to look like or what it wants to look like and to us, even though when you see all the previews and things like that you are actually seeing sort of a cartoon version. It may be hard to picture but when we’re seeing it, we’re seeing the finished shot so that’s the template for the finished shot. So, we are looking through it. I’ve worked on another film before where I was showing somebody a test, what it ultimately would look like, and they were only judging it for what it was and so oh my God, it looks awful. That’s horrible, why do you like that? It’s like ‘well it’s going to look good’.
Rob Legato: But in our heads we’re not really seeing that. We’re seeing the finished piece. We’re seeing what the art direction is going to look like, seeing what the lighting is going to look like but you have to kind of bed that in something firm so when you walk on it, because the blue screen stage is really difficult to come up with ideas because there’s nothing there. It’s almost stupefying. You need to have in your head a very clear idea so you can actually direct the shot and even judge it if it’s working out.
As we’re sitting in the theater in the ABC Building listening to these men talk about creating The Jungle Book, my mind was just focused. It is amazing how all of this technical stuff just makes sense when you’re actually sitting in front of the people who made it happen! The next question was asked and I really love this question and their answer:
About how many people would you say you had on your production team?
Brigham Taylor: Well, different amounts at different times but when you were fully staffed, when everyone was in full swing and other people were around because you are talking about the massive teams and visual effects. The crew, when we were actually shooting on set was modest in that, a couple hundred, but you’re talking over 800 people.
Rob Legato: There were probably 1,000, maybe 2,000 people, all in all, if we could count all the musicians and all the musicians in New Orleans and if you count everybody that was actually on the film at one point or another, it’s probably close to 2,000 people, a lot, precisely it’s a lot of people.
At this point, I am just mesmerized; 2,000 people! That is an insane number for creating a movie. You normally think about CGI and that it will be simpler because they are working, so much, with computers. It never occurred to me that there were so many actual people working on a CGI movie! Then my favorite question was asked….a question about the legacy of this movie (part of this answer is in the Instagram clip above):
What would you say was your favorite part about creating this and then 50 years from now, what do you want people to remember most about this version of the film?
Rob Legato: Boy there’s a lot of favorite parts. That’s a hard question. There were a lot of favorite parts. Let me answer the second question. For me, doing this for a long time, having worked on these various films, what I always wanted to be0 able to do is to say ‘okay now that we have all this ability to do anything we want to do, let’s do something very specific in the tradition of why I was interested in the movie making in the first place’.
Rob Legato: I think, in everyone’s mind, you have a backlog of every movie starting from “Casablanca” on that impressed you in some way or saw a thing, a sensation and all that stuff, and so you want to make a movie that uses all this technology that doesn’t remind you of CG oriented movies, or superhero movies. It reminds you of films that you loved when you were growing up and so you almost do so much technology to make it disappear into the background and what I would like for the audience to respond to and then the future audience to respond to is that this is starting to make a demarcation where the digital portion is no longer a dirty word, CGI they did it and CGI is a dirty word.
It’s the same artifice of movie making from the beginning. There were fake walls. There were fake sets, people wearing costumes, people wearing makeup. They are not saying their own words. They are saying words that are written for them but we divorced ourselves from all that when we get into the movie and so CGI should be the same thing and so what I’d like for people to remember is that that’s what really occurred. That is the first time you forgot you were watching something that could have been done on a computer and it hearkens back because it continually reminds you of live action shots you’ve seen so you must be watching a live action movie.
For me, we were making a live action movie. We were not making an animated film, we didn’t want to look like an animated film like that. I guess the first time I think I got a big thrill from it was for some reason of all the characters, and they are all great, is something about Idris Elba playing that character and the melding of his voice, his performance, the character he was playing, the way it was animated, that represented his emotion and then the way it was photographed and the sole total of the composite of that went ‘wow, that’s a real character’. That’s not a guy voicing a cartoon. That’s a real specific thing. And everybody else is great but for some reason he just like clicked in one notch. He went to a level and made that.
About The Jungle Book:
Directed by Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire. The all-star cast also includes Lupita Nyong’o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of wolf pack’s alpha male Akela. “The Jungle Book” seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world. THE JUNGLE BOOK available on Digital HD on 8/23 and Blu-ray on 8/30.
“Hibernation” Film Clip
Like THE JUNGLE BOOK on Facebook
Follow THE JUNGLE BOOK on Twitter
Follow THE JUNGLE BOOK on Instagram
Follow THE JUNGLE BOOK on Pinterest
Follow THE JUNGLE BOOK on Google+
Visit Walt Disney Pictures on Tumblr
Follow Walt Disney Pictures on YouTube
Visit the official THE JUNGLE BOOK website here
THE JUNGLE BOOK available on Digital HD on 8/23 and Blu-ray on 8/30
“Mowgli Leaves The Pack” Film Clip