Incredibles 2 Filmmakers Share About Making the Film
We sat down with the filmmakers of Incredibles 2, Brad Bird, Nicole Grindle, and John Walker to talk about the making of the film. The first question, of course, addressed what we all wanted to know, why did it take so long to make the sequel. “I just don’t think it’s maybe the greatest idea creatively to follow-up a successful film with its sequel,” stated Brad Bird. He continued by saying he thinks that directors would want to take their time, think about it and enjoy the process.
It’s not that he didn’t think about making a sequel all the time, as a matter of fact, the director shared the film was always in the back of his mind. The years simply passed by while Bird was working on other projects and once he realized the fifteen year anniversary of the first film was fastly approaching he knew it was time to get working on the long-awaited sequel. He does admit it may have been smarter to do the film sooner, but it was never intentional to wait this long.
Bird On Getting Back Into the Characters
For Bird getting back into the characters was very personal and easy as pie, according to the director. He shared that he pulled from his family lives both his childhood and his life with his wife and children.
Easy as pie. It seems like outwardly it’s a really commercial movie, but it’s actually strangely personal to me. So, it has a lot of the things that I loved at the age of ten, which a lot of ‘em I still love — I hate to admit — and combined with the family that I grew up with and the family that I have with my wife and sons. So, it’s kinda all the stuff I love combined with both families that I’ve had in my life. And so, for me, even though it seems brightly colored and pop confection, it’s actually really personal to me.
I like those characters and they’re comfortable to me, and I have fun hearing them talk. And what’s fun after you’ve made the first one is that you have your ideal voice cast. And when you write, you’re actually imagining Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sam Jackson, Sarah Vowell’s voices. So, it’s even easier to write, in terms of dialogue. In terms of story, it’s not easy at all.
The Role of Technology In Creating A Better Film
Throughout our presentations, we heard Pixar animators talk about aspects of the first film they just couldn’t get right. It was very foreign to us since we all love the film. We heard a bit from Bird about how technology has made it possible for them to create things like fire and water that’s much better than the previous film. The first film was the first to feature an all human cast for Pixar studios, now he says their challenges are on a smaller scale but challenging none the less.
The first film, the big deal was that there was no single big deal. It was everything. We had three times as many sets as any Pixar film before. We had everything that CG animation was bad at. We did the bad at humans, bad at hair, bad at fire, bad at water. And we just had a whole film that was filled with everything that CG couldn’t do well at that point.
So, it really almost broke the studio in terms of like the absolute cutting edge of what could be done, on the first film. And on this film, it still was a real challenge. But the medium has improved so much that you can do good fire now. You can do good water. You can do good hair.
Reversal Of Roles In the Household
If you’ve been reading any of my posts so far about my trip to Pixar you already know Helen is heading out into the workforce in Incredibles 2 leaving Bob at home to take care of the kids. It’s a new twist in this film and we wanted to know if that role reversal had anything to do with the current times we live in. Today we see more and more men staying at home with their children and women working outside the home. We were surprised to learn Bird actually toyed around with the idea of having Helen out on the mission while Bob stayed at home to deal with the kids since the first film. “Because we had a little less time to do our film, you couldn’t take any time to overthink things, if something didn’t pay off immediately, you had to abandon it, because the release date was looming and you had to quickly decide oh this works – Go, this doesn’t work – Kill,” added Bird.
The Role of Incredibles 2 In the New Superhero Market
We talked to Bird a bit about how this new film will do in this new era of superhero movies. Since the first film was released before Marvel started to dominate movie screens with their blockbuster films. He stated “I think that it’s much harder to do a unique story now. Not only are there scads and scads and scads and scads of superhero films, but there are television shows. And there are television shows like Heroes where they have maybe 20 superheroes, each of whom has a storyline every week.”
Bird and his team didn’t think of the Incredibles as a superhero movie and instead focused on the family. The superpowers of each character were “based on iconic roles of men and women and children in the family. The dad is always expected to be strong. The mom is always stretched in a million directions. Teenagers are defensive and insecure. So, she has force fields and invisibility. Ten-year-olds are energy balls, and babies are unknowns. They could have no powers at all, or they could be the next leader of the free world or whatever” – Brad Bird.
This approach was unique because it was more about stages of your life, and that’s one of the reasons Bird thinks the film has been successful. It’s easy for everyone to connect with at least two of the characters because we’ve all been teenagers. We’ve all been children.
Picking A Favorite
It’s always hard for filmmakers to pick a favorite, anytime the question is asked often the response is, it’s hard to choose they are all special to me. We did, however, get Bird, Grindle, and Walker to share their favorite scene or movie with us during the press conference.
Nicole Grindle: Wow. Well, I haven’t thought about it, but the first thing that comes to mind is Voyd. She’s a new character played by Sophia Bush. And I love her as somebody who sees Helen as a mentor. She’s got this really great, fresh energy. And I love her superpowers.
John Walker: I’m a new grandfather and my daughter — I have a one-year-old granddaughter, and my daughter came to me and said why didn’t you tell me it was so hard. I said, well, because then you never would’ve done it. I said and the caveat to that is and have I got a movie for you.
I love all the Jack-Jack scenes and how Bob has to try to deal with this crazy baby, which is just a great metaphor for what my daughter and son-in-law have been going through the last year. When will this child sleep? I said, you know, I don’t know. Hang in there! My favorite part are the Jack-Jack scenes, especially the raccoon fight.
Brad Bird: For me it’s just the whole thing is a delight. The most fun I ever had — I’ve only made six movies, and the most fun I’ve ever made making a movie was the first Incredibles. And so, to be able to return to this world was really fun for me.
Picking Up Right Where They Left Off
Bird made the decision to pick up right where he left off because he could. When we talked with the filmmaker about choosing to start right on the heels of the first film, he quickly stated since they are not confined to linear aging like live action films, it was easy for them to keep the characters the same age. He added that it was a bold choice for him to continue where he left off even after taking fifteen years to release the sequel.
Creating A New Classic
This film is sure to be a classic just like the original. We asked John Walker about what was different from making the first film and making this one. He quickly summed it up for us.
I agree the difference on this film from the last film is that we’re not inventing new things so much as we’re trying to stuff as much creativity into the time that we have. And it’s been a huge challenge for this team to go as fast as we have. In many ways the both films have felt similar to me in that there’s been this enormous pressure. It’s just come from different places. The first one was trying to invent it in time, and on this film it’s just trying to move as quickly as we can to put all of the great ideas Brad has onto that screen.
I mean we have three and a half weeks left, and even now we’re gonna leave all of you and go into some room and see how much more of that stuff we can stuff in there before times up.
In INCREDIBLES 2, Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell), Dash (voice of Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack—whose super powers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible.
INCREDIBLES 2 opens in theatres everywhere on June 15th!