Brad Bird and Claudio Miranda Talk Tomorrowland

The secret to Tomorrowland for Brad Bird is that it’s more about the journey than the destination, which explains why it’s such a subversive Disney fantasy/adventure, despite the pedigree and star power of George Clooney. Because once we get there, it’s not at all what it seems and there are no simple answers. Yet Bird and producer/co-writer Damon Lindelof still consider it more of a fun popcorn movie than a preachy, good-for-the-soul tonic.

“We also hope that if our popcorn sticks to the ribs, that’s a good thing,” Bird said. “Underneath it all, we want to be heading toward a positive place. And we were trying to make a fable about just that.”

But getting there is nerve-racking for Casey (Britt Robertson), which is why her so-called “Pin Experience” is so brilliantly executed. The eternally optimistic teen is like Dorothy in search of Oz, and with the touch of a special pin she gets tantalizingly close but can’t quite gain entrance.

“One of the goals was to put the audience in the position of Casey and have them feel like they’re experiencing it the way she’s experiencing it… it’s continuous and she’s rushing to take it all in and there’s almost too much,” Bird suggested. “If you’e looking at this thing over here, you’re missing something over there. And so it’s like a kid in a candy store. And there’s this panic at the end: maybe it’s not gonna last much longer and then it’s gone. It’s like a flying dream that you wake up too soon out of.”

For Oscar-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi), it was about being naturalistic if slightly pushed for dramatic effect, while relying on real-world points of reference. The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, was utilized, along with a massive set the size of a football field with a functioning monorail.

“Initially, Brad wanted to shoot 65mm film,” Miranda recalled. “He also considered shooting Tomorrowland digitally and the real world would be film. We discussed using five different cameras but I think you handcuff yourself doing things like that. So I did the test of all tests: I strapped seven cameras on a piece of truss and put it on a shot maker. After running them side by side, we decided on the Sony F65.”

Inevitably, Tomorrowland became personal for Bird. It’s about dreamers everywhere and fulfilling your vision without it being fatally compromised.

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, How They Did It, Movies, previs, Production Design, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

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