MacMullan Talks Mickey Mouse and Get A Horse!

Now that the secret’s finally out about Get A Horse! being a brand new Mickey Mouse short and not some rediscovered lost gem, we can better appreciate its remarkable achievement, which I discussed with director Lauren MacMullan in her first in-depth interview.

The combination of hand-drawn, black-and-white and its equivalent in CG, color, and 3-D is a meta Mickey event and a metaphor for Disney’s resurgence. It’s like a dialogue between the past and the present, ending in aesthetic harmony. It’s not about technique: it’s about storytelling. Peg-Leg Pete roars, “Make way for the future,” as he runs Mickey and his pals off the road, and that’s exactly what Mickey does when he bursts through the screen and heroically bursts in and out to save the day. It’s further proof of Disney’s resurgence by embracing its legacy, and not hiding from it, and why Get A Horse! will be perfect alongside Frozen (Nov. 27).

“I love that early [1928] era of Mickey — it’s how I learned to animate, back in the day [directing The Simpsonsand King of the Hill] and it’s my favorite era of animation, and that Mickey, in particular, is this young, fresh, underdog,” recalls MacMullan, who was reunited with Rich Moore on Wreck-It Ralph. “He’s more of the mouse and less of the man/boy he became later. A little ADD by today’s standards, but a fuller range of emotion. He seems to be doing everything for the first time and often seems to be meeting Minnie for the first time. All I could think of was this was the Mickey that I liked. I came up with the idea of a long short and to cement it in that era, pull it out from the screen into today and lose eight decades of Mickey in the middle. And so then I realized that it could only work as a theatrical short for it to come out into the modern world.”

Working uniquely with Eric Goldberg and Adam Green as 2D and CG supervisors, respectively, along with such vets as Dale Baer and Mark Henn, MacMullan insists that she’s agnostic about technique. But the great challenge was staying on that ’28 model in CG. Goldberg called it “evolving backwards.” The CG models were initially much too precise. So it became a matter of “lumping up” the models and making them look more like the drawings. And, of course, none of the drawings of that era was perfect. But it was the imperfection that gave it life.

Read the rest at Animation Scoop/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Movies, Shorts, Sound, Tech

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