Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ratatouille Served Up At WonderCon

Brad Bird has presented the Ratatouille panel at WonderCon in San Francisco. Here's a few juicy points:

An extensive slice of the cast list was revealed - Remy voiced by Patton Oswald; his brother Emile voiced by Peter Sohn; father Django played by Brian Dennehy; kitchen boy Linguini voiced by Lou Romano; restaurant critic Anton Ego voiced by Peter O'Toole; kitchen boss Skinner voiced by Ian Holm; dead chef Auguste Gusteau voiced by Brad Garret.

Brad Bird's cameo in the film will last only a few seconds but it isn't the waiter he voiced in the trailer. Instead, it is a whiny character.

The ghost of Gusteau, as discussed here earlier, appears to be only in the imagination of Remy. Gusteau was a famous TV chef in the past, and this is where Remy devloped his idea of how he'd behave - think Elvis in True Romance.

Remy's community survives on the refuse from the kitchen, this is why he won't out himself as a master chef: the restaurant will close, his community will suffer.

John Ratzenberger does have a role in the film. Which role is still secret.

The film begins with Remy and family living on a rural farm but they have to flee after Remy exposes them all and the farm family set about an extermination plan.

Brad Bird explained that the camera in Ratatouille is pretty much locked to Remy's eye level throughout the film and that many of the cuts wouldn't work on an IMAX screen, say,as they're too closely packed together at times and the eye wouldn't have sufficient time to move across such a huge field (I might argue that those sitting at the back of a smaller sized IMAX theatre would beg to differ, but his thinking is 100% otherwise).

After Jan Pinkava was replaced as director, Brad Bird wrote an entirely new script for the whole film. The basic premise remained, but this was a genuine page-one overhaul. Several key characters changed completely but virtually every set and prop for the first version was already designed and therefore most were used. As a result of working so quickly to re-engineer the whole film, Bird believes it is very spontaneous and energetic.

(We at film ick know that it was in Bird's rewrite that Gusteau became a ghost, which was surprising news to Garret when he was next called in for a voice session).

One long clip showed Remy's attempts to fix a ruined soup. The first half was a chase, later a very sweet and inventive reperation of the soup recipe. Some of this had a vibe similar to the cartoon that opens Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Remy faces danger from all directions and then gets to show off his understanding of food science: this scene is the whole film in microcosm.

The next long clip showed Remy being caught in a bottle and handed to Linguini to dispose of. Linguini can't do it, bless him, and he lets the wee rat free down by the river. The two soon bond and come together however, formulating a plan by which Remy can save Linguini's job by helping him with his cooking.

A new trailer for Ratatouille is expected to premiere online this week.

Brad Bird mentioned that while he would love to make a sequel to The Incredibles, he'd have to come up with 'the right story' first and so far, he's not even near. His next film is 'probably' going to be live action, but he expects that he will return to animation directly afterwards.

1 comment:

keepcoolbutcare said...

J. Garofalo is listed on IMDB, and while I thought I heard her for a brief moment during the first clip, Bird didn't mention her, which I found surprising.

The clips looked great (obviously), lots of "pure" cinema (rather animation)...sound and image montages for the chase scenes, with at least one big chase round Paris (possible finale) hinted. Bird pulled a neat perspective gag when Remy while was correcting the soup, a delicious (pun intended) bit where Remy became lost in the magic of culinary creation, much akin to the lighting solely of one stage performer, until his reverie was rudely interrupted at his discovery.