Crystal, Goodman head back to school in 'Monsters University'

Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:21pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - One-eyed green monster Mike Wazowski and his giant blue, furry friend James P. "Sully" Sullivan go back in time as "scaring" students in "Monsters University," as Walt Disney Co.'s Pixar Animation Studios pins its hopes for a blockbuster on the coming-of-age story.

"Monsters University," a prequel to 2001 animated film "Monsters, Inc.," will be released on Friday in U.S. theaters, and director Dan Scanlon told Reuters one of the main challenges was to keep the film fresh and surprising for audiences.

"You're dealing with the fact that everybody knows how the movie is going to end," Scanlon said about plotting Pixar's first prequel, particularly for a film that grossed more than $560 million at the worldwide box office.

A college setting seemed ideal for best friends Mike, voiced by Billy Crystal, and Sully, voiced by John Goodman, Scanlon said, to "explore serious emotional relationship stuff" and "major self-discovery."

"It's a maturing process or learning who you are," Goodman added. "Everybody goes through it, whether you went to college or not."

"Monsters University" tells the story of how Mike and Sully first met in college as "scaring" majors, learning the prestigious art of scaring human beings in order to harness their screams, which power the city of Monstropolis.

Although Mike and Sully eventually become friends and co-workers at scaring factory Monsters, Inc., their friendship does not have the smoothest start, with Sully's "party-guy" popularity conflicting with the studious, ambitious Mike.

The film focuses on Mike, whose sole ambition from childhood is to become a "scarer" despite not being very intimidating, and at university, he struggles to find his place among his peers, finally fitting in with a fraternity of outcasts.   Continued...

Actor Billy Crystal, voice talent of character Mike Wazowski in the new computer animated film "Monsters,Inc." mimics his characters appearance next to a poster as he arrives at the film's premiere in Hollywood October 28, 2001. REUTERS/Fred Prouser