A Minute With: Disney's John Lasseter on creating Oscar magic

Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:54pm EST
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Disney's Pixar Animation Studios head into the next week's Oscars with the only movie ever nominated for both best film and best animated film, "Up," about an old man and boy on an adventure in a faraway land.

Since its release last spring, "Up" has sold more than $725 million worth of tickets worldwide. It follows a string of successes that include "The Incredibles" and "Cars."

Disney/Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter, a major star in the world of animation, spoke to Reuters about "Up" and the company's moviemaking philosophy, including another Disney Oscar hopeful, "The Princess and the Frog."

Q: Any film with the Pixar stamp seems to spell success. Do you ever worry that a film may stumble?

A: "Probably more than any other movie we've made here at Pixar, "Up" was the one we were the most nervous about ... Our audience is so important to us. Every single day, the question that is foremost in my mind is: 'Are we holding our audience?' We think our audience is very smart, especially kids. But when someone describes "Up" to you, it doesn't seem like a movie kids would like. It's about a 78-year-old guy!"

Q: What kept you going with it?

A: "When (writer/co-director) Bob Peterson read me the treatment, with that opening sequence (in which a boy and girl grow up, get married and live life), I had tears in my eyes. It was so moving. That was the core of the story, so we held on to that and said, 'We have potential here; stay focused on that.'

Q: A lot of people are saying this year's animated Oscar nominees -- including Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" are the best ever. Describe the state of animation in Hollywood.   Continued...

<p>John Lasseter (C), chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios and executive producer of "Up", poses with characters Russell (L) and Carl Fredricksen from the film during the film's premiere in Hollywood, California May 16, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>