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TINKERBELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST Press Day Recap

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Last Saturday, Nuke the Fridge were invited to Disneytoon Studios in Glendale Ca., to take part in a press event for the upcoming “fairy” tale, “Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast.” I had the privilege to interview the creators of the film and the voice behind one of the stars of the film, Ginnifer Goodwin who provides the voice for Fawn. The creators gave us some very in-depth insight into the making of the film and Ginnifer Goodwin shared with us stories about her character and also talked about what’s coming up next for “Once Upon a Time.”

Director Steve Loter (The Legend of Tarzan) shared with us the story behind how this project came up. Loter, who has always been scared of huge dogs ever since his childhood due to not ever having any sort of pet in his childhood, stated that his daughter would run up to to these huge dogs around the neighborhood and hug them. Being that he had his fear of dogs, he sat down with her and talked about her love of animals. He asked her why she can just run up to huge dogs without knowing if they are dangerous. She simply answered, “all animals are my friends.” Thus, the idea for the film came about. He realized that his daughter had such an open heart, that she couldn’t just fear an animal by the way it looks. Which is exactly what the film is about. Not being judgmental of something or someone and that getting to know someone is a very important thing.

Loter also mentioned that a lot of the characters in the film are based on the people who are involved in his life. Fawn has obvious similarities to his daughter, Nyx is very much like himself, a strict parent who just wants to protect his family, while the rest of the scout fairies are influenced by his daughter’s gymnastics team.

The film is visually beautiful as equally beautiful as the story itself. Gruff, the Neverbeast, is such a complex character with tons of attributes from numerous animals from around the world. Story artist Ryan Green and animation supervisor Mike Greenholt were a huge part of the creation of the Neverbeast. They gave us some behind-the-scenes stories of how the creature came about. They studied a huge amount of different animals for two years. They looked at different animal walking patterns, bone structures, what each part of an animals body part is used for and adapted their character after various animal traits. His tail was one which resembled an opossum, his horns of a bull, his stature is of a mix between a rhino and an hippo. His characteristics take after a dog. while his voice is a mix of noises of cats, dogs, llamas and a hyena.

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Later in the movie, Gruff starts to transform into a more menacing looking creature. Both Green and Greenholt stated that it was a bit tricky to do so because they had make the creature look menacing without making it look too menacing. They wanted it scary enough to where you believe that this may be just a monster after all. They also mentioned that the design of the more menacing Gruff, has some features inspired by “Tron” and the vintage Disneyland light parade.

The music in the film is something of made all sorts of instruments and sounds which you may never have heard of before. While Ginnifer Goodwin provided the voice for Fawn, she also ended her singing chops to the films soundtrack. The music was composed by BLEU and Brett Swain. They used instruments which were not really intended to be instruments. For example, planting pots, pipes bought from hardware stores, vintage children toys and also a new instrument made up from for the film called a “dulcitar,” which is a restrung guitar played by a pair of dulcimer hammers.

We ended the day with a round table interview with Ginnifer Goodwin (voice of Fawn) and here are some of the highlights from the interview:

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Q: What was it like playing the voice of Fawn?

Goodwin: She’s a trip. I miss her, I’ve played her for three years. I think as a character, it’s not that she was a stretch so much as learning how to express her was a whole new experience for me. I’ve done a little bit of animation acting in the past but nothing substantial and I at first, approached Fawn the way I would approach any live-action character. And to not realize that the results would be so different, I hated what I heard of my voice after the first couple of passes we made at the whole film. I asked if I could throw away everything that I had done and re-interpret the character entirely by tackling her from a different angle because what I was doing was not working.

Q: It’s it like for you being a part of such a huge Disney franchise?

Goodwin: It’s an honor. To me, I think that working for Disney is the pinnacle. I do not think that there is better storytelling than the storytelling at Disney. I’m proud to say that. I don’t think anyone has been able to tell stories with so much heart and such evolved messages and have those stories appeal to such wide audiences, take such flawed characters and make them so admirable and relatable as Disney has. They’ve done this through history, beginning with Walt and continuing through the work of John Lasseter. Since 2003, I’ve auditioned for all of Disney’s animated work and begged them for jobs. It took ten years but the begging paid off.

Q: Is the singing a different form of acting than voicing the film?

Goodwin: Oh yeah, that’s the most terrifying form of acting. I’m not a great singer but my father was a musician, I know very well that there is a button on a console that makes you sound better. I kept telling them in my auditions ‘but I know that there’s that button and it’ll just put you a little more on key.’ And they were finally willing to use it. I sang for the short and for ‘Sofia the First,’ so as long as that button’s available, I’m available for singing. (Laughs).

Q: Can you tease anything about ‘Once Upon a Time’ when it comes back?

Goodwin: I think it will be one of our darker half seasons, which I’m ecstatic about. It’s ruled by the queens of darkness, the trio of terror. Working opposite of Maleficent and Ursela and Cruella De Vil has been really badass.

“TinkerBell and the Legend of the Neverbeast” is a really beautiful story of friendship and it is bound to give you a lump in your throat by the end of the film. And this is coming from a bearded man. The movie is one of laughs, sweetness and tugs at the strings of your heart. Own it March 3.