On Saturday, May 18, I was invited out to the Four Season Hotel in Los Angeles to attend the press junket for Pixar’s new film, ‘Monsters University’. I was lucky enough to attend the event with some fellow bloggers, where we got to sit and talk with both Billy Crystal and John Goodman, and discuss their new film. There’s nothing like being able to sit down and listen to two of the most iconic men in Hollywood. It was very cool, as well as enlightening. They touched on everything from the things that kept them up at night as kids, what it was like working with the film’s director Dan Scanton, the relationship between Mike and Sulley, and so much more. Hit the jump for my thoughts on the event and some of the answers, photos, and the full audio of the Q&A.
One of the things that I found so incredibly interesting during the Q&A session, which shouldn’t have surprised me, was just how funny the duo were outside of their films. The chemistry that Mike and Sulley have on screen is very much alive in their real lives as well, and you can tell. This is why the characters work together so well, because of the incredible chemistry between these two men. They were constantly playing off of each other, much like their characters do, so it’s great to see they work together off screen as well.
It was great hearing the two gush over their characters, and how happy they were to revisit them again. Billy Crystal went as far to say that Mike was, and still is, his favorite character that he’s played. He had been wanting to return to the character for some time, but he had been waiting for word from Pixar for it to happen. He knew it was bound to happen, and then one night at a party, John Lasseter came up to him and said, “We have an idea. They’re in college,” and then walked away. That’s when he knew the film was really happening, and he couldn’t wait to get back to work. Both Goodman and Crystal also spent a lot of time talking about how much they love the work Pixar does, and returning there was great, and a lot hadn’t really changed since the last time they were there, other than all the work happened a bit faster than when creating the first one.
But the the big thing I really took away from this event was when Crystal was talking about how much the characters, and this new film, resinate with a particular group, primarily the generation who grew up on the first film. This is what he had to say:
All of those kids, and kids throughout the world, were 6 or 7 years old when that movie came out. They’re now the same age that Mike and Sulley are now, so they look at it in a totally different way. I was at USC a couple weeks ago, and we screened the movie for about 400 film students. They went berserk because it’s them. It’s them. They’re making decisions in their lives, like Mike and Sulley are in this.
These guys are – they’re very important characters to them – to students – and now to little kids. It’s really interesting, of all the things I’ve been fortunate to do, that this guy, Mike, is my favorite character I’ve ever done, but he also has a toe-hold – a clawhold in people that they mean something to them.
What’s very interesting about this, at least to me, is this isn’t the firs time people have talked about how the film aims at a certain age group. This was talked about quite a bit when ‘Toy Story 3’ was released just a few years ago. Many noticed how the kids that grew up on the originals were the ones that really clicked with the film, because just like Andy, they were leaving for college and letting go of their childhoods. In a way, ‘Monsters University’ is a thematic sequel to ‘Toy Story 3’, which now shows what that same group is now dealing with in their college lives, now that they’ve gone down that path.
As a someone who is in that age bracket, I can say that this very much rings true, and both ‘Toy Story 3’ and ‘Monsters University’ really connect with me, regarding the situations I’m dealing with in my own life. It’s amazing how Pixar was able to really dig deep into the core of a certain age group and really pull at them. That’s not to say that others won’t enjoy it, far from it, but there is definitely a certain group that will click completely with it, and those are the same ones who completely clicked with ‘Toy Story 3’.
I feel very privileged that I was invited to be a part of this press junket, and it’s great to be able to be a part of it. As I said above, it’s quite awesome to be in the presence of two actors I consider to be two of the best in the business, as well as two who have giving me endless entertainment in my life. Thankfully, they’re just funny and nice in person as you would expect them to be, and it’s great to see them so excited about returning to the world they created in ‘Monsters, Inc.’, but in a new way in ‘Monsters University’. You can expect my full review of the film around June 11, but until then, take a look at some video from the event, as well as the full audio from the Q&A.
The video and photos are courtesy of photographer Brett Reider, and audio courtesy of Robbie Bulus. Thanks so much, guys!
Short Press Junket Video:
Full Press Junket Q&A (Audio and Pictures):