Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Wish” is an all-new musical-comedy welcoming audiences to the magical kingdom of Rosas, where Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force—a little ball of boundless energy called Star.
Together, Asha and Star confront a most formidable foe, the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen.
“Wish” features the voices of Academy Award-winning actor Ariana DeBose as Asha, Chris Pine as Magnifico, and Alan Tudyk as Asha’s favorite goat, Valentino.
The all-new musical-comedy welcomes audiences to Rosas, a fantastical land located off the Iberian Peninsula. “Our heroine, Asha, lives in Rosas, known as the kingdom of wishes,” said director Chris Buck, who helms the film with Fawn Veerasunthorn. “People come from everywhere to give their wishes to a magical king who promises to grant their deepest desires—someday. Only he can decide which wishes will come true and when.”
Added Veerasunthorn, “We have been inspired by so many iconic films over Disney Animation’s 100 years, especially stories where we explore the power of someone with a wish, combined with the conviction to make that wish come true. Being able to honor that legacy with this incredible story and these amazing characters has been a joy for our entire team.”
During a recent press event in Los Angeles, we had the opportunity to hear from the Filmmakers on how they created this new animated film. The presenters in attendance were: Jennifer Lee-Animation Chief Creative Office, Writer/Executive Producer, Chris Buck-Director, Fawn Veerasunthorn-Director, Peter Del Vecho-Producer and Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster Jones-Producer.
Director Chirs Buck commented on the technology used to achieve the look in “Wish.” “Well, it’s the technology that we’ve been doing throughout. In a lot of our shorts, we push some of the technological boundaries. And we’ve been doing things where you do incorporate a bit of the hand-drawn into some of the shorts that we’ve done.”
“You get a little bit of line around the character, but sometimes the characters are still animated in CG. But again, it’s starting to do what we’ve also been loving to do, and that is sort of embracing our legacy, along with moving toward the future. So, I think it’s that hand-drawn look and computer.”
Jennifer Lee added “And just to say, I think one of the goals of a lot of our artists at this studio, and when we develop these films, we develop them with the most beautiful paintings by incredible artists. And then when you would transfer it to CG, there would be a shift.”
“Wish” is set on a fantastical land located off the Iberian Peninsula, Director Fawn Veerasunthorn talked about the location and where the inspiration came from. “for our story, we wanted to create Rosas as a destination, a place people go to. So, in the Mediterranean Sea, that’s kinda of where all the cultures converged, historically. We worked with our culture consultant to make sure that this could happen.”
“But I think that’s why, ’cause it’s set back in medieval times, so that’s sort of, as we say, what it was called back then. There was cultures coming from all around the world at a certain time. And then knowing, you know, Magnifico built this kingdom not knowing if they’d come. And people came because they believed in his vision. And so, it gave us an opportunity to connect people from all around the world,” added Lee.
One of the questions asked was about King Magnifico and where the inspiration for this character came from. Lee started by saying “You know, what’s interesting is we talked at length. First, we started with what do we think about villains that we’d love to do, ’cause how do we be different from the previous films, but also a nod to them. And it really is about getting to watch that journey. So, we knew we wanted to start where you get to watch him make choices where you might meet the best of him, and then hopefully, survive the worst of him.”
She continued by saying “And so that was there. And Julia Michaels was instrumental because this is the thanks I get as an idea, which, hilariously, is a nod to all moms put up with in the house. We talked a lot about, for her, that she hooked on the idea of a narcissist. So, it comes really simple, down to character and the deliciousness and danger of that. “
“Wish” celebrates The Walt Disney Companies 100th Year Anniversary, Buck added that there was so many nods in the movie to add to that legacy. “some people are finding nods that we didn’t even intentionally put in. But they’re like, “Well, there’s that. There’s the wishing well. There’s that.”
He continued by saying “And every different department would put little moments in there or characters or something in the background that will be nods to that legacy. When it come to the character, I think, you know, it’s just who we are. We grew up on Disney characters. And we try to do something original, but we also, you know, we love what we grew up with. We love all those classic movies. So, we try to embrace those types of characters, too.
During the presentation, Lee mentioned that one of the characters “Star” kind of represents Mickey Mouse. She continued by saying “The idea of not just you start with this dream, but what it takes to make it happen. Walt had to fight through incredible obstacles, and that’s very real. And being also just a human with all the same flaws as every human. And then persevering to bring something forward.”
“And Asha’s wish for more for people, to bring joy, to bring happiness, to bring connection. That was very inspiring. And then Star, really the thing with Star to me, how I got my head around Star, ’cause we did many iterations of Star was, Star can’t make this wish happen for you.”
“But Star represents the thing that was critical to Walt, that you need. You need hope. You need possibility. Doesn’t hurt to have some wonder. Don’t forget some joy. All the things that we grab onto that keep us going,” Lee Added.
The filmmakers talked about a lot about how this was such a collaborative effort. And in seeing all of those wishes in the sky, where did they all come from? Are they the wishes of people on the team? Family members? Secret wishes? Where did they come from?
Buck said “Well, I guess it would be, it came from the crew. ‘Cause we just would write down lists of wishes, what would be someone’s wish.”
Lee continued with “Well, and the hilarious thing is, flying, people kept being, well, you gotta do flying. Like, but? No, you gotta do flying. Everyone wishes.”
“Yeah. So, it was fun. It was fun. Those were like brainstorming sessions that you would do. So, yeah, so see some in there. You’ll see even more in the final. But we kept going back to, it wasn’t like they could make, you know, they couldn’t keep coming up with different wishes,” continued Buck.
“Wish” is helmed by Oscar-winning director Chris Buck (“Frozen,” “Frozen 2”) and Fawn Veerasunthorn (“Raya and the Last Dragon”), and produced by Peter Del Vecho (“Frozen,” “Frozen 2”) and Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster Jones (“Encanto”). Jennifer Lee (“Frozen,” “Frozen 2”) executive produces—Lee and Allison Moore (“Night Sky,” “Manhunt”) are writers on the project. With original songs by Grammy®-nominated singer/songwriter Julia Michaels and Grammy-winning producer/songwriter/musician Benjamin Rice, plus a score by composer Dave Metzger, “
Wish” opens only in theaters on Nov. 22, 2023.
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