Monday, April 14, 2014

Elle Fanning Visits Disneyland

Elle Fanning, who'll play Princess Aurora opposite Angelina Jolie in Maleficent next month, dropped by Disneyland over the weekend for a guest appearance at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference. She also took some time to pose in front of her character's namesake castle.

I do like the kick-ass horned mouse ears.

Maleficent opens in U.S. theaters on May 30th.

Related Story: New Trailer for 'Maleficent' Starring Angelina Jolie

Interview with Animation Historian and Author John Canemaker in 'The Mouse Castle Lounge'

John Canemaker
John Canemaker is a tall, soft-spoken gentleman with a passion for animation. His easy-going demeanor belies a rough, post-WWII childhood he spent in the shadow of an abusive father, a relationship John explored with great emotion and pathos in his 2005 Oscar-winning animated short The Moon and the Son: an Imagined Conversation. In the film, John tries to make peace with his late father, an angry and bitter man who ran with the Mob and served time in prison, but who also was a decorated war hero who helped his son acquire his first art supplies. Press John for details about his father now and he's more inclined to let the film speak for itself. For the most part, he said what he needed to say and has moved on.

He's much more comfortable talking about animation, a conversation he has kept going for most of his adult life. For over thirty years, John has taught animation at New York University, where he is a fully-tenured professor. All the while, he's continued to produce animated films and write books about animation history. He has researched all of the greats of the industry: Walt Disney and the Nine Old Men, Winsor McKay, Tex Avery, Mary Blair, Joe Grant and Joe Ranft, and many more. He has regularly appeared in the bonus features of Disney home video releases, offering his commentary and insight on such classics as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Dumbo and Peter Pan.

I spoke to John last month at the Walt Disney Family Museum, where he is curator of the current exhibition, Magic, Color, Flair: The World of Mary Blair. Our time was limited then, so I asked John if he would like to revisit the Lounge to share his fascinating life and career with me in greater detail. He agreed. In our conversation today, John talks about his love of animation, the artists and animators who have inspired him, and yes, the relationship with his father that he says made him who he is today. It's a revealing look at a brilliant and dedicated artist and educator. Enjoy!

John Canemaker and producer Peggy Stern accept
the 2005 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.

Related Story: Exploring the World of Mary Blair at the Walt Disney Family Museum

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Monday, March 31, 2014

In the MCL: Disney Animator Ruben Aquino, Part Two

Ursula, The Little Mermaid
Disney animator Ruben Aquino is back in The Mouse Castle Lounge for part two of our conversation about his lengthy and notable career. He spent over 30 years at Disney, animating classic characters like Ursula in The Little Mermaid, Adult Simba in The Lion King, Maurice in Beauty and the Beast, Pleakley and David in Lilo & Stitch, and Eudora and James in The Princess and the Frog.

In today's episode, Ruben explains what it is about a character that gets his attention and why voice actors are so critical to giving their characters just the right look. Ruben also talks about the layoffs at Disney Animation last year that for all intents and purposes put an end to 2D animation at the studio. It was a move that was disappointing, but not surprising. He also shares his tips for young artists looking to make a career in animation.
Ruben Aquino animated Tiana's parents, Eudora and James, in
The Princess and the Frog.

Related story: Disney Animator Ruben Aquino in 'The Mouse Castle Lounge'

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