Disclosure: **Disney provided me with a full expense paid trip to Los Angeles for the #TomorrowlandEvent in exchange for my review of the events of the trip. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own.**
Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof the Genius’s Behind Tomorrowland |Our #TomorrowlandEvent
While in LA during our #TomorrowLandEvent we had the pleasure of interviewing two very important people. Without them, there would be no Tomorrowland movie! During our interview, we had the pleasure of hearing how their process started, their reasons behind the movie and why they wanted to work together.
Starting off the interview they were happy they were before George Clooney, it would give us a chance to warm up. They both mentioned what a great guy George is, and then the questions started.
The first question asked was, “How did the information from the Disney archives help you to bring Tomorrowland to life on the big screen?” Brad Bird handed that question off to Damon Lindelof.
I think that we are both fascinated with Imagineering and particularly Walt’s futurism. A lot of that stuff was rampant in the early days of designing the Parks itself. In Tomorrowland, obviously he came up with the concept in the 50s and 60s, but I think that this sort of treasure trove of roads not taken. The part that Brad and I particularly zeroed in on was the 1964 World’s Fair . Rides such as Mr. Lincoln, Carousel Progress, Magic Skyway, It’s a Small World; just to name a few.
They both agreed that it would be really great to see those on the big screen kind and re-create that feeling. Their initial ambition was a lot higher, but again the World’s fair as what they represented at the time, particularly in the 60s, the connection to Disneyland that was really the stuff that we kind of locked in on.
Brad interjected, but it’s also that World’s Fairs in and of themselves were a thing where people would bring together their brightest minds and talk about the future. They were a semi-regular event where people came together from all over the world and kind of traded ideas. They had a Utopian aspect. When they were talking about what happened to the idea of a positive future, they kind of started to notice that that a great future sort of disappeared around the time the World’s Fairs disappeared.
The world went through world wars and had plenty of strife but, people clung to the idea of things in the future will be better. That idea seems to have been retired. That is when everybody seems to be going, yeah it’s going to suck. You know? Where people started wondering if there was anything that can be done about it? No. We’re all just kind of on this bus that we have no control over the destination.
This is when Brad and Damon were just looking at each other going, why did that change? When did it change? And how do we get back to it? So that was where we started to do sort of a fable around that idea and what was in our minds.
It was mentioned how they were both creative individuals. So it seems that they just love storytelling. The question was how did they come up with their ideas? What feeds their creativity and what helps them tell their stories? With laughter, they said, “coffee” and the fact that it doesn’t ‘have to be Starbucks’.
Their responses included that they watch a LOT of movies and TV. They tell their wives’ and children that it is for work. The idea of constantly surrounding themselves with new ideas. Damon mentioned that for him, and he also felt for Brad, that they both grew up in that type of culture. That saying, “I want to do this one day. When they get together they will talk about whether or not the other one has seen this or that TV show or movie. If the other one read ‘something’, and what did the other one think of it? Due to the fact they are into it, they are fans of this material themselves. The fact that they get to make it, and the minute that a person seals themselves off and say, “I am just going to become completely introverted and write my own stuff, you end of closing the door to everything that surrounds you.
Although they both enjoy ‘Hunger Games’ and want to see ‘Mad Max’, there has to come a point when you want to see more than people killing and fighting one another. To see more than teenagers killing one another in some dessert or zombies who kill teenagers.
Another question that was asked was, “In terms of the future itself there is a lot of technology in the movie. How great that we can touch something and be transported somewhere else. What part of our technology would you like to have today from the ones that were shown in the movie?
Damon responded that he would like to be able to travel somewhere without having to get on a plane. He loves the idea of walking through a doorway and being somewhere else. Most likely that would change our planet in wonderful, yet nightmarish ways. (I have to agree with Damon on that one). I, myself can’t say I would like it if some stranger got the wrong doorway! As Damon continues, he does mention that there are a lot of ‘dream concepts’ in this movie. That was one of the things that attracted Damon, was getting a chance to have a glimpse of those types of things. Being able to sit and talk about all of the things that you could put on a screen is a wonderful ‘pie in the sky moment’ of any movie!
This usually happens very early on, then pretty soon you have to get down to the sobering reality after ‘binging’ all day on what it could be. Then you go, well wait a minute, that idea was great last night, but the movie is only two hours long, we only have so much money, and we have a story to tell. This means we can’t spend two hours going woohoo.
The next question that was asked which I enjoyed hearing their response was, “when you are writing this and with the storytelling do you bounce ideas off one another? Do you write in collaboration? Brad responded first saying that Damon had been developing this idea with Jeff Jensen for about six months. Brad was an admirer on Damon’s work on ‘Lost’. Anytime that Brad watched Lost he and his family would watch it together. They were totally into Lost. So any time the episode credited Damon on the screen, Brad knew it was going to be good and tell his wife that. Brad is a big fan of Damon’s work. On ‘Mission Impossible’, at the very end when the movie was basically shot, there were a few things that weren’t ‘right’, so Damon came in and basically helped us fix some very specific areas, and he did a wonderful job!
Afterward Brad asked Damon what he was working on now with Jeff Jensen, and he mentioned the idea of what he was developing with Jeff. Brad found it amazing and that is when he jumped right in. Working together Brad was wonderful. He would come to LA and they would just stay in a hotel room for a couple of nights. Damon doesn’t like to work alone, and Brad makes it great.
The discussion then changed to the discovery of the 1952 box and how it inspired the movie. Damon told us that the more they looked into the origins of the box, and where it came from and who found it, the less defined answers they got. Probably 80% of the contents were totally uninteresting. But the rest felt like if they were kids in the third grade and someone put the box in front of them, they would tell them a story about the things that you would find. How would they all connect to each other? They took some things like the design for ‘It’s a Small World ride’ and Flushing Meadows in ’64. Also a weird kind of disk that might have been an animation that Orson Wells might have found interest in. So they sort of said, what if Walt Disney was a member of this secret group of geniuses plus ultra. What if Tomorrowland itself was actually a real place that they built in an alternate dimension? That is when they found themselves take off and the box became a part of the idea.
Brad responded with a comparison of broccoli and saying go see this movie because it’s good for you. That is a sure way to attract kids to the theater. Their first and foremost goal was to make it a great time at the movies. A movie that would go well with popcorn and all that. The most favorite rise of a movie is when you think about them later. Right now, there is a lot of disposable entertainment, very loud, very fast. Before the lights even come up in the theater, you are thinking of something else. You paid money, you know you weren’t bored, there was a lot of loud sounds and flashy moments, but there wasn’t a lot to take away from it. Those two things do not need to be mutually exclusive. He loved E.T. years ago and face it, it’s a movie about a plastic alien puppet. But in saying that, it absolutely swept you away, you got emotionally involved. You were left thinking about it. We would like this movie to be like that. For people to hopefully think, come away thinking I had a hand in the future. I am not just a passenger on this bus. I can be the driver. That collectively we are in charge of where we want, what we want the future to be. It’s a malleable thing that is changing every day. It’s being created by what people do today!
Damon goes on to talk about a young woman in the movie that we are well aware of. She is being barraged with polar ice caps that are melting, that things are going to be much worse in the future. She asks the only relevant question which is, “can we fix it?”. Our hope for people is that will walk out of the movie at the end saying, you can, but you have to do something. You can’t just sit around and the future isn’t something that happens to us, it is something that we make happen.
We sort of felt like if this is the only movie that we get to make we wanted to feel like it’s complete which is a much different storytelling mechanism than TV where every episode is designed to get you to watch the next episode.
Ending the interview, Damon said, “So, there was somewhat of a relief to say you know, this is their journey. This place has a problem. These characters fix that problem and things are much better off than they were when we started the movie.”
From Disney comes two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird’s riveting, mystery adventure “Tomorrowland,” starring Academy Award® winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world—and them—forever.
Featuring a screenplay by “Lost” writer and co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, from a story by Lindelof & Bird & Jeff Jensen, “Tomorrowland” promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of.
In Disney’s riveting mystery adventure “Tomorrowland,” a jaded scientist and an optimistic teen embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space.
- TOMORROWLAND will be in theaters this FRIDAY MAY 22, 2015 .
- Rated PG, Family Friendly.
- A great night out for the whole family!!
After seeing this, you will not want to miss it!
Newly middle-aged wife of 1, Mom of 3, Grandma of 2. A professional blogger who has lived in 3 places since losing her home to a house fire in October 2018 with her husband. Becky appreciates being self-employed which has allowed her to work from 'anywhere'. Life is better when you can laugh. As you can tell by her Facebook page where she keeps the humor memes going daily. Becky looks forward to the upcoming new year. It will be fun to see what 2020 holds.