It is sad how pit bulls are so often misunderstood. So, we are calling pit bull lovers to step up to the plate and help clear up the misunderstanding once and for all. Here’s how you can become involved and help restore the good reputation of this wonderful breed.
From Disney’s original American Dog press release:
“Henry, a famous TV dog, finds himself stranded in the Nevada desert. Out in the world for the first time, Henry’s tidy life of scripted triumphs has come to an end, and his 2,000 mile trek through the real world is just the beginning.”
Sounds familiar, eh? Well, there’s a reason for that. American Dog was supposed to be director Chris Sanders’ follow-up to Lilo & Stitch. Like Lilo & Stitch, American Dog was a story that originated with Sanders, starring characters created by Sanders, and featuring Sanders’ unique blend of quirky comedy and heartfelt emotion. Then John Lasseter took over Disney Animation, deemed the work in progress “too quirky for its own good,” and fired Sanders from the film.
And what did Lasseter give us instead? American Dog: Neutered (a.k.a. Bolt).
With Lilo & Stitch, Chris Sanders established himself as a truly unique talent and animation auteur. His volatile yet vulnerable characters were unlike anything that Disney had produced before, yet they became instant, according-to-Maltin classics. By using his own artistic idiosyncrasies (thick, squat shapes; widely spaced eyes; curvy everything; etc.) as the basis for Lilo & Stitch’s characters and environments, Sanders launched an art style that is still being referenced today. Along with co-director, Dean DeBlois, Sanders also found the secret formula for combining broad comedy with subtle drama in a manner that actually enhanced the seemingly disparate elements.
Whether or not Bolt was able to accomplish any of these things…well, I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
American Dog, according to those lucky folks who glimpsed it at the 2005 Siggraph show, not only possessed all of Lilo & Stitch’s warmth and humor, it was also set to be a game-changer in regards to how CGI was used in animation. Gone were the cold colors and hard shapes made popular by Pixar. In their place was a deep, rich color palate, more of that patented Sanders-roundness, and an almost painterly look to the backgrounds.
(You really don’t need me to compare this to Bolt’s by-the-book look, do you?)
While I genuinely love How To Train Your Dragon and am OBVIOUSLY looking forward to The Croods, I can’t help but feel a little saddened that Chris Sanders has yet to release another film conceived solely in his cranium. The man’s mind is a whacked-out wonderland full of fuzzy creatures and curvaceous girls. I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping to see lots more of it on the silver screen before I die of an ice cream-related illness.
Until then, we have these sixteen pieces of production art from American Dog to ponder over. While it sucks to know that the film will never be made, there’s no denying these images’ wit and beauty. Enjoy!
Note: Tumblr only allows for ten pictures posted at a time. To see the other six pieces of production art, click here.
Remember Churchill the Polar Bear and his bucket list? Well, He’s now in a contest that if won, would put him on the cover of American Dog magazine! Show your support for this sweet lover boy and go vote for Church! You can vote once every 24 hours until this Sunday, so keep them coming!!
Click here to go to the ADM app on Facebook, click View Entries and find Churchill by looking through the many pups or with the search bar above the entries to the right. Thank you for voting and good luck Churchill!! We’re rooting for you!
Bolt originally began its life as a completely different movie. Written and directed by Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch and later How To Train Your Dragon), it starred Henry, a television stay who finds himself stranded in the middle of the Nevada desert with a one-eyed cat and an oversized, radioactive rabbit… all looking for new home while Henry believed himself to still be on TV. The animation style was more in Sanders style, with Henry looking very similar to Stitch and having a much more quirky sense to it.
Then there was that whole Disney buying out Pixar thing and John Lasseter as their Chief Creative Executive and giving him the power of God to veto stories, animation, and even directors. And just a heads up, Lasseter was a pretty vocal about not being a fan of Lilo & Stitch…
So heads butted, production didn’t movie forward, storylines were dropped, and Sanders was fired from the project. And later left the entire Walt Disney Company. Word aroudn the rumor mill says that Lasseter had made several notes for American Dog, and Sanders refused to take any of them. With a deadline approaching, and production not reaching the place Lasster needed it to be, Sanders was let go.
Sanders went on to direct the megahit, How to Train Your Dragon with DreamWorks, and American Dog transformed into Bolt, now directed by Chris Williams (who worked on Mulan, The Emperor’s New Groove, and the upcoming ever in Development Hell, King of the Elves) and Byron Howard (Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear, and eventual director of Tangled).
It’s a shame that we didn’t get to experience a spiritual sequel to Lilo & Stitch from Chris Sanders, but the movie that we got it still pretty awesome. So who knows? At least How to Train Your Dragon was awesome (even if it being a DreamWorks movie… blegh… I obviously have a poor taste for DreamWorks movies haha)
American Dog was supposed to be Chris Sanders’ follow-up to Lilo & Stitch. Like Lilo & Stitch, American Dog was a story that originated with Sanders, starring characters created by Sanders, and featuring Sanders’ unique blend of quirky comedy and heartfelt emotion.
When John Lasseter took over Disney Animation in 2006, he deemed the work-in-progress “too quirky for its own good” and fired Sanders from the film. American Dog was scrapped for parts, and what little remained was retooled and released as Bolt (2008).
For the full story and lots more pics, click here.