rewatching s1 for like the 100th time--at what point does all the brilliant animal sight gag stuff (eg the croc wearing crocs) get added? is it like, we need to have a croc wearing crocs, where can we fit this in? or do you start out by needing someone to guard the food and say let's do a crocodile--hey, he should wear crocs? or some kind of total afterthought, or something else entirely? thanks. love the show, my favorite of all time.
Hello! I am going to answer your question, and then I am going to talk a little bit about GENDER IN COMEDY, because this is my tumblr and I can talk about whatever I want!
The vast vast vast majority of the animal jokes on BoJack Horseman (specifically the visual gags) come from our brilliant supervising director Mike Hollingsworth (stufffedanimals on tumblr) and his team. Occasionally, we’ll write a joke like that into the script but I can promise you that your top ten favorite animal gags of the season came from the art and animation side of the show, not the writers room. Usually it happens more the second way you described— to take a couple examples from season 2, “Okay, we need to fill this hospital waiting room, what kind of animals would be in here?” or “Okay, we need some extras for this studio backlot, what would they be wearing?”
I don’t know for sure, but I would guess that the croc wearing crocs came from our head designer lisahanawalt. Lisa is in charge of all the character designs, so most of the clothing you see on the show comes straight from her brain. (One of the many things I love about working with Lisa is that T-Shirts With Dumb Things Written On Them sits squarely in the center of our Venn diagram of interests.)
NOW, it struck me that you referred to the craft services crocodile as a “he” in your question. The character, voiced by kulap Vilaysack, is a woman.
It’s possible that that was just a typo on your part, but I’m going to assume that it wasn’t because it helps me pivot into something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last year, which is the tendency for comedy writers, and audiences, and writers, and audiences (because it’s a cycle) to view comedy characters as inherently male, unless there is something specifically female about them. (I would guess this is mostly a problem for male comedy writers and audiences, but not exclusively.)
Here’s an example from my own life: In one of the episodes from the first season (I think it’s 109), our storyboard artists drew a gag where a big droopy dog is standing on a street corner next to a businessman and the wind from a passing car blows the dog’s tongue and slobber onto the man’s face. When Lisa designed the characters she made both the dog and the businessperson women.
My first gut reaction to the designs was, “This feels weird.” I said to Lisa, “I feel like these characters should be guys.” She said, “Why?” I thought about it for a little bit, realized I didn’t have a good reason, and went back to her and said, “You’re right, let’s make them ladies.”
I am embarrassed to admit this conversation has happened between Lisa and me multiple times, about multiple characters.
The thinking comes from a place that the cleanest version of a joke has as few pieces as possible. For the dog joke, you have the thing where the tongue slobbers all over the businessperson, but if you also have a thing where both of them ladies, then that’s an additional thing and it muddies up the joke. The audience will think, “Why are those characters female? Is that part of the joke?” The underlying assumption there is that the default mode for any character is male, so to make the characters female is an additional detail on top of that. In case I’m not being a hundred percent clear, this thinking is stupid and wrong and self-perpetuating unless you actively work against it, and I’m proud to say I mostly don’t think this way anymore. Sometimes I still do, because this kind of stuff is baked into us by years of consuming media, but usually I’m able (with some help) to take a step back and not think this way, and one of the things I love about working with Lisa is she challenges these instincts in me.
I feel like I can confidently say that this isn’t just a me problem though— this kind of thing is everywhere. The LEGO Movie was my favorite movie of 2014, but it strikes me that the main character was male, because I feel like in our current culture, he HAD to be. The whole point of Emmett is that he’s the most boring average person in the world. It’s impossible to imagine a female character playing that role, because according to our pop culture, if she’s female she’s already SOMEthing, because she’s not male. The baseline is male. The average person is male.
You can see this all over but it’s weirdly prevalent in children’s entertainment. Why are almost all of the muppets dudes, except for Miss Piggy, who’s a parody of femininity? Why do all of the Despicable Me minions, genderless blobs, have boy names? I love the story (which I read on Wikipedia) that when the director of The Brave Little Toaster cast a woman to play the toaster, one of the guys on the crew was so mad he stormed out of the room. Because he thought the toaster was a man. A TOASTER. The character is a toaster.
I try to think about that when writing new characters— is there anything inherently gendered about what this character is doing? Or is it a toaster?
How many people, animals and props were involved in making the opening musical number, “Belle?”
According to Disney, there were more than 150 cast members and extras involved, along with 28 wagons and carts, hundreds of live animals (horses, cows, mules, ducks, geese and hens) and countless props and set decorations. The set itself was also the production’s largest, measuring 28,787 square feet.
Bonus fact: The town is named Villeneuve, a fictional French village that was built on the backlot at Shepperton Studios outside London. The town’s name is an homage to Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, the author of the original Beauty and the Beast story.
How many horses played Belle and Maurice (Kevin Kline)’s trusty steed, Philippe?
“Belle and Maurice’s horse Philippe was played by three different horses, two of which had to be painted on a daily basis,” says a rep for the studio.
How did they pull off the waltz scene between Belle (Emma Watson) and the Beast?
Carefully! Watson and Stevens first had to learn the choreography, and then Stevens had to master it on stilts. The British star tells PEOPLE practice makes perfect when it came time to learn how to walk and dance in the steel contraptions.
“You’ve just got to get in ’em, start moving around!” Stevens says with a laugh. “Fortunately we had about three months of pre-production for rehearsals, learning the songs, the dances. Initially with the waltz I learned the steps on the ground and graduated to the stilts, which was slightly terrifying for me but probably more for Emma. I think she was very worried that I was going to tread on her toes in steel stilts, which could’ve ruined the movie, but I didn’t, so I’m very proud of that.”
Is that Dan Stevens’ real singing voice?
Yes! And it was a welcome challenge for the actor.
“Singing was a relatively new thing to me,” Stevens, 34, says of re-training his singing voice. “I’d sung at school and when I was younger, but in my 20s I [hadn’t] sung as extensively so reengaging my voice, retraining the voice was a big challenge.”
Did they use Dan Stevens’ actual face for the Beast?
Yes, although the finished product is a computer-animated and significantly hairier version.
Stevens wore a 40-lb. “muscle suit” and performed the role on stilts — first so that the size and movements of the character were captured on set during filming, and then again for the visual-effects teams so that his face was captured and later computer-animated with the Beast’s hair and fangs.
“Every couple of weeks I would go into a special booth and my face would be sprayed with about 10,000 UV dots and I would sit in what I used to call the Tron cage,” Stevens says. “Anything I’d been doing in the previous two weeks in the scenes, whether it was eating, sleeping, roaring, waltzing, I did it again with my face, with Emma [Watson] sitting on the other side of the cage, and we would capture the Beast’s face.”
What’s with Dan Stevens’ hair in that Prince reveal?
It’s a wig. A stringy, scraggly one.
“The hair at the end, was it extensions? I think it was a wig,” Stevens says, trying hard to remember the hair accessory he wore two years ago during filming. “It was quite awhile ago. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that was a wig,” he adds with a smile. “And what a wig!”
Which costume was the most challenging to create?
Belle’s red “montage” outfit, aka the one she wears outdoors for her snowball fight with Beast. Why? Because costume designer Jacqueline Durran used all eco-friendly materials in its design.
“Because Emma is so interested in sustainability and fair trade, eco fabrics and eco fashion, we applied those criteria to making a costume from head to toe,” Durran tells PEOPLE. “That [red] costume was made entirely from sustainable fabrics. We dyed it in vegetable dyes in our workroom, we had shoes made with eco leather, and we did the whole thing from top to bottom to be as thorough as we could. People learned different skills in the work rooms to be able to do it, so the dyers learned to dye with strange vegetable dye. Sometimes it took two weeks to dye something because you’d have to leave it in there for that long to get a rich color. It really was a learning curve for all of us, I’d certainly never done that before.”
How did the filmmakers decide on which songs to feature from the animated film and Broadway musical?
The answer is by hiring and deferring to the animated film’s composer, Alan Menken, who also co-wrote the music for the new film.
“It was challenging,” Menken told EW. “[The] Broadway show had songs that I would have loved to use for the movie, but the form for a film and the form for a Broadway show are different, so the song we wrote for the Broadway show was not going to work. Consequently, we wrote a brand-new song. The challenge is just to maintain the balance of what we originally had for the score and what we had for the show, and at the same time allow this film to have its own character.”
Menken and lyricist Tim Rice (The Lion King) wrote three new ballads for the film. They are: “How Does a Moment Last Forever,” performed by Belle and her father (and sung by Celine Dion over the end credits), “Evermore,” which Beast sings for Belle when he releases her (and is sung by Josh Groban over the end credits), and “Days in the Sun,” which is sung by the objects in the castle and Belle when they are going to sleep.
What was left on the cutting room floor?
A lot — including a clever Frozen reference. Please allow LeFou (Josh Gad) and Gaston (Luke Evans) to explain:
“I mean, Gaston dies. Is that a spoiler?” Gad says with a laugh, when PEOPLE asked him and Evans during a recent sit-down if there are any Easter eggs fans should look out for. “The Easter egg I fought for [director] Bill Condon to put in but we never did, there’s a moment in the original where a bunch of snow falls on LeFou and he becomes a snowman and I thought, this could kill. It’s a little meta but it could be great [For those who may have forgotten, Gad played Olaf, the snowman in Frozen].”
Evans says his favorite scene that didn’t make the movie is one filmed during the castle battle, in which Gad’s LeFou has a fight with a bathroom appliance.
“What I miss, which we shot and is not in the film, is you having a fight with the toilet,” Evans says to Gad.
Adds Gad: “Played by Stephen Merchant (from Hello Ladies and the original Office)!”
“Yeah, it didn’t make the final cut,” Evans says with mock sadness.
Both actors joke that they have no idea what might end up on the DVD/Blu-ray because no one tells them anything.
“Nobody guarantees us anything,” says Gad. “We’re not even guaranteed that we’re going to be in the movie. It’s all based on our interview performances.
I’m pleased as punch to announce that Amazon has ordered Carnival Row to series. This, as I may or not have mentioned, is the series based on my first script. And it’s been a long journey for me. I was a second-year film student when I had the idea. I don’t know where it came from. Maybe that trip to England, with the production of Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Jack the Ripper walking tour. Or the film noir class and the Brian Froud book I picked up after a shift at the school library. But at some point, this imaginary place, this sooty Victorian city where humans and mythical creatures lived side by side started to come into focus. And I wrote a short student film about a police inspector who shows up at a brothel where this faerie prostitute has been un-winged and murdered. And we come to realize that he’s hiding something from the other police on the scene, that the victim means something to him.
I was probably biting off a little more than I could chew, but I was desperately in love with it. It had big wet emotions and English accents and social implications and fog and gaslight and creatures. I wanted to film it. Very badly. And I was hell-bent to figure out a way to do it. I wrangled some friends. I found a production designer. Went driving around at night after class and found like the only cobblestone street in Winston-Salem.
I was crushed when the school rejected the pitch, but my screenwriting advisor convinced me to turn it into a feature script. I didn’t want to at first. I was heartbroken. I’d wanted to make it. But he was insistent, to his credit, and the idea wouldn’t go away. So I spent the next two years writing, bringing pages to him, etc. And he’d give me notes. How to write economically. Using white space to draw the eye. Using active verbs instead of “is.” The script wasn’t just a sandbox. It was a classroom. It was the script I learned to write on.
I never thought of selling it at that point. Hollywood seemed lightyears from my little room in North Carolina. I honestly never imagined it could sell. I liked it too much to think so. It was just some fun I was having. Written for an audience of one. So in my last year at school, when an alumni in LA called to say his boss was looking for material and asked if I’d send that thing I’d been working on, I sent the script along, not really expecting anything to come of it. But a few months later, I get this call in my dorm room. And he says, “I can’t say much. But you should know — you’re about to start getting phone calls.” And my life was never the same. By the same time the following year, the script, Killing on Carnival Row, had been bought by New Line. I had reps. I had meetings on backlots. I had a career.
Even so, Carnival Row sat unproduced for over a decade. And for much of that time, I harbored almost no hope for it. It was either unlikely to get made or unlikely to get made in a way I’d have anything to say about. I had to learn to think of it as a sacrificial lamb. This thing I loved very intensely once, and gradually had to let go of. It was my first good idea. The one I bought my career with. And that was that.
The fact that it’s getting made now is extraordinary. The fact that anything gets made is extraordinary, of course. But the fact that I get to be there. Talking about the color of the wallpaper or the shape of faerie wings. Giving notes to artists. Going over lists of actors and location photos. Looking for the right cobblestone street — That, my friends, is a miracle. Because after all these years, that kid who was too dumb to be afraid he was biting off more than he could chew is back in my life, and he’s finally getting to make his weird little movie. And like Rene said at lunch the other day, “If that isn’t the fun we signed up for, it doesn’t exist.“
BURBANK, Calif. — Principal photography has begun on Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure “Aquaman,” helmed by James Wan (“The Conjuring” films, “Furious 7”). Jason Momoa stars in the title role, returning to the character he plays in this fall’s “Justice League.”
The film also stars Amber Heard (“Justice League,” “Magic Mike XXL”) as Mera; Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (“Platoon,” “Spider-Man 2”) as Vulko; Temuera Morrison (“Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones,” “Green Lantern”) as Tom Curry; Dolph Lundgren (“The Expendables” films) as Nereus; Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (upcoming “Baywatch,” Netflix’s “The Get Down”) as Black Manta; with Patrick Wilson (“The Conjuring” films, “Watchmen”) as Orm/Ocean Master; and Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (“The Hours,” “Lion”) as Atlanna.
The film is being produced by Peter Safran, with Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Rob Cowan, Jon Berg and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers.
Wan’s team behind the scenes includes such frequent collaborators as Oscar-nominated director of photography Don Burgess (“The Conjuring 2,” “Forrest Gump”), his five-time editor Kirk M. Morri (“The Conjuring” films, “Furious 7,” the “Insidious” films) and production designer Bill Brzeski (“Furious 7”). They are joined by costume designer Kym Barrett (“The Matrix” trilogy; “The Amazing Spider-Man”), along with Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Charles Gibson (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 & 2”) and VFX supervisor Kelvin McIlwain (“The Fast and the Furious” franchise).
As is fitting for the king of the sea, the shoot will take place mainly in locations spanning the stunning Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia, with extensive filming to be accomplished at Village Roadshow Studios. The production will utilize the facility’s sprawling backlot and all nine VRS soundstages, including its newest, Stage 9, the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Filming will also take place in Newfoundland, Sicily and Tunisia.
An icon for over 75 years, Aquaman is known by fans of DC Comics as the ruler of Atlantis but committed to protecting the entire globe, both land and sea.
Currently set for a 2018 release, the film is based on characters from DC.
I was at Universal on Monday and the Little Europe backlot sets are The Good Place! Made me smile. You can see the sets (which are like a small town) if you take the Universal Studios studio tram tour.