Jul 24, 2010 01:05 AM EST

Disney is All Tangled At This Year's Comic Con

Disney is All Tangled At This Year's Comic Con
At this year's San Diego Comic Con, FlickDirect had a chance to sit down with Nathan Greno and Byron Howard to talk about their new Disney film, Tangled, a modern-day take on the Rapunzel fairy tale first popularized by the Brothers Grimm. In the modern Disney CG version, there is a dashing rogue, Flynn Rider (Chuck's Zachary Levi), and Rapunzel is no shrinking violet locked in her tower -- voiced by Mandy Moore, she is a firecracker who can use her hair like a weapon.

FlickDirect: "How is it that you have two co-directors? How does that work?"

Nathan & Byron: "It is not uncommon for animation. It is too much for one person. We worked together on Bolt, for example."

FlickDirect: The original Rapunzel tale is pretty dark (the prince gets his eyes poked out by thorns). Did you get any push-back from Disney? Was there anything you wanted to do that you could not? "

Nathan & Byron: "It IS dark, isn't it? We are making a movie for everyone --all ages --and we did have some ideas that we didn't go ahead with; one of them was Rapunzel getting pregnant, but we didn't get anything shot down by Disney. We were very aware of the source material, and we felt we had to use it, but make a strong movie as well. That, for example, meant we had to see about getting Rapunzel out of the tower as soon as it made sense to do it."

FlickDirect: "That's a departure from the story."

Nathan & Byron: "It is."

FlickDirect: "Rapunzel is a new Disney Princesses -- the first CGI one -- are there any 'rules' for Princesses? Can you tell us about her?"

Nathan & Byron: "We envisioned her as very strong.  In fact, in the process of making the movie, we had to ensure as we went along, that both she and Flynn were balanced. She drives the action and the plot of the movie, and we had to make sure that as things developed, and if she was getting overshadowed, she was back in the driver's seat. There weren't any rules per-se that we had to follow."

FlickDirect: "One of the hardest things to get right in computer animation is hair. Can you tell us about her? Also, we have seen in the trailer that she fights with her hair -- did you use any of the eastern characters from Kung Fu movies?"

Nathan & Byron: [Laughs] "We did look up some of the Kung Fu characters that do whip-fighting with their hair, and you're right, it's hard to do. Our animators were constantly going 'Really? You want that?' There is a list of rules for hair in the animation world. For example -- 'don't get it wet', ‘don't have the character touch it.', 'keep it off the shoulders.'  I think we broke every one of them!"

FlickDirect:" Can you tell us about the look of the film?"

Nathan & Byron: "We have done our best to make it beautiful. We wanted everything that you see, if nothing else, be beautiful the way that Miyazaki [the Japanese world-class animation master] tells his people to do it. Our team here at Disney has done a fantastic job with Tangled."

FlickDirect: "How has the screen testing been going?"

Nathan & Byron: "It's been...it...almost feel like it was scripted! People are saying all the right things. It is really connecting with people at multiple levels, and that really means we are doing our jobs right. When we make a film, we want it to appeal to everyone in the audience, not just kids, not just teenagers, and we want the adults to like it too. We would like the audience to see it several times over their lifetime and get different things each time. It looks like we are really getting that reaction!"'

FlickDirect: "We can't wait for it to come out."

Nathan & Byron:"Thanks!"

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