Walt Before Mickey 6

Most of the time we hear about films well before production. Other times, we hear about them when cameras are already rolling. That’s the case with Walt Before Mickey, an independent feature directed by Ari Taub. It’s based on a book by Timothy S. Susanin that chronicles the life of Walt Disney from 1919-1928, which is the year Mickey Mouse debuted.

Here are some of the big names in the cast. Thomas Ian Nicholas, best know for his work in the American Pie movies, is playing Walt. His brother Roy is being played by Napoleon Dynamite‘s Jon Heder. Disney alum David Henrie plays an animator and Full House‘s Jodie Sweetin is Charlotte Disney. Below, read more about the film and see a bunch of images from the shoot, which is currently happening in Deland, Florida. Read More »

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Though it got the shaft at the Oscars, Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks is a delightful film for fans of the brand that made it. Tom Hanks stars as Walt Disney and almost steals the show from his co-stars, playing Disney as a passionate, thoughtful, yet flawed man. As it turns out the film might have started a trend, as two separate, independent films based on Disney’s life are aiming for a 2014 release. They are As Dreamers Do, directed by Logan Sekulow and Walt Before Mickey, directed by Ari Taub. Read more about each below. Read More »

Worlds Fair Small World

The public’s understanding of Brad Bird‘s Tomorrowland has been like its very own theme park ride. First we though it was literally about the Tomorrowland section of Disneyland. Then we heard it had something to do with a 1952 mystery box. Next a more authentic plot description was revealed, and now all of those possibilities are beginning to blend.

Bird is currently in Vancouver, BC shooting the December 2014 release and set photos from the production have begun to leak. Among them, Hugh Laurie as a mysterious doctor and, most intriguing, images of Walt Disney’s “It’s A Small World” ride and costumed characters from Alice in Wonderland and the Three Little Pigs. We explore how that all fits in below. Read More »

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This weekend at D23 Expo, director Brad Bird and writer Damon Lindelof finally gave the world a glimpse into the mystery box of their new film Tomorrowland. On stage, they literally unboxed the mystery, a 1952 box found inside the basement of the old animation building at Walt Disney Studio. The box and the contents serve as the inspiration for the new film. We wrote about the presentation here, but thats not the end of it. As the presentation came to a close, Bird and Lindelof announced that we’d all be able to get an up close look at the contents of the box at a newly constructed/unveiled booth on the show floor.

We spent two hours waiting to tour the booth with plans to give you guys a virtual look with a photo gallery — but Disney security was out in full force and not allowing ANYONE to take ANY photos. So after the jump, we do have something, information we learned about the contents of the box from the booth, including select transcripts of the audio tour from the booth. We have also included some images from the presentation released by Disney ad closeups of the box’s contents from Bird and Lindelof’s earlier tweeted photos.

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Mickey Mouse Get a Horse Short

Perhaps the most unusual thing shown at D23 today is the Mickey Mouse short Get a Horse!, which features the late Walt Disney voicing his signature character. The short played to raves at the expo, but it has a very unusual history. Get the full (and somewhat spoiler-ish) story below. Read More »

When I said we had a lot of art today, I wasn’t kidding. Right now we can exclusively debut a piece from one of /Film’s favorite artist, Paul Shipper. This piece is a portrait of Walt Disney, the Human being who has won and been nominated for the most oscars, ever. The piece will appear in Hero Complex Gallery’s ‘Award Legends’ art show which opens on February 15th 2013. The Walt Disney print will be a limited edition of 50, printed on 10×8” 300gsm FineArt Giclée. Above is just a close-up shot, check out the full image after the jump.

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A piece of Disney trivia that isn’t exactly new, but might be unknown to casual fans, is that Walt Disney‘s defining character Mickey Mouse has his roots in another animated figure that Disney animated for producer Charles Mintz and Universal before he struck out on his own.

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was the star of Universal’s first animated series, in 26 cartoons produced in the ’20s and ’30s by Disney and Ub Iwerks. When Disney broke from Universal he had to leave Oswald behind due to restrictions in his contract with Mintz. Mickey Mouse was reportedly born on Disney’s journey home to California from New York after leaving his final meeting with Mintz.

In 2006 Disney (the company) acquired the rights to Oswald, and has been slowly bringing the character back into the active roster. (You can see him in the Epic Mickey game, for example.) 2012 is the 85th anniversary of the character, and so Disney is releasing a recreated bit of Oswald animation, built from Disney’s original sketches. Check it out below. Read More »

As many of you know, I’m a big theme park fanatic. I’m not a huge fan of Pixar’s Cars, but yet I’ve been eagerly awaiting (for the last few years) the addition of Cars Land to Disneyland’s offerings. And while Cars Land is gearing up to open on June 15th, I’m equally as excited to see the launch of Buena Vista Street, Disney’s new opening to California Adventure. Many people are looking at this combination as a complete relaunch of the theme park, California Adventure 2.0. There were a lot of problems with the initial offering, and Disney has spent $1.1 billion re-construction to right almost all the wrongs, and actually make the park feel like a Disney experience.

And what the Imagineers have done with Buena Vista Street is create a new story, an origin story for Walt Disney. They have created a street full of shops and restaurants (like Disneyland’s Main Street) which tells the story of a man from Kansas who arrives in 1920′s Los Angeles to become an animator. Who would have thought a street of stores could tell such a story?

Guests to Disneyland Resort this Summer probably won’t leave DCA talking about Buena Vista Street. They’ll more likely to be talking about Cars Land. But the experience will be felt. Remember, Walt Disney designed Main Street to serve as the opening credits to Disneyland (in face, the credits are on the windows of the stores you walk by as you head towards the castle). A movie’s opening credit sequence can set the tone and make an otherwise good film great, and the Imagineers have created an incredible gateway experience for DCA theme park guests.

Disney has released a fact sheet which explains in detail all of the new offerings. But my favorite part is the many details that make up the storytelling of the new theming on Buena Vista Street.

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