Tomorrowland Britt Robertson George Clooney

Peter: Was that first approach, was the main character more George’s character or more like Britt?

Jeff Jensen: No, the characters in terms of who they are and what they represent in the movie very much the same. So like Frank Walker, like Casey, Athena, Nix, those archetypes were very and those characters pretty much as existed they came pretty quickly. There were other characters that were a part of the journey initially, kind of like that we conceived like what if it would be great if there were multiple people touching pins. But then all of a sudden we realized we’ve just pitched like, you know, the Decalogue. So not a two hour movie. So we needed to kind of like hone that.

Paul Shipper's Walt Disney (close-up)

Peter: Was there ever a time when Walt Disney was gonna be a character in the story?

Jeff Jensen: No. There, no. That was never seriously considered for a number of reasons. One, I don’t know if we knew how to do that idea right, you know. And I also think that there was another movie that was coming out that had Walt Disney, but that was like a minor point. We loved the idea of talking about Walt Disney as a member of the secret society Plus Ultra. And I think and there were definitely versions of the script along the way where we talked about him a lot. And then talked about only a little. And like what’s the right amount of sort of like meta to go for in the movie?


Peter: I kind of love the back story that you guys created be it with that box or like Plus Ultra and all that stuff. And I feel like there’s so little of that in the film. How are future generations that come to this film going to be able to access that kind of stuff?

Jeff Jensen: Well I think there’s a couple different ways they can. I think that like, you know, we created a huge back story for the movie. A lot of it is in this book Before Tomorrowland. Which I wrote. Which is this sort of prequel novel that takes place in 1939. And it deals with the origins of Plus Ultra. Some early adventures of Plus Ultra. And so you get a big hit of Plus Ultra history. That stuff was created for the movie and we extrapolated into this novel back then. But I think as Damon and Brad have talked about there was always with this movie like it definitely wanted more back story. Like you felt the story like asking for it. But every time we did it, all of a sudden it went from like 120 page screenplay to like 150. And so like how do you avoid just like tons of exposition? How do you take that back story and make it really relevant to the action and adventure of the movie? It reminds me of if I can just say one more thing. It reminds me of you know how in like the seventh Harry Potter movie I think you had the whole back story about Dumbledore, right? Dumbledore and his brother and all of that. And that’s a huge part of that book and it means a lot to readers. And in the movie, like they don’t touch on it barely at all. It’s like a line of dialogue. And that was because in those movies, that needed to be about Harry and what his relationship to everything was. For Harry, that stuff didn’t matter. All that mattered was his adventure. I feel like there’s something analogous for us in that. Where just like all that matters for our movie in terms of back story is what is important to these characters? And so but it was a dance. Like how much, you know, like can we have a lot? Can we have a little? It was a, it was tough to know. I’m glad that you really were galvanized by it. But it was definitely tricky to figure out how much it can support.

Peter: Well thank you very much, Jeff.

Jeff Jensen: Thank you.

Peter: I appreciate it.

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