Incredibles 2 hits theaters June 15, and we sat down with the filmmakers to find out all we could about this long overdue follow-up to The Incredibles.
Thank you to Disney Pixar for bringing me to Pixar Studios for the Incredibles 2 press event.
So why didn’t Brad Bird turn around and make a sequel to such a fantastic movie? Brad Bird tells us that it isn’t the greatest idea creatively to follow up such a successful film with its sequel. You want to take time and think about it and enjoy the process. He explains that there were other things at the forefront and that the more he chewed on and thought about it and how it would be cool, then suddenly it was 15 years later and realized, “I better get going on something!” Especially with Samuel L. Jackson mentioning that they were in production before the creative team even attempted to make the film. Producer John Walker and Director Brad Bird laugh that “if Sam says we’re making a movie, I guess we better start making a movie!”
After such a long wait it makes you wonder how easy it is for Brad Bird to get back into these characters. He explains that it was “Easy as pie! Outwardly [it seems like ] it’s a really commercial movie, but it’s actually strangely personal to me. So, it has a lot of the things that I loved at the age of ten and combined with the family that I grew up with and the family that I have with my wife and sons. So, it’s kinda all the stuff I love combined with both families that I’ve had in my life. And so, for me, even though it seems brightly colored and pop confection, it’s actually really personal to me,” Brad Bird said.
There were things Brad Bird wanted to do in the first film that he wasn’t able to do, so that opened the door to place them in the second film. From the start, the scene with Jack-Jack attacking the raccoon was something Brad always wanted to do. It was a way to showcase all of the baby’s powers and have his family finally discover them as well. Brad Bird also tells us that the role switch of Bob and Helen was also something that was planned all those years ago.
When The Incredibles released in 2004, there were as many superhero movie franchises as there is today. So, we wanted to know how this affects the story development of Incredibles 2.
Brad Bird jokes, “There were only a couple of films that we were competing with. Since then it’s like ever six inches there’s a superhero! If you throw a rock, you’ll hit a superhero, who will punch you in return. I think that it’s much harder to do a unique story now. Not only are there scads and scads and scads and scads of superhero films, but there are television shows.” When it comes to making Incredibles 2, Brad Bird tells us about what sets this movie apart from other superhero movies. “We always felt like what makes our film unique is that it’s about a family. And the roles — their superpowers were based on iconic roles of men and women and children in the family. The dad is always expected to be strong. The mom is always stretched in a million directions. Teenagers are defensive and insecure. So, she has force fields and invisibility. Ten-year-olds are energy balls that just are on an eleven or [turned] off. And babies are unknowns. They could have no powers at all, or they could be the next leader of the free world. Where they were in the family was how we chose their powers. And that was a unique approach because it was more about stages of your life,” Brad Bird Director of Incredibles 2 said.
It’s at that moment that Brad Bird says this that I have a complete “Ah-Ha” moment and realize what makes the Incredible family so special. It isn’t because I watched them when I was younger, it’s because I could relate to them. They are the most ‘human’ Supers you’ll ever meet. Brad Bird thinks this is one of the reasons why The Incredibles have been so successful. “Everyone connects with at least two of the characters, and that’s because we’ve all been teenagers. We’ve all been children,” Brad Bird said.
This sentiment can be seen throughout the animation process as well. In the action scenes, it’s about balancing the super with the mundane. With the costumes department, it was about character development through their clothing. Even the sets department talks about the sets and props as characters.
We asked the creators of Incredibles 2 what their favorite part, scene or character was and they each had some great favorites.
Producer Nicole Grindle tells us that Voyd, a new character played by Sophie Bush is the first thing that comes to mind. “I love her as somebody who sees Helen as a mentor. She’s got this really great, fresh energy. And I love her superpowers,” Nicole Grindle said.
Producer John Walker is a new grandfather, and his daughter came to him and said, “Why didn’t you tell me it was so hard!?” His response is classic! “Because then you never would’ve done it. I said, and the caveat to that is, ‘have I got a movie for you.’ So, I love all the Jack-Jack scenes and how Bob has to try to deal with this crazy baby, which is just a great metaphor for what my daughter and son-in-law have been going through the last year,” John Walker said.
Brad Bird thinks he has the worst answer because it changes from interview to interview. “It’s all stuff that I love. I love action scenes. I think that I enjoy putting Helen through action scenes just because her power’s uniquely suited to a certain approach to action scenes, which is fun. I loved dealing with Bob kinda having his self-esteem undercut a little bit by not being the first choice, which he’s never dealt with in his life before. And that just made me giggle while I was writing it. Because there is a part of men that always assume that we’re the best ones for the job,” Brad Bird said. He continues, “I loved writing Violet because she’s the permanent, cynical teenager who’s always looking for the power structure to be upended and I love Sarah Vowell as a person. She just cracks me up and she’s so smart and funny that I love working with her. And I love chase scenes with Dash. I like stuff with Frozone. He’s just a funny, very particular voice. And knowing that Sam’s gonna say something is like [WHAT THE…]– gives you an automatic shot of energy because you know that no one can do that better than Sam.”
Pixar movies are very famous for making people feel very emotional. We asked the creators what they expect people to feel when they see Incredibles 2? Brad Bird tells us, “I am a lover of all kinds of emotions connected with movies. I think that movies are an emotional medium. They’re kind of a dream language. And they’re less intellectual really. You can have a smart movie, but movies in general are more about dream language. I think we have emotional moments here and there, but I hope people just consume huge amounts of popcorn and soda and have a really great time. That’s what this is meant to be. Hopefully, it’s smart, and there’s some stuff in there that you can chew on later, but the main goal is just to entertain the crap outta people.”
But the big question we all want to know, is what can audiences expect from Edna Mode in this sequel, and how easy is it for Brad Bird to find that voice? “It’s not hard at all. It’s strange that a half-German half-Japanese bossy midget is something that feels very natural to me. But I think that at my most confident moments, I’m sort of like E. She exists in that most confident moment all the time. She’s this tiny little person with no superpowers at all that can cowl superheroes and make them feel inadequate somehow or like they can’t keep up. She’s a lot of fun to write and — yeah, what can they expect? Hopefully some surprise, but the same character. Yeah,” Brad Bird said.
So while you’ll still get the same Edna Mode you know and love, perhaps you’ll look at the Parr family in a new light when it comes to their superpowers.