Thursday, September 22, 2005


in 1989 disney started another london 'adventure'.
probably after the good experience with european
artists in london on 'roger rabbit', disney choose
jill and dick purdum as the directors for a new
adaptation of BEAUTY and the BEAST. dick and jill
had an animation commercial studio in the westend.
their own work commitments did not allow them
to leave london immediately to work on the projekt
in L.A., so they all decided to move some of the disney
artists for some months to london to work on a
story-reel of the project. there was don hahn, the
producer. andreas deja and glen keane from animation,
tom sito from story, jean gilmore visual development,
derek gogol from london,, michael dudoc
du witt storyboard and me for storyboard and design.
we worked all in the purdum studio during early fall
of 1989. I will always keep these weeks in my memory
as one of the best work experiences. to be in such a
creative environment with all these high caliber artists
and especially with jill and dick as the 'parents' of the
project, and don hahn with his unmatched humour.
we all were so committed, that we worked 14, 16
hours a day. at that time I remember that I did not
see anything of london. we just worked like crazy.
and we finished in a very short time a story reel in
color, about 50 min long. the first act. it was not a
typical disney movie, more a european version. but
we all believed in it.

well, they didn't in L.A. and probably because they felt
so bad to throw all our work in the trash, they decided
to send us to the loire area in france, where beauty
and the beast could have happened in one of these
beautyful castles. our trip lasted 4 days, - maybe 20
castles, lots of driving, even more historic stories from
'historian' tom sito, and so much fun. we were a family.
that never happened again in my whole career, that I
felt so much at home. all the others as well. we had
good french food and even better wine. of course
nobody understood that some germans liked sweet-
bread, horse steak and bambi filet. from then on they
looked at me as the barbarian.

that reference trip could have created an incredible looking
movie. we shot thousands of pictures, video, did tons
of sketches. unfortunately some more influental individuals
back in L.A. decided that the castle should look more like
the disneyland castle. I understand that. american kids should
not be confused with some unreal designs from somewhere
over there in barbarian land. the architecture of the village
is in my oppinion much nicer in the movie than in real life.
I love the incredible character designs of the village people,
so french! all that opening sequence "bonjour", how beautyful.
I still have tears in my eyes.
that's why I was not able to see much more of the rest of
the movie. but I am sure it looked just g r e a t.

anyway, the g o o d memories stay!
here are some of the many pictures from my archives.

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