Disney’s retro-futuristic new film Tomorrowland is packed with talent including two-time Oscar® winner Director/Writer/Producer Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol) and star Academy Award® winner George Clooney who plays an ex-boy genius turned cynical Sci-Fi hero who gets paired by fate with Casey (Britt Robertson) a plucky bold girl with a never-give-up attitude and a passion for science who takes him on a journey to find a better tomorrow.
Audiences tapped out from a sequel-heavy Summer diet will get to indulge in something they haven’t seen before. At a recent press junket for the film the cast and crew voiced their enthusiasm in being able to take part in the project.
George Clooney: “First and foremost, I think it is a really bold thing for Disney to be willing to do a film that isn’t a sequel and isn’t a comic book, to really invest in a summer film of this sort of ilk.”
Brad Bird: “I was inspired by the idea and I was an admirer of Damon’s work. He did a little uncredited work at the very end of Mission. And it was a very tight series of things and you had to be very surgical. And Damon was really smart. So I asked what he was doing next during that time, and he mentioned this idea. And I was immediately hooked.”
Tomorrowland makes a nod to the Disney theme park attractions but also tries to pay homage to the spirit of discovery and scientific wonder that inspired them.
Jeff Jensen: “Before Tomorrowland. Part of the work that we did in the story brainstorming process was conceiving this huge backstory for the film. And there’s lots of stories within stories. A lot of that informed the book and Walt makes a little cameo in there too. But a lot of Disney really inspired and informed the movie, especially, I think, Epcot, the whole idea and original idea behind Epcot, and how that evolved as a sort of laboratory for the future. That was a huge inspiration for the story.”
Clooney may play a jilted inventor turned cynic in the film but in real life he is a firm believer that people can make a difference.
George Clooney: “I actually grew up during the Cold War period. And I always found that although we always thought that the world would end in a nuclear holocaust at some point, everybody was pretty hopeful. There were an awful lot of things going on that you felt you could change. I grew up in an era where the voice, the power of the one, really did feel as if it mattered. You know, we had the riots that are reminiscent of the things we are looking at today, but we had the Civil Rights Movement and we had Vietnam. And we had the Women’s Rights Movements and all those things that you felt you could actually have some part of changing. And actually, if you look at the things that changed in the 1960s and early 1970s, individual voices did make a huge difference.”
He’s also secretly a talented rapper who’s willing to go the extra mile to cheer up everyone on set.
George Clooney: “I grew up and was 18 when the Sugar Hill Gang hit the scene. I do still sing them every once in a while, to entertain the troops when they think, ‘Gosh, we’re in the water. It’s cold. We’re shooting 14 hours. We’ve been out all night. It’s terrible. What could be worse?’And then I rap.”
Robertson’s character Casey has a treasured NASA cap she always wears that belongs to her father (Tim McGraw) that is so important to her she goes back for it Indiana Jones style even when things are heated. The connection in Tomorrowland to NASA is strong and emotional.
Britt Robertson: “NASA represents this unknown, and the human race’s being able to explore the universe and other things that are out there. We’re talking about a movie that’s saying, ‘We don’t know what our future is.’ It’s not determined for us, and maybe if we go out there and explore the world, maybe if NASA wants to go and see what else is out there, then maybe that will have some helpful part in making our future something to be excited about.”
Brad Bird: “When we were first planning the movie, Damon and I were at Disney and the space shuttle took its last sort of circle over LA. And everybody came out and watched it, and there was this weird feeling of pride mixed with great sadness, like we’re not doing that anymore, and why aren’t we? So a chance to shoot at NASA was fantastic, and to be on this launchpad were so many really noble journeys started. And we got to watch a launch from the launchpad, which was one of the coolest moments on the film. So it was great to be at NASA. And if this, in any way, encourages NASA people to do more, then I think that would be a great thing.”
Tomorrowland is out in theaters May 22nd.
By Laura Gaddy