At GIFF’s 5th Anniversary festival, we hosted a panel called Behind the Scenes of Blue Sky Studios. If you have kids or love animation, or both (like us) you probably already know we have an amazing, world-class animation studio right in our backyard. At the panel, Blue Sky Founder Chris Wedge generously shared insights into the animation process and highlighted some of the incredible feature films the innovative studio has created. From their home right here in Greenwich, Blue Sky has debuted not only the squirrely Ice Age franchise, but other modern classics, such as Rio and Ferdinand! At the end of the panel they shared the trailer for Spies in Disguise, which resulted in many requests from audience members, young and old alike, for a special screening of the film.
Fast forward six months . . . On a chilly Sunday afternoon right before the Holidays, our GIFF community warmed up with an advance screening of Spies in Disguise. The story is centered around an unlikely partnership, and friendship, between super spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland). Walter and Lance could not be more different. Lance is confident, stylish, and charming while Walter lacks social skills but makes up for them with his smarts. When things take an unexpected turn, they are forced to work together to find the villain and save their co-workers. Like most entertaining family films, Spies is a lot of things. It’s an exciting spy movie, possibly the first spy movie some of the younger audience members have ever seen. It’s a laugh out loud buddy comedy and even a STEM lesson.
The film was followed by an adorably heartwarming Q and A session between the film’s first time directors, Troy Quane and Nick Bruno, and some of GIFF’s youngest audience members.
“What was your favorite part about making this movie?” Asked one of our youngest film enthusiasts.
“There were a lot of great moments,” Troy Quane responded, “but this is my favorite, right now.” Troy said he loved hearing the audience’s reaction and the laughter from the kids. That’s when all of their hard work really comes alive and pays off.
Some of the other cool insights we garnered from our guests, Nick and Troy:
- The inspiration for the film came from a short film called Pigeon: Impossible.
- One of the biggest challenges with Spies in Disguise was figuring out how to tell the story. The movie is a combination of a comedy and an action film, and involves transforming a spy into a pigeon.
- The directors wanted to convey the importance of teamwork in the film.
- Animation is really hard. It’s a super labor-intensive art form! It took 4 years to make Spies in Disguise. They had to build everything, including air, from scratch.
- Will Smith voiced Lance Sterling and Tom Holland voiced Walter Beckett. During the process of creating the film, the animators studied the voice actors and their facial expressions and movements, and incorporated them into the animation.
- Walter’s gadgets were meant to feel different and silly at first but they were all designed with actual science in mind.
Special thanks to Blue Sky Studios, Fox and Disney for giving us this opportunity! Spies in Disguise was the directorial debut for Nick and Troy, and we were fortunate to have them join us after the screening for a very special and memorable Q & A session. The film had everyone in the audience laughing and learning!
Spies in Disguise, will be released on Christmas Day, and is a must-see movie this holiday season. Spies in Disguise comes out on December 25th! Get the family together and head to the movies to enjoy this hilarious film!
Thank you Fairfield County LOOK for the images!