Disney's Fantasia/2000 Logo

Roy E. Disney has just been named grand marshal for next year's Rose Parade.
But right now, he has Fantasia 2000 on his mind, Disney Magazine contributor
Howard E. Green caught up with the film's executive producer to discuss his pet project.

D..M.: Let's go back to when you decided to do Fantasia 2000. Did you think of it as a sequel or a continuation?

R.E.D.: The title for quite a while was Fantasia Continued because the notion was of a continuation. The very first version was, well, let's keep half of the old one and make half a (new) movie - which might have been what Walt would have done. Then wait a few years and make four or five more pieces...

D.M.: When did you decide to do Fantasia 2000? Was it when Fantasia was about to come out on video?

R.E.D.: Well, with me, it was way earlier than that. I always love Fantasia. Because of the sort of wondrous variety that it brought, it was like a sampler: This one's a cherry cream, that one's a chocolate-covered nut, or something. I really loved that idea of variety. Dad (Roy O. Disney) came home one time not long after the film was out, and he said, "The next piece Walt wants to do is 'The Flight of the Bumblebee,' and he want to fly the bee all the way around the room is stereo!" And that stuck with me, that notion - that there was the potential for this thing to continue.

D.M.: But more recently...

R.E.D.: At some point Michael (Eisner) asked me what's my favorite movie, and I said, "Fantasia." And be the way, I said, here was Walt's concept for it. I saw his eyes kind of light up. I'd always though, well, great idea but it'll never happen. At that moment, we hadn't made The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast. I actually had, even then, two or three pieces of music that I thought would be wonderful, "Pines of Rome" wound up in the show.

D.M.: What were the criteria for choosing the music?

R.E.D.: It had to be description music, it had to be something that had the sense of a story progression...and it also had to be just appealing to use as music.

D.M.: Was it fun picking the music?

R.E.D.: Oh, yeah, I've always had an affection for classical music, which goes back again to Walt and my dad helping Buffy Chandler out when she was trying to get the Hollywood Bowl reenergized (in the 1940s and 1950s). And they both wound up with good box seats, which I inherited from Dad. (My wife) Patty and I were among the people who invented the notion of picnics before the music stated, I'd run home at six o'clock and we'd get up there as fast as we could, lay out a picnic basket and listen to the music, and go...oh, wow.

D.M.: How daunting was this assignment, knowing that you're taking Walt's great masterpiece and re-creating it?

R.E.D.: The first thing that goes through your mind is that this is pretty audacious, to (update) what a lot of people say s a masterpiece, and I think so, too. But that's not what we're doing. We're doing the thing that Walt wanted to do in the first place, which is to go on with the idea. There's some quote where Walt says, "It's the best idea I ever had I could never improve on it, I can only add to it or embellish it," or something like that. So from that point, someone's (bound to) say "how dare you" to us. I'm sure I'll be hurt, but you gotta move on. What if you didn't do it, what if you stood around and said, "Look at this wonderful idea," and never did it? That's a dumb way to live your life.

D.M.: How do you feel about giving Donald equal time with Mickey? Donald's really the hero of "Pomp and Circumstance.:

R.E.D.: Oh, I love that idea. He always was second banana, but not by much. It was great to be able to site down and say, "Okay, we can really animate Donald the way we remember him." The other fun thing was that you don't get any dialogue for him, so you don't have to worry about whether you can understand him or not.

D.M.: How would you describe your creative role in the whole process?

R.E.D.: I dunno, ask somebody else. I guess I'm...the Walt thing about the little bee going around pollinating, I thing I kind of played that part...I thank Michael for trusting me. And I really am enormously happy. I think it's really gonna blow people away.

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