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Clements and Musker pre-DVD

Veteran directors Ron Clements and John Musker spoke with Ultimate Disney in preparation for the release on home video next week of their latest effort, The Princess and the Frog.

Here's a sampling...

Clements on the movie's origins:

"A few years ago, Pixar had explored a version of The Frog Prince set in gangland Chicago. John Lasseter wanted to switch the locale to New Orleans, a city he loves, but the project was eventually shelved. Meanwhile Disney had explored various versions of The Frog Prince going all the way back to the time of Beauty and the Beast. In 2006, Disney bought the rights to a book called The Frog Princess, which was the fairy tale with a twist: when the Princess kissed the frog, she turned into a frog as well.
When John Lasseter was put in charge of Disney animation in February 2006, he asked John and me to take a look at all the previous versions and come up with our own. We combined the New Orleans setting with the twist, added some new characters and pitched a take that became the basis for the movie."

Musker on the visual touchstones used for "Princess":

"Bambi and Lady and the Tramp were two big influences in terms of background styling. The painterly lush look of Bambi influenced our bayou scenes and our New Orleans French Quarter cityscapes were influenced by Lady and the Tramp. We were also influenced by the great draftsmanship displayed in the character drawing in Lady. The characters were drawn with a great deal of solidity. Later films like Sleeping Beauty got more designy and stylized. We wanted a more dimensionally drawn look."

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