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WALL-E in our magazines


(voices) Jeff Garlin • Kathy Najimy
DIRECTOR: Andrew Stanton

WALL-E was accidentally left on Earth 800 years ago when all the inhabitants were forced to evacuate. His lonely life of compacting trash is unexpectedly interrupted when the robot EVE lands on Earth in search of plant life. Immediately smitten with her, WALL-E gives her a tiny plant he’s discovered. She’s abruptly transported back to her luxury spaceship Axiom, where the Captain (Garlin) is eagerly waiting for news that it is possible to return to Earth to live, so WALL-E follows her…

U.S. RELEASE: June 27 2008, Nationwide • Rated: G


Andrew Stanton“There was this lunch that we had during Toy Story about 1994, and we were batting around any idea we could think of to try to come up with what the next movie would be. One of the half-brain sentences was, ‘Hey, what if we did the last robot on Earth.’ That’s where it started, all the details weren’t there, there wasn’t even a name of the character, didn’t even know what it would look like, it was just the loneliest scenario I’d ever heard, and I loved it.”

BEN BURTT (Sound Designer) on creating the voice of WALL-E:
Ben Burtt“How do you have a character not speak words, or a very few words in the case of WALL-E, but you understand what’s going on in their head? The trick has always been to somehow balance the Human input to the electronic input. In this case, it ended up being my voice for WALL-E; I recorded words and sounds, but then it’s taken into a computer and I worked out a unique program which allowed me to deconstruct the sound into its component parts, and I could reassemble the WALL-E vocals and perform it, changing pitch and stretching the syllables, it was kind of like playing a musical instrument.”

Jeff Garlin“Andrew Stanton called and said, ‘Can you come up to Pixar? I’m going to do a presentation for you, and then you can see if you want to do it,’ The guy who wrote and directed Finding Nemo, wants me to be one of the stars of his new movie – yeah, let’s see what this presentation is all about! No way, I was so thrilled. [I just said yes].”

STANTON on finding the look of WALL-E:
“I was at a baseball game, somebody handed me their binoculars, I hadn’t designed Wall-E yet, I knew he had to compact trash, so I knew he was going to be a box at the most basic [design] and I knew he was going to collapse to possibly show that he’s shy, but that was all that I had. When I got handed those binoculars at the baseball game I missed the entire inner, I just turned the thing around and I started staring at it and started making it go sad and then happy and then mad, and I said, ‘It’s all there, there’s no nose, there’s no mouth, and it’s not trying to be a face, it just happens to ask that of me when I look at it.’ And I said, ‘That’s it, I can’t improve upon that.’ So that’s why I ran with it.”

“I love recording sounds and exploring for sounds, so I’m always on the alert for new things. For WALL-E I think I recorded every motor I ever came in touch with from appliances to jet planes. The world is full of sound, and for a Science Fiction film like this and others I’ve done (Star Wars, ET the Extra-Terrestrial) the idea of taking real, natural sound and imposing it into the fantasy film gives the illusion that these things are real, because we recognize them, even though we can’t identify them specifically. You say, ‘It sounds like it’s really a motor, so I believe it.’”

“I saw sketches of the Captain, but I made a real conscious choice during the process, including looping, to not watch at all, because I wanted to see the movie clean. When I saw the movie three weeks ago, I had no idea what I was in for. They videotape every voice session, and I thought they were doing it for behind-the-scenes stuff for the DVD. The fourth or fifth session I said, ‘Why are you shooting so much behind-the-scenes stuff?’ And they went, ‘No, this is for the animators who can watch the way you say things.’ When I was watching the movie I was like, ‘Oh, that is really something I would do.’”

STANTON on the movie’s environmental message:
Jeff Garlin“I don’t have a political bent, I don’t have an ecological message to push. I don’t mind that the movie supports that view, it’s certainly a good citizen way to be, but everything I wanted to do was based on the love story. I wanted the last robot on earth, and I had to do it in a way that you get it visually without any dialogue in less than a minute. Trash did that, you look at, you get it, it’s a dump, and you’ve got to move it, even a little kid understands that. [The plant] reminded me of those dandelions that push through the sidewalk, forcing itself through all this man-made material to exist, and I thought, ‘That’s Wall-E. He’s this manmade object, but somehow he’s got more of a desire to live than the rest of the universe.’ It ended up being a great symbol of hope.”


Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #697, Summer 2008 cover

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