During Monday’s live Facebook Q&A with producer Damon Lindelof (TV’s Lost) and director Brad Bird (The Incredibles), several tidbits about Disney’s Tomorrowland – much of which has until now been kept under wraps – were revealed, including a brand new trailer, their influences in making the film, and what stars Britt Robertson (The First Time) and George Clooney (Gravity) each brought to the Tomorrowland landscape.
One of the main questions fans have been asking since the film was announced is how the ideas of Tomorrowland from the Disneyland theme park will be integrated into the film and in what other ways were Bird and Lindelof inspired? It turns out the writers decided to take a more subtle route in creating the world within the film, using specific attractions from the park and even drawing inspiration from all the hidden Mickeys in the park. Lindelof commented that, “the idea that the Imagineers themselves want to reward the super fans is something we really plugged into!” In terms of specific attractions, Bird turned Lindelof onto the classic “Carousel of Progress” and the way in which “the future was viewed from the past” – another idea being hinted at in the film’s poster, with its contrasting foreground and background.
Speaking of the past, the history of Disneyland and Walt Disney was an even larger part of the duo’s idea board than the park itself. Bird commented that when looking into research, particularly Walt Disney’s involvement at the 1964 World’s Fair, he “felt a tingle of ‘Wow, we’re tapping into something pretty cool here.'”
When coming up with a final product for the film and its plot, Bird and Lindelof wanted to set a tone indicative of “how the future used to be seen in contrast to how it is seen today.” In looking toward the future, they wanted this tone to also reflect positivity and hope. According to Lindelof, this movie is “a reaction to dystopic sci-fi,” commenting, “as much as I love that stuff, we really wanted to explore what happened to our jetpacks!” This hope is part of the reason the two chose Robertson as the lead for the film. Out of the thousands who auditioned, Robertson was the one who most embodied “a hopefulness and optimism that felt fresh without being corny. Casey is a dreamer, and explorer… a young woman who refuses to accept the status quo. We felt Britt embodied all of the above.”
Bird also revealed that Clooney was their first choice for the character of Frank Walker. Bird believes that Clooney’s acceptance of the role – one relatively outside of the range of his typical fare – speaks to the integrity of the film. Clooney “only gets involved in things he believes in. That’s also true of [his character] Frank Walker.”
Tomorrowland will premiere nationally in the U.S. on May 22. Check out the new feature-length trailer below and keep an eye out for quick appearances by The White Rabbit and The Big Bad Wolf when you see the movie this spring.