My trip to LA for the Hollywood Premiere of The Lion King wasn’t all glitz and glam. Oh wait, yes it was! But there were different types of glam. If my first day in LA made me feel all Pretty Woman, the second day was all Noting Hill – yep, it was a Julia Roberts weekend.
It was my first movie junket, and the day was all about meeting the people behind the movie and learning about how the movie was made. Just like in Noting Hill, we went from room to room in the hotel meeting and interviewing people from different aspects of the movie. (Of course, I am Hugh Grant in this example since Julia was the star.)
After a leisurely stroll down Rodeo Drive (nope, I didn’t buy anything), I arrived at our first event to meet with the voice of young Nala, Niketa Calame, and the producer Don Hahn. After screening “Memoirs of a Producer,” which will be included in the release of The Lion King and is definitely worth watching, and listening to Niketa and Don I was fascinated to learn that The Lion King was the “B” project. The Lion King was created along side Pocahontas, which everyone believed would be Disney’s next home-run. The Lion King, it was a side project that no one seemed to think much of. In fact, it really wasn’t until the premiere that those who worked on it really understood what they had on their hands.
It was a theme repeated throughout the day by others who worked on the film, and I continue to be amazed.
Following our highly technical tour into 3D animation, we went back to basics with the amazing opportunity to meet with two of the supervising animators from The Lion King – Mark Henn, who oversaw Simba, and Tony Bancroft, who oversaw Pumba. Having zero artistic skills myself, I watched mesmerized as the artists sketched and they answered questions. It was mind boggling to learn that the animators considered a good week’s work to accomplish three seconds of film – three seconds! With each second comprised of 12-24 images, that’s somewhere between 36-72 hand-drawn (final) images per week. To make that even more staggering, that is just drawings of the character — these guys had nothing to do with the background or any other character in a scene! No wonder it took 18 months to animate and 89-minute feature film.
But the highlight of meeting the animators (as fascinating as they were) was when the surprised our group by presenting us each with a sketch of Simba and Pumba! I cannot wait to get them framed and hang them in the playroom — I will treasure the sketches always!
As if a full-day learning all about my favorite movie wasn’t enough, after we cleaned up (still sweaty from African dance class) we were whisked off to a yummy dinner. Not just any dinner, but dinner hosted by the lovely Moira Kelly, voice of adult Nala. Because I am terrible with star’s names, I was unaware of her ’80s fame, she was none other than Kate Moseley from Cutting Edge (toe pick!). I was lucky enough to sit across the table from this now a stay-at-home mom, and Moira was wonderful.
The Lion King opens in theaters in 3D September 16, 2011 for a two-week run, and then it will be released on Blu-Ray/DVD on October 4, 2011. Don’t miss this chance to see this magical movie in the theater and bring it home for your family.
Read more of my adventures in LA for the Lion King 3D Hollywood Premiere:
- The Suburban Mom or VIP Pretty Woman?
- The Lion King 3D Red Carpet Hollywood Premiere at El Capitan Theater
Disclosure — I was invited to the premiere event and all of my expenses were paid, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.