Kirk Wise is best known for his work on small, quirky projects. At Disney for a relatively short six years, Wise brings a fresh approach to that time honored Disney genre, the feature length animated fairy tale. Here, Wise talks about his career and his directorial work with co-director Gary Trousdale on Beauty and the Beast, Disneys 30th animated feature.
What did you and Gary Trousdale work on before being asked to direct Beauty and the Beast, your first feature directorial work?
Gary and I were both-in the Story Department for a while and we worked on a lot of the same projects but never together. Shortly after Rescuers Down Under, Gary and I got the chance to do storyboards for a Roger Rabbit short. At the time Disney was trying to develop several different ideas for Roger Rabbit shorts and pitch them to Steven Spielberg over at Amblin in the hopes of getting an okay on one. Amblin had already committed tomaking Tummy Trouble but they knew they wanted to do more, and so three different groups of storyboard artists put together three different presentations. There was the presentation of Roller Coaster Rabbit, there was another one for acartoon called "Hare in my Soup", and ours was called "Baby Buggy Blunder." It was all about Roger Rabbit taking Baby Herman for a walk in the park in his baby buggy which, of course, rolls away while Roger is going to get ice cream. We boarded it in about a week. It was like commando style storyboarding because they wanted to have this pitch for Steven Spielberg that Friday.