Q&A with producers / directors / co-writers
RON CLEMENTS & JOHN MUSKER
What is the genesis of Treasure Planet?
RON CLEMENTS: Seventeen years ago in a meeting I pitched two ideas. The first was THE LITTLE MERMAID and then TREASURE ISLAND in space. There was immediate interest in THE LITTLE MERMAID because there hadn't been a fairy tale in a while and this could be fun. John and I worked together on THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE and we collaborated on the script for THE LITTLE MERMAID that's how we started. It took four years for THE LITTLE MERMAID and after that it was the natural segue to go into ALADDIN. Howard Ashman had done some development on ALADDIN. before we got involved. We really liked working with Howard and the story appealed to us a lot. So we moved into ALADDIN.with TREASURE PLANET on the back burner. While we were working on ALADDIN.we were told they were looking for science fiction ideas, and ideas with pirates. So I mentioned TREASURE PLANET again. Then when we finished ALADDIN.we kind of thought we would go on and do this and we developed TREASURE PLANET a little further and presented that. There was a feeling that it was good but it had a lot of technical challenges so we should wait. That's how Hercules came about. But we knew after we finished that we would definitely be doing this.
JOHN MUSKER: The good news about the delay was that the technology we needed to make the movie had not existed then and in the last few years we got tools that could realise the movie that we had pitched without really knowing how we could do it.
Why set the Robert Louis Stevenson story in space?
RON CLEMENTS: The original impetus of the idea was not TREASURE ISLAND, it was space. The idea was that it would be fun to do a Disneyesque science fiction fantasy. Partly because it had not been done. So space was always there, and TREASURE ISLAND seemed a perfect story because it could translate and retain what was great about the story. We also know what is fun to animate. Realistic humans are difficult but aliens are fun and so too are robots and shape shifting globs.
What about the brilliance of keeping the sci-fi world marooned in the 18th century?
JOHN MUSKER: We liked the image of the galleon with solar sails. We wanted people to breathe in space rather than have helmets and space suits, which would take all the romance out of it. We wanted to keep the lyrical quality of the original. There was an early drawing of Jim Hawkins in a kind of space suit but we felt he should be more of the old world and more swashbuckling.
RON CLEMENTS: Very early on there was this basic idea of going with the idea of breathing in outer space it is very liberating. There was the question of whether it should be more based in the future or the past, so we came up with this 60/40 rule and that became 70/30 to favour the past. We liked the drawings in which your first impression was that they seemed kind of familiar and normal. Then you look a little bit more and go "wait a minute!" Someone did a drawing of the Benbow Inn and when you looked at it, it looked like a tavern then you looked closer and there was this nuclear stove.