Here are 11 things you might not have known about Pixar's latest movie adventure, Wall-E!
The Wall-E concept actually dates back to Pixar's very beginnings -- even before Toy Story was produced. After Finding Nemo finally came out, the gears started cranking and the team began work on the robot romance story.
Who needs actors anyway? There were only seven voices cast for this film! The six robots (who mostly make mechanical sounds) are voiced by ONE actor (Ben Burtt, who is actually a sound designer). Sigourney Weaver voices the spaceship's computer, and the remaining five actors speak for the few animated humans cast in this production. "Wall-E is not a silent movie that just happens to have sound," says director Andrew Stanton, "it's a regular movie that just happens to use unconventional dialogue... It's like I was dealing with a hero who spoke French all the time."
While the original inspiration for Wall-E's look came from Luxo Jr -- the animated lamp in all the Pixar trailers -- the final concept came to Stanton when he saw a Pixar editor looking through a pair of binoculars at a baseball game. It was then that he realized that he's be able to show emotion with those "eyes." (Forget Short Circuit's Number 5/Johnny Five -- he says that's not it.)
The design of the character "Eve" was actually inspired by the ubiquitous iPod. Stanton told Fortune magazine, "I wanted Eve to be high-end technology -- no expense spared -- and I wanted it to be seamless and for the technology to be sort of hidden and subcutaneous... The more I started describing it, the more I realized I was pretty much describing the Apple playbook for design."
Real-life robots inspired the artists who developed the six robotic characters in Wall-E. Not only did they check out the technology at local recycling facilities, they took a field trip to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California to study the Mars rovers. The artists were also treated to a demonstration of bomb sniffing robots by the local police department. Friends: The future is NOW!
John Ratzenberger (remembered by many as Cliff the mailman on Cheers) now has yet another Pixar film to his credit. After voicing Hamm the piggy bank in Toy Story, The Abominable Snowman in Monsters, Inc and Mack in Cars -- among others -- he plays John in Wall-E.
The film's Buy-n-Large superstore is very similar to the real-life big-box outdoor mall -- with stores including Comp USA, Expo Design Center, Office Max, Pak n Save and Toys R Us -- that's just down the street from Pixar's headquarters in Emeryville, California (near the eastern base of the Bay Bridge).
Unlike Pixar's other movies, Wall-E has a photo-realistic look. Their earlier films -- Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Cars, for example -- look like more typical cartoon animation.
Wall-E's name is actually an acronym, and stands "Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth-Class."
Entertainment insiders widely consider Wall-E the first worthy contender in the 2008 Oscar race, bar none. Not only is the film an obvious shoo-in for all the Best Animated categories, some critics have hyped this film as Best Picture material -- on par with the success of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
Celebrities at the Wall-E World Premiere on June 21, 2008 at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles included Adrienne Bailon, Blair Underwood, Brad Garrett, Joely Fisher, Cole and Dylan Sprouse, Cristian de la Fuente, David Archuleta, Elissa Knight, Fred Willard, Jansen Panettiere, Jimmy Jean Louis, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy, Katie Cassidy, Kevin Smith, Kristi Yamaguchi, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Marlee Matlin, Melinda Clarke, Selena Gomez and Sigourney Weaver.