***Disclosure: I attended The #LittleMermaidEvent . My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney and myself. All opinions are 100% mine. ***
Every Disney event is filled with magic. One of those bits of magic is chatting with the writers and directors of some of the best movies ever made. We all have a favorite princess and Ariel is up in my top 3. I still sing every song when I watch the film or am walking the park. In fact my niece is a HUGE fan and we will be spending a lot of time at the Little Mermaid Attractions in Disney World next week. Here’s a bit from the interviews:
Q: How did you guys start together?
John: Well we knew each other. I mean we’re about the same age. I’m a little bit older and we both worked on Fox and the Hound and-
Ron: He was a supervisor on Fox and the Hound, he’d been at the studio a few years before I was. I was a regular animator and he was a supervising animator.
John: I would say we, we sort of became more- we bonded a little bit on, on the film Black Cauldron which was a Disney film.
Ron: John wrote and I wrote.I had written off and on between things and actually with The Little Mermaid it, sounds weird, but most of the Disney films that were done under Walt Disney. They didn’t use scripts the way they’re used in live action.
John: They kind of just had outlines and things that people looked at, but they just kind of built the story and when Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg came they were-
Ron: They were, see, from Paramount, they were used to reading scripts. They weren’t going to be able to okay anything without a script. So they wanted to see a script on The Little Mermaid and I had written some scripts and I knew John wrote, so I asked him if he was interested in collaborating on writing this script. And that’s really where we first started working together. And so we wrote the script together and, and Jeffrey actually liked the script a lot. Soit made sense then that we would direct it since, since they liked the script. And then that went well so we just continued to work.
John: Yeah I joke that I’ve been married to my real life wife for [LAUGHTER] thirty-three years now, and I’ve been married to him for like twenty-eight or something. Really scary.
The Naming of Ariel
JOHN : Yeah I do know one, one interesting thing is in the two-page treatment that I wrote, I didn’t name any of the characters except the mermaid. And I named her Arial. And so somebody then asked, you know, where did that name come from and- and I wasn’t sure. And because, um, I know there’s a character named Ariel in The Tempest that and I had read The Tempest, but I didn’t think of that.
You could really tell these guys love what they do and can almost finish each others sentences. I think that friendship came through the pages and onto the screen and helped make The Little Mermaid the Classic it is today. Catchy music might have helped. 😉