And along comes Burn-E ... the one being who's life is not charmed my Wall-E. I sat down with Angus MacLane at the Westin Hotel in downtown Portland. He's the directing animator on Wall-E and directed the original short Burn-E which is included on the Wall-E DVD.
He's also worked on Geri's Game, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo. So yes, he is Pixar.
For those that don't understand animation film making, what does a director animator do? The director directs everybody, the supervising animators help organize the animation department, and interface with the producer, director and they make artistic calls. The directing animator is more downward facing and helps on the ground the animators to get their work done and facilitate the consistency. They make sure the characters all look the same, and the actual development of the characters. And in dailies I'll throw out something like, "I don't think the character would move like that, why don't we try this." I'm just the guy behind the guy trying to help out.
Does Burn-E stand for something? (Wall-E is short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth Class) Yeah, he stands for Basic Utllitiy Robot Nano Engineer. Which is funny, because people get upset because people think the "E" should mean Earth Class. So they want Burn-A which is axiom class.
In the scene where Eve and Wall-E are flying back into the garage, Burn-E is spotted, is he now in the Wall-E movie in that scene? There was some talk about adding him in. What was there originally was. When he welds the light and tries to go back inside, the light didn't exist. The light was added and we redid the shot. November of 2007, I kept saying we have to see Burn-E here or there (in the film). And Andrew thought it was funny, but didn't fit in the movie.
So what's the overall idea of the short? It's the cause and effect idea. What if we met somebody who didn't have a good time after meeting Wall-E? Like he was kind of resentful.
A friend of a friend of mine is Courtney, the girl who watched the Wall-E trailer and teared up. Did you meet her when Pixar flew her out for a visit? No, I didn't, but I saw her at the wrap party. I saw her photos, she put them on flickr. You'll have to tell her you met me ... cause maybe she'll cry again, a lot of Wall-E is me.
Here's some tiny Wall-E questions ... Why was he the last robot to survive? No logic to it, just a set up to be this character.
Skyscrapers out of trash, why's he doing that? There was a whole method designed with Earth getting rid of trash, and Wall-E was the first step. The other steps fail and he keeps going. If you get into the art history of it, it could be seen like the pyramids. There are clearly echos of a renaissance of culture in the end credits.
Be honest here, if you were on the ship, and you get back to Earth and take a look around ... wouldn't you just go back and hang out on the ship? Yeah, that's interesting. Like on "Gilligan's Island," why don't they stay on the boat? I don't know ... for me, I suppose I would be pretty used to sitting in a chair, but I'd want to stand around for a while ... I don't know, I hadn't thought about that.
Does Pixar have 3-Dimensional plans? Up is going to be in 3-D, and a rerelease of Toy Story 1 and 2 in 3-D. And then Toy Story 3 is going to be in 3-D, but it's all very confusing because we don't know if it will be Toy Story 3-D or Toy Story 3 in 3-D.
You're from Portland ... My inlaws are in town for a week, what should we do? You could go to Pittock Mansion. Is that worth it? I don't know (he's not selling it). You could go to OMSI and see a laser-Floyd show. Just go to restaurants there is some great food here. We then ended trading favorite pizza places. I say Apizza Scholls. He says Ken's Artisan Pizza.
Quick Questions with Angus MacLane
Breakfast this morning? Protein scramble with chicken apple sausage.
Favorite piece of fruit? Starfruit
Worst job? Not kidding, this was the best answer, and off the record ... but it took 20 minutes for him to relay all the details, so if you are wondering why I didn't ask things like, "What's your favorite Pixar movie?" ... now you know.
Last album bought? Bob Dylan's Bootleg Vol. 8
Favorite sports team? Portland Trailblazers
Favorite recent movie? The Visitor
Something you can't wait to do? Become a father (his wife is pregnant)
Superpower? Rewind time
Age of first kiss? 10
Favorite charity? Project open hand
Who would you be for 24 hours? Can they be dead? Sinatra!!