The world of “Planes” is soaring above us and is scheduled to land on August 9th. During my Behind the Scenes visit at DisneyToon Studios, I got to catch up with two people that helped bring it all together: Director Klay Hall and Producer Traci Balthazor-Flynn. While I sincerely enjoyed screening the film and am excited to take my daughter to see it again, meeting these two film makers was definitely the highlight of #DisneyPlanesEvent. Little did I know that, as they welcomed our group to the pre-screening of the film, we were the first viewing of the final cut of Planes. How crazy is that! Later, Planes Director admitted that having “fresh eyes” on the finished film was kind of “nauseating”. That vulnerability is what, I think, makes this Disney movie extra special.

Meeting Disney Planes Director and Producer

The making of Planes took Disney a whopping four years, but Director Klay Hall has had a lifetime of appreciating the mechanics and beauty of them. Although he prefers trains best, being the son of a Navy pilot and having spent hours at airshows as a child, Klay Hall knows his way around a plane. To fully appreciate the experience that main character Dusty encounters in the film, Director Klay Harris and Producer Traci Balthazor-Flynn were flown out to the USS Carl Vinson where they were able to spend a couple of days with the men and women onboard. These filmmakers made every effort to ensure the movie retained authenticity to the experiences portrayed. It was a joy chatting with these two, as their enthusiasm and love for the project was evident.


Disney Planes Embraces Global Perspectives

With her soft spoken nature and henna covered wings, Indian plane Ishani was an instant favorite of mine. Planes’ main character, Dusty, was also quite smitten with her. Of course, I can’t wait to introduce SpanglishBaby readers to the wildly hilarious and equally charming, El Chupacabra – Dusty’s friend from Acapulco, Mexico. I have to admit, hearing his familiar accent with glimpses of Spanglish in a Disney film brought up many emotions. Hopefully characters like El Chu will continue to pop up on mainstream Disney films in the future!

However, what impressed me the most in our conversation with Planes filmmakers was their effort to “localize” Rochelle, the French- Canadian Plane (and El Chu’s romantic pursuit). This effort is the first of its kind for Disney studios, and one that I am excited to see done more of in future movies. Director Klay Harris explained the character of Rochelle was chosen because, although she is important to the storyline, her impact isn’t crucial to the outcome of movie. Filmmakers thought her character was perfect to “localize”, by changing her appearance and voice according to which country the film was being shown in. The concept of changing Rochelle’s colors is called “reskin” and well-known, local actresses were casted to voice her part. Rochelle will be “localized” in 8 different countries and I can’t wait to see the many versions of her!


My full review of Planes will be coming soon. I can’t wait to share more about this fun new Disney film! In the meantime, to learn more about the August 9th release of Disney’s Planes by liking Disney Planes on Facebook or by following on Twitter.

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