Director Bobs Gannaway and Producer Ferrell Barron Discuss Planes: Fire & Rescue #FireandRescueEvent

*Disney provided me with an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles to attend advance screenings of Maleficent and Planes: Fire and Rescue and to attend press junkets for both films. I did receive some promotional products courtesy of Disney Consumer Products. No other compensation was received. All thoughts are 100% my own.*

There is so much time and effort that goes into the making of a film. Filmmakers must research settings, assign the write person to pen the script, and in the case of an animated film such as Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue (in theaters July 18th, 2014) also casting voice actors and actresses for the animated characters.

Director Bobs Gannaway and Producer Ferrell Barron sat down with us in Los Angeles after showing us a screening of the film to talk about everything from characters’ relationships to the research they conducted to turn Jeff Howard’s compelling screenplay into a stunning visual display.

Director Bobs Gannaway and Producer Ferrell Barron Discuss Planes: Fire & Rescue #FireandRescueEvent

Character Relationships

The “relationship” between Dusty Crophopper and Dipper (voiced by the hilarious Julie Bowen) was one of my favorite moments in the film.

“We were looking for what we could do for a romantic sort of storyline that wasn’t derivative of the first film where Dusty facilitated a relationship between two characters,” Bobs told us. “Jeff Howard and I wrote the script, we sort of said, well let’s take Dipper through the stages of a relationship, and then Dusty never reciprocates.”

Researching National Parks

Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks are the two that most inspired Planes: Fire & Rescue. The filmmakers gained ideas from everything from the monuments to the waterfalls to create their own fictional national park. “We met with a lot of Park Rangers who toured us around, and our lodge is based on the Old Faithful Inn, in Yellowstone,” Ferrell told us.

Their trips were something of a whirlwind; they drove from one location to another, took pictures, and then sped away to the next stop.

Research even played a role in the gags that they created, according to Bobs. “I mean, little things, like the lodges. There’s rocking chairs in front of the fireplaces… The Old Jammer, I’m sure you’re familiar with it, are the tour busses that are still used today in Glacier National Park in Yellowstone. They’re called Jammers because they would jam the gears and they’re not standard anymore. So Jammer’s name is based on a historical vehicle and someone might pick up on that… Boat Reynolds appears there. Any idea where that guy came from? Anybody? That came from research. We were driving through Yellowstone and there was a sign that said Boat Rentals. And I went, ‘Oh, look, Boat Rental, Boat Reynolds. So you know, just the littlest tiny thing will inform big choices.”

There is also a reference to the classic TV show CHiPs, whose name is changed to CHoPs in Planes: Fire & Rescue. Erik Estrada even voices the character Nick Lopez for the film! “We were very careful not to make fun of CHiPs but to try to recreate the show as truly as possible,” said Bobs.

Director Bobs Gannaway and Producer Ferrell Barron Discuss Planes: Fire & Rescue #FireandRescueEvent

Soaring to New Heights

“The flight is all accurate. We had the same team, the same consultant, Jason McKinley…we have helicopters in our movie and we brought in Chuck Aaron. Chuck Aaron is the top helicopter pilot in the world. Just YouTube ‘Chuck Aaron’ and you’ll see the amazing things he does. He flies the Red Bull helicopter. He is one of only two pilots in the world who does an inside loop in a helicopter, actually goes upside down in a helicopter. And he actually took us out and did an inside loop in the helicopter with us so you get the feeling of what it was like to do them,” Bobs shared with us his experience flying with the world’ top helicopter pilot.

A Tribute to Fire Fighters

The filmmakers made a lot of new friends while creating Planes: Fire & Rescue. They have nothing but the highest respect for the men and women who dedicate their lives to ensuring safety for people and preserving the environment.

Bobs said, “All the people we met, the Fire Fighters are everything you think they are. They were amazing, giving, caring, courageous people, so charming, and so giving with their time and wanting to help. It was really a wonderful experience and they’ve become friends of ours.”

Ferrell said, “Because of that, we really took this movie to heart. We really put it on our shoulders and we wanted to tell a story that really paid a tribute and gave homage to fire fighters. So they were all so honored to be talking with us and being a part of the film, helping tell their story. And the biggest goal was not only for kids and parents, but we wanted to make the story for them. That’s been the biggest part of this whole project is just making sure that we’re being truthful and making them proud to watch the movie.”


Jen currently lives in Utah with her family, and enjoys reading and writing in her spare time. She is active on popular book websites including paperbackswap.com, Goodreads.com, and luxuryreading.com.

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