D23 Expo: Lasseter Turns Back the Page on New Winnie-The-Pooh Movie

As part of his presentation Sunday at the D23 Expo, Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter spent a great deal of time talking about the upcoming Winnie-the-Pooh movie from Walt Disney Animation that was announced a few months ago.

Lasseter began by fighting off the notion that Pooh was just for kids and that he and co-directors Steve Anderson and Don Hall recently reviewed the original Walt Disney Pooh films, Winnie-the-Pooh and the Hunny Tree and Winnie-the-Pooh and the Blustery Day and how they found them just as charming and funny today as they did back then and it was there they found inspiration for the new film.

Reading through the original A.A. Milne books for ideas, Lasseter recalls opting instead to select five stories and adapt them for the screen directly. However, instead of simply jumping from one story to the next, he says they found a common thread between the stories and could mingle them together into one cohesive story.

Although he didn’t go into specifics as to which stories had been selected, Lasseter shared several drawings from Disney Legend Burny Mattinson who not only is working on the new Pooh movie but had worked on the originals as well. The drawings shown reflect A.A. Milne’s Eeyore Loses a Tail in which, well, Eeyore loses his tail and the gang must seek out the tail, or at least a suitable replacement. A yoyo, balloon and even a cuckoo clock (‘Thanks, Pooh, now I’ll know the time’) all serve as replacements for Eeyore’s missing tail.

Lasseter showed a featurette in which the filmmakers and Mattinson reminisced about the original Pooh films and all of the fine details that have been glossed over throughout the years, most notably the way that the movies presented a book coming to life with the characters literally playing off of the text and the way the white of the page would bleed through the watercolor paintings.

Lasseter revealed that the new film will go back to this original style of watercolor and that there will be additional characters as well in the form of socially-inept friends of Rabbit, no doubt setting the scene for some comic relief.

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