The DVD and Blu-ray release of Disney's animated film Bolt will include an all-new short film, Super Rhino, centering on the peripatetic hamster played by Mark Walton.
Rhino dreams he has the superpowers to save his heroes; the short closes with a stage performance of "The Best of Both Worlds" (covering co-star Miley Cyrus' song).
Nathan Greno, story supervisor on Bolt, directed Super Rhino. Walton, a visual development artist at Disney animation, reprises his voice role. The two participated in an online group interview on Wednesday; the following Q&A features edited excerpts. Bolt drops on Blu-ray on March 22 and on standard DVD on March 24.
How was Rhino chosen to star in his own short?
Greno: When we were wrapping story on Bolt, [Disney creative executive] John Lasseter asked us to start thinking about a short for the DVD. I pitched the idea of Rhino gaining the powers of his hero, Bolt. John loved the idea and asked me to work up a pitch. Needless to say, the pitch went well, and I was given the opportunity to direct the short.
Why do you think it's so often the supporting characters from these animated films (Mater, Jack Jack, etc.) that people want to see star in their own shorts?
Greno: The supporting characters typically carry less story/plot weight, so you can be more broad and pushed with them. Supporting characters also take up less of the film's screen time. A short is a great opportunity for supporting characters to shine. Rhino is so pushed and single-minded, the idea of him starring in his own film was really entertaining to me.
What can you tell us about the difference between working on the film Bolt and the short Super Rhino?
Greno: With features you're typically dealing with more characters, plot, emotion, story arc, etc. A short is the same, only much ... shorter! In the case of Super Rhino, I even had the advantage of using pre-established characters. Putting an unexpected spin on them was the fun part. My biggest challenge on Super Rhino was learning to work with other departments outside of the story department. I honestly learned something new every day. I went from working in my storyboarding bubble to working with every department in the building. It was an amazing, eye-opening experience for me. The advantage with the Super Rhino short was having the advantage of using pre-existing characters. The fun came from the unexpected story twists I put them through. ...
How did Miley Cyrus feel about Rhino doing "Best of Both Worlds?"
Walton: Frankly, I'm afraid she was consumed by jealousy and a serious inferiority complex. I can't blame her. It's got to be hard to see the writing on the wall. No, seriously, I'm not sure if she's seen the finished film with my singing yet, but I'm sure my (purposely) bad version of the song makes her look even better by comparison. ...
Have you met Miley Cyrus, and did you get her autograph?
Walton: I did meet Miley Cyrus! This young woman at the studio suddenly shouted at me from down the hall, and was complimenting my performance, and I thought she was sweet. Then someone asked if we wanted a picture together, and I didn't realize until she came up right next to me it was her! She seemed really nice. I didn't have time to get her autograph, but I got a nice picture with her! ...
Which scenes look best on the Blu-ray?
Walton: The scenes that will look best in Blu-ray will have Rhino, in all his glory, on the screen. Actually, I haven't seen the Blu-ray transfer yet, but I bet any scene with a lot of detail (there are some beautiful backgrounds in the movie) will really sing in Blu-ray.