As the Blu-Ray and DVD release of Disney/Pixar’s UP! approaches, here are 24 fun facts you may not have known about the production of the animated film.

  1. “Up” is the 10th film from Pixar Animation Studios, and the first Disney•Pixar film to be presented in Disney Digital 3D™.
  2. Nearly 70 animators worked on “Up” during the peak of production.  A crew of nearly 375 at Pixar had a hand in creating the film.
  3. Supervising Technical Director Steve May and his team created a canopy of 10,297 balloons to float Carl’s house throughout much of the film.  That number more than doubles to 20,622 for the dramatic scene in which the house lifts off from its foundation for the first time. May and his team calculated that about 26.5 million balloons would be needed to lift a real house.
  4. Paradise Falls, Carl’s dream destination in the film, is based on Angel Falls in Venezuela (the tallest waterfall on Earth at 3300 feet).  In the film, for artistic reasons, Paradise Falls is far taller at 9700 feet.
  5. Director/Screenwriter Pete Docter, Co-Director/Screenwriter Bob Peterson, and other key members of the “Up” production team took a research trip to Venezuela to explore the “lost world” of the Tepui tabletop mountains.  The crew climbed one mile straight up to the top of Mount Roraima (the highest and most famous of the 115 mesas), and were then helicoptered to Kukenan.  The intrepid Pixar explorers encountered deadly ants, poisonous snakes, scorpions and miniature frogs during the trip.
  6. John Ratzenberger is the only actor to voice a role in all 10 of the Disney•Pixar films. In addition to his latest role as Construction Foreman Tom in “Up,” he provided the voice of the charming and witty Hamm the piggy bank in “Toy Story” (reprised in “Toy Story 2” and the upcoming “Toy Story 3”), P.T. Flea in “A Bug’s Life,” Yeti the snow monster in “Monsters, Inc.,” a school of Moonfish in “Finding Nemo,” a philosophical character named Underminer in “The Incredibles,” a Mac-truck in “Cars,” Mustafa, the head waiter in “Ratatouille,” and John, a human living aboard the spaceship Axiom in “WALL•E.”
  7. Carl is the most complex human character ever created by Pixar.  His design is symbolically and literally square, three heads high.  In contrast, Russell is basically egg-shaped and round.
  8. Russell has more layers of clothing than any other Pixar character — a shirt, a sash covered with badges, a neckerchief and a backpack.
  9. More than 450 kids read for the part of Russell. Jordan Nagai, the voice of Russell, had not planned on auditioning for the role.  He accompanied his brother, an actor with some commercial and TV credits, and was asked to try out on the spot.
  10. Kevin was the hardest character for Character Supervisor Thomas Jordan and his team to design.  This 13-foot flightless bird is covered with beautiful iridescent feathers, which required a new approach to hair technology.  The team approached feathers as hair growing on splines, which basically react much like hair itself.
  11. Pete Docter voices some of the bird noises for Kevin in “Up.”
  12. Director Pete Docter’s daughter Elie Docter provides the voice of young Ellie in the movie.  At age 7, Elie was tapped to do the scratch recording for the character.  While many other voices were considered, filmmakers ultimately cast Elie in the role.
  13. Ellie’s presence in the film remains constant throughout with a special musical theme (written by the film’s acclaimed composer Michael Giacchino), and the color magenta, which came to represent her.
  14. When Russell and Carl are served dinner by Muntz, Carl is actually served the scallop dish from “Ratatouille.”
  15. The average amount of time required to render a single frame of film for “Up” was between five and six hours.  Some complicated frames took up to 20 hours.  For every second of film, 24 frames are required.
  16. The film’s production and character design called for “Simplexity,” a simplified approach to complicated caricatures.  For example, Carl has no nostrils, skin pores or holes in his ears.
  17. Co-Director/Screenwriter Bob Peterson provides the voice of Dug, Charles Muntz’s misfit dog who befriends Carl, Russell and Kevin.  He also is heard in the film as Alpha, the leader of the pack whose collar translates his thoughts into speech.  Peterson previously voiced Roz, the sluggish dispatcher in “Monsters, Inc.,” and Mr. Ray, the determined teacher in “Finding Nemo.”
  18. Stereoscopic Supervisor Bob Whitehill, who oversaw the 3D aspects of “Up,” views the film as one of the greatest 3D films of all time.  Using a “depth budget,” the 3D team worked to match the filmmakers’ “point of interest” with the “point of convergence” to give the film another visual cue to tell the story, while adding excitement and dimension to the adventure.   The film’s climactic airship battle, complete with dogs in biplanes, is one of the most exciting uses of 3D.
  19. The number A113, which refers to John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter and Andrew Stanton’s former classroom at CalArts, makes an appearance in every Pixar film. In “Up,” A113 is the courtroom number where Carl makes his court appearance.
  20. In the sequence where Carl’s house first lifts off, the ball from short film “Luxo Jr.” can be seen sitting on the floor of the girl’s bedroom as the house goes by her window.
  21. The Pizza Planet Truck, which first made an appearance in “Toy Story,” has made a cameo in nearly every Pixar film.  In “Up,” the Pizza Planet truck can be seen at the intersection when Carl’s house flies over the town. It’s also in the Fentons Creamery parking lot at the end of the film.
  22. Russell’s favorite ice cream parlor in the movie is named after the real Fentons Creamery in Oakland, Calif. Director Pete Docter and Producer Jonas Rivera live nearby and frequent the restaurant and ice cream parlor with their families.
  23. Pete Docter, who began his career as an animator, managed to find time to animate the last scene of the film where Carl and Russell are sitting on the curb eating ice cream together.  Pete handled the animation of Carl.
  24. Director Pete Docter named Disney storyman and writer Joe Grant in the film’s dedication to the “real life Carl and Ellie Fredricksens who inspired us to create our own Adventure Books.” Grant was part of the 1937 team that created “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and wrote “Dumbo” and “Fantasia.” The mentor, friend and source of inspiration to Docter and countless others continued to work at the Walt Disney Animation Studios up until his death in 2005, one week shy of his 97th birthday.

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

Previous post

Remember, Remember the fifth of November...

Next post

John Cleese on creativity

No Comment

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section