"The Simpsons" Director Brings Humor to "Disney's Planes"

From two-time Emmy® nominated director and aviation enthusiast Klay Hall (“King of the Hill,” “The Simpsons”) comes “Disney’s Planes,” an all-new big-screen adventure that showcases a crop duster’s desire to do more than what he was designed to do.


The action-packed 3D animated comedy features Dusty, a plane with dreams of competing as a high-flying air racer. But Dusty’s not exactly built for racing—and he happens to be afraid of heights. So he turns to a seasoned naval aviator who helps Dusty qualify to take on the defending champ of the race circuit. Dusty’s courage is put to the ultimate test as he aims to reach heights he never dreamed possible, giving a spellbound world the inspiration to soar.

Says Hall, “I think people will really relate to ‘Disney’s Planes’ because it’s a great underdog story. It has a lot of heart and a message we can all use: If we can believe in ourselves, step out of our comfort zones and get past whatever fear is holding us back, we’d be surprised with the results. And that’s exactly what happens to Dusty in this movie. He’s a crop duster who’s never flown above 1,000 feet, but he dreams of being the fastest air racer in the world. He has a lot of obstacles to overcome and needs to dig pretty deep to find the courage to become more than what he was built for.”

"PLANES" (Pictured) CHUG, DUSTY and DOTTIE. ©2013 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

According to producer Traci Balthazor-Flynn, the global setting of the film invites audiences along for the ride. “Dusty has never been far from home, so he’s experiencing the world for the first time,” she says. “The film visits places many of us—like Dusty—have never seen. It features characters from all over the world—diverse personalities we can get behind and root for. It’s a real adventure—a road movie in the sky.”

Hall, who attended Cal Arts with fellow animation vets Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph”) and Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E”), came to Disney in 2005. “My background has always been primetime comedy,” says Hall. “I spent 10 years at ‘The Simpsons’ and then ‘King of the Hill.’”

So when it came time to build the story for “Disney’s Planes,” humor was a key ingredient—along with the kind of action a film about airplanes called for and—of course—authenticity and heart.

Hall credits the story team with finding the right blend. “What’s really cool about making an animated film is—hands down—the collaboration. I think animation is the most collaborative art form there is. It takes an army of talented people to do one of these films.”

Hall, executive producer John Lasseter and co-screenwriter Jeff Howard came together early in the process to hammer out the story. “We sat in a little room for five or six hours,” says Howard, who welcomed the opportunity to brainstorm with Lasseter. “We all respect him so much, creatively—and we were invited to hang out and spitball with him. That’s when we came up with the idea of a crop duster who wants to be a racer. We named him Dusty that first day and talked about a race around the world where he’d meet racers from different countries.”

“It just felt right,” says Lasseter. “There’s a great group of new characters who fly throughout different parts of the world—Iceland, Germany, India, Mexico. We knew from the start that it had to be better than good. It had to be great. And it is. It’s beautiful. To say that I'm excited about this movie is an understatement.”

Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International, “Planes” takes off in Philippine theaters in 3D on Aug. 21, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D™ in select cinemas.


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