Host, Kyra Batte
Still Photography, Eric John
Press Pass LA was lucky to attend both the press conference, which included a Q & A with stars Billy Crystal and John Goodman, and the red carpet of the premiere of Monsters University where we talked to the writing team behind the film, cast members, and fellow celebrity fans and Disney stars!
Stars who walked the red carpet included cast members Billy Crystal (Mike Wazowski), Beth Behrs (Carrie Williams), and Charlie Day (Art), alongside fans like brother-sister duo Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family) and Raini Rodriguez (Austin & Ally). We also caught up with the directing and producing team (Saschka Unseld and Marc Greenberg) behind the animated short, The Blue Umbrella, which served as the opening act to the feature film and follows the love story between a blue and red umbrella. Subway spokesperson Jared Fogel was also on hand to discuss Subway’s partnership with Disney and their involvement in the tailgate party and street parade that included games, food, performances by the MU band, and of course Subway sandwiches and Monsters University T-shirt swag for all attendees!
It was a pleasure to see Billy Crystal be interviewed by ESPN College “Scareday” reporters Lee Corso and Desmond Howard and the crowd on Hollywood Boulevard couldn’t have been more entertained!
Check out what Billy Crystal and John Goodman had to say about their beloved characters Mike & Sulley at the press day! Here are some of our favorite questions:
Q: What was it like working with Dan Scanlon, the director?
BILLY CRYSTAL: Dan is a hipster. Dan is like – he had totally different energy than Pete Docter (Monsters Inc.) had, who was great. Dan is like a cool – not that Pete wasn’t … but Dan is different. Dan is like – he’s a hipster. He’s like a young guy.
JOHN GOODMAN: He had great sensibility, and he’d read with you. If the other characters weren’t there, he reads with you. He’s got a good energy to feed off of.
BILLY CRYSTAL: Yeah, he was funny, too. He’s a funny guy.
JOHN GOODMAN: And when you do something he don’t like, he gets a funny little look on his face.
BILLY CRYSTAL: Yeah, and we’d know not to do that!
Q: What do you find to be the great touchstone about the friendship of Mike and Sulley and what it is that makes them so beloved to everybody around the world? For each of your individual characters, what is it about the character that resonates with you?
JOHN GOODMAN: The fact that he’s a blowhard. No, I think the reason they work so well together is that they complete each other, in a way. I think Sulley really, really needs Mike Wazowski. It makes him complete, lets him know – lets the air out of him a little bit. Especially in this film, when they’re not completely formed monsters yet, they learn from each other. They learn how to adapt, how to let go of their pre-conceived notions of themselves and of the world. They’re good for each other.
BILLY CRYSTAL: For me, Mike is fearless. He just – he’s really the favorite character I’ve ever played in anything I’ve done. I’ve really missed doing him until Lasseter, at a party, came to me – it was at John’s 50th birthday party – and said we have the idea. It’s a sequel, but it’s a prequel. They’re in college. And he just walked away, but he left an idea, and I went oh, this is gonna be great. It was so fun to revisit them at this time in their lives. It was such a brilliant idea to put them in that time period where they’re about to become who they’re gonna become. That’s what was so interesting to me. I love this guy to play, and playing it with John is phenomenal because we work together in the studio, and we can act together. It’s not just – we’re not just reading lines; we’re performing them, and we’re playing them, and we feel them. I think that’s why their relationship on screen is really great because it’s a real thing.
Q: When you were both college age, did you each feel that you fit into the world around you, or were you a little bit of a misfit at that age?
BILLY CRYSTAL: I have to admit, I was a little bit of a misfit. I was a film-directing major at NYU when – I’m still not sure why I became a directing major when I was really an actor and a comedian, but there was something that drew me to doing that. I had made a few films on my own, and I loved it. So I felt like I was a misfit, in a way, and out of it because all those other people – it was Oliver Stone, Christopher Guest, Mike McKean. It was a class of film people. Our professor was Marty Scorsese. So he – Marty was a graduate student – Mr. Scorsese, which is what I had to call him – which I still do, when I see him, ‘cause he gave me a C. He was an intense – it was 1968-9 and ’70, and he was an intense guy, with hair down to here, a big beard and granny glasses. Who looked like that then? (laughs) So I – he was so fluent in movies and passionate, and I really felt like I wanted to be in front of people still, so I was a little out of it.
JOHN GOODMAN: I ain’t never been in no college with famous people like Billy here. (laughs) I was a drifter for a while. I just was desperate to fit in with a group. Really, I was swimming. I was lost, treading water, trying to find my way. I wanted to play football. It didn’t work out. I didn’t really know what I wanted until I found acting in a theater department, and then it just – everything fell into place, and I had a passion about something. Then, I started living my life.
BILLY CRYSTAL: Yeah, that’s how it was for me, too. Once I found a theater group, then you’re just – like a gym rat, but you’re a theater rat, and then that becomes your fraternity house. That becomes your family – extended family. I still see a lot of those people to this day because they owe me money. No, that really becomes your thing. In this movie, they find out who they are. That’s the most important element of this movie to me is well, Mike has a dream, and the dream may not work out, and then he has to readjust and recalibrate. He does that with the help of his friend, who tells him who he thinks he is, and he starts to believe it himself. So for me, that really happened then.
Monsters University opens nationwide June 21st. Watch the trailer.
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