“Many Pixar films are based on personal experiences,” says Forward director Dan Scanlon at the Deadline’s Contenders Film Awards Season Event. “It might be more overtly autobiographical in some ways.”
That’s not to say Scanlon is descended from elves. Rather, his film follows two brothers – the young Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) and the older Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt) – who lost their young father in life. All they want is to spend another day with him, and that time is coming.
Scanlon lost his father at a very young age and his older brother became a great father figure in his life.
He thought about rooting the story in human characters, but “we needed a primary way to bring the father back for a day. We thought of scientists or a magical science machine, but it seemed a bit cold. The idea of magic sounded like a more exciting story that led to, “Oh, well, that could be a fantastic movie. “
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The idea of a fantasy in a setting of the modern world has become a launching pad for comedy. A realistic moment in the film occurs when Ian listens to an audio cassette of his father’s voice; something that really happened with Scanlon. He and his brother had never heard their father’s voice before receiving the tape. Her father only said two words: “Hello and goodbye,” Scanlon said.
And like Barley in the film, Scanlon’s older brother was a champion of his growth, “putting my pictures on his wall and showing my personal films to new friends he had met.” Scanlon soon realized how much his brother was like a father.
“The film is about enjoying what you have, rather than what you want,” says the filmmaker, “I hope people remember: look around you for what you have.”
Forward It took six years to do from start to finish, which is roughly the average run time of a Pixar movie. It was the last big event movie before the pandemic closed theaters; the film is currently available on Disney +.
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