There were so many highlights to my Los Angeles trip last month but going to the Disney Toon Studios and being able to watch Disney’s Tinkerbell and the Secret of the Wings was certainly one of them. We were ushered into the screening room and who walked in to greet us but none other than Disney and Pixar’s legendary, John Lasseter, who heard we were in the building and wanted to say “hi”. A legend, the man responsible for so many of my favorite movies “wanted to say hi” to us. WOW!!!
The movie was then introduced to us by the director Peggy Holmes. Who was just as sweet and bubbly as could be. There is just something about learning about a movie right from the people who created it. It makes every detail of the movie so much more meaningful.
(Director Peggy Holmes Courtesy of Disney)
In true fairy style, the movie’s plot takes flight from Tinkerbell’s curiosity. She notices that when she experiences the chill of winter for the first time her wings sparkle.
Secret of the Wings is the story about when Tinkerbell meets her sister, Periwinkle who was “born of the same laugh”. In stark contrast to Tinkerbell, Periwinkle is a Winter fairy and yet as sisters they have a lot in common, including both wearing pom poms on the tips of their shoes. As the mom of 2 daughters and having a sister myself, I found this story even more touching. It was amazing to see the beauty of the winter world and hearing about all the research that went into creating it. More on that in a moment.
I was so excited when we received a DVD copy of the movie recently and I was able to experience the movie again with my daughters. I immediately got chills as soon as the movie started. As anyone with children knows, a child could watch the same movie over and over again. This is one of those movies and yet it is so enjoyable that I would be watching it right along with my girls, over and over again. This movie draws you into the world of the fairies and takes you along for the ride. The DVD also has bonus features that I’ll share with you in an upcoming post.
I especially love the creativity the fairies use to solve problems such as using paper clips as ice skates or how Tinkerbell is able to make her world habitable for her sister. The Secret of the Wings is one movie that is sure to delight young and old.
Snowball fight anyone?
Our interview with Peggy Holmes was just amazing. Here are just a few of the insights we learned~
On how they came up with the names of the Winter Fairies:
We started I looked at photography of winter and I noticed there were so many awesome looking whites and blues. And one of the things we wanted to focus on in the movie is that this can’t feel like a Christmas place, it’s not a season winter. In this particular movie it’s a place. It’s a place they live, it’s there all the time. So, we needed to sort of create this magical winter and the images I was drawn to were all the whites and the blues. So, we decided to research all the different shades of blue and find the names out of that. So Periwinkle became Periwinkle and Milori, Lord Milori, Milori is a shade of blue! If you didn’t know that. So that’s where that came from.
On introducing Periwinkle:
We wanted to tell a story about bringing two worlds together. So when we originally created Periwinkle it was not Tink’s sister. It was a girl like one (you meet) on the first day of kindergarten or like the first day at a job. There’s always someone you gravitate toward and you don’t know why yet. You know what I mean? And then as you get to be better friends you realize why. Right. They complete your life in a way that maybe another kid doesn’t complete your life that way. So originally that is how we developed the story and it just wasn’t having as much emotional impact. So Clay Hall who directed Lost Treasure actually said why don’t we just make it her sister. And we were all like oh, you know. ‘Cause that’s a universal idea that it’s your very right to know your sister. Right? You know, or your brother or, you know who ever. So then we started the process of what does that mean in this world. What is that. So that was a fun creative process and you know we came upon this idea that oh my gosh there were two little wisps, we just didn’t see it in the first movie. (I have to say I just got chills rereading this from the interview notes. I just love this movie!)
On what’s next for Tinkerbell:
You know all those doors that say no production, no crew past here? Yeah, so um, I can’t actually talk about it. There are several stories in development for Tinker Bell. It’s really exciting and fun and, you know, it’s a director driven process. So-so every director sort of looks at it a different way and thinks oh what could I tell about her. So that keeps it really fresh and exciting. YAY!!!
The most amazing thing I took from our interview with Peggy Holmes is all the research that goes into making a movie. Leave it to Disney to actually hire a twin specialist and a Doctor of Snow. I tried to cut down this part of the interview but it is all so fascinating that I am leaving most of it here:
Once we decided to make Tinker Bell and Periwinkle sisters, we thought okay let’s make them identical sisters. So what does that mean in the fairy world. So we decided that they would have identical wings. ‘Cause it would be, as you can imagine, not a good choice to make Periwinkle look like Tinker Bell. That would not be a good choice. So we needed her to have the spunk, you know? The underlying spunk that Tinker Bell has, but not quite be developed yet. Tinker Bell has much more life experience than Periwinkle. So we decided on sort of identical wings and we immediately brought in a twin specialist who specialized in twins that had been separated at birth or an early age, and reunited later in life. So there are specialists out there for everything you can think of! So we brought this fascinating, fascinating woman in and she did a huge presentation for us. And in her studies she found that let’s say these fifty-something year-old men are meeting each other for the first time and they walk in, in such specific outfits that they find that the characteristics – even though they lived apart – the characteristics and the trends, the hobbies, are often very, very similar. So you know those shirts that have like the button epilate and the, you know what I mean? Two guys wearing exactly that kind of shirt. Like that’s a really specific shirt. It’s not like a polo. You know? It’s got like the button things. They were two gentlemen that came together that both collected huge belt buckles and they both held their beard with their pinkie underneath the can. Like really tiny nuanced specific things. So it was really fun. So for us of course it was the pom-poms. Like how could they both have pom-poms, you know? I just was like oh no! We have to do the pom-poms. And the other thing she taught us about is that with the case of twins and that connection and having been apart for so long, that the women wanna connect and they wanna learn everything about what they missed. And that she—these two women came in and from the moment – even though they’re in a big group and everything – from the moment they saw each other they just started talking and the whole world went away. And she said they talked as they walked into lunch with all of us, they talked as they got into a cab, they talked as they – And that was sort of how they reconnect. That’s how women reconnect. And so we sort of did that with Tink and Peri too. Everything else goes away and they just want to learn about each other’s life.
Then a snow specialist. So John (Lasseter) is huge on research. Research, research, research, and understanding the science and the logic of something. So that if you skew off of it you understand why and why you skewed off and, you know, for what reason. So we brought in Tom Painter who is a Doctor of snow, and honestly we always tell this story that we would call him because maybe a story idea would rise and I’d wanna call Tom and see can I do this, is this possible? So he was a fantastic, fantastic source and you know we learned that frost actually does protect from freeze and that you could actually cover your body in frost and be protected in a freeze. So then you sort of—you hear that science and you figure out how can I do this in the story. What can I do? How can I bring that fact, that real fact into a story because it’s counter intuitive, it is not what you think.
Originally we wanted to have Peri be an icicle fairy. We were thinking about John has a vineyard. And in the vineyards you guys have probable seen this where the sprinklers go off and are protecting the crops from freeze, from an incoming freeze. So originally that’s what we did. Periwinkle was an icicle fairy and she was going to put ice over everything to save it from the freeze. So we sent that to Thomas Painter and he said okay you’ve just now killed all of Pixie Hollow. And we said why? And he said the reason that the sprinkler system works is because it’s constant. So there’s constant action that is creating heat and it is protecting the plant. So we weren’t going to do that.
So it’s just the research affects your story so much. So now he’s like this is what would protect frost. So now Peri is a frost fairy and she’s not an icicle fairy anymore and it’s like a really fun process to sort of use research to develop creativity. He was really funny too. He did a whole PowerPoint on how everyone will now hate Tinker Bell because she just killed off Pixie Hollow. He was really funny.
Disclosure: Thank you to Disney who paid for transportation, food, and accommodations for this event. No other compensation was given. All opinions are 100% my own.