Anyone Can Cook: Ratatouille 15th Anniversary
In the summer of 2007, Pixar’s eighth film would be released to critical acclaim. Though audiences wouldn’t notice, the film that asked “what if a rat wanted to be a cook” had a lot of hard work put into it.
But that’s just half of the story behind the story…
In 2000, award-winning Pixar animator, Jan Pinkava, came up with the idea of a rat cook. And after a few years of trying to develop the story, the studio decided to go in a different direction. In 2005, they brought Brad Bird, fresh from his success writing and directing The Incredibles, to take over the project.
Brad was intrigued by the out-there concept and officially signed on to write and direct the movie. Plus he enjoyed the idea of making a physical comedy.
Once Brad took over, he decided to change some aspects of the story. For example, Remy’s inspiration, Chef Gusteau, was still around in the early version. But it was soon decided to have the character dead but his spirit would be around to mentor Remy.
A tradition that mostly happens in animation is the research trip. Brad and the crew actually spent a week in Paris for research. This would give the film a distinct look by making the film’s version of Paris very lush.
Another part of the research of the team ate at acclaimed restaurants. This was because when it came to animating the food in the film, it was apparent that making food look tasty in a computer-animated film was challenging.
For help, the animators consulted with all kinds of cooks and even took cooking classes themselves to better understand kitchen environments. One of the chefs they consulted with was Thomas Keller who even designed the dish Remy cooks at the climax. To animate the food, they would use the tech that was used for the skin of the characters in The Incredibles.
For the animation of Remy and the other rats, the artists would meet with rodent expert, Debbie Ducommun, on how to handle the rats. The studio even had a container for pet rats that were used for reference.
For the music score, composer Michael Giacchino wanted to use different types of music for the project. This included Parisian cafe music, folk-pop, European romanticism, and quasi-traditional.
But he also wanted the music to be as emotional as the story. The score would end up getting Michael his first Academy Award nomination for Best Score.
After seven years of work, Ratatouille was released and would not only earn glowing reviews but would also be the sixth most financially grossing film of 2007.
At the Academy Awards, the film would be nominated for five awards. It would end up winning Best Animated Film.
And with continuing merchandise and now a ride at Epcot, it seems this amazing film will not be forgotten.