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Bringing the film ‘Strange Magic’ to Life with Gary Rydstrom

We attended the interview as a guest of Disney

“It’s ok to be different and your uniqueness makes you special.” Gary Rydstrom


Academy Award winner, Gary Rydstrom, directed and brought the film “Strange Magic” to life. The talented director worked on Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., Brave, and now Strange Magic. Rydstrom said he was drawn towards doing this film because, “the use of song to help tell a story was really attractive, and this was such a great idea to tell a love story.”

“There aren’t many positive love songs, which I always like to point out because love is hard.” Gary Rydstrom

Photo courtesy of Disney

Photo courtesy of Disney

The character that Rydstrom could relate most to in the film was the Bog King because of the way he handled having his heart-broken. “I think we all go through it and it’s a completely natural thing. It’s when you get your heart-broken, and you say ‘that’s it’ I’m not going to let myself be vulnerable ever again. He goes to an extreme, but it’s something that I can relate to,” said Rydstrom.

“I was in the room with Kristin Chenoweth when she was singing, and when she hit some of those high notes in ‘Love is Strange’ it was like my glasses broke.” Gary Rydstrom

Photo courtesy of Disney

Photo courtesy of Disney

Rydstrom assembled an incredible cast for the film including Elijah Kelley. “Casting was key for a movie like this. You have to find people who both act and sing,” said Rydstrom. Working with a cast was something new for Rydstrom because he spent most of his career doing sound effects. “I love being in the room with the actors,” said Rydstrom.  While Rydstrom was working with the actors, it was Elijah Kelley who made him work the hardest. “I would line read with him, but he’s very active, and it requires a lot of energy, so I was often playing either the Sugar Plum Fairy or Dawn. I was actually pretty good at it,” said Rydstrom.

“They all brought their own personalities to the characters once we cast them.” Gary Rydstrom

Photo courtesy of Disney

Photo courtesy of Disney

Alan Cumming is Scottish, so they gave the Bog King a 20% Scottish accent. Rydstrom said, “Rachel Wood is very much like Marianne, and she’s the sweetest, she’s got the most amazing happy laugh.” After I had met Elijah Kelley, who played my favorite character in the film, Sunny, I saw for myself how much the characters resemble the actor’s personalities.

“It takes twice as many actors to make an animated film. I’m really proud of this movie.” Gary Rydstrom


Photo courtesy of Disney

Don’t miss bringing your family to see the heartwarming film “Strange Magic” that is in theaters now. Learn more about the film on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram #StrangeMagic.

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