Monsters, Arcade Games and Reanimated Friends – OH MY!!! #DisneyMoviesEvent

How is that for a subject line? Did I pique your interest? 🙂

All of these things have one very special thing in common – ME! That is because I’m heading to Hollywood in a few weeks to check out the latest movies from Walt Disney Studios.


On Sunday, September 23, 2012 I’ll be boarding a plane for Hollywood, California. While I’m there I’ll be able to check out the following films. Most of the films you are probably familiar with because I have written about them on my blog already.

Frankenweenie – In theaters on October 5, 2012

From creative genius Tim Burton (Alice in Wonderland, The Nightmare Before Christmas) comes Frankenweenie, a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life—with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.

A stop-motion animated film, Frankenweenie will be filmed in black and white and rendered in 3D, which will elevate the classic style to a whole new experience.

Check out the movie’s trailer.


To make this even more exciting, myself and other bloggers who will be on the trip with me will have the opportunity to interview some of the people involved in the making of Frankenweenie. We’re not sure who we’ll be interviewing but I sure hope Tim Burton is one of them. That would be amazing. Some of the other celebrities that voice the characters in the film include Winona Ryder, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan (Charlie St. Cloud, I am Legend), Atticus Shaffer (The Middle), Robert Capron (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and Conchata Ferrell (Two and a Half Men). Tom Kenny (the voice of SpongeBob Squarepants) also lends his voice talents to the film. I would be super excited to interview any of these wonderful people.

If you have any questions you would like me to ask please feel free to leave a comment on this post and I’ll be sure to ask it of the talent and/or the filmmakers.

You can also check out the movie on these social networking channels.


www.Twitter.com/DisneyPictures (#Frankenweenie)


To add to my excitement we’ll also be attending the Red Carpet movie premiere of Frankenweenie right in the heart of Hollywood at theEl Capitan Theatre. We’ll be walking the Red Carpet too! I am truly very excited about that because the last time I walked the Red Carpet was at the same theater for Gnomeo & Juliet and that is where we had the opportunity to see Sir Elton John perform LIVE on stage. That was a night I’ll never forget. I have a feeling this Red Carpet event is going to be equally as exciting.

Also while I’m out in Hollywood I’ll be attending a screening of the film Wreck-It Ralph.

Wreck-It Ralph – In theaters November 2, 2012

Walt Disney Animation Studios and Emmy-winning director Rich Moore (TV’s “The Simpsons,” “Futurama”) take moviegoers on a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping journey in Wreck-It Ralph. Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers) is tired of being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix (voice of Jack McBrayer, “30 Rock”), the “good guy” star of their game who always gets to save the day. But after decades doing the same thing and seeing all the glory go to Felix, Ralph decides he’s tired of playing the role of a bad guy.  He takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a game-hopping journey across the arcade through every generation of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero.

On his quest, he meets the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch, TV’s “Glee”) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty. But it’s the feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman, “The Sarah Silverman Program”) from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, whose world is threatened when Ralph accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens the entire arcade.  Will Ralph realize his dream and save the day before it’s too late?

Wreck-It Ralph will be available in Disney Digital 3D in select theaters.

Check out the film’s trailer. I was big into video games in the early 80’s when I was a teen (yeah, I’m THAT old). It was fun to see characters that I recognized like Pac-Man and Qbert.


This movie looks like it’s going to be funny.

Be sure to check out the official Wreck-It Ralph website as well as follow the film on Facebook and Twitter.


www.Twitter.com/DisneyAnimation (#WreckItRalph)


In addition to these films we’ll also have the opportunity to see a new animated short film called Paperman. Paperman is a hybrid approach to combine hand drawn animation with computer generated (CG) animation. This feature will debut before the movie Wreck-It Ralph in theaters.

Using a minimalist black-and-white style, the short follows the story of a lonely young man (George) in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman (Meg) on his morning commute. Convinced that the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him.

As an added bonus we’ll also be checking out Monsters, Inc. 3D which will scare it’s way into theaters on December 19, 2012.

Make sure to follow Monsters, Inc. 3D on Facebook and Twitter.


www.Twitter.com/DisneyPixar (#MonstersInc3D)

I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney had something else in store for us bloggers. You’ll just have to follow my blog to find out. 🙂

If you would like to check out the conversation on Twitter use the hashtag #DisneyMoviesEvent . There are 20+ other bloggers attending so I’m sure that there will also be something fun tweeted using that hashtag.

Guess it’s time for me to plan out my wardrobe and figure out what to wear on the Red Carpet.



*I was not compensated for this post. I will be a guest of Walt Disney Studios for this press junket, however all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

Win a “magical” hotel stay at the Magic Castle Hotel (Giveaway – ends 3/21/12)

My family is in dire need of a vacation. The last REAL family vacation (meaning something other than day trips) was back in 2002 when we went to Disney World with my mom, sister and her family. I think 10 years is more than enough time to go without a vacation.

My kids are older now. My daughter is going to be 15 soon and my son is almost “officially” a teen (he’ll be 13 this year). If and when we are able to afford a family vacation we have to start thinking about things that will keep them as entertained as my husband and I.

I would love to take my family to California. I have been there several times since I was a child, as well as a couple of times last year. My husband is anxious to visit California. He already told me he’d probably never want to come home to New York if he actually gets the chance to visit the West Coast.

There is a hotel that my friend Lee stayed at that I would LOVE to check out. It’s called the Magic Castle Hotel.

The Magic Castle is legendary in Los Angeles. It even has its own private club and caters to celebrity clientele. As a guest of the hotel you can gain access to the club too.

Their club features elegant dining and a showplace for some of the world’s greatest magicians. You can learn more about it here, www.MagicCastle.com.

The one thing I would like to see about the Magic Castle Hotel is their rooms. They have 1-2 bedroom suites that are a whopping 500 – 800 square feet. My condo is 900 square feet! I can’t imagine having a hotel room as big as my entire condo. And with teenagers it would be nice to have all that space so we’re not tripping over each other during our stay.

Many are the room are more like apartments and feature full size kitchens. That is great if you are on a budget. Instead of eating out all the time you can pick up some food from the local grocery store and cook a few meals at the hotel. My almost teen son already eats us out of house and home. It would be nice to have that luxury of a kitchen to feed him. LOL!

Speaking of food, the Magic Castle Hotel offers FREE snacks 24/7 off their menu. No more sneaking off to the vending machine if you have the munchies in the middle of the night. Simply let the hotel know what you want and they will bring it to you. Whether you want chips, candy, crackers – whatever you want they will get for you. NICE! :-)!

They will even bring you Popsicles pool side while wearing white gloves like a butler. Now that is something I want to see.

I am sure my kids would take full advantage of the free snacks. I think the Magic Castle Hotel is a teenagers dream.

The hotel can even customize a birthday suite for your child. My daughter will be 16 next year. I think she would go crazy if she could have her own birthday suite with friends.

On a side note, you do get an invitation into the private club, but it’s for ages 21 and older, except on Sunday when they have brunch.

If you would like to learn more about the Magic Castle Hotel you can visit www.MagicCastleHotel.com.

The Magic Castle is up for the About.com Best Family Hotel In Los Angeles. I think that is awesome and I hope they win. I’ve already voted for them. 

Guess what? The Magic Castle Hotel would like to give a lucky person a THREE NIGHT STAY at the hotel – and access to their private club, the Magic Castle. That is a $600+ value. If you are in the Los Angeles area, or are planning on it, then you’ll certainly want to enter this awesome giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the benefit and enjoyment of my site readers. Any opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.


Chatting with Sugar Ray Leonard – Boxing Choreographer for Real Steel

Have you seen Real Steel yet? If so, what did you think about it? If you haven’t seen the movie, what are you waiting for? This weekend is a great time to see the movie. It’s a must see film, most especially on the big screen. Sure, you could wait for the movie to come out on Netflix or RedBox, but honestly, this is a movie that is best seen on the big screen.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard. He served as the boxing “guru” and fight choreographer for the film. Because of this the boxing scenes with the robots look very realistic. These are NOT “Rock ’em Sock ’em Robot” moves. The robots in the film box like real people.

Sugar Ray was really nice to talk to. In fact, he’s a great story teller. He told us a story about a dinner he had with Nelson Mandela. He was really interesting to listen to. I’m sure we could have listened to him talk all day. Sadly, time was of the essence so we had to make the most of our limited time with him.

Here are a few highlights from the Q&A session with Sugar Ray Leonard.

Q:  So from the movie do you ever think like 10 years from now that could ever happen?  Robotic boxing?

SR  : You know it could happen in 5 years, 10 years?  I don’t think so but in 20 years it’s plausible.  I think it because of what boxing is today you know fans are really thirsting for more excitement and more entertainment.  Who knows?

Q:  Would you watch it?  Would you be a fan of that?  Or do you prefer the human?

SR  :  If I owned a couple of robots I would. You know … to be honest with you it’s kinda’ scary because it’s so ironic. The fact that boxing is really kinda’ taking a back seat to mixed martial arts, UFC, and now robot boxing.  So you know it’s just a funny feeling that I get because, I mean look at technology. 

Q :  How much did you have to train Hugh?  Did he have any kind of boxing skills?

SR  :  Well Hugh, Hugh was an athlete too. But he also has a little background boxing.  Amateur boxing.  But my objective with him was not really the fact that, showing him how to box per say, although I did show him how to throw certain punches or execute.  My biggest goal was to make sure that he felt like a boxer. He exhibited the facial expressions of a boxer because to throw a punch is one thing, but to show that expression is another thing.  That’s what sells the audience, well that’s what sells the fans. And then I worked on the fact of him as a trainer because a trainer and fighter or trainer and robot, if you will, that relationship is so special.  And it’s so intimate that at some point I was talking to Hugh.  I said, “Hugh at some point don’t say too much, don’t talk to much.  Just look at him and let him feel you.”  You know what I mean?  And once he did that we were well on our way. Because it’s all about that because back in my time when I was with Angelo Dundee, who was also Mohammed Ali’s trainer, we had that connection.  You know how you look, look at your kids sometimes and they know what you’re thinking.

Q:  When you see the boxing scenes of the robots are they believable to you? 

SR  :  They are.  And I say that because at first my whole perception of robots were you know kinda’ rock em’ sock ‘em robots.  The first skill, mechanical things.  But again we’re talking technology.  Has allowed these huge metal monsters to really do all the things that was pretty good wasn’t it? They did though.  They was able to emulate the boxers.  Because I gave each one kinda’ their own certain style.  Like that big guy Zeus.  He’s so big and monstrous and strong that I kinda’ thought about George Foreman you know. Just being like BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!  And I looked at Atom and Atom reminded me of myself because he was kinda’ like big eyes and kinda’ like sit back.  Kinda’ unassuming. I gave him the kinda’ movement and kinda’ what I used to do.  The punch really pissed off my opponents and it all turned out well.  Because, again, of the technology.  It is so amazing.  I was so blown away.  But I tell ya’ I knew we hit, we struck home a home run when I did a number of interviews with some Boxing writers and each one of them said, “You know I was really surprised that the robots look like Boxers, they move like Boxers.”  I knew we had done a good job.

Q:  Had you kids seen the movie?

SR  :  Oh yeah. Thanks. I’m glad you brought that up.  I took my, my, my kids.I have 2 young kids. My son Daniel is 10.  And my daughter Camille is 14.  I took my wife and my mother-in-law.  So we went to see a part of the screening and at some point I turned around and I saw my kids screaming.  Jumping up and down because it was action.  It was you know all this kinda  entertainment.  The robot BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! And then at some point I turned and I glanced over and I saw my wife and my mother-in-law crying and they, “Oh he’s so cute.”  And so I knew that we hit home with demographics from across the board because the kids loved it and, and my wife and my mother-in-law truly liked it.  It was really cool.  It was satisfying.  It really was.  And they talked about the whole time on the way home. So I knew we, we did okay.

Q:  There’s something about that in the story too.  The core of it is the father-son relationship.  But also there’s a story about a child’s innocent courage to just go to the top you know.  Whereas adults we kind of recycle ourselves more.  One person who is a champion and also just in regard to this movie what advice do you have for kids reaching their dreams at such a high level?

SR  :  You know I always tell kids and I, I do this a lot, well I used to do it a lot when I was training.  I would go to schools and tell kids to just never give up.  I say, “You know just continue to be a fighter outside the ring and continually dream and reach for your goals and don’t ever believe you can’t become something because someone tells you, you can’t.”  Because that happens all the time.  People don’t want you to succeed because they can’t succeed.  And I, I stress to kids to be a leader not a follower.  That’s just easier said than done because of the peer pressure. And because now this generation of kids here are faced with so much more peer pressure than we’ve ever could imagine.  But you know what?  If we can find a way, even now today with my kids, follow and to communicate with them to make sure to let them know that it’s okay to talk to ‘em about whether it any problem. Being bullied or whatever.  If we can have an open line of communication to our kids, these kids have a better chance of succeeding.  You know what I mean?  It’s peer pressure today is so much greater than it was when we were fighting.  Even back in our time you know.  And I have 4 kids. 

There was more to the interview but I felt that these questions really helped to highlight his work on the film.

His responses were transcribed so sometimes the answers don’t flow right. It’s only human to stumble over words or pause for a moment to think about something. We all do it.

Even Sugar Ray Leonard is impressed by the robot action in Real Steel. His family also loved the movie. His children cheered on the robots and his wife and mother in law were touched by the “human aspects” of the film.

Real Steel is MORE then just a robot boxing film.It’s also about a relationship between a father and his son, and between a man and woman. It’s the HUMAN story lines that are the focus of the film. The awesome robots and metal crushing fighting sequences that are a “bonus” in the film.

This weekend be sure to go see Real Steel, which is still the #1 film in the US. It’s crushing the competition in the box office.

Be on the look out for more Real Steel interviews. 🙂

Make sure to follow Real Steel on Facebook, www.Facebook.com/RealSteelMovie and on Twitter, www.Twitter.com/RealSteelMovie. The official website is www.SteelGetsReal.com.


*I was not compensated for this post. I attended the press conference courteosy of Walt Disney Studios. Any opions expressed are mine unless otherwise noted.

Chatting with Hugh Jackman, star of DreamWorks Real Steel


Oh yes, you read that right. I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Hugh Jackman. Swoon… He’s just as handsome in person as he is on TV and in movies. Even more so!

I have never met Hugh Jackman before. I was always under the impression he was a really nice guy. He just gives off that aura. Come to find out that everyone that worked with him on the movie, Real Steel, had nothing but praise for Hugh. They all thought he was a really nice guy too.

At the press junket we all sat around a massive oval shaped table. Hugh sat two seats over to my right. Ahhh… I was so close to him. 🙂

When Hugh walked in the room I think I saw butterflies and rainbows flying through the air. After all, I’m not the only lady who was in the room who was anxious for the round table interview with Hugh. He happened to be the last interview of the day too.

Hugh was casually dressed in dark jeans, a blue tee shirt and a great big smile.

Someone in the room made a comment about how the others we interviewed had nothing but amazing things to say about him. Hugh replied “…I think your job is to bring people together.  Like it’s a team, acting, film making is the definitely of a team effort.  So if you can’t be that kind of guy that enjoys being around other people, then don’t turn out. Like don’t be in the film, you know.”

Director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum I & II, Date Night…) had three of his four daughters in the film. They were all adorable but his youngest, Charlie, really charmed audiences, especially when she said “Boo-yah” in the film. We learned from Shawn Levy that Charlie had a bit of a crush on Hugh and even wrote him a love letter and referred to him as her boyfriend. Charlie is only four years old. He even called her on her birthday, which I think is sweet and shows what a nice man he truly is.

There were a few bloggers in the room who questioned what age is appropriate for the movie. There is some cursing (although no more then most kids hear at school, sad to say). There are also some intense robot fighting scenes as well as a scene where Hugh Jackman’s character, Charlie, and his son Max (played by Dakota Goyo) get roughed up a bit. Hugh has two children, Oscar (11) and Ava (6), who have both seen the movie.

Hugh told us that he had the script for the movie, Real Steel, for a couple of weeks but he was too busy to read it. Then one day he gets a phone call from his agent who told him that Shawn Levy was flying into NY and wanted to meet with Hugh about the film. So that night instead of reading Tin-Tin to his son Oscar (11) he read the script to Real Steel out loud to him. His son, who normally doesn’t get into his father’s career, was so into the story in the script that he had his father read the script to him every night before he went to bed.

Hugh’s son is a bit sensitive. He doesn’t even like the music to the Harry Potter movies. His daughter Ava, who is 6, is a bit of a firecracker. He knew that she would really get into the movie.

This is what Hugh had to say about his family and the first time they saw the movie Real Steel.

“…they loved it.  And I saw the movie with my mother in law who’s 75 and my wife and my two kids.  And all of them were cheering and they were like crying and they just loved it. It was a really great moment for me, you know, to genuinely have all those three generations loving it.”  

Hugh continued, “So there was one funny moment.  The moment when Evangeline Lily and I kiss in the movie.   And my wife was sitting there.  And my wife looked past me.  I mean she’s, she’s an actress too.  She’s used to it.  And so she looked past me to look at Oscar.  And Oscar goes, “You’re gonna be in trouble.” (Hugh followed this with a laugh). And I lost it.  It was really funny.

As I mentioned before some of the material in the movie might not be suitable for all children. One of the bloggers, who has interviewed Hugh before, mentioned how he wouldn’t let his children see his other movies, especially when he’s playing Wolverine and tearing people up. She asked Hugh about his thoughts about the content of the movie Real Steel and if it’s appropriate for children? Hugh feels that as a parent you just know if something is appropriate for your child or not.

When Hugh was 7 years old Star Wars came out in theaters. He really wanted to see the movie but his father wouldn’t let him because the movie was rated PG-13 and Hugh was not 13. Even though his friends all saw the movie Hugh was not allowed to because his father followed the recommended guidelines.

According to Hugh, “…I think you have to take it on a movie by movie basis.  I think you have to really look at it. And you just have to do as a parent what you feel comfortable with.”

For the record he still won’t let his children see him in X-Men.  

He did comment on how people will come up to him asking for an autograph, telling him how much their 4-year old loves X-Men.

Both of his children are really into the robots in the movie Real Steel. His son is also into the robot/boy relationship, as I think many young boys will be as well.

Hugh also told us about his father. His father was a champion boxer in the military and continued to box, unbeknown to Hugh and his brother. For all they knew he was just an accountant. The reason why his father never told them about being a boxer is because he was afraid his boys would mimic him and constantly fight with one another. Hugh and his four siblings were raised by their father after his mother left when he was only 8 years old.

Dakota Goyo who plays Hugh’s son Max in the movie is an amazing young actor. All of the people we interviewed prior to Hugh had nothing but great things to say about Dakota. Hugh was no exception.

In the film Hugh Jackman is not about to win the “Father of the Year” award (at leat in the beginning). Playing the part of a father comes naturally to Hugh, so that part he was able to portray realistically. But there are parts in the film where Hugh is a horrible father to Max, something Hugh found tough to do. Here is what he had to say about that.

“…I played a father on screen and I found all the emotions very easy to act… to this day when I see that scene where I say to Dakota “I’m doing the best I can.  What do you want from me? ”  And he says, “I want you to fight for me.  That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”  It kind of slays me.  I mean just watching that scene and I think what if you actually heard that from your kid.  If your kid really believed you weren’t in their corner. 

In the movie Hugh Jackman’s character doesn’t want to feel emotions. It was hard for Hugh to do that because as a father it’s hard for him not to be emotionally connected to his child. The character of Charlie in the movie wants to stay turned off because when you open yourself up to life, when you fall in love, when you have children, you are vulnerable. And Charlie doesn’t want to have to feel those things.

Hugh Jackman worked with boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard to learn boxing for the movie Real Steel. The character of Charlie used to be a successful boxer until the sport of boxing shifted from humans to robots. Hugh said worked very hard at the boxing with Sugar Ray Leonard. He felt that is was not only important that he looked like a boxer, but more important you see the emotion come through. Charlie used to box and it was his passion. Now that he’s no longer a boxer that “spark” went missing. In the film there is a part where Charlie has finally got back into the his boxing spirit and that emotion really shined through in the scene, most especially for Max, Charlie’s son, who was seeing his father passionate about something (boxing) for the very first time.

Hugh feels that it’s very important for parents to show their children just how much they enjoy what they do and what they are most passionate about.

I’ve had a couple of friends who back in Australia they’re like, “Oh, you know, I really wanna do x-y-z.  But I got the mortgage to pay.  And I hate what I do, but I need to kinda do that.”  And I’m like, “Look.  Sure, you’ve gotta put food on the table for your kid.  You gotta pay the mortgage.  We understand that.  But what greater gift can you give to your kid then showing them that you love what you do?” ,  even if you earn half of what you earn. They’re gonna prefer that than to have the latest Nikes, you know. 

Well… I don’t know about that. My daughter would certainly love to have the latest designer wear. Ha Ha.

Someone posed the question to Hugh asking him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said he first wanted to be an accountant just like his dad. As a young boy he was impressed with his father’s office and the chocolate cookies they had at work. Later when he went on his first plane trip and was served food on the plane he thought it would be fun to be a chef on a plane (he didn’t know the food wasn’t made on the plane).

Hugh was kind enough to take a group picture with us too.

I even got a handshake and a smile from Hugh too! May I never wash my hand again. :-).

I walked away from this interview with a new appreciation for Hugh Jackman. The thoughts I had prior to meeting him about him being a really nice guy were completely true. Hugh Jackman is very like able. The entire time he had a huge smile on his face. Everyone who worked with him on the film raved about him and how wonderful he is. Listening to him talk about his children show just how much of a great dad he is. He is totally opposite of the character he plays in Real Steel (in the beginning at least).  

I think now that I have met Hugh and a few other people involved in the movie (those interviews will be posted too!) gave me a new appreciation for the movie. I enjoy hearing all the behind the scenes stories. It adds a new dimension to the film experience. Another words it’s MORE then just a movie on the screen. There are a lot of personal stories involved in the making and promoting of a film.

On a side note, Hugh enjoyed his chat with me and the other bloggers in our group. So much so he posted a picture of our group with him on Twitter. Thanks Hugh! You can follow Hugh on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/RealHughJackman. While you are at it you can also follow Real Steel on Twitter, www.Twitter.com/RealSteelMovie.

Real Steel opens on October 7, 2011. For my movie review please visit this link, https://www.shescribes.com/2011/09/real-steel-packs-a-punch.html.


*I was not compensated for this post. I attended the press junket compliments of Walt Disney Studios. All opinions expressed are my own.




I’m still in Los Angles… and having a great time!

I pre-scheduled a post to go “live” Saturday morning to let everyone know that I was heading of Los Angeles for a few days for a couple of press junkets. I never realized that the post failed to go “live”. Ugh! Sorry about that.

I’m still in California. I’ll be home Tuesday night. I’m hoping to get back into blogging and telling you all about the trip on Wednesday as I’m sure I’ll be super tired when I get back to New York.

I am having an amazing time. I cannot wait to tell everyone about it.

So far we’ve seen a screener of a movie that doesn’t come out until 2012. We also had the Real Steel press junket where we got to meet and interview the writer, director and producers of Real Steel, actor Anthony Mackie (he was hysterical!), boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard and super hottie Hugh Jackman (he’s just as gorgeous in person and incredibly nice!). Some where in the Four Seasons Hotel where the press junket was held was George Clooney and Ryan Gossling who were there for a press junket for their new movie, The Ides of March.

The photo shown above are two of the robots used in the movie, Real Steel. They purple one (Noisy Boy) is over eight feet tall! The other Robot is Atom.

Today we’re heading over to Walt Disney Studios for a bit, then we’re going over to Jim Henson Studios for a Muppet Movie press junket. That is going to be a lot of fun. I cannot wait.

I have so much to share with everyone. Sadly I can’t do it now because I have to get ready to leave soon. I also need to transcribe some of the audio files I have from the interviews. That is going to take me a bit.

I hope everyone is having a great week. I”ll post again soon.



An Interview with the One and Only Sir Elton John

I need to preface this post by saying that I grew up listening to Elton John. I remember singing and dancing in my room to hits like “Crocodile Rock” and “Your Song“. I vividly remember the video for “I’m Still Standing” (that video is totally 80’s!). The song “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” is very powerful and makes me emotional.

♫ You’re a butterfly. And butterflies are free to fly. Fly away, high away, bye bye…♫

The man is a rock legend and his music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was told that I was going to get to meet THE Elton John for a round table interview during the Gnomeo and Julietpress junket I nearly fell out of my chair (and I’m NOT exaggerating). If you ask my husband he will tell you that I was a giddy as a school girl and I couldn’t contain my excitement. I literally wanted to shout it from the roof top! Since I live on the top floor condo that wouldn’t be hard for me to do either.

It’s been a week and a half since that press junket. I am STILL on “cloud nine” because of it. I have always lved Elton John – now I lve him even more!

Elton is playing at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 16th and March 20th. I would do anything for tickets to go and see him. I don’t care if I’m in the “nose bleed section”. Sadly the tickets start at $35.00 so to take my family of four that is $140+ plus tax and parking. I would LOVE to take my family to see him. I know my husband loves his music too and I am positive my kids will love it as well. My husband and kids have never been to a concert before (no kidding). Imagine how spectacular it would be for their first concert to be Elton John (my first concert was Liberace – no kidding).

If anyone knows how I can win lotto ASAP please let me know. Sigh…

While I was sitting in the meeting room waiting to interview with Sir Elton John I was beyond excited. I waited very anxiously for him to come into the room. When I finally laid eyes on him I wanted to squeal with excitement, but I had to remain “professional”. I know I am not the only one in the room who was super excited to meet Elton.

Gnomeo and Juliet is NOT the first Disney film that Elton John has worked on. Elton created the music for the Disney film The Lion King soundtrack. Tim Rice wrote the lyrics. The hit song, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, is still one of my favorites. Elton John and Tim Rice also did the soundtrack for the DreamWorks film The Road to El Dorado.  

Elton sat at a table in front of the group of bloggers I was with. Many of us had voice recorders on the table to record the interview. My recorder died out on me (ugh!) but thankfully another blogger was kind enough to share the recording with those of us who wanted it.

The first question asked of Elton was what attracted him to the story of Gnomeo and Juliet. Elton’s response was as follows.

The story is obviously one of the most famous stories in the world, written by William Shakespeare. You can’t really get much higher art than William Shakespeare. He’s obviously the world’s most famous playwright.  And probably the best play wrights there has ever been. Garden Gnomes are probably the lowest form of entertainment.  And now you have the two of them together, the highest and the lowest.  We thought that we could have fun with this. The visual aspect of the gnomes and the great story.

The obvious thing we wanted to do was have a little bit of  liberty in changing the ending a little bit. We wanted to have a positive message and a happy ending. I think anything other than a garden gnome, William Shakespeare probably would have not have agreed. But I think because it’s a garden gnome, he would have been ok with this.

We wanted to put a positive message. We wanted to say the message of the film is basically we’ve got these two gardens and these two groups of gnomes who have been horrible to each other for so long. They eventually destroy everything that they’ve created of beauty.  And it takes a young gnome who’s red and a young gnome who’s blue to come through the rubble of all this destruction at the end and to bring these people together. It’s a message that 11 years ago we were really feeling strongly about. And coincidentally it’s coming out at a time where not only in America, but the rest of the world, needs to hear this message.

With what’s happened in Arizona recently we have to take some quiet time to think about how we treat people. How we respect each other. We should respect our religions, we should respect our political views and not throw stones at each other. I’ve been coming to America for forty one years. I love this country so much. I have two homes here. My best friends live here.  And it saddens me to see the rhetoric that’s going on at the moment. 

We can all have different views on everything, but we must have dialogue. And we must have positive role models.  As mothers you pass this on to your children and now as a new father, I have to pass it on to my child to respect people’s views, respect people’s opinions.  Don’t be hateful towards them. You can agree to disagree, but have respect. Have love.  There is so much hate in the world. I always believe that love conquers hate. 

This is the message we wanted to get out in the film, that love is much more powerful than hate. Hate takes a lot of energy.  Negative energy. And it puts it out into the world. But love, it’s kind of dormant, but it’s a much stronger force. So it may sound a little new agey, but I really believe that that’s the message of this film. It’s funny, it’s great, it’s a tragic story and it ends happily.  At the end of the day we have to take stock and think of what we’re doing in our lives. We need to be a little nicer to one another. It’s very important. 

Wow! Elton’s response was beautifully said. He made some very important points about how we all need to respect one another, regardless of the things that make us different.

You can tell just by the way Elton spoke about the message of the movie that this was something he was truly very passionate about.

A more light hearted question asked of Elton was whose idea was it to put his likeness in the flim and how does he feel about it. I am not sure if you have seen the trailer or some of the promotional images from the film but at one point in the movie one of the characters, Paris, is made to resemble Elton John. It’s pretty cute if you ask me.

Elton’s replied…

About me being a gnome?  Yeah.  I didn’t know I was gonna be a gnome.  I’m so thrilled to be a gnome.  And so thrilled to be a glamorous gnome as well. And it was great. 

I think Elton makes a cute gnome, doesn’t he?

Gnomeo and Juliet is overflowing with Elton John songs, both new and old classics. One of my fellow bloggers asked Elton if it was an easy process to find the songs for the movie. Elton explained to us that some scenes were easier to pick songs for than others. Take for example the lawn mower race scene. Elton’s song Saturday Night’s All Right for Fighting was perfect for that scene. And the song Don’t Go Breaking My Heart was ideal for Gnomeo and Juliet’s first date in the garden. Originally Elton John and Bernie Taulpin, who has been writing songs for Elton pretty much his entire career, had five new songs for the film. In the end only two new songs made the cut, Love Builds a Garden and Hello, Hello.

Elton went on to tell us that the song he did for the Lion King, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, was NOT in the film three weeks before the film was released. Elton was curious to know what happened to the song. Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was the head of animation at that time, told Elton that there was no place to put that song in the film. Elton encouraged Jeffrey to find a place for the song. He said that every Disney movie needs a good love song. Jeffrey eventually found a place for the song and it ended up winning an Oscar for best original song in 1995. Circle of Life and Hakuna Matata were also nominated for best original song that same year. All three songs were by Elton John (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics).

One of the new songs in the film is Love Builds a Garden. Someone asked Elton what was the inspiration behind that song. Elton went on to explain that it’s a very poignant scene. Elton said he did not have much input in the movie but he did voice his opinion on how the scene should be played out the features Love Builds a Garden.  During that scene the character Featherstone shows Gnomeo and Juliet old photographs of how the house used to be when it was a beautiful loving house. Elton wanted the photos to be done in a montage to show how the house used to be. He wanted the photos to reflect that love did build that garden and look what happened to it when the love went away. The house just crumbles.

Love Builds a Garden is one of Elton’s favorite songs in the film. He feels that is an analogy of what life’s all about. He said it’s a really beautiful and poignant song. Elton joked that he is very good at writing sad songs and that he’s better at it than writing happy songs.  

Many of us were curious to know more about Elton and David becoming first time fathers. David was also in the room with us. He’s a very handsome man and comes across as being just as nice as Elton. It is very clear that Elton and David are passionate about being the best fathers they possibly can be and that their son Zachary is very loved.

An interesting question that was asked of Elton was why is the pairing of animation with your music so successful?

I think the stories like The Lion King and Gnomeo and Juliet are such wonderful stories. The Lion King is Shakespearean in a way. It’s the first ever animation film that Disney made that was a new story.  It’s the story of survival and love. It’s humorous and it’s sad.  But it has a positive message to give. So being able to write music for both those stories is so helpful. When you have a good story you are inspired to write great music to.  I’ve been very fortunate. I did The Road to El Dorado which was another Disney/Dreamworks film. I loved the music for that movie. In fact I did that whole album of music that wasn’t in the film. I was inspired by the theme of the South American thing. The story wasn’t as strong as The Lion King and the film wasn’t as successful. I don’t know what the success of this film will be.  But I’m very proud to have written the music to a great story. So we’ll see.

Elton was asked if becoming a father has changed his perspective on his professional life. To which Elton replied…

It’s the icing on the cake. We had the baby on Christmas Day which was, you know, really an enchanting thing to happen. The hospital was also empty which meant that I could go in there without being seen because we wanted to try and keep our surrogate protected.  That was really good fortune.

It’s so beautiful. It’s the most beautiful thing that I could ever imagine.  I have a huge responsibility. I don’t have to tell you, you’re all moms.  As a father and David as my partner, we have a huge responsibility. The hardest thing to do in the world is to bring a child up properly with enough love and enough discipline. And so at this time in my life it’s the right thing for me to happen.  I think artistically it will inspire me to write a lot of children’s songs.  

I’m the most blessed man in the world. I have a wonderful partner, wonderful friends and a wonderful family and now a child. I also have a career that seems to evolve because I am so enthusiastic about listening to new things and wanting to do new things.  My work ethic definitely comes from my mother.  My musical talent comes from my father.  Between the two of them  they created a force that just wants to work hard and do new things. 

Having a child on top of this, it does change your life. Every evening it’s bath time, story time, feeding time and changing time. And that is sacrosanct to me now. We went out to dinner last night and we had to be late because I’m not missing that. It’s very important to me. I want to spend as much time with him as I possibly can. 

Elton was also asked about what movies he was most anxious to share with his son. 

The first story I read to him was Cinderella. The first animation movies I saw were Snow White, Cinderella and Lady and the Tramp. Those are movies that never age.  They’re magical.  Just reading stories to him gives me a new appreciation. I’ve never knew about children’s books before.  The other night I read him Dogs Don’t Wear Sneakers which was so fabulous. In England we grew up with different. We didn’t grow up with Dr. Seuss; we grew up with Allison Artley and Beatrix Potter. 

Elton looked over at David and asked “David, what was the lovely story that we read to him the other night which was so beautiful?” David replied Runaway Bunny.

Elton continued… Runaway Bunny. I love Runaway Bunny. It could be my next musical. Runaway Bunny is my favorite. It’s such a great story. It’s so loving and sweet. Oh, and I Love You This Much. I love that one. Who knows, I might write a children’s album. That would be great. Things that have beautiful music and are gentle. I would maybe even write a specific children’s album because having a child is very inspiring. You have to remember I am the worst lyricist in the world. And I would obviously need help.  So if any of you have got any lyrics flying around, just send ‘em to me, ok?  I’m sure you’ve been just as inspired than even I have. 

It’s something that changes the way you look at things. That’s the whole point of having a child. I’ve had an incredible life.  I’ve experienced great joys and great sadness.  Great highs and great lows. I’ve pulled myself together. I got sober. I got my self respect back. I tried to make up for lost time by doing good things for other people.  The only thing missing from my life that I hadn’t experienced was having a child. David and I thought about this very much about having a child.  And so I think as much as I can teach my child many great things, he’s gonna teach me a thousand times more, about myself and what I need to do.  How you need to look at things. I’ve never lived that life before.  You as moms know all about it. I’m a freshman in this game. I’m sure he will inspire me to do other things. I only have to look at him and he inspires me. 

On a side note, little Zachary does have his own iPod which contains lullabies and music from Chopin, Mozart, Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor to name a few.

Just listening to Elton talking about his son you can tell how very much loves him. He literally lit up when talking about his beloved son. Zachary is very fortunate to have parents who adore him and only want what is best for him. After all, that is what being a parent is all about.

Getting back to his music and the movie Gnomeo and Juliet.

An interesting question asked of Elton was are there any artists you haven’t worked with that you want to work with? Elton answered…

I’ve been lucky enough to work with so many great artists.  I’ve worked with Lady Gaga on this film and she did Hello, Hello with me, which was very kind of her.  I collaborated with Nellie Furtado who was the first person who ever played our Oscar party. I’d love to do something with Bob Dylan but I don’t think that’s ever gonna happen. New artists, old artists, there’s always someone that I would like to work with. I’m quite versatile, I mean, I’m on Alice In Chains.

I just did Matthew Morrison from Glee.  His album’s coming out in spring. And I did a duet with him which was great. He is so talented. And I love that program. So it was just a thrill to be asked to work with him. 

The funny thing is when you get established and you’re older, people get afraid to ask you to do things.  They say “Oh well, he won’t do that”. It’s like when Tim Rice phoned me to do The Lion King in 1993, which changed the course of my creative life.  He said, “Disney said you’ll never do this.  You’re a friend of mine and I said you will”.  And I said, Tim, I’ve worked with you before and I love you, of course I’ll do it, I’ve never done anything like this before”. If  he hadn’t have phoned me and asked me to do it, then I would never have written four stage musicals, three animated movies and scores for movies.  He changed my life with that phone call. I owe Tim Rice big time. 

 I love collaborating with people. I like collaborating with young artists.  I sang on the new Kanye West record, SIR.  That was a different experience, but  musically it was a tremendous experience.  I think if you collaborate with musicians and fellow artists, it’s always great.  We don’t often collaborate enough with each other. We’re often too busy running around with our like chickens with their heads cut off.  I think its always a privilege to, uh, to work with people.   

Asking an actor what his favorite film is or a musician to name their favorite song seems to be a common question asked of celebrities. Elton John was asked what is favorite song is. Personally I couldn’t name just one. I could probably come up with my Top 10 Favorite Elton John songs if I had to. Your Song would be at the top of my list. I love that song.

Elton replied to the question…

From my catalog? It changes periodically. Your Song is pretty much an ever present because I never get fed up with singing that song.  My partner Bernie Taupin wrote that song when he was 17 years of age. It’s got the most beautiful words in it. I never get tired of singing it. It’s the most beautiful love song.  I love Tiny Dancer. I never used to sing Tiny Dancer so much. My friend Cameron Crowe put it in Almost Famous and it gave it a new lease of life.  So I thought I’ll play this again then.

If I’m being truthful, I think the song that I’ve sung most of all would be Your Song. Candle in the Wind I did sing for a while after Diana’s death, but it was too painful.  I don’t often sing it and I sometimes leave that one out.  But if I’m honest, Your Song. That is my first hit, so you probably think, well he’s never written anything since.

I have a strong feeling that once Gnomeo and Juliet is released there will be many new, younger Elton John fans. I wouldn’t be surprised if children asked parents to download Elton John tunes on their iPods. Elton’s songs stand the test of time and they can be enjoyed by both young and old alike.

One of the bloggers who was in the room with me must have thought about the same thing. She asked Elton if he would be surprised by the popularity of his songs with children.

Well that would be great.  I mean, that’s something that The Lion King helped me with because every five years a new bunch of kids come up and parents show them The Lion King or take them to see the show. So they know me from that, but they might not know my old catalog as Elton John rock star.

At my shows I tend to get grandfathers, fathers and granddaughters.  And then even great-granddaughters. I get a fairly great representation at my shows. As a song writer you want your songs to be accepted by anyone. The greatest thing in the world is having something successful like The Lion King where you can bring joy to people through your music for years and years to come. 

If kids start downloading Tiny Dancer, Saturday Night and Benny and the Jets then I’ll be very happy. 

To end our round table interview one blogger shocked us all by asking Elton a question no one thought she would – Does Elton prefer boxers or briefs? To our amazement Elton DID answer the question. He prefers Calvin Klein black briefs. LOL! Oh my, I can’t believe a mega super star like Elton John would answer such a silly question. That just goes to show just how down to earth he really is. Sure, Elton is a rock legend but he’s also a person like the rest of us.

We were only supposed to have 20 minutes to interview Elton. When the time was up one of his handlers (for lack of a better word) informed us that time was up and thanked us for our time. Elton spoke up and told him that is was OK. He enjoyed talking with us and wanted to stick around a bit longer to chat some more. WOW! A mega star like Elton John, who was spending his day being interviewed by major media outlets and publications, wanted to spend more time with us, the Mommy Bloggers.

Elton was happy to pose for a group picture with us. I wish we had more time. I would have loved to have had a photo with just me and Elton. But I know he was committed to speak with others too. Elton John DID give me kiss on my right cheek and a hug! OMG!!!! THE ELTON JOHN kissed me and hugged me. It doesn’t get much better then that.

An interesting side note. One of the bloggers in the group asked Elton if baby Zachary wore cloth diapers or regular diapers. Elton responded that Zachary wears cloth diapers (or nappies as they call them in the United Kingdom). Elton also said that Zachary drinks breast milk. WOW! I didn’t know that breast milk was available for purchase. You learn something new every day.

The next day at the Gnomeo and Juliet after party Elton was just as kind as he was at the interview. He would take pictures with anyone who asked him, even though he was trying to grab a bite to eat and chat with others at the party. The man truly has a heart as big as his 40+ year music career.

Since that day I wil never listen to another Elton John song the same away again. The interview gave me a new found appreciation for this talented artist.

Be sure to catch the music of Elton John in Gnomeo and Juliet which will be in theaters on February 8, 2011. Also being released that day is the movie’s soundtrack which features several Elton John songs. Check back on February 8th for my review of the movie soundtrack.


*I was a guest of Disney and my airfare and accommodations were paid for. I was not compensated for this post. Any opinion expressed is my own. 

**PHOTO CREDITS – Katie Stratton Getty Images, Eric from LeStudioPhotography.com** If I am forgetting anyone’s photo here please let me know and I’ll make sure to credit it you. Thanks!