During the recent Planes #FireAndRescueEvent I was given the opportunity to watch a first screening of Planes Fire & Rescue. Directly after, we had a sit down with Planes Fire & Rescue Director, Bobs Gannaway, and Producer Ferrell Barron. We were all so impressed with the movie that the questions were fired rapidly, mixed in with compliments and praise for the work these two gentlemen put into the film. They spoke with us about the research that went into a story that will have you laughing and cheering from your theater seats.
We were just discussing the first one. It was great; cute and heartwarming. But, this was compelling. You were cheering them on. It was the ultimate goal that they had to meet and it was amazing.
Bobs Gannaway (BG): It’s really great because I feel the same way. What was really nice is Clay and his Team, along with John, did a really great job — teaming up the world, and a lot of his choices informed our choices.
How much time did you spend at National Parks Institute?
Ferrell Barron (FB): A lot of time. Yellowstone and Yosemite are the two Parks. You can see there are a lot of monuments in there that are kind of taken from both. Waterfalls from Yosemite…Our Art Director spent a lot of time there obviously, taking a lot of pictures. We met with a lot of Park Rangers who toured us around and Old Faithful Inn –our Lodge is based on the Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone.
BG: There’s research. Research informs everything right down to a gag as well as big feature moments. Little things like the Lodges. There are rocking chairs in front of the fire places. The Old Jammer, I’m sure you’re familiar with it, is the Tour buses that are still used today in Glacier National Park in Yellowstone. They’re called Jammers because they would jam the gears. They’re not standard anymore, but still they’re called Jammers.
BG: Boat Reynolds appears there. That came from research. We were driving through Yellowstone and there was a sign that said Boat Rentals. And I went, “Oh Look, Boat Rental, Boat Reynolds”. So you know, just the littlest tiny thing will inform big choices. And – even something no one will even get – the Railway Station that’s hooked to the Grand Fuselage which is the best pun in the Movie. The Railway Station is actually based on a Railway Station that no longer exists that was the North end of Yellowstone, designed by the same Architect as the Old Faithful Inn. So I thought that would be a cool homage to him
And, talking about research, the [redacted for spoilers] sequence is based on a true [fire fighter] story in 1910.
And then you brought in Firemen and a Jumper?
FB: Smoke Jumpers, yes. They’re in the US Forces Service. Obviously, Cal Fire, LA County Fire. But also, we brought in an Oil Analysis. So it goes back again to the research, bringing in as many consultants as we can to help every aspect of the movie that related to the story, to bringing truth to it all.
BG: The flight is of course, as with Planes, the flight is all accurate. We had the same team, the same consultant Jason McKinley who made sure the flight was accurate. We have helicopters in our movie and we brought in Chuck Aaron. Chuck Aaron is the top helicopter pilot in the world. You Tube Chuck Aaron and you’ll see the amazing things he does. He flies the Red Bull Helicopter. [He is] the only one of two pilots in the world who does an inside loop in a helicopter, actually goes upside down. And he actually took us out and — and did an inside loop in the helicopter with us so you get the feeling of what it was like.
The Air Tankers are separate from the Smoke Jumpers. It’s a separate Unit. So we met both of them and we went to Smoke Jumper training.
All the people we met — the Fire Fighters are everything you think they are. They were amazing, giving, caring, courageous people; so charming, and so giving with their time and wanting to help. It was really a wonderful experience and they’ve become friends of ours now.
FB: Because of that, we really took this Movie to heart. We really put it on our shoulders and we wanted to tell a story that really paid a tribute and gave homage to Fire Fighters.
Are National Parks or other places reaching out to you to help with like PSAs to speak to children about Fire Safety? This will be captivating for children and a great tool to educate.
FB: Totally. We’ve actually done that very thing tied in with Smokey the Bear. We have some PSAs working with him right now on that which was fantastic.
BG: Our Fire starts with lightning because I didn’t want it to become a crime film. Although most mini-fires are caused by humans. Mostly unattended camp fires. So we have things we’re working with the parks in regards to telling you how to put a camp fire out properly and things like that.
Planes: Fire & Rescue hits theaters July 18th
You can find more information and interactive fun with Planes online:
PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE ONLINE