Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet takes its titular character (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) out of Mr. Litwak’s arcade and inserts them into the world of the Internet where they will have an adventure of a lifetime while also meeting new friends like Yesss (Taraji P Henson) and Shank (Gal Gadot).
We and our fellow journalists were recently invited to attend the press conference for the sequel, which is directed by Phil Johnston and Rich Moore from a screenplay penned by Johnston and Pamela Ribon. While there, we learned a few more things about Ralph Breaks the Internet including Vanellope’s own princess song, the recording process, a possible sequel, and so much more. Check it all out, below.
1 – Recording Process
Normally, individual members of the cast of an animated movie do not record their voices together. One of the main reasons is because of conflicting schedules. However, for Ralph Breaks the Internet, the principle cast like Reilly and Silverman did record their voices together. Some more than others. “We did it together,” Silverman said. We get to record together with Rich and Phil, and Pam. We get to improvise. They give us a lot of freedom. We get to collaborate a lot.”
That sort of freedom and improv meant the cast needed some more time in the recording booth. “They always book about an extra hour of time that they need because we get real chatty,” Silverman said. “And there is definitely an album, a very rated-R album somewhere in the audio footage of recording.”
“At least an hour of body humor. And then focusing on the pages. And then changing the pages,” Moore said.
Reilly then chimed in to talk about how exciting it was for him to record with Silverman again. “It was a real treat to get into the studio again with Sarah,” Reilly said. “In a way, our friendship has aged five years since the last film. So it tracks in a way with Ralph and Vanellope. Sarah is not my only friend. But it was a real treat to start in a place of intimacy with Sarah and Phil and Rich and Pam.”
Coming back to work together also allowed them to build upon the material they were all familiar with. Additionally, they already knew each other, so there was that established relationship. “We all kind of knew each other and we learned how to work together on the first film,” Reilly said. “We built these characters and this story together, so when it came time to start this one, we could start from a very advanced place in terms of the kind of conversations we could have about the relationships and all of that and you can really see that in the film.”
Reilly also talked about how he insisted on getting the cast to record together as much as possible. “I think I was one of the first people to insist that we try to be in the room as much as possible because I know the way improv works, it works best in real time,” Reilly said. “So yes, there’s a ton of improvised stuff which Phil and Rich were very kind to just let us explore things every day and that is one of the great joys of doing audio work, is that there is never the pressure of the sun going down.”
“It’s also great when you are not on camera and it’s just audio because then you can just show up in a two-piece suit,” Silverman said.
Reilly then talked about some of the benefits of recording together for Ralph Breaks the Internet. “I think that’s what sets both of these movies apart is that feeling of heart and real emotion, it’s because we are looking into each other’s eyes,” Reilly said. “I’ve done other animated work where I never met the other actor, ever. I’m sure there are some practical people that say, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter. It’s just a voice.’ But to me, it does matter, and I think it does come across in the film. It gives it a soul that it might not have if we weren’t there together.”
Unfortunately, the one person that Reilly and Silverman did not record with is Gadot. “I wish I could say that we did. But we didn’t,” Silverman said. “Because she has been shooting this movie called Wonder Woman. It’s not going to do well. So yeah, that was one where we couldn’t record together. But I adore her.”
Moore went on to say that they traveled to Europe to record her sessions at least three to four times. “It was the one exception where the actors weren’t together,” Moore said. “But man. You couldn’t meet a nicer, humbler woman. She’s really cool.
2 – What Audiences Can Take Away From The Sequel
Wreck-It Ralph‘s message was that we should accept who we are and not how others think of you. And like its predecessor, Ralph Breaks the Internet shares a very important and timely message. “I hope kids are entertained and the story relates to them and they recognize some of their own friendships to those characters,” Reilly said. “But I do think, though, you know how you do something unhealthy or it makes you unhappy, and you just do it in a mindless way and you get caught in those patterns of behavior and at some point if you make a move towards being more healthy, you say, ‘Why am I doing that?’”
He also talked about some of the dangers of social media and how the chase of acceptance and likes from anonymous friends is unhealthy. “And I think this idea of chasing after anonymous love, you know, these hearts in our movie or this idea that these kids are reaching out for an acceptance from people they don’t know and how ultimately an empty feeling,” Reilly said. “I hope that kids come away with that ‘a-ha’ moment that I just described, which is like, ‘Why do I do that? Why do I want to do that?’ Because that is the first step to really understanding a situation like that, it is asking yourself personally, ‘Why am I doing that? Maybe I can do something differently,’ once we have that realization.”
Moore went in a different route to address what it was like to see a character on screen experience what he was experiencing. “I was like it when I was a kid, felt that it made me realize ‘I am not the only one that does these kinds of things or feels this way.’ Because I think, like the depression and the anxiety, with a lot of these things, even bullying, there is a component of that it is shameful and we shouldn’t talk about it and I have to keep it to myself,” Moore said. “As a kid, when I would see a character going through the same things that I was, it made me think, ‘Okay, I am not alone. I am not crazy.’ Or ‘I am not a freak.’ That I am not the only person on earth feeling these things.”
3 – A Place Called Slaughter Race
Although Wreck-It Ralph is a Disney film with a princess in it, it was never really considered a part of the Disney princess canon. However, Ralph Breaks the Internet changes all of that by making Vanellope a princess. Not only does she get inducted, but she gets her very own princess song appropriately titled “A Place Called Slaughter Race.”
Since every princess gets their own song, one might think it would have an effect on the actor’s performances. But Silverman doesn’t think it will. “I don’t know that it will affect my act,” Silverman said. “Although everything affects my act. Just living. But yeah. It’s a thrill. And it’s something that the idea of Disney Princess, what makes it good is that it has grown and changed.”
Silverman addressed how things have changed on how we perceive Disney princesses. All the tropes and stereotypes that we know get subverted in Ralph Breaks the Internet. These changes that reflect the times we live in now. “That Disney has taken on progress and inclusivity and has grown and changed in positive ways,” Silverman said. “And where a classic Disney Princess, and really, this movie just faces it head on. Leans right into it. Well, you get saved by a man. And you’re in great distress. Your life is threatened. And then someone else saves you. And then to all in one movie acknowledge all of that and then shatter it is so exciting. And to get to be this kid who becomes like a princess with an attainable waistline. And wearing comfortable clothes. And I always like, as a comic, this is really going a different direction.”
She added, “But we end up in diners late at night after shows. And who also ends up at diners late at night are young girls, young people coming out of the clubs, dance clubs and stuff like that. I would see young women in half shirts and sky-high heels. And they’re freezing cold. They’re like this shivering. And their feet hurt. I just think. I just wish I could tell them that they don’t have to be uncomfortable to deserve love. Boys are not raised to think that they ever have to sacrifice comfort to be loved. And it just always struck me. I would go oh, I would be in like my hoodie and jeans and just think, ‘These girls don’t think that they can get love without this insane amount of physical discomfort.'”
That’s exactly what Silverman loves about the character as it changes the way we think about the princesses and what the princesses think about themselves. And she added one little tidbit about Vanellope. “Twitter just announced, I mean, didn’t just announce. But someone was talking about it months and months ago. I said, yeah, she’s Jewish. I just made her Jewish. Now it’s canon which I enjoy. Von Schweetz. I don’t know. Is that Jewish?”
4 – What’s Next For Ralph?
Since Ralph Breaks the Internet is the second installment of the franchise, it only makes sense to assume that there will be a third to close our the franchise. However, Moore isn’t thinking that far ahead, yet. “Like the first one, we’re at that point where we feel like, it’s buttoned up nice and clean,” Moore said. “That there cannot possibly be another story after this one. That’s what we thought on the first one. So unless we start digging at this and find that there is some sort of opportunity to be mined, I think right now, it feels as if they’re great companion pieces, it kinda ends here.”
Co-director Phil Johnston did compare his two films to two of Homer’s Greek classics. “Like The Iliad and The Odyssey,” said Johnston.
5 – Checking Off Boxes
Voicing a Disney character is pretty much a dream come true for anyone. Taraji P. Henson, who voices Yesss in Ralph Breaks the Internet, an algorithm for trendy based-site BuzzzTube, said it was an incredible experience. “First of all, voicing a character in a Disney animated film, check! Thank you,” Henson said on voicing Yesss. “I just thought, ‘This is a no-brainer.’ She’s a go-getter. She’s the head of a company. She’s no-nonsense. She has heart.”
“And one of my favorite scenes,” she continued, “is when she finds Ralph in the comment room and she tells him, ‘That’s not you, it’s them. They’re hurt, so they are hurting you.’ It grounded the film for me and grounded the character for me. It made her multi-dimensional. And getting to voice with the amazing actors, it was a no-brainer to me.”
Ralph Breaks the Internet opens in theaters on November 21, 2018. Click right here for my review, trailers, and more.