At the heart of “Bolt” is a dog who comes nose to nose with a reality he never anticipated.

It’s that dog who caught the eye of executive producer John Lasseter.

“The thing that appealed to me most about ‘Bolt’ from the very beginning was the potential for growth in the main character,”says Lasseter. “To me, that’s where the heart of the film comes from. A purely funny movie
without any heart is entertaining, but you quickly forget it. ‘Bolt’ is so enjoyable and memorable because our hero is a dog who is raised on a movie set and made to believe that world is real. That’s all he knows. When he gets out in the real world and realizes his entire life has been pretend, he embarks on a journey and discovers what it means to be a real dog.”

Adds director Byron Howard, “The audience can’t help but relate to Bolt in a very real way.

We made him a fairly normal dog in the real world who feels pain, hunger and loneliness for the first time. He misses and needs his owner Penny and we can all relate to that.” “I think that for people to love a movie they have to love the characters and care about the relationships,” says director Chris Williams. “So we definitely wanted to make sure that
people really loved Penny and Bolt and wanted them to be together. And we had to make sure that as Bolt embarked on his journey and met Mittens and Rhino, that those three characters played off each other well and made people care about their evolving friendships.”

“I’m very proud of ‘Bolt’ and the fact that it fits the mold of the classic Disney films,” Lasseter says. “The humor doesn’t come just from funny lines. It comes from personalities. That’s the number one thing for me in all of our films. You get these great unique personalities that are funny and appealing, and you put them in funny situations. But along with the humor, you have to have heart. Walt Disney always said, ‘For every laugh, there should be a tear.’ I believe in that. The heart in ‘Bolt’ comes from the emotional journey and the change that happens along the way. On top of that, you have to make a film very appealing with the highest
quality animation and backgrounds.”

“Chris and Byron have done an amazing job of dividing responsibilities on this film, and communicating with one another to make this an extraordinary film,” says producer Clark Spencer. “They’re both very much involved in the story process, and then Chris oversees editorial, the recording sessions with the actors, and layout. It then passes to Byron who handles all of the animation side. And then it goes back to Chris for lighting and effects.

“Under their guidance, ‘Bolt’ has turned out to be Disney’s most sophisticated computer animated film to date,” he adds. “Our Studio has taken a massive leap, I think on all levels, whether it’s the way the camera is moving or in the quality of the animation. It’s been really fun to work with Chris and Byron on this terrific project, and in helping Disney set the stage for a new era of innovation and excellence.”

Lasseter concludes, “I believe you need three things done really well to make a successful movie—especially an animated film. You have to tell a compelling story that keeps people on the edge of their seats. You have to populate that story with appealing characters that are memorable. And ‘appealing’ is the key word there; even the bad guys should be appealing.
And then you have to put that story and those characters in a believable world, not realistic, but believable, for the movie and the story that you’re telling. It’s very important that those three things work closely together. You also need to make a connection with the audience—I call it a foundation—which means you need to show them something that they’re familiar with on one level, but then show it to them in a way that they’ve never seen it before. ‘Bolt’ is a perfect example of this approach.”