A Few Good Ghosts is an American 2D Computer Animated/Stop Motion comedy film directed by Rich Moore and released by Walt Disney Pictures for October 5th 2020. Based on the book My Peoples.
Set in Appalachia, Texas in the 1940s, two feuding families: the Harpers and the McGees, whose two children, Elgin and Rose, fall in love. Elgin was to have dabbled in folk-art, creating dolls from various household objects which included the following.
Wishing that Elgin would forget his about daughter, Old Man McGee concocted a batch of his late mother's "Blue Moon Brew", intending to use it to erase Elgin's memory.
However, his potion accidentally brought the dolls to life instead, at which point Angel declared that she did not want to help Rose and Elgin get together and proceeded to leave town. Some of the dolls went after her in an attempt to get her to come back while others did what they could to help the couple, which included keeping Herbert Hollingshead, the man Rose's father tried to set her up with, away.
- TBA as Herbert Hollingshed
- Dolly Parton as Angel
- TBA as Old Man McGee
- TBA as Good O'Boy
- Jack McBrayer as Elgin Harper
- TBA as Rose McGee
- Cedric The Entertainer as Blues Man
- Tara Strong as Miss Spinster
- TBA as Abe
- TBA as the Mcgee's neighbor Arvilla Tugthistle.
- TBA as Crazy Ray
- Cheech Marin as Angel's Dog
Five months after finishing his work on Mulan, Barry Cook began developing a pitch for an animated film based on a short story that he had previously wrote called The Ghost and the Gift which involved three children and a ghost helping an Appalachian couple get together. However, the idea was rejected by both Michael Eisner, the Disney CEO and Thomas Schumacher, the then-Head of Walt Disney Feature Animation. This was because Eisner thought that the story needed more conflict, while Schumacher thought that the cast was "too human" and the film would have better in live-action.
Rewrite and Green-lighting
Looking back over the research he'd done on Appalachia, Cook remembered how many of the residents there Thinking that these unusual creations would make a unique feature, he created a maquette of Angel which he hoped to use as a visual aid at the next story meeting. However, seeing as he was based at the studio's Florida Animation Branch, Barry Cook couldn't make it to Los Angeles to attend said meeting.
So, Cook placed the maquette in a violin case and had it delivered to L.A., at which point he phoned up an assistant, instructing him to place it on the conference room table at the next story meeting. When the meeting came, Barry Cook related his revamped pitch to Thomas Schumacher over the phone and told him to open the case. Intrigued, Schumacher green-lighted My Peoples with a budget of $45 million. The reason that it was titled as such was because My Peoples had been the collective name of a group of dolls that were created by a deceased folk artist. Cook also thought that that title would suggest "a welcoming reference to one's family" which was one of the film's major themes.
The animation for My Peoples was to have been a mix of CGI and traditional animation with the dolls being computer-generated while the backgrounds as well as the human characters would be hand-drawn. The reason Cook wanted the film to be animated this way was bethate did not like the look of current "completely-CGI" movies. They looked "too simple" in his words.
One of the dolls that Barry Cook came up with, an over-the-top, Southern-accented preacher named Preacher Man did not make the final cut, due to the fact that Disney execs were worried that such a character might be considered offensive.
Cancellation and Revival
In January 2003, Thomas Schumacher resigned as Head of Animation and was replaced by former-Television Animation Head: David Stainton. Immediately, Stainton began to suggest several name changes for the film and found himself unimpressed with the film's story reels, presented to him that following February so that eventually, he ordered the project retooled.
After taking a research trip to the Appalacian mountains, during which he heard a lot of ghost stories from people that he had visited, Cook gave the film a slight rewrite so that the dolls would be possessed by Elgin's deceased relatives. For example, his Uncle Ned took on the form of Abe, while his Aunt Edna Lee became Miss Spinster.
Due to this, the title was changed from My Peoples to A Few Good Ghosts. Barry Cook was somewhat unhappy with the change, due to the fact that he had a personal attachment to his original idea and wished he could stick with it. However, he understood that as a director, he had to make sacrifices.
On the other hand, David Stainton and Micheal Eisner were both impressed with the film's new storyline. After viewing the story reel for A Few Good Ghosts that November, Eisner told the film's production team "you folks finally have a movie here!" Stainton even went on to compare the quality of the film to the likes of Pixar's movies.
Unfortunately, later that month, David Stainton flew to the Florida Animation Branch to announce that the film would be cancelled in favor of Mark Dindal's Chicken Little. This was because he felt that the latter film, with its familiar story and characters would be able to reach more of a general audience. Stainton also announced that the Branch would be closing down the following year, prompting Cook to look for work elsewhere. My Peoples would become one of the main subjects of the Disney Editions book Disney Lost and Found: Exploring the Hidden Artwork from Never-Produced Animation.
In late 2015 Rich Moore declared he was going to revive A Few Good Ghosts with John Lasseter producing and with Phil Johnston and himself writing the script. It was then declared that A Few Good Ghosts would get back into production with Rich directing.He even rumoured to have Tim Burton help with the stop motion CGI and the script as well.I n late 2017 Tim Burton signed on to help with A Few Good Ghosts
In the Original The Cast included Dolly Parton Charles Durning,Mike Snyder Travis Tritt Ashley Judd Lou Rawls Lily Tomlin Hal Holbrook Diedrich Bader and Bill Connolly
Barry Cook said in an interview
- “I’m probably not at liberty to discuss their involvement to a great degree, because that’s up to them,” but I admit that, of the actors listed, “we definitely talked to them and wanted them to be part of the film.”
- In 2016 Rich Moore confirmed Dolly Parton will restar as Angel.That same year Jack McBrayer signed on to play Elgin Harper. Cedric The Entertainer signed on to voice Blues Man
- This is the first film to combine computer animation and stop motion animation together