Chatting With The Cast & Filmmakers of Disney/Pixars’s The Good Dinosaur & Sanjay’s Super Team!


Hey All!

Disney/Pixar have done it again! They’re coming out with a fantastic new film called The Good Dinosaur and I had the fabulous opportunity to attend a recent media event to interview the main cast and the Director and Producer of the film. It was such a fabulous experience as the incredible Jeffrey Wright (voice of “Poppa”), Raymond Ochoa (voice of “Arlo”), Sam Elliott (voice of “Butch”), Anna Paquin (voice of “Ramsey”), AJ Buckley (voice of “Nash”), Peter Sohn (Director) & Denise Ream (Producer) were all in attendance. Peter Sohn (you may remember),  I interviewed way back when for Monster’s University. He’s the voice of Squishy and he’s making his Pixar feature directorial debut with this film.

Cast Good Dinsosaur

In true Pixar movie fashion, there is a short film that plays before it and it’s called Sanjay’s Super Team. We also chatted with Sanjay himself, Sanjay Patel (SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM Director) & Nicole Grindle (SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM Producer) about the short film. We also got to see an advanced screening of both films and we can’t wait to share our thoughts with you soon.

Sanjay Patel (SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM Director)

But first we wanted to share a little about what we chatted about with all the amazing talent at this fantastic event. We started the day off with Sanjay Patel  & Nicole Grindle to chat about Sanjay’s Super Team. It was so amazing to hear Sanjay speak about what inspired him to share this personal story inspired by a childhood moment with his father.

The film has a scene in which the Hindu gods almost act like the superheros the animated character of Sanjay loves in his cartoons. I of course wanted to know which superhero cartoon was his favorite growing up, which inspired this film.


As a kid of the 80’s, there was a lot of cartoons I would watch on TV. There was one called “Super Friends” and it was Superman and his pals in like a collaborative. I was a big fan of that one.

I thought the scene in the film had more of a Power Rangers feel, so I was sure he would say Power Rangers. I wasn’t that off according to Nicole Gindle.


It was a reflection of all superhero shows. When we first started making this short we were going for something retro and cheesy. And John Lasseter encouraged us to make it more contemporary and cool, so it ended up being kind of a mash up of both in the film. It’s inspired by stuff of the 80’s with a new millennium edge.

Sanjay Patel (SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM Director) & Nicole Grindle (SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM Producer

They also shared that they made the film as a tribute to the relationship he had with his father and how he’s actively trying to show his own son more of his family traditions and history. Sanjay shared that he didn’t embrace theses things growing up. He also shared he led a very Americanized childhood with no interest in Hindu or learning about his culture, which now he’s actively learning and doing the opposite with his son. He wants this film to be able to showcase his heritage and also showcase his appreciation for his dad. His father doesn’t speak a lot of English, but he loved the film and was extremely touched by the film. It’s so amazing to see someone want to do something in his career to honor his parents. It was so great to learn about this unique short film.

Sam Elliott (voice of “Butch”), Anna Paquin (voice of “Ramsey”) AJ Buckley

We then moved on to the the cast and filmmakers of The Good Dinosaur. We started out with the oh so fabulous and legendary Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin, and AJ Buckley. Sam Elliot plays a father T-Rex dinosaur named “Butch”. Anna and AJ play his daughter and son named “Ramsey” and “Nash”.

Anna was so happy to have a toy version of her character with her. She was like a little girl who was just gifted the best gift ever on Christmas morning.


It was beyond adorable to see. You can just get a glimpse of this in these pictures. She was literally like, “I’m a dinosaur you guys and that makes me pretty cool!” I love her so much and have been a fan of her and Sam Elliot for such a long time. It was incredible to get the opportunity to chat with them. I was so excited to be in the same room with them.

Anna Paquin

We started off by asking how they became involved with this film.


They asked and I said yes please! I didn’t know what it was about or anything about it. I knew it was called The Good Dinosaur, but that’s about it. They were like we can tell you what the story is about and I was like, I don’t care what the story is about, I’ll do what ever it is you want me to do. I was simply like sign me up. Disney/Pixar, I’m there. More so because it was Pixar. Obviously Disney has such an incredible legacy, but Pixar has really done some extraordinary stuff in animation that I had never seen before.

AJ Buckley


In the voice over world, it’s like making it to the Olympics and you freak out when you get the call. I’m still even in this moment talking to you thinking this is crazy. I’m part of a Pixar film. It’s really cool.


Same for me. Usually you hear there are a few names attached and being approached to do it, but when they came to me and asked if I would do it, I saw the script, this thing spoke to me. So I couldn’t wait to get started on it.

Sam Elliott (voice of “Butch”), Anna Paquin (voice of “Ramsey”), AJ Buckley

Sam has that legendary voice, that I could listen to for hours on end. He’s such a brilliant actor in any film he works in.

Anna also shared how excited she was to have a film her kids could actually watch, since most of what her and her husband have done is a bit to risque for them. Who doesn’t love Sookie Stackhouse and Bill Compton?

Sam Elliot Anna Paquin

We moved on to chatting about how some of their T-Rex’s have the same look and mannerisms as them and if they noticed it once they saw the film?


I think they probably do incorporate some of our characteristics in our characters when they animate. It’s more for flavor than anything else. They have a camera on you when you’re doing these sessions. And no one else sees it besides the animators as far as I know.


I hope!


It will probably be on the DVD or somewhere. They do incorporate some mannerisms.


Mine was the T-Rex arms!

AJ then mimicked his T-Rex arms, which was hilarious.

I then asked them what did they take away from having done this role.


It’s really such a family experience and something that so many will see and experience together. To be a part of that is just incredible.

Sam Elliott

The one thing thing that stood out for me from this interview with them was, when Sam Elliot chatted about how he turned down so many roles he’s been offered over the years. Acting for him isn’t about the money or being a huge star. It’s about being an actor, something he’s wanted to do since he was a kid. He only wants to make movies that will stand the test of time and that he can be proud to make. He firmly believes this is one of those films and I couldn’t agree more! That’s why he’s a Hollywood legend.

Peter Sogn Denise Ream

We then chatted with the Director and Producer of The Good Dinosaur Peter Sohn & Denise Ream. They spoke about how they actually took over the film from another team at Pixar. The film was already partly made when they decided to come on board and start over. It was a huge undertaking for them. They wanted to make sure the story was perfect and they couldn’t move on to making the film until they felt the story was perfect. Denise really felt Peter got the story and was the perfect person to bring this story to the big screen. She thought he was a natural and couldn’t believe he was a first time director and the crew truly believed in him.

When you see the film, you’ll see just how spectacular the animation is for the scenery and landscapes for the world the story is set in. It’s photo realistic! I’m not joking. You can’t tell the trees and water is animated. I thought this was very interesting to make the world so realistic and the characters of the film, like the main character Arlo, as so distinctly animated and stylized. Peter explained why they took this approach as opposed to making even the characters more realistic.


I wanted Arlo to seem more like a growing boy. I wanted you to see the characteristics of a young boy in Arlo. That’s why he has such big eyes and he’s got like these knobby knees which you can see he hasn’t grown into. I wanted kids to be able to relate to him even if he is a dinosaur and see themselves in Arlo.

Peter also has a little cameo in the film in which he plays a triceratops that collects animals to protect him. He apparently didn’t want to play him, but John Lasseter insisted.


He didn’t want to. But when he pitched the sequence, John was like, “You’re gonna be the Pet Collector.” You know, there was no discussion there. He was like, “Well, I don’t want to” No.


We’ll find a real actor. “No, you’re doing it.” And it’s like…




He’s like, “You’re awesome at it.” And then he would direct me. “Lower. Lower. Lower. Lower, come on.” [DEEPENING HIS VOICE] This is as low as I can go. The characters. Every character that Arlo meets was all in terms of support of Arlo’s journey. In terms of the world, of the frontier, that he was kind of this like a transient character that’s been living out in the woods too long.

He did a fantastic job with this film and with his cameo!

Peter Sohn (Director) & Denise Ream (Producer) –

Lastly we chatted with the incredible Jeffrey Wright (voice of “Poppa”) and Raymond Ochoa (voice of “Arlo”). You may remember Jeffrey from Boardwalk Empire or The Hunger Games! Jeffrey joked around and said he didn’t cry by the end of The Good Dinosaur, when we all know he did.

Jeffrey Wright- Raymond Ochoa

They chatted about their previous roles and how Raymond auditioned a dozen times before he got the role. He was over the moon about having the role and he shed a few tears when he found out he had the role.

For Jeffrey, who’s career hasn’t had a lot of paternal roles, we wanted to know what was it like to get a call to play something different from what he’s done before — to play a loving father?


Well, Dr. Narcisse had his own, expressions of love as well. Maybe not our understanding of what it is[LAUGHS]…but I mean, I tried to choose the next role because of its dissimilarity to the previous, so, for me, the roles that you choose are reflective of where you are in life.  I’ve been a parent for 14 years now. That begins to inform the choices that I make, not only what roles I will play, but what roles I’m not interested in playing, Even the logistics of not wanting to be away from home for too long, or things like that. So, it’s just a function of growing up, I guess, that these roles are being tucked into my portfolio now.

For both actors, we wanted to know what’s the most interesting thing they remember learning from or about their characters?


[LAUGHS] What it actually looked like. I think that was the most interesting. It could have looked like a tyrannosaurus rex for all I knew. I mean, obviously, I knew it wasn’t that, but yeah. It was really cool, knowing what it looked like, because after I found out what kind of dinosaur it was — I got to see what it was, and it was really cool having seen the long neck. What’d you know it as? The dinosaur?




Yeah, that. I’m still trying to get the name of that one right.

JEFFREY: I studied early apatosaurus farming techniques.

Lastly we wanted to know what did they learn from their characters and what scene really touched them or meant something to them?


Well, on a movie side, where it’s like, “What is your favorite scene?” that was really when my Papa takes me out to the field and he shows me when you move your tail these fireflies come out. And I like that scene so much because I felt it was a bonding moment between me and my dad, and the reason why is because later on, I do the exact same thing to Spot. I show him the fireflies. And I felt like I connected with him in a bonding moment. And you know at the beginning of the movie, I hated Spot. I did not like him. So, to know the change in the level between you not liking him and bonding with him, like he’s my pet, that’s what I found so cool about it.


I would say that same scene and getting to experience this with my family. I went to a screening with my kids and my son sat next to me. Seeing them experience the emotion of the film was something incredible to see.

Jeffrey Wright Raymond Ochoa

This was such an incredible opportunity to chat with so many amazingly talented actors and filmmakers. I can’t wait to share our thoughts on The Good Dinosaur with you all! Stay tuned for our review.

THE GOOD DINOSAUR opens in theatres everywhere on November 25th!

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All photos featured were provided by Disney/Pixar! Credit for all photos is Disney/Pixar.