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MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

Monsters Inc. Redo
Production designer Ricky Nierva says the team was happy to have a blueprint of the scream factory from "Monsters, Inc." "We thought it was great that we had the advantage of the beautiful original production design from Harley Jessup and Bob Pauley."

But to create the scream floor for the opening scene with young Mike, which takes place some 20 years before the first movie, and the scene 10 years later when the Oozma Kappas pay an impromptu visit to MI -- filmmakers had to rethink the factory setting. "We couldn't just resurrect the original set," says Nierva. "Technology had come too far. We had to rebuild it from scratch -- and figure in things that would be different considering the difference in time."

For example, Nierva and the production team had to rethink the leaderboard at Monsters, Inc. "In the original film, the scream totals are displayed on a bank of televisions," says Nierva. "So we thought it might have started out like an old train station with the flip numbers. I think that's so cool -- it's different enough, but still attached to the original movie.

"We considered the evolution of cell phones," continues Nierva, "from big bricks to tiny phones. So we made sure that the door stations were chunkier and fatter to reflect the earlier time."

Filmmakers tackled a number of other sets, from campus exteriors -- one shot shows underwater monsters swimming to class -- to the scream can and door laboratories and the MU football field. The common thread, of course, was in tying each set to the characters who inhabit the world. Says executive producer John Lasseter, "It's a really beautiful film. It really captures the essence of a university setting, and the details are so fun, because if you look closely, everything is monsterized. And even better, it supports the optimism of Mike arriving at this university in search of his dreams."

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