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Cast Of Characters
As he embarked on the intense journey of making THE INCREDIBLES, Brad Bird knew that he would need to surround himself with devoted talent to bring his vision to life—not just on the technical side, but also through gifted actors who could give his characters all the depth and dimension they deserved.

Once an animated film's screenplay is completed and the storyboards created, the next step is to cast the film. For Bird, who came to know and love the characters of THE INCREDIBLES like they were his own family, the casting was extremely close to his heart. He began the process by making sure the storyboards would communicate enough to the actors to elicit multitonal performances. Bird worked with story supervisor Mark Andrews, artist Teddy Newton, and supervising animator Tony Fucile, who each played a major role in designing the characters and bringing them fully to life.

Explains Teddy Newton, who drew many of the characters in the film for the first time: "Brad would simply describe the characters to me—he wouldn't use too many adjectives, but he would often do an impression or a voice for them. Sometimes the voice alone would put enough pictures and ideas in my head. It's like when you listen to the radio and you start to imagine what the person would look like. You get inspired and everything starts to take shape.”

As the characters took form, Bird began to visualize the film in ever deeper layers. "Brad had a new process for storyboarding the film,” explains Mark Andrews. "He wanted everything to be incredibly detailed and was concerned not only about the character design but even about lighting, backgrounds and camera movement right from the earliest stages. He knew everything had to be perfect to keep the audience completely immersed in the world of THE INCREDIBLES. And starting this way really helped the entire production to get a clear vision of the film from the beginning.”

With the characters well established, casting for THE INCREDIBLES could begin at last. The filmmakers began looking for actors capable of bringing out the ordinary, everyday feelings that reside inside these superhero characters. At the center of the film, of course, is Bob Parr, Mr. Incredible himself, the family's muscular powerhouse of a patriarch who is trying to come to terms with the changes in his life that have taken him from superhero to suburban dad. To play Bob, Brad Bird was soon drawn to the combination of down-to-earth humor and tough-guy charisma represented by Craig T. Nelson ("Coach,” "The District”).

"Craig has an authoritative voice but also a wonderful, easygoing kind of humor that really lends itself to who Mr. Incredible is,” says Bird. "You can definitely see his voice fitting into this big, strong, hulking body yet there is also a real vulnerability in him—enough so that you really relate to him simply as a man looking for something he has temporarily lost—and when the scene needed to be intense, he was right there.”

For Nelson, the character—animated or not—proved irresistible. "I really empathized with him as a human being,” notes Nelson. "Here's a guy who is literally able to leap tall buildings and do all kinds of super-heroic things, but that isn't what makes him special. It's his value structure and his moral strength, not his mighty feats that I really responded to. He is one of those people I'd really like to meet and get a chance to shake his hand, because he knows what counts and he has a good sense of himself and his family.”

Despite his excitement about the role, Nelson faced an unexpectedly daunting task. "The role of Bob was probably one of the more difficult things I've ever done,” he says. "I quickly discovered that Brad and his team had an extremely specific idea of what they wanted because they'd lived with this stor

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