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SKY HIGH

About The Production
Teen culture collides with super hero fantasies in the world of SKY HIGH, with funny and exciting results. The original concept for the film came from the mind of screenwriter Paul Hernandez, a long-time comic book fan, who began to wonder, if super heroes really existed in the world…what would happen to their kids? Surely, as they turned into rebellious, uncertain and searching teenagers on the cusp of adulthood, they would need a special school that could train them to use their untamed super-abilities for the good of the planet. It would be a place where instead of studying for the Scholastic Aptitude Test, kids would train hard for the Save the Citizen test. And just as any high school tends to separate kids into different cliques and social groups, this academy would have its elite "Heroes” dominating over those destined to merely be "Sidekicks.”

The idea lit a wild spark in Hernandez's imagination. He began to think about setting a hip and observant coming-of-age comedy inside a secretly located school designed especially for future super heroes. The idea was to mix a John Hughes-style teen drama—complete with cafeteria power struggles, stake-your-future exams and high-pressure school dances—with mega-powerful comic book icons.

Hernandez brought the concept to producer Andrew Gunn, who saw the potential for creating what he calls "‘The Breakfast Club' with capes,” an enormously fun, stunt-and-effectsladen family adventure fueled by the equally incendiary stuff of adolescent emotions. "One of the things I loved about the idea for SKY HIGH is that it combines real, everyday high school problems any one can relate to with the far more incredible problems of being a super hero,” Gunn observes. "In high school, no matter who you are, all your emotions are dialed up to 11 and you have all these intense worries about being popular, having a girlfriend, etcetera. But add to that also being a super hero and having the ability to throw flames and crush buildings and suddenly there's a lot of fun you can have combining these two volatile worlds.”

Gunn continues: "I grew up on movies like ‘Pretty in Pink' and ‘Ferris Bueller's Day Off.' Nobody has ever made movies since that were so authentic about the emotions kids go through at that time in their lives. John Hughes' writing was so respectful of teens and didn't speak down to them. Hopefully this movie is the perfect combination of ‘John Hughes movie meets super hero movie.'”

As the screenplay evolved, Gunn asked the screenwriters to focus on the story's teenage emotional reality first and foremost—then layer on top of that the characters' uniquely superheroic skills and adventures. Gunn explains: "For me, the key to developing the script became creating a story strong enough that you could actually remove all the super hero elements and still have a fun movie. We ended up with a great foundation for the action in a story that's about friendship, loyalty and a kid realizing that what really defines being a hero isn't his external power but what's on the inside.”

Gunn also pushed the writers to develop the film with its own fresh, upbeat style. "So many contemporary super hero films are very dark and take themselves so seriously,” he says. "We wanted SKY HIGH to be a comedy full of big, bright color and lots of tongue-in-cheek humor.”

The search then began for a director who could conjure just the right blend of reality, comedy and fantasy to make the visual fantasia of SKY HIGH come to life. The filmmakers decided to trust their vision to Mike Mitchell, a talented animator and story-board artist who carved out a reputation for innovation with several award-winning shorts. Says executive producer Ann Marie Sanderlin: "Mike Mitchell is a big kid and we knew he could deliver our vision of the film. He is constantly drawing cartoons

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