Roy vs. Eisner: Secrets of Destino Revealed!

Roy E. Disney kept information about the making of the Oscar-nominated short Destino from Disney chairman Michael Eisner, a juicy story in today’s Los Angeles Times reveals. The article discusses how the animation community is hoping for an Oscar win for the seven-minute animated short which resulted as a collaboration between Spanish artist Salvador Dali and Walt Disney nearly 60 years ago, and was rescued by Roy Disney and completed by director Dominique Monfery this year.

“Roy Disney has become a sort of prism of anger because he’s the only person powerful enough to stand up to Michael and not be afraid,” Tom Sito, president emeritus of the Animation Guild, says in the article. “I think it [Destino] is the emotional favorite because of Roy.”

Asked whether he’ll use his Oscar acceptance speech to say something about Eisner’s perceived mismanagement of the company, Disney says he has penned 487 speeches of which only three are printable. “I honestly think it will be implicit. I will leave it up to my own mouth!”

According to the piece, Roy Disney brought in animators to create new scenes for the Dali short for more than a year, with Eisner in the dark, because he didn’t want any interference. When Eisner found out about the project, he was upset and didn’t understand why it was a secret for so long. Although the film cost $1.5 million, it actually makes up for its costs because, as a result of the completion of the short, Disney Studios takes legal ownership of the Dali artwork. Roy Disney says the artwork’s value is estimated to be as much as $10 million.

Another interesting point revealed in the article by Richard Verrier and Claudia Eller is that Eisner nixed a special screening of Destino that Roy Disney had planned for longtime friends and Disney legends Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas and Pixar heavyweight John Lasseter at Pixar’s headquarters. A day before the screening, Disney says he got an email from Eisner saying “I don’t want Disney and Pixar executives mingling during these sensitive negotiations.” Disney agreed not to go but was embarrassed to have to call off the trip, the article says. “I had to tell Frank and Ollie and call John and say we can’t do it.”

One thing Roy is sure of is that he’ll say “Viva Animation!” in his acceptance speech if Destino picks up the Oscar on February 29.