Billie Eilish’s Animated Alter Ego In Her Concert Special Was Inspired By A Fan-Favorite Disney Character

Billie Eilish with animated version of herself in Happier Than Ever:

Disney+’s latest original is a concert special from Billie Eilish, the Grammy-winning “bad guy” singer and the latest artist to write a James Bond theme, the latter for the upcoming No Time To Die. Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter To Los Angeles sees Eilish performing her latest album in its entirety as an animated version of her travels throughout her hometown of L.A, and her inspiration to be hand-drawn by Disney comes straight from Toontown.

CinemaBlend spoke to Patrick Osborne, the director behind the animated element of the Happier Than Ever concert film who teamed up with Sin City’s Robert Rodriguez for the movie with Billie Eilish. The filmmaker shared the singer’s key influences to mix mediums for the movie:

[Billie] wanted a noir inspired version of LA with an animated character in the vein of Ralph Bakshi or Richard Williams, something from Who Framed Roger Rabbit or Cool World, or these eighties kind of rotoscopes animated character and what, what would be like the modern version of that and could we put an animated scene in between every song and then have then converge somehow in the final moments and the live show.

Although Billie Eilish was instantly compared to a Disney princess when her animated character was revealed for the Disney+ original, it was created to be more along the vein of one of Disney’s most controversial and one-of-a-kind animated projects, 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Patrick Osborne continued with these words:

She told me that she loved Jessica Rabbit and Ralph Bakshi’s stuff and went in that direction. And because that confrontation happened before her new look, it struck me as surprising. I was like ‘Oh, wow… blonde.’ But then a few days later, she started to reveal the new phase of her new vibe [for the Happier Than Ever album].

At the time, Patrick Osborne, who has previously been part of Disney animated projects like the short film Feast and Big Hero 6, did not expect Billie Eilish to present a blonde-haired alter ego of herself for animation, because she was still known to have neon green roots and black hair. Pretty quickly after, like the rest of the world, the director watched as the singer changed up her iconic look to match her Happier Than Ever era, which seems to be inspired by old Hollywood through a noir lens.

Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit

(Image credit: (Disney))

Jessica Rabbit was the main inspiration for the animated version of Billie Eilish, which the singer likely relates to. The character famously says “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” For a long time, Eilish covered up her body so the public could focus on her work over her body type and sexualize her, but recently she’s decided to stop hiding under layers and wear whatever she wants. As this video illustrates:

It’s most certainly not her fault that she may be under scrutiny for how she decides to dress, because when it comes to being a pop star, it seems to become a topic either way, as she speaks about in her song “Not My Responsibility.”

Brad Pitt in Cool World with animated character

(Image credit: (Paramount))

Another inspiration Billie Eilish brought to the Happier Than Ever filmmakers is Cool World, the similarly animated/live-action hybrid noir that came out in 1992 and starred Brad Pitt. The 19-year-old singer had an excellent vision for the concert special, and checking out these films following checking out the Disney+ film is already next on our list this weekend.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.