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:
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:
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 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.”
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.
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