Goldie and Bear is a brand new children’s show for preschoolers that is debuting on Disney Jr. On September 12th. We were invited to interview the show Producer Chris Gilligan (Frankenweenie, James and The Giant Peach) who was kind enough to give us a special sneak peek into the fun to come and what it takes to make a family friendly TV show.
How did you get involved with this project as a Producer?
Chris Gillian: The project came to me in development as a television show with some designs and a longer larger script taking place in a CG world. We worked at shaping the tone and pulling up the relationship between the two main characters. It started out as a short, just a little test, and then turned into a pilot which luckily was turned into the series.
What inspired you guys to choose this story to bring to life and what were the important aspects you focused on for bringing it to television?
CG: The inspiring moment was really thinking about the traditional tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and thinking about what happens after. What happens when she realizes that she was breaking and entering, goes back and apologizes, and becomes friends with bear? That was a jumping off point to really explore and play with the entire fairytale cannon and look at ways to use elements in those stories in fun ways. For example the episode “Big Bear” it deals with the desire kids have to be bigger you don’t feel like they’re big enough to do certain things, and in a moment of wish fulfillment using the beans Jack and the Beanstalk, he gets that wish to come true for a minute it feels like it’s “just right” but then it turns out that really the size and moment that we are in right now really is where we’re supposed to be.
How does Goldie and Bear fit into the Disney Jr. Channel lineup and what do you expect the kid viewers and parents to like most about this new addition?
CG: If you look at all the shows on there, each of them great, they all kind of bring something different; Doc McStuffins talks about health, with Miles from Tomorrowland they’re tackling STEM education. With Goldie and Bear it’s easy to see that this may go to literacy and storytelling and fits very much with the other shows in the lineup.
What are some of the lessons and skills that were important to you to be incorporated into the show?
CG: It’s about what kids actually go through, especially from a point of view of friendship. In the episode “Birthday Chair” Goldie is so concentrated on throwing the best party and making the day special for her friend that she forgets to get them a gift. It’s a real moment and a real thing, and of course for the gift it’s not the most expensive, or the prettiest, or the fanciest, it’s the one that comes from a genuine place, that was handmade with love, that turns out to be the right gift. In general we look for themes and experiences and kid-relatable moments to match up with real world with the characters and the magical element, and of course music.
We can expect to see Goldilocks and the bear from the traditional story in a whole new way, they now are fast friends and up to much more than just sampling porridge, what other fairytale characters will be appearing in this world and what sort of changes will we see?
CG: We have the Three Little Pigs who are also siblings, and we’ve seen the three brothers take on the pigs and we wanted to play a little bit with mixing it up with brothers and sisters. So Twigs is a girl and is the middle sister. Things like that. There’s also the Big Bad Wolf, Red, Granny, a magic gnome who’s really fun, the Giant from Jack and the Bean Stalk, Mother Goose, and a plethora of characters.
I was delighted to see that there is lots of music and singing on Goldie and Bear, why do you think this is an important element to include in children’s programming?
CG: For me music and song is very relatable and beyond entertainment value, we really look for a genuine, authentic, emotional moment in the story to highlight with the song. It often times carries a theme or at least carries that part of what the character is going through in that moment, and I think it makes it memorable and it highlights it in a way that is also entertaining. In the song “Feeling Just Right” in the episode “Big Bear” he feels like he’s finally there at the size he’s always wanted and he celebrates that, which to me something is great, then later when he returns to his real size he reprises the song because it turns out he is “just right” just as he is and that the time for being big will come. I see song as a storytelling tool that would carry with kids and also as something we think would be a fun, and of course music has a long standing tradition with Disney.
What other platforms will folks be able to join in on the adventures Goldie and Bear if they want more?
CG: There will be games and apps. So look for those as well!