“The design of [this] film will try to put a fresh twist on a 1950s retro vibe. Byron [Howard] and I are such huge fans of Disneyland, and of Fantasyland in particular. The architecture of Fantasyland is nostalgic 1950s Fantasyland. There’s real appeal and style that are used in films like Cinderella, so we’re doing research on that style.”A piece about this on Jim Hill Media has more artwork featuring the lead character, plus an interesting insight into the design of the hero:
“We had a couple of versions [of the prince] and John Lasseter came in and went, ‘Well, this guy is okay, but I don’t know. Is he drop-dead gorgeous? I think women will want him to be drop-dead gorgeous [...] What you guys have to do is get all the women in the studio to send you the names of their favorite hot men. Put photos of all these hunky guys in the room, take the best features of each of them, and make one amazing, dynamic character.’ So that’s the process that’s going on right now. This place has turned into junior high. It’s like working in the office of Tiger Beat."That interested me (and makes this post relevant to the Mirabilis blog) because Leo and Martin went through the same kind of development process with Jack and Estelle. It is important for heroes and heroines to be attractive. The movie star looks of a leader like Barack Obama or JFK gets people talking about Camelot - because we want our myths to come true.
There are different types of handsomeness, of course - a hero can be monstrously attractive, like Hellboy. Just so long as he isn't plain. See what John Lasseter said there? Amazing. Dynamic. The single most important thing in storytelling is to establish a connection - to make the reader or viewer want to be your protagonist. We'd all like to see ourselves as amazing, dynamic, charismatic. Attractiveness is a visual device to represent the inner light. In real life, we can see past a person's looks (sometimes). But art is not life, and it's important for creators to remember that.