Just like all of you I was saddened to hear about the passing of Dick Williams.
This is how I remember him most, working on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. We had met before this, in LA at Academy events and film festivals. I shared Dick's profound enthusiasm for animation, and we enjoyed just talking about Disney, Warner Brothers, or the medium in general.
One day he called me and said that he might work for Disney after all. There was this high level project in development at Disney and Amblin, a combination of animation and live action. But it would have to be done in a way never attempted before.
I recall him coming to my house for dinner and telling me a little bit about the film whose main character would be an animated rabbit. Before leaving, Dick pulled out of his car's trunk a model sheet of Roger filled with his drawings.
A few weeks later he phoned me and asked if I was interested in joining the animation crew in London to work on the film. Of course I would still be employed by Disney. Here's the thing: I said no, I had just been in LA for a few years, and that I wasn't ready to return to Europe.
I think another couple of weeks passed and animation producer Don Hahn and Dick asked me out for a Mexican dinner. I believe it was Don Cuco in Burbank.
Anyway we had dinner and margaritas... and I signed on.
One of the best decisions I ever made regarding my professional career.
After my flight to Heathrow I was picked up by a driver, not to my new apartment, but straight to the studio in Camden. There was no time for jet lag...here is your first scene...GO!!!
It had the ostrich from Fantasia in it, interacting with Eddie Valiant. Photostats and all.
It really was the beginning of a terrific year, there was a buzz around the studio I'd never experienced before. We really were doing things that had never been done.
Here is the link to a post about that first ostrich scene: