Phil Johnston & Rich Moore Interview: Ralph Breaks the Internet

Rich Moore has directed some of Disney Animations most recent hits, such as Wreck-It Ralph and Zootopia. His latest work is Ralph Breaks the Internet, a direct sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph. Phil Johnston was one of the writers who worked on the original movie and is now a co-director on the film.

Screen Rant: So, I heard a rumor that in 2015 you guys did a table read for Ralph Breaks the Internet. A lot's changed the Internet since 2015.

Rich Moore: Oh man, yeah.  Ken Bone, how we miss thee [LAUGHS].

Screen Rant: Are there any trends, now, that you wish you could've included, like last minute for the film?

Phil Johnston: Oh, that's a great question. Are there any trends-- like God—

Rich Moore: Like what's going on right now…

Screen Rant: As we all pull up Twitter.

Rich Moore: Yeah.

Phil Johnston: I think right, as of right now, if our movie came out today, it’s as up to date as I would want it to be. Because you can't really predict what is going to be, still a thing in five years, much less five minutes.  So, if you asked us that in three weeks, it might change. But I think right now we kept the story pretty-- The core emotional story of the two friends is there. And then the internet feels like a snapshot of the Internet circa nine-- 2018. What year is it?  Yeah, 1980 [LAUGHS].

Screen Rant: Gal Gadot is a new addition to the cast. She's great by the way.  Did getting her inform the character that we got with Shank? Or was it the other way around? Was Shank already kind of a thing. Because she has the Fast and the Furious franchise.  She’s kind of a racer and stuff.

Rich Moore: I think, it's like one kind of feeds the other.  That we were starting to design the character and we would always kind of say that, well Shank is, she's kind of a cool big sister figure to Vanellope. She's kind of a Gal Gadot type. And we're like, “Well, who would play this character? Well, we could go Gal Gadot.” We keep talking about her as this type. So, Gal, so, the idea of Gal was always there. Even before we reached out, like we wrote a letter to her and sent her the script.  So-- but that was always kind of in the ether, with that character.

Screen Rant: Now we talked yesterday, you guys got my Air Bud reference in there.

Rich Moore: Yes, absolutely. Thank you for that note.

Phil Johnston: And for the check.

Screen Rant: Yeah, definitely. And then, you guys also talked to me over the summer about possibly, you guys were almost going to include the Golden Girls.

Rich Moore: Yes.

Screen Rant: Are there any other properties that you wanted to include, that didn't quite make the cut?

Rich Moore: That's heartbreaking, that more people don't realize that at, there is a strong Golden Girls presence.  And we were wondering like, “Why are the Golden Girls here?” And it turns out it was Touchstone Television that made the show. So…

Phil Johnston: I know another one that we haven't talked about in a while.  There was a moment when we opened the film with the funeral of Tapper, the video game Tapper.

Screen Rant: Really?

Phil Johnston: Yes. And Tapper died and Ralph and Vanellope were giving this eulogy.

Rich Moore: Oh no, he was unplugged.

Phil Johnston: Sorry. Unplugged. But then the ghost of Tapper visited Ralph, he was a ghosted image on the screen.  And he was like, “Raaalph. You must embrace change.”

Rich Moore: It's very kind of King Lear, very kind of—

Phil Johnston: Dickensian—

Rich Moore: Marley's ghost type of thing. That was, I wish, that was a fun one.

Screen Rant: Now, you guys have said that you watched Wreck-It Ralph

Phil Johnston: Haven't seen it.

Rich Moore: Yeah.

Screen Rant: Well, you guys watched it back after you did it, and thought, “You know, well he is this one big flaw.” I know now, with Ralph Breaks the Internet, is there anything that you might think you're going to go back and watch like, “Well now we need a third one. Because there's this one glaring thing?” Because it does wrap up pretty good.

Rich Moore: Yeah, I think-- And that's the thing. When we finished the first one, that was not even on my radar.  How truly codependent Ralph was on Vanellope. That he's defining himself by her opinion of him. So, I feel like I'm still kind of in that mindset with this one, where it feels like, “Nope, it's wrapped up good.”

Phil Johnston: I wonder where we would find Vanellope?

Rich Moore: Yeah, that’s true.

Phil Johnston: She's had this coming of age and found her dream game here. But there's like--

Rich Moore: Buyer's remorse.

Phil Johnston: Yeah, or what are her insecurities? Might she find them there? So—

Rich Moore: Oh no, Joe. You got us going.

Screen Rant: Pandora’s Box guys.

Phil Johnston: Yeah.

Rich Moore: You did it. Oh boy.

Screen Rant: Well, this film is great. Thank you, guys, so much.

Phil Johnston: Thank you.

More: Taraji P. Henson Interview for Ralph Breaks the Internet

Key Release Dates
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet/Wreck-It Ralph 2 (2018) release date: Nov 21, 2018
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