There are many Disney references in “Wish,” as is usually the case. But was there a conscious decision to pay tribute to the history of Disney, or was it as you were writing the story? Were there opportunities like, “Oh, there’s talking animals now. We can do something with that”?
It was a mix in the sense that in the beginning, we almost got a little worried that that would take over, so we pulled way back. But opportunities kept being there. Particularly, you mentioned the animals — the idea that we always tease it, like, “Where did all that come from, that animals can talk?” We know we have pixie dust, magic dust, things like that. This Star character [brings] that, and then we could enjoy ourselves.
We made sure we wrote something that foundationally was not based on the other films. But even some of the motifs, like the concept of mirrors, came over time because it almost felt like they just arrived there. You would start to see them in the boards — then you’d start to go, “He would do that.” Some of those came about over time as if they were saying, “We’re here, by the way.” Others … We would always say if it started to pull you out of the film, then that wasn’t okay. But if it was additive and we were enjoying ourselves, why not?
“Wish” commemorates 100 years of Disney and draws influence from many films throughout the company’s history. What do you hope the legacy of “Wish” will be for the next 100 years of Disney?
I went back to “Cinderella” over and over again when I was growing up, and I hope it’s one of those films that whenever anyone needs to feel that they can have the courage to pursue their wish, they go back to this film. Whenever they’re feeling like they’re at a bump in the road, they can go back to this film. They can remember that you’re not alone. There are helpers out there. It’s okay that there are bumps in the road. There’s failure and success. [I hope] that this film becomes that little light when they need it.
“Wish” releases in theaters on November 22.
This interview has been edited for clarity.