Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas: About the production: Setting Sail

For generation after generation, the name Sinbad has evoked images of swashbuckling adventures on the high seas. Born more than a thousand years ago in the ancient tales of The Arabian Nights, Sinbad has come to the big screen before, most notably in Ray Harryhausen’s cult classic stop-motion animated films. However, the state-of-the-art tools of today’s traditional animation have allowed Sinbad to be brought to the screen as never before in “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.”

Producer Jeffrey Katzenberg offers, “Sinbad is one of those epic hero characters we all grew up with, but his story has never been told in animation, and the opportunity to do something fresh, with a contemporary sensibility, was very exciting. Telling the Sinbad tale also allowed us to create an incredibly breathtaking world full of fantastic monsters. That’s the fun of animation’to take an audience to places unlike anything they’ve ever seen before.”

To craft the script, the filmmakers turned to a writer who was no stranger to bringing epic heroes of the past to the screen: John Logan, the writer of the Oscar®-winning Best Picture “Gladiator.”

“After the phenomenal success of ‘Gladiator,’ we thought, who better to adapt the legend of Sinbad’,” says Katzenberg. “John set out to take this rich mythology and reinvent it in a way that would make it a compelling story for a 21st-century audience, and I think he really accomplished that for us.”

Having never worked on an animated film before, John Logan recalls that he was intrigued by the story possibilities, but at the same time admits, “I had no idea what to expect. Jeffrey Katzenberg’who, by the way, is quite the con man’asked me if I would like to write an animated movie. I said, ‘Well, I really don’t know much about it.’ He assured me, ‘It’s really fun; you’ll have a great time doing this,’ knowing full well the ‘fun’ would take four years of my life,” Logan laughs.

“But I must say, it was incredible fun,” the writer continues. “I grew up on those classic Sinbad movies with Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation monsters, and I have always loved pirate movies with all that swashbuckling action. What guy doesn’t’ So to get to play in that realm for a while was really exciting. Animation is also incredibly liberating because it gives a writer absolute freedom to explore the most fantastical worlds. In live action, there’s always a nagging thought in the back of my mind that if I write that 10,000 soldiers come over the hill, somebody has to cast them, somebody has to wardrobe them, somebody has to shoot them, and there has to be a hill. But in animation, if I write that a 100-foot sea monster rises from the waves and jumps over the ship, I know it can happen.”

Logan also appreciated the level of teamwork that comes with working on an animated film, saying, “I was the beneficiary of some incredible talents because the act of writing ‘Sinbad’ was actually one of collaboration with the producers, directors, animators, story editors, artists, the voice talent’ It was like electricity in that room; wonderful things emerged as we all tried different takes on the material.”

Producer Mireille Soria notes, “We started with the Sinbad legend and then brought in different elements of mythology that we felt worked with the story. There is action and romance, but at its core is a tale of friendship based on the Greek fable of Damon and Pythius, about one friend who is willing to sacrifice his life for the other.”

Director Patrick Gilmore expounds, “We cast a really wide net out to different mythologies to find what we thought were the greatest adventures and the coolest monsters to test our hero, but the thread that runs through the story is a test of friendship. In our story, Sinbad is reunited with his friend Proteus after having been estranged for about 10 years. Yet, when Sinbad gets into trouble, Proteus steps forward and puts his own life on the line for his old friend. What will Sinbad’this thief who is used to having the freedom to do anything he wants in life’do’ Will he run for the horizon, or will he risk his life for his friend'”