Crystal, Goodman head back to school in 'Monsters University'

Updated: 2013-06-19 10:45


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Crystal, Goodman head back to school in 'Monsters University'

Cast member Billy Crystal poses with a life-size character of Mike, whom he voices in the movie, at the premiere of the film "Monsters University" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California June 17, 2013. The movie opens in the US on June 21.[Photo/Agencies]

Crystal, Goodman head back to school in 'Monsters University'

'Monsters University' premieres in Hollywood

One-eyed green monster Mike Wazowski and his giant blue, furry friend James P. "Sully" Sullivan go back in time as "scaring" students in "Monsters University," as Walt Disney Co.'s Pixar Animation Studios pins its hopes for a blockbuster on the coming-of-age story.

"Monsters University," a prequel to 2001 animated film "Monsters, Inc.," will be released on Friday in US theaters, and director Dan Scanlon told Reuters one of the main challenges was to keep the film fresh and surprising for audiences.

"You're dealing with the fact that everybody knows how the movie is going to end," Scanlon said about plotting Pixar's first prequel, particularly for a film that grossed more than $560 million at the worldwide box office.

A college setting seemed ideal for best friends Mike, voiced by Billy Crystal, and Sully, voiced by John Goodman, Scanlon said, to "explore serious emotional relationship stuff" and "major self-discovery."

"It's a maturing process or learning who you are," Goodman added. "Everybody goes through it, whether you went to college or not."

"Monsters University" tells the story of how Mike and Sully first met in college as "scaring" majors, learning the prestigious art of scaring human beings in order to harness their screams, which power the city of Monstropolis.

Although Mike and Sully eventually become friends and co-workers at scaring factory Monsters, Inc., their friendship does not have the smoothest start, with Sully's "party-guy" popularity conflicting with the studious, ambitious Mike.

The film focuses on Mike, whose sole ambition from childhood is to become a "scarer" despite not being very intimidating, and at university, he struggles to find his place among his peers, finally fitting in with a fraternity of outcasts.

"Unfortunately, he lacks a certain undefinable quality to be scary. So now he has to find what it is that makes him special," said Scanlon.

"What we see as crushing failures in life hopefully lead us to new things - things we never thought possible."

Related: Actress Helen Mirren turns ferocious in new 'Monsters' movie

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