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Hello, Dolly! composer moved by Wall•E

AP caught up with Hello, Dolly! composer Jerry Herman to get his reactions on the use of two of the Tony-winning musical’s songs in Pixar’s latest blockbuster. “I’m still blown away by the fact that two songs of mine that are close to 50 years old have been used as the underpinning. My eyes were really wet at both the opening and the closing of the film, and just the wonderful way those songs were used to make him more human. That’s really what they did.” Laughing, Herman said it was “so weird” that the songs would be used in a robot movie. But he said the theme of Hello, Dolly! — about a 19th-century widowed matchmaker who learns to live again — is relevant to the world of WALL-E, where chubby, unmotivated humans are pampered by robots in a giant space ship before a wake-up call jolts them out of complacency. “It’s about a basic need for people to go on with life and not shut themselves away and to make the most out of the time we have on this planet.” Wall•E writer/director Andrew Stanton said he knew he wanted to juxtapose retro music with this futuristic setting, but discovered “a perfect fit” to his narrative when he stumbled upon the Hello, Dolly! repertoire and the lyric “out there.” (In the musical, it is the song that a Yonkers store clerk croons as he and his apprentice plan their New York City adventure.). “I thought it was a perfect counterpoint to have this sort of almost naive optimism in the song,” Andrew said. “But then it seemed even more appropriate the more I thought about it, because the song is about two naive guys (who) have never left their small town and they just want to go to the big city for one night, live it up and kiss a girl. And I thought, `That is my main character.’ You’re meeting WALL-E’s dreams before you ever get to meet WALL-E. And I love that. That was just so poetic to me,” the director added.

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