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Tink Talks: Brittany Murphy to provide voice for Peter Pan's pal in upcoming "Disney Fairies" films

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Tink Talks: Brittany Murphy to provide voice for Peter Pan's pal in upcoming "Disney Fairies" films

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I'll say this much for the Mouse: He ain't exactly subtle.

As you can see by all the enormous "Disney Fairies" banners that were hanging in the lobby of the  Jacob K. Javits Convention Center yesterday morning ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

... Disney Consumer Products was anxious to make a really big splash at this year's Licensing Show. You know? That annual toy & merchandising event that trend-spotters simply have to go to in order to discover what's going to be driving kids crazy in the next year or so?

Anyway ... What's ironic about this whole situation is that ... What DCP hopes will be its next big thing is a brand-new brand that's actually built around one of the company's tiniest characters: Tinker Bell.

Photo by Jeff Lange

Mind you, up until just recently, Ms. Bell wasn't able to speak for herself. Mostly because ... Well, that's how playwright J.M. Barrie originally envisioned this character. As the silent sprite who assists the boy who never grew up. Peter Pan's pixie pal.

Well, starting in 2007, that all changes. Tinker Bell will be stepping out of Peter Pan's shadow and begin speaking for herself.

"But who will be providing Ms. Bell's voice?," you ask. Well, in a carefully choreographed press conference yesterday morning, Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

... with the help of Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook (plus a few "Disney Fairies" wanna-bes) ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

... revealed that actress Brittany Murphy had been tapped to provide vocals for Tinker Bell.

Photo by Jeff Lange

Best known for her work in films such as "Uptown Girls" and "Little Black Book," Brittany seemed genuinely thrilled to have landed the Tinker Bell gig. Speaking from the podium, Ms. Murphy said that:

"I've had the good fortune of playing many interesting characters, but one as magical as Tinker Bell. To give Tinker Bell a voice for the first time is such an honor."

And clearly the folks at Disney were jazzed that Ms. Murphy had agreed to play Ms. Bell. Which is why president of DisneyToon Studios president Sharon Morrill first gave Brittany a big hug (as well as a Tinker Bell -shaped bauble) ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

... Then Ms. Morrill & Ms. Murphy posed with Mooney and Cook for the usual sorts of photos ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

... Before confetti rained down from above. Which officially signaled the end of yesterday's press conference.

Photo by Jeff Lange

"So when exactly do I get to hear how Brittany sounds as Tinker Bell?," you query. I'm afraid that you'll have to wait another 16 months or so 'til the first of four "Disney Fairies" video premieres. That film -- which is tentatively titled "Tinker Bell and the Ring of Belief" -- is expected to be on store shelves no later than November of next year. Just in time for the 2007 holiday shopping season.

Photo by Jeff Lange

Mind you, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Disney Consumer Products has in store for its new "Disney Fairies" brand. And I'll be getting around to more of those stories here at JHM in the coming weeks.

But -- for now -- I thought that you might enjoy taking a look at some of the great pictures that Jeff Lange took at yesterday's press conference. Which explains today's somewhat slender story ... Which also got posted rather late. Sorry about that.

Anyway ... What are your thoughts on Brittany? Is Ms. Murphy a good choice for the voice of Ms. Bell? Or would you prefer that Peter Pan's pal have remained mute?

Your thoughts?

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  • So I guess Luanne Platter (from King of the Hill) will still be a sporadic character through the show's 11th (and possibly final) season because of this? Yet another way to feed the old-age stereotype that Disney is only for kids and girls?

    As much as I admire Ms. Murphy, I'm gonna have to give this a thumbs down.
  • now if Disney spent this kind of money producing the actual animated feature--instead of pimping its new consumer products line--they might have a good flick on their hand.  How long has it been since Disney produced a high quality animated feature--complete with a winning story and top-level animation.  I think it's been over a decade now.  Even with the financial problems of the war, Walt's studio never went a decade without producing a feature that--in my opinion--will still be watched 100 years after his death.  Most of the animation coming out of DFA and everything out of Toon Studios at the moment will be forgotten in a few years.
  • I thought her name was her sound.  A tinkleing-bell has always reminded me of TinkerBell.  Now the sound of a giddy girl from New York (as seen on David Letterman) will have to do.
  • Actually Jim, JM Barrie did envision Tinker Bell to speak. She has dialogue in the original Peter Pan novel.

    I think Brittany is a wonderful choice.
    *waits to be mobbed*
  • I don't have a problem with Brittany's abilities as a voice actor (she has done fine on "King of the Hill"), but I do have a problem with Tink talking. It's wrong, wrong, wrong.
  • I belive Ms. Murphy will make a great choice. People are upset that LuAnn from King of the Hill will be her, but remember, she is a VOICE ACTRESS, and a pretty good one too.
  • Since Andy Mooney took the helm of Disney Consumer Products, this division of the Company has become its main pimp, shamelessly prostituting out Walt's rich legacy of characters. The Disney Princess line has succeeded in transforming a once unique group of Disney females into a homogenized, generic group of Stepford types, totally devoid of their individual personalities and with all of their facial features reshaped into one single Barbie-esque image. Only their hairstyles and outfits identify them as who they are supposed to be.

    And now this same division of Disney has foisted this Fairies crap upon us, turning our once delightfully vampish Tink into one more Barbie wannabe, complete with a bunch of  Neverland homies. There is so much wrongheadedness with this program that it's hard to know where to begin! But I will try...

    As a former Disney character illustrator, I consider myself to be quite knowledgable on what constitutes good character design. Unfortunately the Disney Fairies don't even measure up aesthetically, even aside from the fact that the whole concept is idiotic to begin with. They may be well drawn, but they are not well designed. To explain, let me point out the fact that you have about a half dozen or so girls that are all virtually the same character. Strip away the costumes and hairstyles and you're left with a group of characters indistinguishable from each other in face and form. It's cookie-cutter art at best, totally lacking individual personality.

    Aside from that, there is an inherent problem with the costumes too. When the Disney artists created the visual design of Tinker Bell for "Peter Pan", they did so with an eye to practicality and having a character that could be animated with consistency. Therefore, Tink was attired in a simple green dress cut to resemble leafy foliage. These new fairies, however, have costumes that are so over-designed with so much stuff on them that it would be damn near impossible for even the most skillful animator to move them around with any consistency. Trust me, this is inherently bad animation design. The old adage, "Less is more" should apply here.

    Anyway, I don't expect to make any friends or influence people within Disney with these comments, but hopefully I have helped enlighten some of you readers with this post. Walt Disney would be very displeased with the mediocrity that now runs rampant at this once-great Company.
  • I think she is a good choice.  She has the animation experience to work with.  The question is "What Would Walt Do?" about Tink talking...

    With the Faries line, they should have created a new character with Tink being an occassional guest star.
  • Ms Murphy was the biggest "name" that would sign for the money Disney was willing to pay. You have to have a name to hold a press conference that will get coverage. Russi Taylor, or any of a number of women currently voicing roles for Disney could handle this, but no one would show up at the press conference. If Disney could have gotten Angelina Jolie for the money, Angelina would be in front of the microphone.

    Personally, for this straight to video garbage, I would have held voice try-outs among the cast members in Anaheim and Florida. Pick cast members and let them voice the characters. You end up with excited cast members that know and promote your latest product, a new hook to hang a media story on, and promotion unlimited - buy this and win a trip to WDW where you can meet the voice of Tink. I'm sorry, that would imply creativity.

    They best be careful to set expectations low or they will be judged a disappointment. I think in two years the script is suppossed to be a pleased Disney exec spouting something along the lines of, "Just a few years ago, no one had ever heard of Disney Fairies before, and they just pulled in half a billion in sales - what a success!"        

    Just think how much money they could make if they were creating new appealing  characters, instead of backing into something that "should work" based on spreadsheets. Ah, but that would take creativity,,,,,,,,,
  • If Tink has to have a voice, I'd rather it be Murphy than say... Spears.  I'd once heard a rumor that Jennifer Love Hewitt was going to voice her, and if that'd happened, I swear I would have launched a protest.  

    Murphy's a great actress, despite some rather bleak commercial role choices.  I think it's great that we have someone who can bring the right level of spunk to Tink.

  • Isn't this movie going to be CG? In that case the costume design shouldn't be a problem for the animators.

    As for creating something original, other than Tinkerbell, what in the Disney Fairy line was used before? Isn't designing a brand new fairy world with all new characters and story lines being creative?

    I don't understand all of the negativity toward this line. Does anyone here have daughters? I don't, but according to some of my friends who do, they simply love it and can't get enough. A coworker's 4 year old daughter can't wait until this movie comes out. She's already read every book (well, had it read to her). Is there something wrong with keeping the next generation of children interested in classic Disney characters? It's not like WDFA has recently produced any memorable characters for children to latch onto (other than Stitch and Kuzco).
  • "Does anyone here have daughters? I don't, but according to some of my friends who do, they simply love it and can't get enough."

    I'm still reserving judgement on my overall opinion, but this much I can definitely back up. My daughters have loved every Disney Princess movie and they are treating this line with the same level of reverence. My six-year-old used it as the theme for her birthday party, which was beautiful and a huge hit with the dozen or so girls who attended. And it gets her to read, always a big deal for me.

    As to the execution of the concept, we'll have to see. I have every confidence in Brittany Murphy to do an excellent job with the voice. My confidence in DisneyToon Studios is ... guarded. History hasn't shown much, but I insist on believing that the winds are changing somewhat at Disney. And while I think it constitutes a reinvention of Tink instead of a reexploration, I don't have the same feeling of moral outrage toward this that I did when, say, Cinderella II was released. I'm ready to like it if it's good.
  • I read "Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg".  I thought it was a great book, as far as a kid's book goes.  I read before that Tink can talk to other fairies in Fairy Haven, but "clumsies" (people) can only hear her as bells, or something like that.  I like Brittany Murphy.  I wonder if Tink will have an accent, like Ty in "Clueless" or Luanne from "King of the Hill".  I hope that she's versatile enough that I don't focus on "that's Brittany Murphy doing the voice of Tink"...I would rather focus on the movie itself.
  • "I'm afraid that you'll have to wait another 16 months or so 'til the first of four "Disney Fairies" video premieres. That film -- which is tentatively titled "Tinker Bell and the Ring of Belief" -- is expected to be on store shelves no later than November of next year. Just in time for the 2007 holiday shopping season."
    ...Oh, they got us all worked up over another dumb DTV!  :(

    Here we were for predicting Doom, Gloom, Cynical Studio Catastrophe, and the Possible Corporate Silencing of John Lasseter for three months, and it wasn't even the silence decency of a February school-vacation theatrical!
    (I mean, that would've been *my* first choice if I'd been working in marketing, y'know, with the whole "Maybe they'll mistake it for a real movie" thing that worked with Return to Neverland...)
    Thanks for nothing, guys...Slow news-conference day at the convention, or what??
  • I dont know why anyone here is concerned. Unless you're under 10 that is.

    These movies are being put direct to video, much like the Barbie (mermaidia) movies.
    I wont see them. And i wont have children in time for them to see them. So.. eh.

    That said, I wouldnt have been happy with anyone as a voice for tinkerbell. As a tinkling bell, should be the only sound heard when she speaks.

    I do worry though. In the future, if this Disney Fairies brand takes off... I will have to come up with something to tell my children, as to why tink speaks in this movie. And only tinkles in this one. Probably because we're in her "fairy realm with all her friends"

    Lame. And i dont really care for the product. Tinkerbell is going to be mass-marketed and shoved in our faces like Stitch was.
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