The Woman in the Background

Diane Disney Miller was more than simply a leader. She was a force. That’s why her diminutive appearance was always a surprise. As we already know, a person’s size gives little indication of what they can accomplish if determined to do so.

As I poured over a series of photographs this morning I came across this interesting shot. While filming at the Walt Disney Family Museum a few months ago I grabbed my trusty iPad and took a few shots. Here we see the crew ready for another shot as Diane stands alone in the background. It’s interesting that she happens to be the smallest image in the frame. She stands in the background purposely avoiding all the activity. Yet, in a very real way this shot is all about her. She’s the reason we’re here, and the Walt Disney Family Museum would not even exist today were it not for her determination and persistence.

We’re shooting bonus material for the 2014 release of Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book, and it’ll be sequence you’ll want to see. We open with Richard Sherman at the piano playing the delightful melody he and his brother, Robert wrote for the film. I’m sure you know the beautiful melody. The little girl fetches water from a stream as Mowgli, Baloo and Bagheera watch from a safe distance. The little girl knows she’s being watched and like most little girls, she knows she has the upper hand. Mowgli won’t be able to resist and soon he’s making his way toward the “man village.” This sequence works beautifully and why wouldn’t it? The idea didn’t come from the story team. It came from Walt Disney himself.

We talk more about the classic movie Walt Disney supervised, and Diane Disney Miller provides some insights of her own. The Jungle Book was special in so many ways, and at the time we honestly had no idea this would be Walt’s last motion picture. As I look back on this filming session only a few months ago…I had no idea this would be the last filming for Walt’s daughter as well.