Another clever idea from the ill-fated animated western called, “Sweating Bullets.” These little songsters were going to serve as our storytellers and be threaded throughout the motion picture moving the story along. Think of them as a Mexican style Greek Chorus.
I enjoyed drawing and designing the clever little critters and I love the Mariachi tradition as well having grown up in nearby Santa Barbara. It was not unusual for us to have Mariachis at festive occasions in my home town or while dining at a local Mexican restaurant on State Street.
The little bugs were delightful to work with and I put them in all kinds of comic situations. I also had fun trying out different color combinations for their festive apparel. I thought they were pretty darn cute, and I know they would have been great to animate. All this took place during the development stage of the film. And, I had the pleasure of working with two amazing young directors who helmed the project. They were the "Two Mikes." Mike Gabriel and Mike Giaimo.
However, somewhere during the development stage the cowboy film had a make over. The rip-roaring cartoon western with cattle drives and ghost cowboys was suddenly scaled down to a little old lady about to lose her ranch. And, who were the heroes who save the day? You guessed it. Three cows. Sounds like a formula for success, doesn't it?
The movie was planned as a traditional hand drawn animated film even as digital production was quickly forging a foothold at the studio. Soon, CGI would dominate animation with the help of CEO, Michael Eisner who seemed eager to bury the medium pioneered by Walt Disney. It has always been my contention that the motion picture was part of a plan. A plan that would justify the dismantling of traditional hand drawn animation. And, a plan that was eventually carried out.
However, the development art from "Sweating Bullets" remains to this day. This Disney film that was never produced includes broad colorful vistas, rousing cowboy tunes and a group of western bad guys you'd not likely forget. It was the animated feature I couldn't wait to see. Now, it's the movie you'll never see.