“The Bob’s Burgers Movie”: Making of The Musical Numbers

The writers and directors tell IndieWire how to take the singing and dancing of the Belcher family to new heights.

While “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” is sure to be a hit with fans of the Fox animated series, there’s plenty for newcomers too, including four musical numbers that pump up the energy while revealing the internal life of the Belchers. – parents Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts) and children Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman) and Louise (Kristen Schaal) and their devoted family friend, Teddy. The film opens with an ode to summer, a big Broadway-style number that might recall last year’s “In the Heights” as it moves from the film’s eponymous restaurant to the waterfront town. ocean where the series takes place, culminating in an anxious encounter with the bank officer overseeing the family’s business loan. The song is hilarious, heartfelt and uplifting – all while celebrating the Belchers’ underdog spirit.

While the original musical numbers have long been part of the “Bob’s Burgers” repertoire, the cinematic spin-off takes things to the next level. “It’s not so much that we wanted to do it differently, but we wanted to make it bigger and put on as much of a show as possible, so that it would fill the speakers and fill the room,” series creator and ” Bob’s Burgers Movie,” writer-director Loren Bouchard told IndieWire. “We wanted people to get what they paid for, so to speak.

Adding to the show is dancing — a lot — which Bouchard said was one of the big things he and co-director Bernard Derriman wanted to add to the film. “Bernard is really good at drawing dance,” he explains. “It’s amazing what he can capture for a dancing character. And [co-writer] Nora Smith is also very good at a very particular type of dance, which I like to call “the good silly dance”.

“It’s always funny, and yet it’s also a very good dance,” continues Bouchard. “The shoulders are going in the right direction and the hips are doing something you’ve never seen before. Between them, for the film, they really brought dance as something that we were trying to bring to the audience as best we could. It was really fun for us too. We really love seeing these characters move like that.

“The Bob’s Burgers Movie”

Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

“We love musicals,” Derriman adds, citing some of the filmmakers’ favorite movie references, including “The Blues Brothers,” “The Music Man,” and “Hair.”

“There’s something really magical about seeing a lot of characters doing the same move, especially at different levels, when you see characters in the foreground and characters in the background doing things,” he said. he stated, noting that they could never afford to have scenes. with so many characters in the series. “It would take a year to do it, and we really only have a show for a few weeks and then it’s gone, so it was an opportunity to do these really big numbers with tons of characters dancing. was great fun.”

“When you have someone with a good eye and a good pencil, you can almost feel the movement in your own body as you watch these animated characters on screen,” Bouchard said.

“Bernard, perhaps even without thinking about it, always places the camera in the right place. I imagine these music video directors, some rise above the others. And it’s probably just an instinct for where to place the camera,” Bouchard said, describing footage of the three Belcher kids walking towards school in synchronized dance mode. “They have this little thing side to side, head up and down, and it just worked. It’s just a great shot.

There is, however, a common reference point that they sought to avoid in “The Bob’s Burgers Movie”. “Sometimes you have to fight to avoid Busby Berkeley,” Derriman said, “because it’s the immediate go-to for the animators because it’s so visual. Not to be rude about it, but it’s duplicate animation. You can do a character and basically duplicate the action all the way. So in animation, Busby Berkeley is the gold standard. Sometimes you just can’t help but do a little. But, sometimes I try to walk away.

Linda Belcher (voiced by John Roberts) in 20th Century Studios' THE BOB'S BURGERS FILM.  Courtesy of 20th Century Studios.  © 2022 20th Century Studios.  All rights reserved.

“The Bob’s Burgers Movie”

Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

The songwriting process “never stays the same,” Bouchard said, explaining that each of the songs in the show has its own unique origin story and that the songs in the movie “got spewed up” as they went along. as they wrote the script.

“We were always working on them, trying to make sure they earned their place,” he says. “We also had the feeling of not overstaying our welcome. We didn’t want to wrap this thing up with songs like a real musical with a capital M. We wanted it to be a ‘Bob’s Burgers’; version of that, which is to say hopefully a song where you want it and never one where you don’t.

While they approached the project with what Bouchard calls “a great deal of humility and fear”, his longtime collaboration with Smith boosted his confidence in the songs they wrote together, often on ukuleles in his clean house. “Nora doesn’t play the ukulele, but she understood those two chords and she said, ‘I really like those two chords. And immediately I knew that those were the first two chords of the first song in the film. I said, ‘Holy shit. I like those. Show me that.’ And I immediately felt that we were going to be able to do it.

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