Editor’s Note: This article contains movie spoilers.
Aurora is a far cry from the Italian-inspired makeup landscape of Pixar’s latest film, “Luca,” but director Enrico Casarosa and host Earl Brawley spent part of their childhood in the Rockies.
For Brawley, those childhood memories in Colorado directly influenced the sun-drenched adventures of the film’s main character, Luca, a shape-shifting aquatic monster who befriends a like-minded free spirit named Alberto. The couple defy the wishes of Luca’s overprotective parents and venture to the coastal town of Portorosso, where even more getaways await.
“Me and my best friend [were] kind of nerdy guys and we would always have these kind of silly adventures, âBrawley said of his past in Aurora. “They were building houses once and they just had the driveway paved, and we dug a hole under the driveway and had a little cave there.”
Brawley also traced the start of his animation career to Aurora. At Smoky Hill High School, he experimented with his first computer animation programs. “I always liked playing on the computer at home, and I think we did something like CAD [Computer Assisted Design] or something where you could build your own house, âhe said. âThe mission was to build a dream home, but just being in this virtual world blew me away. “
His mother encouraged Brawley to pursue his interest in graphic design, which led him to Platt College in Aurora. The graphic design program at the time allowed students to get into web design or animation. Brawley chose the latter and made a student film about foosball players. âI could animate the incoming camera and turned the music up on it,â he said. âYeah, I can really create something! “
Eventually, his career took him out of Colorado, first to the Vancouver Film School in Canada, then to Japan to work as an animator. Even very early on, Brawley’s goal was to join Pixar.
âI remember applying after school, I was like ‘I’m probably not having a chance, but I have to try,'” he said. âI ended up going to Japan and it was a whole new adventure, and I kind of felt comfortable there, but it was always in my mind that I wanted to go to Pixar. , from there I ended up going to Sony Image Works in Vancouver and that was kind of the next step, getting into the feature film. I got to play a lead role, but it still was in my head, like ‘Ah, but Pixar’. I must be at Pixar. ‘”