Route 66 News

Pixar short film uses Route 66 motel as its setting

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An upcoming short film by Pixar Animation Studios, “Sanjay’s Super Team,” uses a Route 66 motel as its setting.

That’s because the short’s director, Sanjay Patel, saw his parents buy and operate Route 66’s Lido Motel in San Bernardino, California, according to the Los Angeles Times. His family still owns the motel.

The short film will be shown with the November release of Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur.”

The Times provided this description of the film:

The seven-minute short begins with young Sanjay watching cartoons and eating cereal in a bland, beige room as his father jingles a bell, beckoning him to join in meditation. Reluctant and bored by the ceremony, Sanjay begins daydreaming a kind of ancient, Hindu version of “The Avengers,” with the gods appearing like superheroes. As the daydream progresses, the color, light and animation of the film grows increasingly dazzling and cosmic, and Sanjay grows closer to understanding his father’s inner world.

Patel, who’s been with Pixar for nearly 20 years, said it took him a long time to embrace his Indian roots. But he got encouragement from a colleague.

“It took me a long time to feel safe with my identity,” Patel said. “But [Pixar Chief Creative Officer] John Lasseter felt strongly about celebrating the personal side of the story.”

Lasseter directed the hit 2006 animated film “Cars,” which was directly inspired by Route 66 and brought new generations of visitors to the Mother Road. By all accounts, Lasseter is a supportive guy. But I suspect Patel’s Route 66 background didn’t hurt, either.

(Hat tip to Cartoon Brew; Image of the Lido Motel sign by Molly Block via Flickr)


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