The moving emotional core can be attributed to Executive Producer John Lasseter, the force behind hits such as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Toy Story 2. “You have to get people invested in the characters and the journey that these characters go through,” says Lasseter.  He packs his movies with snorting funny moments, but makes sure the emotion of the story carries the film.  This quality, plus a little healthy competition, drew Travolta to the project.  “What led me to the piece was, my good friends have done great animated features,” said Travolta, “Tom Hanks did Toy Story and Robin Williams did Aladdin.  I didn’t want to do an average [film].  I was competitive in a certain way.  If I’m going to do an animated feature, you know, I’m going to do a great one.”

Something Good for Kids and Parents

Another plus was the opportunity to work with Miley Cyrus. In addition the movie, Travolta and Cyrus recorded a song and filmed a music video.  Travolta has two children, so working with Cyrus increased his profile at home.  “I was so popular when I got home after the news of doing a song with Miley,” he said, “Doing a movie was big enough news, but singing and dancing with her was a whole other thing.”  Cyrus’s character Penny somewhat reflects her real life experience as a child actor in Hollywood, something that Travolta has in common with her.  Because Bolt is taken in by the smoke and mirrors of Hollywood, he says that his early experience helped him relate to Bolt as well. “I had my own version of being naive in areas I shouldn’t be naive in.  A 16 year-old thrown into a theater of New Yorkers.  I know what it feels like to have guilelessness toward cynicism.”

And, ultimately, that’s what the movie is about:  Friendship and compassion cutting through cynicism.  Every power about Bolt may be false, but his loyalty to Penny is real.  Mittens may be hard and hurt, but she finds a way to trust again. Rhino may be delusional, but that doesn’t stop him from backing up his friends.  “When I saw it,” said Essman, “I was like ‘this is a movie I want my kids to see.’  Because there’s so much out there I don’t want them to see.  And when I saw it, I felt like this was something that I’d be so happy to have them see.”

Featuring the voice talents of John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Mark Walton and Susie Essman, Bolt opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, November 21, 2008.  Click here for more information.