Learning Fun Facts for 'Spies in Disguise' at Blue Sky Studios Tour

By 3/10/2020 10:16:00 AM , ,

To celebrate SPIES IN DISGUISE being release digitally on Movies Anywhere, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD, I'm sharing a few facts I learned during my behind-the-scenes experience at Blue Sky Studios in Greenwich, CT

Note: I was invited by 20th Century Studios as media for the press tour. Any personal views expressed are always 100% my own

During my exclusive tour at Blue Sky Studios, I interviewed the filmmakers and animators, watched “making of” presentations, and even learned how to draw Lance, the star pigeon of "Spies in Disguise".

It was a day filled with lots of cool experiences that I know you'll enjoy reading about before, during or after you watch "Spies in Disguise" at home with your family.

So here are a few "Behind-the-Scenes" Facts for Spies in Disguise

A Spy Movie for Kids

Directors Troy Quane and Nick Bruno were excited at the prospect of making, what they believed could be, a kid’s first introduction on to spy movies. It was important to them that “Spies in Disguise” had all the familiar elements of the genre: exotic international locales, dazzling cinematography, big action set pieces, futuristic gadgetry and a great score with a memorable theme.

Says Bruno, “We didn’t want to make this a spoof. We wanted to make this a legitimate spy movie that just happens to be animated.”

Adds Quane, “We both embraced the crazy idea – a man turns into a pigeon, which is insane.

They then imagined what would happen if they were to replace the heroes of successful spy movies with a pigeon, and what they discovered was that the more grounded and cool the trappings were, the funnier it was with a pigeon in the center of it all.

Finding the Right Walter and Lance

In addition to being a spy movie, “Spies in Disguise” is a buddy comedy with humor from the differences between its two main characters; Lance and Walter.

“It was a dream come true when he (Will Smith) came on board to the project. As an actor, he really cares about stories and storytelling and making the movie as best as it can. He was a collaborator the whole way through and really helped to shape Lance’s character.” said Bruno

Finding "Walter" was more challenging because they didn’t want him to be the stereotypical computer scientist nerd or the butt of the joke.

"So it was really important to us that he be affirmational, so kids will go to see the film initially wanting to be like a Lance Sterling, but realizing that the hero is really inside them, like Walter Beckett.” Bruno explains

“Trying to find that balance was really tough, but once we met with Tom Holland, we knew we had found our Walter. Tom has a charm and an earnestness about him that brought Walter to life.” Quane explains

One of the activities during my tour was meeting with animators Ty Carter and Graham Silva to learn how they gave the pigeons personality.

They explained how each pigeon had their own "style" of drawing shape and coloring. Even thought they were drawing a pigeon, they still aimed to keep certain traits for Lance as a human for Lance as a pigeon. Like his signature bow tie!

Then we learned a quick step by step on drawings Lance. While my pigeon lance came out OK, I confess watching Ty and Graham draw is much better then trying to draw myself. While it was a supper fun exercise, I learned that it's a lot of work that goes into drawing ALL the characters for different scene. Lots and Lots of work.

Why a Pigeon?

What was genius about the script, and therefore, made Walter’s idea so brilliant, is that pigeons are actually amazing creatures, and they are the perfect disguise!

Bruno explains, “They’re in every city around the world. No one pays pays attention to them. Nobody even knows that they’re there. So they’re hiding in plain sight. Because they have eyes on the side of their head, they can see in 360 degrees, which means that at any given time, they can see your face and their butt. And you can’t sneak upon them.”

Concurs Quane. “They’re one of the fastest birds in the world. But because they’re so fast, they see at a faster rate of speed than we do, so everything to them feels slow motion. We would always refer to that as Pigeon Bullet Time. They see UV light, bands of light that we can’t see with the human eye.”

Quane continues, “On the surface, it seems like a joke, but really this is the best cover for a spy. No one knows you’re there. You’ve got all these built-in gadgets. It’s actually genius, as are all of Walter’s other gadgets.”

The Look of Spies in Disguise

“Spies in Disguise” has its own unique style, design and color palette, which helps it stand out from the other Blue Sky Studios films.

The film’s cool spy base, in keeping with the whole idea of espionage where things are hidden before your eyes, is concealed under the reflection pool of the Washington Monument. So it’s in sight, but never seen.

Thought went into the colors and the lighting used in the film. Production designer Michael Knapp developed a color language where warmer oranges and yellows represent teamwork and community. A warm shade of turquoise represent The Agency, whereas a cool shade of blue is isolating, which is why Lance’s tux is that color, he’s a man who “flies solo.”

The camera work in the film was designed to ground the movie in reality and to stand alongside the action-packed modern espionage movie. Care was taken to emulate the type camera moves that can be achieved in live-action iconic spy movies of the ‘60’s.

Now you can experience the thrills of SPIES IN DISGUISE released digitally on Movies Anywhere, 4K Ultra HDTM, Blu-ray and DVD on March 10.

The SPIES IN DISGUISE Blu-ray bonus features include multiple making-of featurettes and two awesome music videos. Additionally, the Blu-ray edition of SPIES IN DISGUISE includes “Super Secret Spy Mode,” an immersive, in-movie experience that takes you deeper into the story with Easter eggs, fun facts, and behind-the-scenes insights into the making of the film.


In this high-flying animated comedy, super spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) are almost exact opposites. Lance is smooth, suave and debonair. Walter is none of the above. But this unlikely duo must team up for the ultimate mission to save the world when a “biodynamic concealment” experiment transforms Lance into a brave, fierce, majestic...pigeon!

Digital & Blu-ray Bonus Features:

  • Super-Secret Spy Mode
  • Infiltrating Blue Sky Studios
  • The Top Secret Guide to Gadgets
  • “Then There Were Two” Music Video
  • “Freak of Nature” Music Video
  • Making the Soundtrack “Then There Were Two”
  • Making the Soundtrack “Freak of Nature”
  • “Lunch Break”* (Available on Digital Only )
  • Gallery
    • Color Keys and Moment Paintings
    • Character Designs
    • Locations
    • Props and Gadgets Concept Art

To learn more, visit -

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