“Planes: Fire & Rescue,” which was released nationwide on Friday, continues the story of Dusty Crophopper, the crop duster turned champion racer voiced by Dane Cook. Dusty’s engine has been permanently damaged and his racing career is over. Unsure what he’s going to do, Dusty finds a new purpose when he joins a fire response and rescue team.
His courage and heart are put to the test when he must risk his own life to battle massive wildfires and help others.
“When we learned that crop dusters can be used in wildfire air attack, we knew how we wanted to continue to story (of Dusty),” Barron said. “So when we realized that, we went straight to the source — those who fight wildfires in California.”
Barron said they spent time at Hemet-Ryan Air Attack Base in Riverside County, California, gathering ideas for the story and learning more about the world of wildfire firefighting.
Firefighters were used as consultants to ensure accuracy with everything from the dialogue to the equipment.
The firefighting sequences presented the greatest challenges.
“The visual effects were some of the most ambitious Disney had ever attempted,” Barron said. “All at the same time, we were dealing with smoke, fire and water. Those are core elements in the scenes. They are hard to get right.”
Barron said that while children will remember the thrilling action and the planes, helicopters and ground rescue equipment, their parents will appreciate the story of getting a second chance in life.
“It’s a story of taking chances,” he said. “That’s what inspired me. I think that’s what the adults will remember. Life is not like a Disney fairy tale. Things do not always work out the first time. Life is full of opportunities and you have to be willing to take a chance.”
East Texas Background
Barron grew up in Longview, a son of Jim and Julia Barron. In 1972, his parents opened Barron’s. Once one of the largest bookstores in the East Texas, the retail store now includes a women’s boutique, home d￩cor, body and bath products and a restaurant.
Ferrell Barron’s brother, Brandon, helps run the family business.
Mrs. Barron said Ferrell first showed an interest in show business when he was in junior high.
“We took him to an acting camp and didn’t think anything of it,” she said. “But when he came out on stage in costume, he had this dynamic energy. I thought, ‘Who is this kid?’ We had no idea he had it in him.”
Barron performed in theater while at Pine Tree High School and in the Texas Shakespeare Festival held in nearby Kilgore. After obtaining a fine arts degree in acting from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Barron pursued a career in acting.
While in Los Angeles auditioning for TV and movie roles, he landed a job as an assistant to a producer overseeing the animated “Piglet’s Big Movie” and a few years later, was hired as a producer on “The Fox and the Hound 2.”
He spent four years working on the big budget “Planes: Fire & Rescue.”
“I love making movies for Disney,” Barron said. “Everybody is so creative. Everybody worked so hard. I am so proud of this movie. We are dedicating it to firefighters everywhere. It is a great movie with a great message.”