Have you ever wondered what a personified world of animals might look like? Well, you’ll get to see just that when Disney’s 55th animated release, Zootopia, hits theaters on March 4, 2016!
The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when rookie Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia,” is a comedy-adventure directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and co-directed by Jared Bush (“Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero”).
While in LA for the Star Wars Press Event, we also had he pleasure of visiting the Walt Disney Animation studios where they’ve been working on all this animal fun! We chatted with the filmmakers (Producer Clark Spencer and Directors Rich Moore & Byron Howard), which was great! But then we got to head over to the temporary animation building (as the normal location is going through renovations) and SEE all the work going into the film. We walked into what is a very sort of industrial/urban jungle building and then were greeted with the world of Zootopia inside! Our first stop was learning about the story process that went into creating Zootopia, with Writer and Co-Director Jared Bush, Writer Phil Johnston, Co-Head of Story Josie Trinidad and Head of Editorial Fabienne Rawley! The whole process of making these films is INCREDIBLE! Then, we were treated to some behind-the-scenes animation process with Head of Animation Renato dos Anjos and Animation Supervisors Nathan Engelhardt and Chad Sellers. Together with the talented artists of the animation team, they merged animal and human behavior to create the unique and varied performances of the animals of Zootopia. The whole thing really is incredible!! Here are some of the fun facts we learned about making the movie:
- As a creator, you can’t be married to any idea or anything you’ve created! You would be AMAZED at much gets slashed, cut, and removed! No matter how amazing something is, if it’s not working in terms of telling the story then it gets cut!
- There were hundreds (like nearing 1,000+) drafts of the movie as they worked to get it just right!!
- Over 500 animators worked on making the movie! Isn’t that incredible?!
- The process has taken over 4 years! A LOT of work goes into making these movies. They really, truly are YEARS in the making!
- Creators relied on some animal stereotypes to tell the story, “foxes are sly, elephants never forget, sloths are slow, etc”. You’ll actually see some animals trying to overcome these stereotypes in the movie!
- Animators went on safari in Africa to research animal behavior and movements in the wild! That research really helped to get the details right in terms of movement, personality, etc.
- Animals drawn to scale. One BIG difference in this movie compared to other animated animal movies is that the different species are actually drawn to scale of each other – which made certain shots (like with an elephant and a mouse in them) VERY difficult. They had to include that different size perspective which presented some big challenges, but makes the movie more realistic.
After getting to go on a few of these press trips now to see the behind-the-scenes process, I have such a HUGE appreciation for he work that goes into making them! It’s such an amazing process and the amount of creativity in these buildings is SO inspiring! Before we left the building, we got to have a little green screen fun with Nick & Judy from the movie! 🙂 Enjoy!
Make plans to see it on March 4th!!! We are SO excited!
Disclosure: I was invited and hosted by Disney/ABC to cover the #StarWarsEvent & #ABCTVEvent as part of an all-expenses paid press trip. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.