Disney’s Zootopia is coming out soon, and it is pretty neat to hear what goes on behind the making of an animated film. I was so glad to be able to interview the directors of Disney’s Zootopia, Rich Moore and Byron Howard at Walt Disney World last week!
From the creators of Frozen and Big Hero 6, Moore and Howard have already proven to be a great team. They were so happy to introduce the movie to the audience before we previewed it for the first time, apparently John Lasseter loved the idea of animals living in a big city so much that he grabbed and picked up Howard with joy and spun him around in the air! They bantered and told stories behind the film and it’s production, it sounds like they had a blast making Zootopia!
What I love so much about Disney’s Zootopia is that there is a message given that resonates with kids and adults alike. Moore and Howard have a true passion for their work, and they tirelessly researched, collaborated and animate each character and scene to be best it can be. I went to go see Zootopia again for the second time last night with my kids, it was a local screening and I wanted my kids to see the movie so bad that we went on a school night!
Here’s what the Directors of Disney’s Zootopia want you to know
Their animal research was extensive
You may not think that an animated bunny and fox really have a need to be “real”, we all know what they look like, right? Well Howard and Moore are the complete opposite when it comes to animation. They want it to be completely believable – how else can they make it look realistic for animals to live in a big city? They ended up taking a year to research the wild animals, taking their crew of 14 to Africa to be able to get a realistic experience.
“Africa was a life changing experience for us all,” says Howard, “because you’re stepping into an environment that has been the same for 40,000 years. I’d only been to zoos where I’d seen like two zebra at a time. In Africa, 30 feet away from us were 200 zebra. Or 50,000 wildebeest. 100,000 wildebeests. Just to see nature, like full on nature right there, it really made us feel like, okay, if we’re gonna do this movie, we’re gonna do it right. We came home full of all of this information and this great passion for what we wanted to create with Zootopia.”
From their animal like fur down to the twitches of their whiskers, they’ve taken influences from the wild animals in the Savannahs in Africa, and it is just amazing how they are able to translate those specifics into animated characters on screen. Moore says, “It’s the first time we’ve had the technology and the computer power to actually groom them as they are in the wild.”
The movie appeals to so many audiences
This movie really is great for kids and adults, there are so many layers that contribute to the whole thing that there’s really something for everyone in it. Howard explains, “I think that, on a personal level, what I loved growing up were shows or movies or cartoons or books where I knew I was enjoying it. I also knew that my brother was enjoying it on some level, and that my parents were laughing at something. It made me feel like, well, someday I’ll get that.” He says that he really tries to service every type of viewer in the audience, there are actually some great quips for kids and adults, and although the kids may not quite “get” the joke that the adults are laughing at, they’ll definitely see their parents enjoying a film that they enjoy as well!
Discrimination is real – and it needs to be discussed
Just watching the trailer or reading the synopsis of the movie doesn’t really tell you that there are a bit of tolerance issues among the animals. It closely relates to life in the real world, dealing with racism, sexism, bullying and other forms of discrimination and is very relatable on all levels. I think it’s a great way for kids to grasp an early understanding of these unfortunate events, learn about diversity, tolerance and adults can use the story to start the discussion at home.
“It was important to us that Judy’s kind of character was a journey that a child could relate to,” says Moore. “That’s why we knew if this is a story about discrimination and being put in a box by other people, then Judy has to have a moment where that happened to her. And that’s why we chose that it was at the hands of a bully when she was young.”
It was amazing to speak with Rich Moore and Byron Howard, they’ve done an awesome job as Directors of Disney’s Zootopia and they really love what they do. When you see the movie, you’ll see their hard work show! Disney’s Zootopia is in theaters Friday, March 4th, make plans to go see it with the whole family!
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