Have you ever had one of those days where you just don’t feel like writing or doing anything you are supposed to do? I can honestly say that I am having one of those days today. I have really had to make myself go through the transcripts and write out this interview. I am so glad I did though because I had forgotten in the busyness of the last few days what an amazing concept Zootopia really is and how talented Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore truly are. When I think about the movie I feel blessed I live in a time where technology, drive, and sheer talent can make a movie like Zootopia. It is kind of like back in the day when Star Wars come out and it had all these special effects that were amazing and not seen before.
Just creating all of these animals and making them life like was a challenge. Did you know that when Bolt came out the animators specifically asked for them to not touch each other? It was so hard to do that they were literally nervous about it. Zootopia is a complete touchy feely movie and the fact that they can do that now just shows how far we have come in the last 7 years. In Zootopia the animals were clothes, get wet, and even have the fur move in the wind. It is amazing to see and the talent astounds me. Can you imagine what our movies are going to look like in 20 years when this new generation grows up? I think we are going to see things that we couldn’t even dream up in our wildest dreams!!
4 Things About Zootopia From Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore
About Research for Zootopia:
After we pitched the idea of the movie what we start with is research. And the fact that this company has this amazing animal preserve,which is; honestly, it is the best in the world. Like if you look at the animals they’re- they’re- they’re in herds. They’re moving around these amazing environments that feel like a real African environments and Asian environments. And the fact that, we could take that real knowledge and these great animal experts and incorporate that knowledge into the film, it was amazing for us. So we stopped here first. We went back to LA and told John Lassiter about our findings here. And he said, that’s amazing. But the next step you guys gotta do is actually go to real Africa and, you know — and we’re like, Africa? And he’s like, Africa. And he sent us.
We took 14 of our leadership over there, and a good compliment for this place is that when we landed in the Savannah of Africa we stepped out of these tiny bush planes. It felt like this. Africa was a life changing experience for us all. I think all of us came back honestly changed. We’re very fortunate with these jobs because they send us on terrific places all over Asia and Europe and South America. But Africa, for me, I had never been any place that kinda changed you down to your core. I’d only been zoos where I’d seen like two zebra at a time. And then just, you know, 30 feet away from us were 200 zebra. Or 50,000 wildebeest. 100,000 wildebeest. And- and being as close to lions as- as we are to you guys in the front row. And 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. Wecame home just full of all this information and this great passion for what we were going to create with Zootopia.
About teaching Diversity, Acceptance, and Tolerance to Kids (and Adults) of all ages.
It was very important to us that this wasn’t just an adult movie. That it was playing on some kinda lofty level that- that a child would be like, I’m not getting this at all. I don’t relate to it. It was important to us that, that Judy’s kind of journey, was something a child could relate to. f 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. You know, as a little girl. And a little bunny. I think that adults and children can relate to those moments. You know, I think that all of us have had those moments. Some more than others, but it’s relatable. That’s why we chose to have that happen to her as a child.
About morphing the animals for the big screen.
A lot of them that were challenging. Judy’s landlord was an armadillo and it was a question of how does that character get her clothes on? Does she just kinda look like a strange hunchback? How about sloths working for DMV? That could be a funny scene. And it was kinda one of these things where everyone was quiet for a moment. And thought like, has this been done before? You know, it seems like such an obvious joke. And we quickly went to the Internet and like, sloth at the DMV. No, no, no, no. Oh, my God. I think we found something that hasn’t been done yet. . And then also we- we wondered, well, is this universal like around the world? Do they have like the DMV? Do they have any thing. And I am happy to report the frustration with red tape and bureaucracy is well known everywhere. Every place that we’ve screened this around the world they’ve said like that reminds me of our blank. You know, of a department just like that.
About getting Kristen Bell to play a sloth and say only one line.
Jamie said, why don’t I just text her? Right now. I know her, you know? She texted and asked, Kristen, would you like to play a sloth that has one line in the movie? Then five minutes later and we got talking about something else. And then Jamie said, oh, by the way, Kristen just texted back. She’s in.
(For those that have not seen it and may not understand why Kristen Bell playing a sloth is such a big deal, catch the video of her sloth melt down on Ellen)
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,” 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”), opens in theaters on March 4, 2016.