heihei Moana

Four months before animation work on Walt Disney Animation Studios’ latest film Moana was set to conclude, Disney Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter sat down to decide the fate of one of the movie’s characters. The character had been in the story since day one, and had survived the many iterations of the story, but the consensus was that he was not working and needed to be removed from the movie.

After slaving away on the film for the past five years, directors Ron Clements and John Musker were not ready to let go of their beloved rooster. Heihei (pronounced hay-hay) was on the chopping block, and by a stroke of luck, the Moana story team had 48 hours to “save the rooster.”

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Zootopia Documentary

Disney’s Zootopia is already one of the most successful films of the year. The film has raked in over $786 million worldwide and it’s one of the best reviewed films of the year with a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. If you haven’t gone to see it yet, you’re missing out on one of Disney’s best animated films. Personally, I even think it’s better than Frozen, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph and Big Hero 6.

If you’ve already seen Zootopia, then you might want to check out a fantastic 45-minute documentary that takes you behind the scenes, showing how the movie evolved during the two years of production that a team from Fusion spent at Walt Disney Animation studios. It’s a thorough and fascinating look at how an animated movie is made and how Zootopia changed during that process.

Watch the Imagining Zootopia documentary after the jump. Read More »

Zootopia - The Big Donut

If you haven’t already, please read my interview with Zootopia directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore where they talk about how the latest Disney Animation Studios film evolved from an idea about a James Bond spoof with talking animals.

Today I bring you the other interview that I conducted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with Zootopia producer Clark Spencer, co-writer and co-director Jared Bush and co-writer Phil Johnston. I touch some of the same ground in this interview, talking about the evolution of this story over the development, but we get a lot of new details about some of the material that didn’t make the final film. I also talk to them about some of the clever gags and Easter eggs in the movie, and much more.
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Zootopia - Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps (2)

Earlier this week we told you how Zootopia was going to be a different movie, originally following Jason Bateman’s character Nick Wilde and featuring an more-in-your-face message. Well you might be surprised that the original idea for Zootopia was a James Bond parody featuring talking animals. How the that idea evolve into whats now on the screen? Read my exclusive interview with directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore and discover how a story like this evolves within the Disney Animation Studios creative process.

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ZOOTOPIA

Talking animals are nothing new in the world of Disney animated features, but Zootopia takes them to a whole new level by presenting an entire city built, populated, and run by mammals. There are hamster businessmen, shrew mobsters, and a lion mayor. Our protagonists are a fox con artist (voiced by Jason Bateman) and a rabbit police officer (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin). And they all have one thing in common: they really, really love making animal puns.

A new Zootopia clip addresses the very literal “elephant in the room,” while another offers a peek at “Zoogle,” the animal version of Google. There’s also one more Zootopia trailer that offers a better look at Nick’s (Bateman) scamming ways. Check it all out after the jump.  Read More »

ZOOTOPIA

It’s New Year’s Eve in our world, but it’s Zoo Year’s Eve in Zootopia. Or so the Disney marketing team keeps insisting. In any case, what this means is that we’ve got a brand-new Zootopia trailer for you to enjoy on this day, the last of 2015, featuring a brand-new song by Shakira (or as she’s known in Zootopia, “Gazelle”). Watch the Zootopia trailer and check out new Zootopia images, after the jump.  Read More »