Disney’s Zootopia is about a civilized world made up entirely of animals. Oficer Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is the first bunny on the police force made up of big, tough animals. She must team up with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a scam artist fox, to solve a case and prove herself.
Collider and other media outlets were given the opportunity to previews some scenes from the movie and attend presentations at the Disney Animation Tujunga campus. There they learned about what went into character creation, the research that went into the movie and more. Here are some things you should know about Zootopia:
- It’s the studio’s goal, each and every day, to make contemporary and ground-breaking films that inspire and tell great stories. Through the story trust, which is a mix of directors, writers and story artists, they challenge each other to push their films to a new level of excellence. They strive to tell timeless stories that appeal to audiences, they want the movies to be entertaining for all ages, the films must contain a combination of great humor and deep emotion, and the films must represent the style of Walt Disney because his name is on them.
- When they started thinking about the story they wanted to tell next, they kept coming back to wanting to tell a story of animated animals in a city called Zootopia. Once they decided what the film would be, the filmmakers spent 18 months just studying animals. They started at Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World and Wild Animal Park in San Diego, and then they went to Kenya for two weeks to study animals in the wild, in order to capture what makes them so amazing in the natural world.
- They researched fur at the microscopic level, in order to get the look of the animals accurate, even going to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles to get super close to actual fur of different species. Every animal in Zootopia has completely different fur based on the actual strands of fur for that animal. The filmmakers wanted the world of Zootopia to feel alive with the vegetation that’s placed in it. The wind doesn’t just affect the trees, but the characters themselves and their fur, since almost all of them have fur.
- Zootopia has different neighborhoods to celebrate different climates, and just like our own world, the animals of Zootopia are quick to put each other in a box of stereotypes. For the desert animals, there’s Sahara Square, a huge desert area that’s hot and dry. It’s like an upscale Dubai or Monte Carlo with high-end shops, and they took a research trip to Vegas when they were designing it. There is chilly Tundratown where the cold weather animals live, where there is coolant underneath the sidewalks to keep it cold and they have a 3 o’clock blizzard. And then, there’s the Rainforest District where it’s wet and humid. There is also a town with a little, bitty neighborhood called Little Rodentia, which is like Greenwich Village, but two feet high, and it’s where all of the mice live. Bunny Burrows has millions of bunnies living there, with a population that’s always multiplying. You can essentially go on an international tour in one metropolis.
- When it came to actually populating Zootopia, they had to think about the animals that would fit into the different cities. On top of that, they had to provide a variety of clothing for each character. For every species, they had to create the male and female adults, and male and female children, and provide some variety so that you didn’t just see the same animal, over and over. They also wanted to make sure to keep their animal characteristics and not make them too human. There are about 400 unique species and costume set-ups in Zootopia, with over 800,000 unique potential characters in total.
- The characters in Zootopia are never just standing around. There’s always a little story or a little something going on, which you often don’t even notice until a second viewing.
- The filmmakers see the message of the film as “you define you.” This film examines that theme and puts it to the test with the characters.
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Zootopia hits theaters March 4, 2016