Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Talking with the talented people behind the Disney hit Zootopia Director's Byron Howard & Rich Moore & Producer Clark Spencer. #‎ZootopiaBluray

**Disney provided an all-expense paid trip for me to cover this event, all opinions are 100% my own **

Recently during a fun Zootopia media day I was very fortunate to sit down and have a chat with the extremely talented Directors and the Producer of Zootopia. These guys have been working at Disney for many years and have also been a part of some of your favorite Disney Hits. 
Byron Howard, was the Director of Disney's 2010 world-wide hit feature Tangled, and the popular short Tangled Ever After. 
Rich Moore was the Director of Walt Disney Animation Studios 2012 Oscar nominated feature Wreck-it Ralph! 
Clark Spencer,  was the producer of Walt Disney Animation Studios 2012 Oscar nominated feature Wreck-it Ralph. A role for which he was a Producers Guild of America winner for, best animated film. 

What was it like sitting down to chat with these Disney big wigs? Was it intimidating? No... Not at all, I have to say these were some of the most down to earth guys who really loved their job, and were excited to share their love of their newest project Zootopia, which will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray on June 7th 2016.  Did you ever wonder how Disney movies get started? 

Was there any initial idea, or something going on in your lives that inspired this movie Zootopia? 

Byron Howard: "For this movie we had to find out a lot about animals, we took an amazing trip to Kenya, we were sent out into the wilderness, the first camp they put the team up at was near a watering hole where all types of animals came to drink predator and prey, lions would come and drink right next to antelope and zebra which they normally eat, and during the day they see each other and are aware of each other they just give each other a look and they just drink... Then they go their separate ways, everyone is very well behaved around the watering hole. 

Two groups that normally do not get along, but in certain situations they have to figure out how to work together, we thought that was a very interesting.  It was parallel in our own world, and as we dove deeper into the idea of bias, we throughout  this was a compelling thing to do, we spend a long time talking to each other and experts about bias, we wanted to present it not as a message movie, but as the journey of the characters ....Judy is not perfect she makes mistakes, but she learns by the end of the movie she learns that this issues are not as simple as she thought. It was very tough on us all but we are very proud of the fact that people really related with the message of the movie and the journey of the characters". 

It is amazing to think this movie with this theme, the idea actually came from animals. Who would have thought animals were so peaceful at a watering hole? I guess we all need water, and when it is time to drink, it is also time to let it be…  Ever wonder how the directors and producer’s come across a project? Are they scouted? Or do they get to choose the jobs they do at Disney?

How do you decide on what project to get behind? Personally?

Rich Moore:  "The projects are not assigned we have a meeting with John Lassader and we present to him at least 3 ideas,  that we are interested in it comes from a discussion with him, what are we passionate about? What ideas we like to explore? it is never assigned, that is from an old era of Disney, it is a different studio now. If the director does not have his or her heart into the project... and they take a long time that is when things start to feel clichéd .. or hackneyed and that is why all 3 of us loved working on Zootopia this is a story that is crafted with real depth.. really had something to talk about for a director everyday was exciting, on Zootopia".

Byron Howard: "It is a great thing that John Lasseter believes in this way of thinking, at the end of the day you are going to send 5 years making this story, creating characters creating this world, it's got to come from you, or you will eventually become bored and disinterested".

With the amazing amount of scenes from funny to sad, in Zootopia, do you have a favorite? How about the makers of this movie do they have favorites? According to Rich Moore, choosing a favorite scene is like asking, What child do you like better?” ha ha, I get it… You work so long on a project like this (usually about 5 years!) and each and every scene is important to you.

What are each of your favorite scenes of the movie?

Rich Moore:  “I loved the scene with Nick and Judy in the gondola when they start to bond. It takes me back, I remember the day we recorded it. With Jason Bateman, he is a comedian, this is a scene where nick is dropping his guard and sharing this very painful moment in his past with Judy when he was a junior ranger scout  the full committal that Jason gave to the scene, it is probably the most serious scene with Nick in it. He just recorded a very funny scene, prior to that and he was good at taking us to that moment and becoming very vulnerable. I will never forget creating that scene together. The performance Ginny (Goodwin)  gave too as the supportive friend... it is one of those scenes where visually the performance came together". 
Byron Howard:  "There are some many things in the movie that are beautifully executed, by our story artists animators and voice talent for being able to make us laugh. The scene where Judy goes to him (Nick) and apologizes under the bridge, it is incredible for so many reasons, Phil and Jared our writers did such a great job at creating that scene and working with Jen Lee who was in the room with us, it was something we all looked at together to make sure we were saying just the right thing, cause it is such a tricky subject. Ginnifer came in and delivered such an incredible performance, when you ask an actor to cry you never know what you are going to get.  Some are very skilled at that and are very natural at the, and Ginnifer found something and was really in touch with the emotions and was balling. When I look at Judy breaking down, I can't believe that that is a real living character, it is not just a bunch of pixels and animation, it is not a cartoon. That is a real tribute to what our artist can do. what a good performance is".

Clark Spencer:  "I am going to have to go with the "Flash" scene.  A few months before the movie comes out the producer goes to other parts of the world, and we start sharing parts of the film, over in Europe we went eight cities and we were playing, this scene in different languages. I get to watch these audiences all respond in the exact same way... in their own language, it was amazing to watch, and I feel that sense of falling in love with the character Flash, and totally relating in such an incredible way and to me, there is a weird science in that scene, when Judy says "There all Sloths" and the audience laughing, and when the sloths talk and you realize they are going to be talking over each other, then the joke comes in and there is the big just watch that in all those counties... it was an amazing experience to have. I really love that scene”... 

Are you guys thinking of making another Zootopia movie?

Byron Howard:  “I think everyone would love it... it is great to see when a work like that lands in these movies, you can go in any direction.”

Rich Moore:That would be cool..  collectively if we felt that there was nowhere to go, sometimes, there is a story and it feels like that is it, there is nothing left to say in this world... But this world is so big there are so many characters, and people are hungry to know more... On twitter we field questions every day, of like what is Bobo's first name and, What can you tell me about this side character? The fans what to know more. There is something more here than people are interested in the world then why are we not exporting this world”?
What other theme would you think Zootopia might go to next? 

Byron Howard: "We spend a lot of times talking to each other about our personal experiences, it is great that this sets a precedence, with Zootopia that it is really about something, the fact that we can tackle a deep subject like that is terrific"...

Rich Moore:  "I would say whatever it is, it would be juicy! It would be more than what you can tell with human characters, I think the world lends itself... to good talking animal stories, stories that are difficult to talk about amount... human beings, something about putting this in a world of animals with something we can relate to, they are not exactly like us.. but we can put or our emotions into them, you have the ability to talk about things that may be a little unseemly, It might come off as preachy if it were done with live action or human characters... It is more palatable to the audience in this kind of form". 
What’s next for you all?

Byron Howard:  "I took a break, the most time off I have taken in 25 years to rest.  We are going to have Moana coming out in November, near Thanksgiving... it is a beautiful movie, the Rock is incredible, and it has great songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda"

Rich Moore: "I am working on something new, but I can't talk about it right now... Maybe in two weeks"?? 
Hmm 2 weeks? Now that is exciting, I can't wait to see what is up next for Disney. I am sure it will be amazing. After finding out this cool information from this talented trio, that was not all for us, up next we were going to get our own personal art lesson! We were going to be able to draw a Zootopia character! It is not every day you have the chance to choose what character you would like to learn to draw from a Disney artist! As novice artists we asked to draw the "easiest one" which turned out to be Judy Hopps,(that was great she is my favorite). 

We were presented with animator paper and a fancy animator pencil, and before you know it we drew a large gum drop, a loop here a loop there... a little nose, and a smile… and bam.. Judy Hopps! Or something like Judy??
I am sorry I am not the best animator is the world, I will not be quitting my day job for animating that is for sure! But it was a blast to draw her.   I would like to thank these amazing talents for talking the time out of their busy day to spend with us! Be sure to say tuned for more great Zootopia coverage, and pre-order your copy of Zootopia today, or pick up a copy of the Blu-Ray or DVD in stores June 7th!!

Be sure to stay social with Zootopia:
Visit the official Zootopia website here:
Like Zootopia on Facebook:
Follow Disney Animation on Twitter:
Follow Disney Animation on Instagram:
Visit Disney Animation on Tumblr:

Stay social with Zootopia’s Directors:
Byron Howard
 Rich Moore

Buy it: 
Preorder Zootopia online or purchase a store near you on 6/7!

Zootopia is available on Blu-ray and DVD on June 7th!

Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions . No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .


Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing some of the behind the scenes about the creating of this amazing movie. My family and I loved Zootopia. I really love the fact that they actually traveled to Kenya to research these animals when makkng the movie.

Jennifer said...

Thanks so much for sharing this interview. I loved Zootopia, and I always enjoy reading about the thoughts and ideas that go into a film.

Ellen said...

This sounds like a cute movie. Sounds like you had an amazing time.

Crystal said...

The kids and I loved Zootopia. It had such great messages, such great things to discuss as a family. Can't wait to see it again on blu ray.

valmg @ Mom Knows It All said...

I haven't seen this movie yet but am hoping to get the chance to soon. I saw the trailer and it looks super cute.

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Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions, . No compensation was received. All opinions are my own. This is a unofficial fan site that is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or Disney theme parks.