We had the pleasure last week to sit down and talk with Co-Writer Phil Johnston, Producer Clark Spencer and Co-Director/Co-Writer Jared Bush at the ZOOTOPIA Press Junket at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Phil, Clark and Jared were so friendly and were so nice to tell us about many of the little behind the scenes things that you see in the movie. For example one of us asked them, “were there things that you wanted to add to Zootopia?” Many of the lands worked in the movie while some did not. They initially tried to add Outback Island where all the Australian animals lived, but it just wouldn’t work no matter how many times they tried.
One of the coolest ideas was the neighborhoods of Zootopia. They consist of:
- The Burrows
- The Rainforst
- Sahara Square
- Zootopia Metropolis Area
Each district was designed for the animals that live there. For example Polar Bears live in Tundra Town, and of course Bunnies live in the Burrows. Which lead us into our next question, with Zootopia being such a big metropolis and all these different areas, are there maybe ideas of shorts being made in little areas? They loved our idea and would love to explore Disney Shorts from the world of Zootopia. Flash from the DMV makes an appearance at the end of the movie but I would love to see more of him!
One of the funniest scenes from the movie comes from a scene from Breaking Bad. I had to ask who came up with that idea… That idea came from one of their storyboard artists Jason Hand, when it first came in they knew it was gonna be in a lab. There were gonna be sheep and he drew it with those giant suits like on in Breaking Bad, they even named the characters Jessie and Woolter; it’s not Walter, it’s Woolter. Love it.
It is that kind of humor and attention to detail that these guys brought to the table in this wonderful film!
Next up we spoke with Directors Rich Moore and Byron Howard about co directing Zootopia together. In the early stages of the film Disney changed the main character of the film from Nick Wilde to Judy Hopps which is why 2 directors were needed to complete the movie. Both Rich and Byron stepped up together and really brought the film together.
We just had to ask how many species of animals make up Zootopia. They said there was sixty four different species of animals, all with different fur. Of those sixty four we have male, female and child. So you do all the multiplying then you have like that times three and then you have of those maybe like twenty variants clothing and color wise first. So by the time you’re done you have tens of thousands characters… Very impressive! One of things you will notice is there is no bugs or birds in the film.
Next up we talked to them about the time frame from making Zootopia. It took them over a year to pitch the idea to John Lassater. They had like 3 or 4 ideas they came to him with after Tangled which was 5 years ago and after the initial year they began to work on the storyline. We had no idea it took that long to make the film but you know if they spent that long working on the movie it will be good, and it was!
Finally we asked about a sequel and both directors are very open to it. You could take Nick and Judy in a number of directions also since there are no birds or reptiles in the film that doesn’t mean there isn’t other cities out there with birds or insects so that is something they would love to explore. We know it’s a little early for sequels but with the vastness of the Zootopia world the possibilities are endless.
We would like to thank the Writers, Producers and Directors of Zootopia for meeting with us and for making such a wonderful film. If you would like to read about our interview with Jason Bateman and Ginnifer Goodwin just click here.
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