Sneak Peeking Zootopia with Howard & Moore

Zootopia (March 4, 2016), from directors Byron Howard (Tangled) and Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph) and producer Clark Spencer (Wreck-It Ralph), represents Disney’s first anthropomorphic feature “designed for animals by animals.” Rookie bunny cop Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) teams up with sly fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) to solve a disappearance that could tear Zootopia apart. It’s about overcoming bias and Grammy-winning Shakira will voice pop star Gazelle and sing the anthem, “Try Everything.”

Bill Desowitz: When did you hop onto this, Rich?

Rich Moore: A year ago.

Byron Howard: It’s been a busy year for Rich.

RM: The story took a big turn and it was all hands on deck.

BD: So originally Nick was the protagonist?

BH: Yes, and one of the things we found with Nick was that he was one of the characters that was oppressed by bias and so in that version we had to start the movie with the world already broken. And we figured out if the movie’s about bias, then that needs to come from a different character, from Judy,and let Nick bring that to her attention through their character interaction. It was a massive shift. We really had to tear the movie apart, but it made things so much cleaner.

RM: Suddenly Judy was the wide-eyed optimist who kind of matures. And it let Nick be much funnier and a great supporting character. The story did not want him to be the main character.

BD: This has similar themes to Wreck-It Ralph that must’ve been a good fit for you.

RM: Yeah, I like these kinds of stories of being true to yourself and not letting outside forces tell you who you are.

BD: The DMV scene with the sloth is so remarkable and yet so simple.

RM: We spend days and days in the editing room just to get the timing. And the animators honing that.

BD: It’s the perfect symbol of going anthropomorphic: combining animal and human characteristics.

BH: And it’s fun to watch the animators figure it out because we had four or five guys working on the shot at the same time. And when one someone would do something, they’d say, “That’s it!” And everyone would course correct. That’s a tricky thing about the movie because with 100 different animal species, every piece of animation is different. Someone’s gotta establish what a gerbil walks like, what an elephant walks like, what a fox, a rabbit and a shrew act like. And this time we were able to hold onto pretty much everybody.

Read the rest at Animation Scoop/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Crafts, Movies, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production

Add a Comment