ZOOTOPIA. This world is amazing! Not only does the story sound promising (who could hate a fox and bunny buddy movie??), but the world they inhabit sounds fascinating! I ventured to the Walt Disney Animation Studios back in November to visit with the Directors, Producer and Production Team of ZOOTOPIA and view some First-look footage. I brought back some incredible facts involved in the production of the film. If you’re an animal-lover, buckle up! This movie will be one wild ride.
First, a bit of background on the movie and its world. The modern mammal metropolis of ZOOTOPIA is a city like no other. It’s comprised of different neighborhoods that have different climates to accommodate all types of animals. There’s ritzy Sahara Square for desert animals, Tundratown for the polar bears and moose, the hot and humid Rain Forest District, Little Rodentia for the the tiniest mice, and Bunnyburrows for the millions and millions of super cute bunnies. The downtown area, Savanna Central, is a melting pot where a wide array of mammals from every environment come together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything.
When rookie cop Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives in the big city, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve a mystery.
The production team has been hard at work for four years, creating not only a whole animal city, but all the anthropomorphic animals that populate it.
Here’s a few fun facts we learned from Character Design Supervisor Cory Loftis, Character Look Supervisor Michelle Robinson, Character CG Supervisor Dave Komorowski and Simulation Supervisor Claudia Chung Sanii:
- In Zootopia, the mouse is the tiniest animal, and the giraffe is the tallest. A giraffe standing on its hind legs is 92 mice tall!
- Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde are the human standard for the movie. So if they were to walk in the room, they would be the same height as an average human.
- An elephants coffee mug is 5 mice tall.
- The most challenging piece of clothing design for anthropomorphic animals? Pants!
- All Zootopia animals have feet planted on the ground like people so their pants would hang correctly.
- Clothing material is the same for all animals, so on a tiny animal, the cloth will look bulky and large and stitches will be large.
- A polar bear’s individual strands of fur are actually clear, not white, and it’s very fine, like fiberglass.
- Fur on the honey badger is coarse and dense.
- Chief Bogo, the police chief water buffalo, has a design based on body-building police officers.
- The Production Team visited San Diego’s Wild Animal Park, Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World, and a few even traveled to Kenya on an African Safari to study the animalistic qualities of animals.
- The mouse has 400,000 hairs on its body, about as many as Elsa’s blond braid.
- A giraffe has 9.2 million hairs! A new record for the studio.
I can’t wait to share more Behind-The-Scenes fun facts! Come back next week, when we talk with Art Director of Environments Matthias Lechner and Environment Look Supervisor Lance Summers who deliver fun facts behind the design of the city itself – Zootopia!
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ ZOOTOPIA, a comedy-adventure directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and co-directed by Jared Bush (“Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero”), opens in theaters on March 4, 2016.