Are you ready to get your animal on with Zootopia Fun Facts?! You may remember at the end of last year, I ventured to the land of Zootopia! I already filled you in on Everything You Need to Know About Zootopia, but there’s more! 😉 Today I’m sharing some Zootopia Fun Facts and taking you behind the scenes on Creating the World of Zootopia!
(Thanks to Disney/ABC/Marvel/LucasFilm for this opportunity.)
Zootopia hits theaters on March 4th and I can already tell you this going to be filled with entertaining humor for kids AND adults! 😉 The kind of humor sprinkled in that goes way over our kid’s head but makes us parents laugh out loud. Not only that, Zootopia is a unique heartwarming story that teaches lessons in stereotypes, bias, and defining ourselves. Check out the Zootopia Trailer below before we jump into those Zootopia Fun Facts!
Zootopia Fun Facts
- There are 64 unique species in Zootopia and most species are unique in topology: elephants have trunks, pigs have snouts; some animals have hooves, some have paws; some have three fingers, some have two.
- While researching the variety of animals that would inhabit Zootopia, filmmakers learned that not all fur is the same. A strand of polar bear fur is clear. The light reflecting off of it is what makes it appear white. A strand of fox fur is dark at the root, getting lighter till its red tip. Artists strived to replicate their findings to ensure that the animals in Zootopia were believable. (I share more about the fur research here)
- Artists designing Assistant Mayor Bellwether were inspired by the lambs in the old Disney films “Make Mine Music” and “Melody Time.”
- Artists crafted six unique outfits for Assistant Mayor Bellwether. The chosen fabric was wool, and her outfits include a houndstooth dress, a blazer and a little bell in honor of her moniker. She also has an orange dress with a scissor pattern that represents shears.
- Artists were inspired by Mufasa from Disney’s classic film “The Lion King” when creating the look of Mayor Lionheart.
- Clawhauser may not share a real cheetah’s svelte shape, but he does port the animal’s iconic tear marks. Markings that run from the inside corners of his eyes down to the outside edges of his mouth.
- In an effort to bolster the animal-feel, artists added bits of debris like hay, leaves, and sticks in the coats of animals including the big sheep and Yax the Yak.
- Nathan Warner, director of cinematography-layout, got a pat on the back from a real-life cheetah during their research trip to Africa. The rescued animal that caretakers had introduced to the filmmakers seemingly took offense to the camera Warner carried and leapt up to let him know. Both filmmaker and cat were just fine following the event.
- When artists realized that real rabbits actually have a split upper lip, they decided to forego authenticity in this case and kept Judy’s lip all together.
- Advances in technology allowed filmmakers to trim the fur that fell beneath clothing so that the garments hung correctly. Previously, hairs that intersected with an item of clothing, like Bolt’s collar, had to be plucked one by one, which would have been an impossible feat in a film like Zootopia.
Thanks to Walt Disney Animation Studios for those Zootopia Fun Facts, and the chance to meet with Zootopia Writer and Co-Director Jared Bush (Top Left), Writer Phil Johnston (Top Right), Co-Head of Story Josie Trinidad (Bottom Left) and Head of Editorial Fabienne Rawley (Bottome Right)!
They took us on an animal-tastic journey of Creating the World of Zootopia that went from script to story sketches to the editing room. It amazes me every time how much detail goes into an animated film!
Creating the world of Zootopia starts with research, and Jared Bush did a lot of that. From environments, to animal interaction, all was researched to make sure what we see on-screen is believable. Once the world was figured out, work could begin on the characters of Zootopia. Finally, when the world and characters were figured out, the storyline and script could be created.
Thousands of drafts, images, and scenes are created and either tossed aside or used. To figure out what scenes to pitch for the film, Co-Head of Story Josie Trinidad and Head of Editorial Fabienne Rawley got the awesome job of acting them out. Everything from sound affects, to dialogue, to gestures where involved in acting out the scenes to get a feel for the flow of the story, and what worked and what didn’t.
During our interview, Co-Head of Story Josie Trinidad acted out a scene for us, like she would do during a normal day at work. Have you watched the scene where Judy Hopps learns that Nick Wilde is a con artist when she sees him melting down the Jumbo Pop and turning it into smaller pops to sell to the Lemmings? She goes home feeling defeated in her new job, and the scene Trinidad acted out for us follows all of that. She used different voices, made sound effects for things like the microwave and cellphone. She’s pretty fantastic at bringing emotion to a scene on paper.
From there, the scene goes on to final lighting and getting it ready for action. You can see below the final image, as, as well as the Sloth Trailer to see how it all came together.
After learning about the world of Zootopia, it was time to learn about the animals of Zooptopia. Who better to learn from than Head of Animation Renato dos Anjos and Animation Supervisors Nathan Engelhardt and Chad Sellers. They, along with the talented artists of the animation team, are the ones who had the tricky task of merging animal and human behavior to create the unique and varied performances of the animals of Zootopia.
ANIM(AL)ATION – How slow are sloths? How does a giraffe run? How does a tiger dance?
My mind was blown as Renato, Nathan, and Chad told us about their experiences with animals, both in zoos and out in the wild. (read more about that here) They paid attention to the animals movement and characteristics they each had in order to portray them accurately. For example, giraffes actually move really fast in the wild, but with a gracefulness that makes them flow beautifully when they move. Check out the newest “Arriving” Clip to get a feel for all the different animals in Zootopia, and how they move.
When they began talking Judy Hopps and how bunnies behave I chuckled. We have lots of bunnies visiting our yard at home, and many times we see them jumping all crazy, as if they are fighting, and kicking their legs off the trees. Nathan and Chad mentioned that’s actually “binkying”, a sign of excitement. They jump higher, twist, ear flick, and head flip like a gymnast and you’ll have to keep your eyes out for Judy Hopps do that in the movie!
Now that you have these Zootopia Fun Facts, stay tuned next week for Creating the Animals of Zootopia with Art Director of Characters, Cory Loftis! Not only did he walk us through the creating over 1,ooo unique species for Zootopia, but he also taught us how to draw Judy Hopps!
Catch Zootopia in theaters on March 4th!
Want more Zootopia? Check out these posts!