Seeing a world not too much unlike our own but as if we were anthropomorphic animals is a cool twist on an animal-centric film that does not include the existence of humans. Seeing the scale played with is amazing. We found out during the early press day that careful care was taken to combine all the sizes to fit in all the building, transportation and work environments created. The monorail station clip from the trailer of all the animals getting off showcased how these predators and prey could potentially live harmoniously. “We have to make sure the world feels lived in.” animator and environment look supervisor Lance Summers shared about the layout. While the story takes us into Downtown Zootopia, the world is divided into species specific area depending on the environments they need to thrive, he explained. So there’s a countryside called Bunny Burrows, A Las Vegas-esque desert resort land called Sahara Square, Tundra Town where it’s mostly frozen and the green tropical Rainforest district.
“(John) Lasseter likes things to feel true to life.” Summers added, after showing us animation clips much like the ones used in the trailer to give us more of the film’s scope.
Not only do the landscapes feel true to life but so do the challenges Judy faces in the big city. There’s the shot of Hopps in her commander’s office in this huge chair that gives us a sense of just how on the line her career is and how she is seen by her superiors. Small and maybe not capable of her big dreams. And we’ve all been there.
“We want the audience to know what the character is thinking.” animator Kira Lehtomaki explained on the process of making Judy’s strong personality shine through the dynamics of her design. While not entirely animal, the characters are also not entirely human but carry on natural traits in a civilized form. Judy can do jump kicks when she fights, a very real bunny trait. But it was also important to cast the right person as Hopps to give her the positive drive that animators imbued her physicality with and they felt Ginnifer Goodwin was a natural choice. “She brought to much to the role. She brought a sincere unique quality to Hopps. A lot of optimism.” Lehtomaki shared.
Find out more about Judy’s adventure with Nick Wilde on March 4th when Zootopia opens wide in the US.