Today, Disney releases its latest animated feature film, Strange Worldin cinemas across the UK.
The movie is pretty amazing, and features an all-star cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu.
Recently, we were lucky enough to sit down with legendary producer Roy Conli to find out all sorts of behind-the-scenes secrets about the making of Strange World. Here are 17 little nuggets that stood out to us.
Jake Gyllenhaal was very enthusiastic about his involvement from the start, telling Roy and director Don Hall that if he was going to do it, he wanted to be super involved.
Lucy Liu met with Roy and his team three times before ultimately accepting the part of Callisto Mal.
Gabrielle Union hadn’t done a lot of voice work before joining the cast of Strange Worldbut Roy felt that she took it very well.
Jaboukie Young-White improvised often, but many of his adlibs unfortunately didn’t make it into the movie!
His character is, however, the first LGBTQ leading character in a Disney animated feature!
The Clade’s family three-legged dog, Legend, was not originally part of the story – that is until legendary storyboard artist, Burny Mattinson, advised the team to include him!
Don Hall’s father worked on a farm in Iowa, which is partly where the inspiration for Searcher’s farm comes from.
The animators wanted there to be no greens or browns in the “strange world” subterranean setting; those colors would only be seen in the Avalonia setting above ground.
An animator once brought in a sausage as inspiration for one of the creatures, specifically the transportasaurus.
The sequence in which Searcher, Jaeger, and Ethan are chased by creatures across the bizarre Avalonian terrain was apparently 5km long in the computer.
The whole production cycle took around four years to complete, and began with animators dialing into video calls to organize and collaborate on design work.
Roy personally favors hand-drawn animation (he got started on films like Treasure Planet and The Hunchback of Notre Dame), but ultimately CGI was chosen for the film.
And his favorite character is Splat, an amorphous blob who joins the Clade family once they find themselves trapped in the “strange world” below Avalonia.
The executive team behind Strange World have been with Disney for years. Roy has produced everything from The Hunchback of Notre Dame that Tangled; Don is known for his work on Big Hero 6 and Moana; and writer Qui Nguyen previously co-wrote Raya and the Last Dragon.
As well as being influenced by stories like Journey to the Center of the Earth and King Kongthe filmmakers were also inspired by pulp magazines from the last century.
Roy, Don, and Qui were very keen NOT to kill off the mum in the story… For once!
And finally, fun fact, this movie is the first movie to use the Disney 100 logo in its opening sequence, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the iconic studio!
Were there any behind-the-scenes facts about Strange World that surprised you? Have you seen the movie yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!