Celebrity InterviewsDisneyEntertainment

Chatting with the Directors of Zootopia! #ZootopiaEvent


Disclosure: I attended the #ZootopiaEvent, all expenses including travel and accommodation were covered, all opinions are 100% my own.

As most of you know, so much work goes into making a movie, planning and preparation, finding the right cast members, the right inspiration and more, this takes years of planning so it’s always exciting and inspiring to get to sit down with a couple of amazing movie directors.

Byron Howard and Rich Moore, the Directors of Zootopia sat down with myself and 24 other bloggers to answer all of our questions!


Not only was it amazing getting to meet some of the cast but actually sitting down with the brains behind Zootopia was amazing to say the least! Byron Howard first pitched a movie idea about animals living in a big city to John Lassetter and that is how the idea of Zootopia, a movie like no other came about. There was a lot of research went into Zootopia and some of the research started out in Florida at Disneys Animal Kingdom!

Which animal was the most difficult to anthropomorph?

Byron Howard says that a lot of them were challenging, even Judys landlord who is an armadillo!  It was a question of how does that character get her clothes on, Over the shell?

Rich Moore said, did it have to go over the shell? Does it go over the shell? Does she kind of look like a strange hunchback? 

Byron Howard also mentions that they had a few story sessions where they were thinking like, what would be good jobs for animals? Jim Reardon came up with an idea, how about sloths working for the DMV? That could be a funny scene. It was one of these things where everyone went quiet and thought, has this been done before? No, no, no, Oh my god, I think we found something that hasn’t been done yet!

Personally the sloth scenes are one of my favorites, they are hilarious and you just have to watch the movie to find out!

Speaking of diversity, tolerance and acceptance. How do you tell that story so it resonates with kids of all ages?

Rich Moore says, that was very important to them when making Zootopia that it isn’t just an adult movie.  It was important to them that with a character like Judys, a child can relate to her journey and as a character.  They knew it was a story about discrimination and being put in a box by other people, then Judy has a moment where that happened to her.

Judy was in the hands of a bully when she was young, Rich Moore says unfortunately he thinks all of us have those moments, some more than others but it’s relatable, so that’s why they chose to have that happen to her as a child, then it kind of becomes relateable to both adults and children.


Photo Thanks to Disney

5 Facts from Byron Howard and Rich Moore

  • Judy Hopps was originally based on a sketch of a cute little bunny named “Rocket Johnson”.
  • Kristen Bell loves sloths and was therefore cast as the roll of a sloth.
  • Rich and Byron can kind of predict when the adults will laugh and when the kids will laugh at a movie.
  • Realistic fur is one of the hardest things to animate, next to touching it.
  • As part of the directors research, they took part in a 3 hour coveted Africa Trek!

After speaking to the directors it was pretty amazing to hear just how Zootopia came to life, how everything was so perfectly researched and thought out and I actually learned that much more goes into making a movie than you think it does!

Both of the directors are funny, they have a lot to say about their work and obviously take a lot of pride in everything they do, it was a great experience to meet the directors of some of my favorite movies and I could really see where some of the humor comes from!

Follow along with the #Zootopiaevent

The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where humanoid mammals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. However, the city is separated into classes, where they face prejudice based on preconceived notions about their species. But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy, as she was sidelined into a boring career meter maid because she’s the first rabbit in the police force. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case of a missing otter, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde, to solve the mystery.


Don’t forget, Zootopia hits theaters on March 4th!!!


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