Interviewing the Cast of Zootopia: Jason Bateman & Ginnifer Goodwin
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Zootopia begins by introducing you to Judy Hopps, a bunny from the country that dreams of being a cop in the big city of Zootopia. Judy Hopps is optimistic, excited, and ready to take on the world, just like the actress who voices her, Ginnifer Goodwin. A few bloggers and I had the pleasure of interviewing Ginnifer Goodwin, via Skype, about her role in Zootopia. If it’s at all possible, you will love this actress more now, than you did before.
1.When asked how she got the role of Judy Hopps, Ginnifer Goodwin’s response had the entire room laughing.
I was in my Red Mickey Mouse pajamas that had my name embroidered on them. I was sitting in my kitchen in Vancouver where we shoot “Once Upon a Time”. And I had a message on the phone from all of my acting representatives, including my voiceover agent. And so I thought I was getting fired! Because why else would everyone call at once, including my voice over agent. And I said to my husband, who was also in the kitchen, “oh my gosh! I’m about to get fired!” I’m not kidding you, He said, “or Disney’s calling you to offer you the lead in their next animated feature”. I said, “that’s mean. Like, I’m obviously getting fired, and I need to brace myself.” And I sat down. And I picked up the phone, and miraculously got them all back on the phone immediately. And I think that the words of my agent were “John Lasseter is calling to offer you…” And… So they said Disney and I said “I’m in.” And they said, well, don’t you want to know about the role? Or the script? Or what it’s called? Or what it’s about? I said no, no, no. I do, but later. So call them and tell them that I’m taking the job. ‘Cause I want it to be, like, legally binding. And then you can call me back and tell me what it is.
2. We were surprised by Ginnifer Goodwin’s response when asked if her favorite cartoon characters influenced her role as Judy Hopps.
I don’t think they did influence my performance. But, I mean, my first love was Winnie the Pooh. Snow White was a big one for me. She was, like, my first Princess. I mean, she was Brunette, and so I thought that that means we’re related. Alice in Wonderland was an obsession for a while. I mean I grew up seeing and loving every Disney film. Hence it being the goal to be in a Disney animated feature. But I didn’t really use any of them. I feel like performances have changed since the ‘30s. And how we represent these characters. And the female character themselves have drastically changed since the ‘30s. And I mean, I just approached Judy the way that I approach all of my live action characters, really. I mean, except for in the process of recording her. I feel like my homework was sort of all the same homework I do for all the same homework I do for anything.
3. Ginnifer Goodwin responds to who would play Judy Hopps and how she [Ginnifer] would react to Judy Hopps showing up in Once Upon a Time’s Story Brook. Her response was priceless.
Me! The first time I thought about that (who would play Judy Hopps on Once Upon a Time) I suddenly started panicking. Like, what if they tried to cast someone else? What if they decide to bring Judy on the show? I really think I would make an actual stink. It would be my first real diva experience. I have to play her.
4. When she watches Zootopia, Ginnifer tends to forget that Judy Hopps is her voice. She’s able to watch the movie without feeling weird about seeing herself. It wasn’t until people started pointing out the almost identical charcteristics between Ginnifer and Judy, that she started to really see herself in Judy Hopps.
There are moments when I’m brought back (to remembering Judy Hopps is me because I see things that have been described to me that I do. For instance, there are things that my best friend says I do when I’m frustrated, that I saw Judy doing animated. Which was wild. But makes sense because when you’re in the booth, you’re surrounded by a million cameras. Those animators are watching… Those animators have seen everything I’ve ever done in that booth.
It’s crazy that they [Disney] have found the magical scientific formula for great movies –Ginnifer Goodwin
5. It’s very clear by her response, that Ginnifer Goodwin is living her real-life fairy tale of working for Disney. You can feel her passion when she describes what it’s like to work for Disney.
You know what? It’s better than the dream was of getting to work with them. The reality is even better than the dream was! They are utterly creative! I’ve never heard of another studio that will start over from scratch to make something better. And they do this again and again! They started this movie (Zootopia) over, like, November before last. After we had been working on it for years… Because they said they can be better. They can be better than that. But it can be even better than that last version that we did. Also, it’s a place where, honestly, the employees are so happy, and that energy is palpable when you walk into the studio! I think it’s part of why I wanted so much to actually physically be in the studio to record. They know that part of that liberation is fun.
They create such a safe place to be free. And, you know, I felt like I could really try anything and really fall on my face, and it was because they made me feel so safe to do that. And I always knew that. It’s crazy that they have found the magical scientific formula for great movies.
6. Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman didn’t always record in the same studio, but when they did… much time was wasted and many laughs were shared.
Yes, I did have a chance to record with Jason Bateman. I wasted everyone’s time, because his comedic timing is impeccable. Obviously. He’s hysterical and his improv skills are sick! I kept forgetting that I was supposed to be acting. I would start cackling and I would ruin a take of his. You know, no one’s supposed to make any noise in that booth other than the person saying the line. And I think I ruined, like, every one of his takes. Because I would start laughing. And then I apologized, and I felt terrible. And he was so kind, and never rolled his eyes at me or anything. I would roll my eyes at me. So I think that they decided that was a bad idea.
We also talked to Jason Bateman about his role in Zootopia.
On Judy’s journey she stumbles upon a sly fox named Nick Wilde. Although he’s a fox, which immediately raised her suspicions, Judy gives him the benefit of the doubt and helps him out. This sarcastic, dry-humored fox is voiced by the comedian, Jason Bateman. Jason Bateman is just as cool, calm, and collected as the character he voices. I had the pleasure of interviewing him at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Orlando, Florida. Let’s just say lots of laughs were shared.
1. Jason Bateman describes how his children reacted to his role in Disney’s Zootopia. His bragging rights are well-deserved.
It’s good (to voice a Disney character) just for pride, because they think I’m kinda cool that I’m in a movi that has theDisney logo in front of it. That means something good’s coming in their mind. And then as far as parental stuff, it’s helpful to have this kind of tool of these characters that are talking about these heady issues at times. It just kinda helps the medicine go down easily. If the issue starts to resonate with them, or they want to kinda talk about bullying, or they touch on, racism in this and bigotry and xenophobia and fear mongering, and all of that stuff. Some of those things it’s going to take a little bit more time for my nine year old to understand. But it’s nice that I can reference it! A lot of Disney movies are like that.
2. Jason Batemen explained the moment he realized that the Fox, Nick Wilde, actually resembles him and he tells us how he and the fox have some of the same traits.
They didn’t tell me anything about that (the fox looking like me). But it was actually after… I started to see it a little bit in Ginnifer, with Judy Hopps. And, um, I saw a little bit of it with JK Simmons with the lion and a little of each voice actor in their character. Then I was like, well, wait a second, You should take a look at yours, too! And then I did kinda see, sort of these droopy eyes and kind of the general body language of it, and all of that stuffwas pretty cool! They were very subtle with it. It’s kinda neat.
3. As for the characteristics…
I mean, you know. My job is to be kind of full of it. So I kind of know that and I’m pretty sarcastic and dry. My mom is from England, and she gave me a lot of that dry British, sarcastic sense of humor, and that comes pretty easily to me. Plus I’m pretty laid back and my heart rate never really gets up high. So, I appreciate how Nick’s kind of laid back and lets life come at him.
4. Jason told us that he didn’t have much to do to get into character.
It’s a really cool process. You go into the recording booth and they they take each page of the script, and they mount it on this black piece of cardboard, right? It’s kind of like art. Each page has its own cardboard piece of board on it. And they put it on this musical tray and you read through the scene. The script is always so fluid, and always being rewritten that you not really sure what you’re going to be recording that day, and where its place is in the whole context of the story. So you read into this scene. And then you look up to the directors and they’re waiting for your reaction, like… do you get it? Do you get what we’re going for in this scene? And oftentimes it would be kinda that moment of, like, oh, I see what’s kind of layered through here. So that’s really the extent of preparation. You’re really deferring a great deal to them, their guidance, and how your very tiny piece in a process fits in with what they’ve been doing for years.
5. Jason, of course, utilized his improv skills for this role.
You record it quite a number of times, and often they’ll say ‘now just do what you want to do, and say what you want to say’ and ‘do you have any ideas, or would you say anything different there?’ And so that’s fun. And sometimes they laugh just because it’s different than what they’re used to hearing. So I’m not sure if it’s necessarily funnier, but I can’t remember what was written and what was made up anymore.
6. Nick Wilde was very condescending to Judy in Zootopia. When asked how Jason prepared for that, his response couldn’t have been better.
**SPOILER ALERT IN THIS RESPONSE**
Did I tap into my thoughts about women? No. [He smiles] They’re setting Nick up, so clearly on one side of the spectrum to give him an enough of a satisfying starting point to appreciate the growth that he goes through. They start him out being simplistic and cynical, and a bit of a sexist and condescending and all that stuff. And then of course, like any good two hander in any film, the other character is going kind of enlighten that other one, And Nick, hopefully, has a little bit of gain on her as well, and gives her a little bit more of the thick skin and has her be a little bit more pragmatic about how fast she can expect to achieve the things she’s looking for. So, he’s a lot nicer at the end. If there is a continuation to this story, uh, obviously, you know… spoiler alert, the fact that they become cops together, they can go and start cracking all these cases together as policemen with a little bit more mutual respect, and maybe they end up a couple. I don’t know. I’d like to see what animal they’d create, you know… A fox and a bunny would be a… funny! See what I did there… we all roared with laughter.
7. When Jason Bateman was asked what motivational quote a poster with Nick Wilde would have, his response was a perfect example of how well he related to Nick.
Judy’s would be, everyone can be anything.
Nick’s would probably say, don’t let ‘em catch ya.
8. Jason Bateman ended the interview with the message that he hopes children will take away from Zootopia.
I would say that Nick’s got a bit of a defeatist attitude at the beginning. He’s really cynical. And, sort of mocks Judy for her optimism, and her enthusiasm. That’s such a lazy and easy place to sit in life. You know? It’s a very defensive kinda, like… No one can hurt you if you don’t let them in. That’s a dangerous thing and luckily Judy does come into his life, and shows him that it’s okay to let people know that there’s something different than what is on the surface of you. And that has relevance emotionally, but also racially and religiously. There’s all kinds of things where people make judgments very quickly on who they think you are. But what about what’s on the inside? Judy has no vanity at all. She has no idea how she comes across. It’s all inside out with her and I think that you’re never too young to learn that one.
In Theaters Everywhere March 4, 2016
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 animals 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. But when rookie Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, 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 the mystery. 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.
Connect with Zootopia & Disney Animation
Website : movies.disney.com/zootopia