Spending most of my life in Southern California and working at two of the largest theme parks in that area, I felt I was well past getting star struck. Well that changed when I had the chance to talk to the two lead voice characters in Disney's Zootopia
Jason Batman has been acting his entire life. Starting with Little House on the Prairie in the early 80s, and he has been working nonstop on one project or another all the way up to providing the voice of the sly fox Nick Wilde in Zootopia. I have to tell you, sitting next to someone you have watched on TV and in films is a very nervous experience. However, as I and the group of other press discovered, he is as normal as every other guy. Bateman shared with us the Zootopia review of one of his biggest critics, his nine-year-old daughter. She loved it and this was even after he "drilled down to find out if she meant it or was just being nice."
When asked about his daughter and how she reacted to the heavier themes of the film, Bateman pointed out that a great thing of Disney films is how they can work as a tool for parents to use the friendly animals to "carry the heavy water" for parents when it comes to tough topics. We pressed Bateman about, if there were to be a sequel, what he would like to see in it? If a sequel were to be made, he felt the buddy story is an easy fit but also mentioned he may like to see Judy and Nick as a couple. Additionally, we mentioned that, if they were to procreated, "it would be funny" — you know a Fox and a Bunny = a funny. Bateman summed up that, if people take something away from the film, it would be "it's whats on the inside that matters the most."
If sitting next to Jason Batman wasn't surreal enough, we were also on a Skype call with Ginnifer Goodwin (who was at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank) really made me question if I was supposed to be there. While Goodwin may not have as long of a credit list as her co-star does, she definitely has recognition as one of the stars of the hit ABC show Once Upon A Time. As we talked with her, the thing that stuck out the most is her true love of Disney. She shared with us that when she received the call offering her the role, before she even knew the character or the script, she said, "yes, call them back and make it legally binding so they couldn't back out."
Goodwin, when asked what she would want the legacy of Zootopia to be, she said it would be the idea that either "you are what you are" or "anyone can be anything" and it is up to you. She also made the statement that she respected Disney for making this movie because of the deep underlying themes. To her credit, one of the things that she and her husband decided was not to show her kids Zootopia for many years. This is not because of the content but more to let her kids enjoy imagination and not change it by them having to understand acting and not putting together that their mom is Judy Hopps. My favorite part of the conversation, and what really showed that Goodwin is Disney for life, was when I asked about how being a strong leading woman now for both Once Upon A Time and as Judy in Zootopia might have an impact on her future roles. She said, "I hope it impacts me in further jobs for Disney. I would do anything to just stay here in this place, I asked Mr. Lasseter on numerous occasions, even if it just comes down to passing out coffee in the lobby of the studios, I would like to be a permanent fixture."
Make sure you get out March 4, March 5, March 6 and so on and so on to see the perfect film!