Believe it or not, on November 21 it'll be the 18th Anniversary of Anastasia's United States release! For those who haven't seen the film, it's about an orphan named Anya who's desperate to find her family and her only possible clue as to where they are is a locket that's inscribed with "Together in Paris." Little does she know, she's actually the long-lost Romanov princess Anastasia, and her grandmother has been searching for her since they separated during the Russian Revolution.
Despite the anniversary being a little more than four months away, I'd like to commemorate this special occasion with 18 facts you may not already know.
18. First Animated Feature
Anastasia was 20th Century Fox's first animated film. It was also one of their only 2D movies before switching to computer animation.
17. Gretchen Wiener Provided Young Anastasia's Singing
Lacey Chabert, who's well known for playing Gretchen Wiener (Mean Girls), Eliza Thornberry (The Wild Thornberrys) and Claudia Salinger (Party of Five), took over Young Anastasia's singing while Kristen Dunst voiced her.
16. Anastasia Is Currently Don Bluth's Highest Grossing Film
Anastasia accumulated $139,804,348 in box office revenue worldwide.
15. First Time Voice Actors
This was John Cusack and Kristen Dunst's first time voicing an animated character. Meanwhile, the majority of the cast had previously acted in cartoon projects, such as Kelsey Grammer (Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons), Hank Azaria (as Moe/Snake/miscellaneous also on The Simpsons), and Bernadette Peters (as Rita on Animaniacs).
14. Does Dimitri Look Familiar?
If you've seen A Troll in Central Park...and lived. You might have noticed that Dimitri and the kids' father Alan share an incredible physical resemblance. In Titan A.E., Kal also remarkably appears similar to Dimitri.
In this scene, during the 'Paris Holds the Key' sequence, one of its many French references includes this Monet inspired background.
12. The Crew Initially Didn't Like Bartok's Voice
According to a Reddit interview, Hank Azaria revealed that the producers and one of the directors weren't sold on Bartok's voice from the get go.
"I kind of went out on a limb with that voice. It was also based on a family member of mine. I really had a strong feeling that it would be fun and it would work. I'll never forget the look on the producers and director's face when I did it. I think they really thought I was insane. They encouraged me to try something else, but I really believed that character would work. And I think that after they got in the editing room and starting cutting it together, they really liked it. And it encouraged me to go even farther with it. It must have been so different from what they imagined the character originally, that they must have thought I was just nuts."
11. Rasputin's Death
Rasputin's initial demise was based off of how he died in real life. Rasputin was reportedly poisoned with cyanide, shot, stabbed and thrown into an icy river where he later died.
10. Liz Callaway Filled in Last Minute as Anastasia's Singing Voice
When a singer couldn't make it to record temp tracks for Anastasia, Callaway was called in and the producers were so amazed by her work that she was cast as the princess' singing voice. Callaway has also sung for other animated princesses: Odette (Swan Princess), Jasmine (Aladdin: The Return of Jafar and King of Thieves), and Adult Kiara (The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride).
9. The Cocker Spaniel in the Romanov Family Portrait Actually Existed
The spaniel was named Joy and belonged to Anastasia's brother Alexei. Surprisingly, the dog survived during the Romanov massacre. The princess also had a dog called Jimmy, but he didn't make it.
8. Sophie's Voice Actress Wasn't Flattered by Her Character's Physique
Co-director Gary Goldman revealed that Bernadette Peters (who was (and still is) trim at the time) was dispirited that Sophie was illustrated husky.
7. Anastasia's Yellow Dress was Real
The real Anastasia Romanov had almost the exact same gown her counterpart wore in the film's remaining scenes, with a few differences. This was actually one of the last dresses she was photographed in before her untimely death.
6. Bridge of Doom
During the movie's climatic battle, the bridge they're on is named Alexander the III bridge, after Anastasia's grandfather. In the 1870s, the Czar payed a visit to France and the Parisians named it after him.
5. Historical Figures
While this film is notorious for historical inaccuracies (obviously), many famous people from history pop up during the song 'Paris Holds the Key (To Your Heart).' These figures include Maurice Chevalier, Sigmund Freud, Charles A. Lindburgh, Josephine Baker, Claude Monet, Isadora Duncan, Aguste Rodin and Gertrude Stein.
4. Rasputin's Considerations
Before Christopher Lloyd was cast, actors Jonathan Pryce, Patrick Stewart and Tim Curry were considered for the part. Previously, Lloyd had beaten Curry for the role of Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
3. Dimitri Was Based on a Prince
Dimitri was inspired by a prince who vouched for Anna Anderson (who he believed to be Anastasia). His opinion wasn't taken seriously as he'd only met the princess once and it was eventually revealed that Anna and Anastasia weren't the same person.
Not only is this based on a real illustration by Anastasia, but her sister Olga actually said "it looks a pig riding a donkey." The young princess gave it to her father.
1. Meg Ryan Almost Didn't Play Anastasia
When Ryan was approached to voice Anastasia she was initially unsure. However, her mind was changed when the filmmakers presented a piece of animation accompanied by her character's dialogue in Sleepless in Seattle.