Zootopia has surprised even its own stars with its roaring success and, in typical Disney Pixar style, the character design is sharper than Nick Wilde's pearly whites, especially when it comes to echoing the features and expressions of the voice actors in their animal counterparts.
Before we take a look at how similar their facial features are, remind yourself of the artful animation with the trailer below:
Now let the anthropomorphism begin!
Ginnifer Goodwin As Judy Hopps
Judy Hopps was originally not meant to be the main character, but co-director Rich Moore soon realized her pure-of-heart attitude would help the audience engage with the world. He explains:
"About two-thirds of the way through production, we changed the story to Judy’s story, because Nick, being kind of a cynical character, he didn’t like the city of Zootopia. He was kind of oppressed by the city of Zootopia. And in our movies, we want the audience to like the world, not dislike the world. And it was very confusing with our main character as someone who didn’t like the city, how do we feel about this world? So we said, let’s just try, as an experiment, making Judy the main character — since she’s an optimist, she sees the best in everything — let’s try making it her story and see what happens."
Jason Bateman As Nick Wilde
Bateman might describe his character as "this orange blob of cynicism and pessimism," but we all fell in love with his sly foxy charms none the less!
Idris Elba As Chief Bogo
Elba did a masterful job as the imposing Chief Bongo, but he was surprised at the success of the movie. He explained at the London premier:
"It’s really good that audiences are warming to it. It’s quite topical, this film. There are quite relatable subject matters that are discussed [in the film] so that’s good.”
Jenny Slate As Bellwether
"She’s the harried, put-upon assistant to Mayor Lionheart. She’s a very sweet sheep. Jenny was perfect. She has a crazy, kinetic energy in her characters, all in her voice."
Nate Torrence As Clawhauser
Torrence adored playing Clawhauser because:
"He's got a heart maybe as big as his belly!"
Bonnie Hunt As Bonnie Hopps
Hunt and Don Lake, who voices her Zootopia husband Stu, are longtime collaborators, which really helped her to nail the role. Hunt says:
"We recorded them together to get the real chemistry. They are so funny together. It sells this idea of a couple married for so long who have 275 rabbit children."
Don Lake As Stu Hopps
Tommy Chong As Yax
Co-director Byron Howard says:
"Yax is into a naturalist lifestyle, holistic living and getting back to nature."
Moore adds of Yax:
"He's an emotional life coach. And I would want Tommy Chong as my life coach!"
J.K. Simmons As Mayor Lionheart
"J.K. is so commanding. We needed Lionheart to be a very typical politician. He's very good with the crowd, he has a lot of charisma. And he's so full of himself and blustery."
Octavia Spencer As Mrs. Otterton
This is Spencer's debut role in an animated movie and she is loving it. She explains:
"My favorite thing about playing Mrs. Otterton is that my nieces and nephews will get to see what I do for a living because most of my work isn’t age appropriate. This is a huge plus for me. AND, I’m getting serious kid cache because it’s with the creators of FROZEN. I get to say I worked with people who know Elsa!"
Alan Tudyk as Duke Weaselton
Tudyk also voiced the Duke of Weselton in Frozen, so the name in itself is a bit of a Disney Easter Egg. Moore tells:
"Alan thought the name was very funny and loved the meta-nature of the joke."
Shakira As Gazelle
Shakira wasn't impressed with pop star Gazelle's skinny figure and the animators were happy to help:
"She was a little too skinny for me, so I asked them to give her bigger hips. I said, 'Come on, guys. Give her some meat!' And they did."
Raymond S. Persi As Flash
Persi was an animator who was only utilized for early voice tests for the sloth. But he did such a good job that he got the gig, Hurrah! Moore explained:
"Sometimes the test dialogue is so good, you fall in love with it. Why change perfection?"
Maurice LaMarche As Mr. Big
If he sounds familiar, it's because LaMarche has taken on hundreds of other voice roles including Brain of Pinky and the Brain and Yosemite Sam.
Tommy 'Tiny' Lister As Finnick
Lister, who towers at 6 foot 5, ironically voices one of the tiniest characters in the Zootopia universe. Howard admits:
"We like that Finnick is played by one of the world's most enormous men. So he has this huge, booming voice. It surprises people."