EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Trent Correy and Josie Trinidad!

Zootopia+! by @Zigrock_brony (commissioned by ZNN for this article)

Happy Holidays, ladies and gentlemammals! We have an early Christmas (or late Hannukah) present for you today. A few weeks back, we reached out to Trent Correy and Josie Trinidad (the directors of Zootopia+) with some questions, and they were kind enough to answer some of them for us!

Let’s not waste any more time on preamble, and get straight into the interview! Starting with the obvious question on all of our minds:

Andy Lagopus: Is there a chance we might see more of Zootopia in the future, either in a season 2, a sequel, or both?

Trent: While making Zootopia+, Josie and I were overwhelmed with the love of these characters and the love of the world developed during the original film in 2016. Needless to say, the crew at Disney Animation absolutely adored working on this series, and the world seems to be hungry for more Zootopia. So is there a chance? While there’s nothing to announce, I know I’m not alone in saying we love telling stories from the land of Zootopia.

Andy: If we do get more Zootopia content in the future, do you think we will see more of Sam? She’s quickly become a fan favorite character. 

Josie: I absolutely hope so since she’s a favorite character of mine, too!  We wrote the role of Sam with the actress Charlotte Nicdao in mind since Trent and I are huge fans of her and the show Mythic Quest.  She’s hilarious and brings such charm and warmth to her role (both on MQ and Zootopia+!)  Amazingly, we recorded Charlotte during the pandemic while she was in Australia, and despite the time difference, despite the sometimes awkward nature of conference calls, Charlotte was brilliant.

Andy: What was this production like, making these shorts during covid? How did you find making a series of shorts vs making a full movie?

Trent: Great question! I’ve never directed a full length movie, but I’d like to imagine there was much less pressure, being as the shorts are only 5-7 minutes each and they’re based on an existing story that is loved around the world. We had our own unique challenges such as exploring the characters within the context of the original film, revealing more about the characters while staying true to who they are, offering new types of genres and filmmaking…and of course, making these shorts 100% from home. Storytelling is such a collaborative process, and the whole team went to extreme lengths to create the team atmosphere, despite us all working from home. In fact, Josie and I never met in person until we were halfway through production. All in all, I personally missed the human connection, but I am incredibly thankful for the FUN we had making Zootopia+ from our homes, getting to know our teams, their families and pets via Zoom…and creating a series that made us laugh during a very uncertain time. I wouldn’t change a thing!

Andy: In Duke the Musical, is the old goat the model of the old meter maid that didn’t make it into the original movie?

Josie: Yes! What a keen eye you have!  I’m so happy you noticed that small detail. The old goat in Duke the Musical is indeed an old meter maid from the original Zootopia. This goat was meant to represent a lackluster future for Judy that was less than ideal, especially for a character who wanted to create change, but in the feature, we instead opted for a quick montage of characters upset with Judy for giving them parking tickets. 

Andy: Which other characters in Zootopia+ were characters that didn’t get a chance to appear in the original?

Josie: I can’t think of other characters that were entirely cut like the goat meter maid.  But there were characters that had larger roles in the story reels of Zootopia but whose roles were adjusted as the story evolved–for example, the Doctor Honey Badger at the asylum and Finnick the fox used to be very close friends of Nick’s.  We did have storyboard versions where Nick had a dad, or Nick and his friends worked at a fast food restaurant and their bosses were these mean gerbils–we used those gerbils as the hosts of So You Think You Can Prance.  Our original team created so many amazing characters, it was a joy to be able to use some of these beautiful models in Zootopia+.

Another instance of repurposing animation models–In The Godfather of the Bride, young Mr. Big befriends a young polar bear cub.  We used the model of a polar bear cub named Morris.  He was the son of the larger polar bear named Koslov, a notorious gangster in Zootopia.  There is a deleted scene with Morris in the DVD extras of the film.  

Andy: Are you aware of if there will be a soundtrack released for Zootopia+? Or other merchandise based on it? [Note: At the time of asking, the soundtrack had not yet been released]

Trent: YES, we are so incredibly lucky to have a wonderful score by Mick Giacchino and Curtis Green, along with our very own Disney musical number performed by Disney Animation’s “good luck charm” Alan Tudyk and featuring music by composer Michael Giacchino and song writers Elyssa Samsel and Kate Lopez (available on iTunes)! As far as merchandise, I haven’t seen any yet, but maybe we’ll see something in the future!

Andy: One final question. Since Josie was the head of story on the original Zootopia, we were hoping she could answer this unanswered question from the original movie: How did Bellwether know to go after Emmitt Otterton, and how did Doug know where to be to dart him? We’ve pieced together her whole plan, the whole story taking place in the background (including how Judy was being tailed throughout the whole film- giant rhino in a green t-shirt with the symbol of Bellwether’s Gang), but this is the one piece of the puzzle we haven’t been able to figure out.

Josie: I’m amazed by your impressive deduction skills at the ZNN which I admit surpass my own!  Sadly, I can’t recall the exact details but it’s so much fun thinking about all the other characters in the rich world of Zootopia, and wondering what was happening when we didn’t see them on screen. That’s why Zootopia+ was such a blast to make! 

[Note: we asked a follow-up question about Emmitt Otterton, but they were out of time. We did also ask a few other questions earlier in the interview, including the infamous ‘where does the milk come from?’, but they opted not to answer.]

So, that concludes ZNN’s second exclusive interview with Zootopia directors! I would like to thank the publicity team at Walt Disney Animation Studios for making this interview possible, and Trent and Josie for lending us a little bit of their incredibly valuable time! It’s a true pleasure to be able to do things like this, and we hope to work with them again in the future.

Until next time, remember, as always…

Try Everything!


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