Disney Animation’s 61st animated film, “Strange World”, is now in theaters after being one of the film projects to be made with the studio’s invented the so-called COVID production pipeline.
“It’s an interesting time to have the movie even come out into a strange world,” said co-director of the film Don Hall after a special screening in Los Angeles. “But we’re so glad that the film is out and we get to share it with everyone.”
Hall said he was personally inspired to tell this story about the world because of his experience being a father. “I hope we all realize that we are inheriting the world, its people and its status. It’s being passed down to our children, and when I think of my kids, I feel a deep responsibility to honor that call,” he said.
Disney Animation ended up greenlighting the film in 2019. Once the animated world and the basic concept of the film was solidified, Hall tapped Qui Nguyen, who wrote Disney Animation’s last feature “Raya and the Last Dragon,” to begin writing a script.
Nguyen also felt connected to the fatherly reasons on wanting to do the film as well, but wanted to jump on for another reason entirely. “I love pulp adventure films, so when Don said he wanted to do something like that, I imagined a world with characters and situations that brought together elements from “Indiana Jones” and “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” he said.
The voice cast of the film also includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Gabrielle Union, Jaboukie Young-White, and Dennis Quaid. Quaid plays the fatherly and yet adventurous Searcher Clade at the center of the film’s story. He connects to the film and his character not only as a father, but recognizing the difficult love that families can be.
“It all stars a family that’s like any other family in today’s world,” Quaid said. “They deal with real issues that I think we’re all looking forward to at the dinner table every day.”
As was seen in the trailers for the film, Strange World does look strange, and that was the intention, according to production designer Mehrdad Isvandi. He went on to say that as much as the world’s elements like nature needed to look different, they also needed to be a part of the story.
“World building is always a fun challenge that we have here at the studio, and part of the challenge that Don and Qui brought to this film was when they said that the environment needed to be characters as well. Tough was an understatement,” Isvandi said.
Altogether, “Strange World” and its filmmakers and cast wanted to make a film that spoke to not only the generational gift we give to those after us, but that we should be taking care of that gift that is Earth and its people now. “It’s an emotional thing to think about, but I think there’s a lot of work to be done as well. Hopefully people see that when they see the film,” said Hall.