Join the #ZootopiaEvent interview fun as we discuss Disney Zootopia Easter Eggs Revealed as told by Co-Director Jared Bush, Producer Clark Spencer and Writer Phil Johnston. Post sponsored by Disney.
All photos and concept art provided by Disney
Disney Zootopia Easter Eggs Revealed
It’s one of my favorite Disney-isms. A subtle hint, a bold gesture and a warm fuzzy hug rolled into one, Disney has a way of cleverly planting hidden movie gems that have fans craving more. As we sat down with Co-Director Jared Bush, Producer Clark Spencer, and Screenplay Writer Phil Johnston for yet another amazing #ZootopiaEvent interview, it was only necessary that we discussed Zootopia Easter Eggs. And these animation geniuses were all too willing to reveal not 1, not 2 but 3 Disney Zootopia Easter Eggs in our round table discussion.
Be warned, if you’re rather be surprised and find these little Disney gems yourself when Zootopia comes to theaters this Friday…you may not want to read on. But for the overly curious hardcore Disney fan, these are the Zootopia Easter Eggs you’re looking for.
It never gets old. Sitting in a room listening to Disney animators tell their tales, their inside jokes,and their experiences from working on a Disney movie, it’s inspiring. Even though it was my 2nd round of Zootopia interviews, I found the energy just as upbeat…and more relaxed. Now that the movie is officially wrapped, the cast and crew can finally reap the benefits of their hard work. No more 15 hour days, no more scrutinizing the film, I found Jared Bush, Clark Spencer and Phil Johnston excited as little kids to just be at Walt Disney World, watching the film as a part of the audience. With the pressure off, it was easy to pry key Disney movie Easter Eggs from the film.
Duke Goes the Weasel
Did we hear the weasel’s name correctly? There’s a slick little thief of a weasel in Zootopia, and his name is definitely supposed to give you a chuckle. I’m talking about Duke Weaselton. If you’re not giggling already, Co-Director Jared Bush explains the irony.
Originally, Judy chased Nick through Little Rodentia in a different version of the movie. And then once we knew that she couldn’t meet him yet at that stage, it’s gotta be someone else. A weasel made sense [and] that he’d be stealing something. And we’re like, we have a weasel. We should call him Weasel. His last name is Weaselton. Then Jim Reardon’s like, it should be Duke Weaselton. It’s gonna be Duke Weaselton. And then we’d always been looking for what role could Alan [Tudyk] play, and these things are all coming together. Let’s make that happen. And so it was kind of perfect.
So, let’s connect the dots. Remember the Duke of Weselton from Frozen? He was teased throughout the movie for being the Duke of “Weasel-ton.” In Zootopia, we revisit the beloved Frozen movie…in reverse. Duke Weaselton is hilariously called “Weselton” in the movie. Oh and if that wasn’t enough irony, there’s more. Alan Tudyk – who plays Duke Weaselton in Zootopia also voiced the Duke of Weselton.
Well played, Disney. Well played.
They Couldn’t “Let It Go.”
And that’s not the only Frozen reference in the movie. Chief Bogo, the big and burly water buffalo Chief of Police also has a memorable line.
Do you think this is a cartoon musical where your insipid dreams come true? Well, let it go!
Why so many Frozen jabs? There’s actually more history to the Zootopia and Frozen movie tie ins. Writer Phil Johnston and Frozen Director Jennifer Lee go back a very long time, since the first day of film school at Columbia. So naturally the friendship only got more “Disney deep.”
Clark Spencer: “Phil was working with us on Wreck-It Ralph and said hey Jennifer, do you wanna come out to LA and work on this project [Zootopia]? So he brought her out. Then to have Phil write a line back in there, that’s the true kind of inside [joke]. The audience is going to enjoy it for the reference to Frozen, obviously, or hopefully they will.”
Phil Johnson: “And a little dig in her for calling the dreams insipid. I’m from the Midwest; I had to throw that in.”
At the corner of Vine & Tujunga
While it may not ring home as easily as the Frozen Easter Eggs, there’s one that’s close to Co-Director Jared Bush’s heart. When Judy and Nick first arrive at the Rainforest District, there’s a tiny sign that says Vine and Tujunga. Why does Jared Bush love this little insider reference?
Tujunga is the crappy warehouse that we had working in for the last two years. They moved us- they’re renovating our main Disney animation building, and they put us in a warehouse with a leaky roof. We did have the plumbing go out a few times – pretty great and water coming through the ceiling. But it was such a family building environment because we’re all stuck next to [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] the planes, and the trains, and the weird junkyard, and who knows what else. So that’s my favorite because it’s one of those very specific things that people that worked in that building, it’s really something for them.
Zootopia isn’t only planting Disney Easter eggs. There are definitely other movie and TV references to be on the lookout for as well. There’s a hilarious “Godfather” sequence with Mr. Big that plays an important role in the movie. And I’m sure the whole theater will be cracking up to the Breaking Bad scene as well. And while that may be the ONLY Disney Easter Eggs that Co-Director Jared Bush, Producer Clark Spencer and Writer Phil Johnston may be fessing up to during our interview, I’m certain that there are other planted eggs just waiting for Disney lovers to discover. Love reading about Disney’s latest animated movie, Zootopia? Check out all of my other interviews and press trip info HERE.
Are you ready to discover the Zootopia Easter Eggs for yourself? Then be sure to grab the whole family for Disney’s Zootopia, in theaters this Friday March 4, 2016. Full of laughter, full of animal fun, and full of Frozen?….this hilarious new animated movie for the Spring will have everyone on the lookout for the latest Disney Easter Eggs.
What do you love about Disney Easter Eggs?
I was invited to attend an exclusive Disney press junket in exchange for this posting. All opinions are my own. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more Disney movie updates, interviews and more!