Did Zootopia Originally NOT Star Judy Hopps?

Zootopia star, Judy Hopps

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: “Zootopia” originally starred a different character other than Judy Hopps.

Sometimes, it seems as though these movie legends that we feature give off the wrong impression about about how movies normally work. We’re always talking about how some movie was drastically changed at the last minute, but for the most part, that’s not how things go. Most of the time, movies follow the same basic script that they had from the beginning of the film process. This is especially true with animated films, as they take so much longer to make, so typically everything is settled with an animated film well before the film is actually set to be released. Of course, that means when there are exceptions to this typical process, they stand out more, especially with animated films, where dramatically altering a film late in the process is quite costly.

In the past, we’ve discussed how the original story for Toy Story was scrapped so late in the process that they almost had to cancel the film’s release period. We’ve seen how Beauty and the Beast scrapped its early work to revamp Belle and how “Frozen” had to throw out a bunch of animation when they decided that Elsa was no longer the villain of the film. Similarly, then, the recent Disney hit film, Zooptopia, had to get rid of a lot of finished work when they decided just a year before the film was set to be released, that the film was starring the wrong character.

Zootopia is about a young rabbit police officer named Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) who fights stereotypes in the anthropomoraphic world of Zooptia, as rabbits are not seen as the sort of animal that you would typically see working as a police officer. Her pluck and moxie carry her through, as well as her optimistic way of looking at life.

Judy, though, was NOT originally the star of the film!
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Was He-Man Originally Intended as a Toy Tie-In for Film, Conan the Barbarian?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about toys and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of all toy urban legends featured so far! It is also really a Movie Legends Revealed, too, so it’ll be listed under both categories.

TOY/MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: He-Man began life as a toy tie-in for the Conan the Barbarian film.

One of the great movie toy tie-in legends involves He-Man and Conan the Barbarian. Namely, did He-Man originate as a tie-in to the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, Conan the Barbarian, and then Mattel decided, “Eh, let’s just keep this one for ourselves” and then took their Conan prototypes and turn them into the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe toy line.

The supporting evidence for this being the case is the fact that Mattel did, in fact, have a licensing agreement with Conan Properties International (CPI) to make Conan toys and then Mattel backed out. When He-Man came out, CPI sued Mattel for general copyright infringement claims (that He-Man was too similar to Conan as a toy) and, more specifically, that Mattel breached their contract with CPI to make the He-Man toys.

So is it true?
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Did Deadpool Lose His Bag of Guns in the Taxi Because of Budget Cuts?

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND

: Deadpool lost his gun bag in “Deadpool” because budget cuts forced the filmmakers to cut out the scene where the character used the guns.

As the famous saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” This is very true when it comes to making films, as filmmakers are constrained by the budget of their film as to what they can actually do in their movies. You might want to have an epic battle sequence, but if you only have money in the budget for a small fight scene, you have to go with a small fight scene (or, of course, try to invent a new way to depict an epic battle sequence for less money). We’ve seen how budget concerns have dramatically affected the plotlines of films over the years, from the Ghostbusters going from a team of inter-dimensional time travelers to being “just” regular Ghostbusters to Marty McFly going from traveling to the future in an atomic bomb explosion to traveling to the future in a DeLorean. Budget had a similar impact on one of 2016’s biggest films, the surprise blockbuster, Deadpool, which saw major scenes and characters altered simply due to budget cutbacks, including one of the most memorable scenes in the film, when Deadpool loses his bag full of guns right before the climactic battle.

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Did Jane Foster Become a Scientist In Thor Due to a Suggestion from a Scientific Advisor on the Film?

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Jane Foster became a scientist based on a suggestion by a scientist advising on the film.

It is always interesting to see how characters evolve from the beginning of a screenplay until they end up on the silver screen. We’ve seen in the past how just a re-written song took Elsa from the villain of Frozen to one of its heroes and we’ve also seen how Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was almost completely re-written to make Belle more of a feminist. This was also the case with Jane Foster in the 2011 hit Marvel film, Thor.

Natalie Portman starred as Foster, who is an astrophysicist in the film, forced to deal with the contrast between her belief in science and Thor’s seeming proof of the existence of magic. Of course, astrophysicist is a good deal different than Jane Foster’s career in the Thor comic books, where she was a nurse for decades before eventually becoming a medical doctor, as well. As the story goes (as suggested to me by my pal, Travis Pelkie), Marvel got the idea to make Jane a scientist from one of the scientists who helped Marvel as part of the Science and Entertainment Exchange, a project of the Naional Academy of Sciences that helps advise filmmakers about the science in their films.

Is that true?
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Did Zack Snyder Really Say That He Couldn’t Get Into ‘Normal Comics’ When He Was Younger Because of the Lack of Sex and Killing?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Zack Snyder said that he couldn’t get into “normal comics” when he was growing up because there was not enough “sex or killing.”

There is a popular meme going around with a purported quote from Watchmen, Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director, Zack Snyder, talking about his opinions about comic books when he was younger (I saw it shared by the very nice comic book site, youdon’treadcomics_.

In it, Snyder purportedly says about comics (while promoting his film adaptation of Watchmen):

I had a buddy who tried getting me into “normal” comic books, but I was all like, “No one is having sex or killing each other. This isn’t really doing it for me.” I was a little broken, that way. So when Watchmen came along, I was, “This is more my scene.”

So, is it a real quote?
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How Did An Early Screener of Halloween Change the Film Forever?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: John Carpenter came up with the iconic score for Halloween only after an advanced screening of the film.

It’s really fascinating to realize that there is a whole genre of films that really only came about in the last 40 years or so. There had obviously been horror films before 1978’s Halloween and there had even been films that you could call “slasher” films before (heck, one of the classics in the genre, Alfred Hitchcok’s Psycho, came out almost 20 years before Halloween), but the specific set-up of director John Carpenter’s Halloween was a new one for Hollywood.

It told the story of a maniac named Michael Myers (or “The Shape”) terrorizing a suburban neighborhood on Halloween night, trying to kill as many babysitters as possible…

One heroic babysitter, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) was able to protect her young charges and ward off the killer…

“Slasher killer tries to kill teenagers” became its own extremely successful genre from this point on, although few of its copycats were ever able to duplicate the brilliance of Halloween, which stood out as a legitimately great film for its time, regardless of genre.

Written by Carpenter and his co-producer on the film, Debra Hill, the movie is also extremely well known for the brilliant, stripped-down score for the film by Carpenter himself. Movies traditionally have orchestral scores, so Carpenter’s simple keyboard score really stood out and his famed score was used for most Halloween sequels, even the ones that Carpenter wasn’t otherwise involved in making.

The film was made on a very small budget (under $400,000) and its stripped-down style was used beautifully by Carpenter and the almost guerrilla filmmaking somehow worked out perfectly (like the famous decision by costume designer Tommy Lee Wallace to use an adapted Captain Kirk face mask for Michael Myers’ iconic mask. Wallace just bought the mask from a costume shop for less than two dollars and transformed it into a piece of film history).

Carpenter, of course, was looking to do even bigger films and before the release of Halloween, he screened the almost-finished film for a Fox film executive as a sort of demonstration of his skills. Carpenter recalled how her reaction to the film changed it forever:

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Was Bela Lugosi Nearly the Original Universal Studios Frankenstein’s Monster?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Bela Lugosi nearly played Frankenstein’s Monster, who would have looked dramatically different!

I once asked my mother about the Outlander TV series. I had recalled that she had enjoyed the novels, so I recommended the TV series to her and she said she preferred not to watch it. When I asked why, she explained that she already had her vision of what the characters looked like and she wasn’t interested in seeing a conflicting version to spoil her own vision.

The interesting thing about that is that is very much what DOES happen with popular film adaptations of famous novels. The film version becomes the definitive version, whether it matches the novel at all. In the case of Frankenstein’s Monster, Mary Shelley’s novel describes the character MUCH differently than the version that was played by Boris Karloff in 1931’s Frankenstein, and yet the Karloff version is now the iconic depiction of what Frankenstein’s Monster looks like.

It’s fascinating to note, then, that said iconic depiction of Frankenstein’s Monster almost never came to pass!!

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Did Frank Capra Accidentally Try to Accept an Oscar He Didn’t Win?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Frank Capra accidentally tried to accept an Oscar that he didn’t win.

In 1933, Frank Capra directed Lady for a Day, a touching story about an old woman whose friends conspire to trick her visiting daughter (who she sent away to Europe when she was an infant and with whom she has only communicated with through letters) into thinking that her mother is a wealthy member of society and not the street vendor that she actually is.

Here’s Capra on the right, screenwriter of the film, Robert Riskin, on the left and May Robson, who played the title role, in the midddle.

The film was the first Columbia Pictures film to be nominated for an Academy Award and was the first film that Frank Capra was nominated for Best Director for, as well. Made with a bunch of no-names because no studio would lend their top talent to Columbia, the film was a surprise hit and Capra felt that their odds were strong that they would sweep the Oscars.

His confidence, as it turned out, led to a shocking gaffe…
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Was There a Scene Featuring Slimer Cut From the End of Ghostbusters II?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: A scene featuring Slimer at the end of “Ghostbusters II” was cut from the film.

An interesting phenomenon in the world of popular culture is when people’s collective memory convinces a bunch of people that they saw something that they did not actually see. We’ve addressed this a few times over the years, like whether there was an end scene cut from U.S. prints of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, whether “Star Wars” was originally titled “Episode IV” in the opening scroll and whether “Back to the Future” originally ended with “To Be Continued…” People will swear that they saw something in a film that they never actually saw. However, sometimes films really do cut scenes from the original print of a film (a famous example is “The Program” cutting a sequence because people died trying to re-enact it), so it can be difficult to figure out whether people actually saw a scene that was cut from the film or not.

One of these possibly mythical scenes is the longstanding rumor regarding Slimer at the end of “Ghostbusters II.”

Slimer, the green glob of a ghost, appeared at the end of the original Ghostbusters, flying towards the audience.

As the story goes, the original ending of “Ghostbusters II” had Slimer repeating his flying towards the audience trick, only this time flying out of the restored Statue of Liberty (the Ghostbusters borrow the Statue of Liberty to defeat the bad guy in the film). However, Bill Murray was adamant about not doing another “Ghostbusters” sequel, and the theory was that ending the second film like the first one would suggest that they were going to make a third one. That’s the rumor. When I mentioned this on Comics Should Be Goo a while back, multiple people wrote in to say that yes, they saw that scene when they saw “Ghostbusters II” in theaters back in 1989.

But DID they?
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Which Love Actually Character Was Originally Going to be an Angel?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to see all the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: One of the characters in “Love Actually” was meant to be an angel the whole movie.

Just the other day, we did a Movie Legends Revealed about how an entire romance was cut from the film, Love Actually, due to the film being too long. When we posted that article, reader Marc H. wrote in about another fascinating aspect of the original film that was cut, although this did not get past the original script (unlike the romance between the school headmistress and her lover that was definitely filmed and cut from the final movie).

As it turned out, one of the characters in the film originally was intended to be an angel the whole time. Can you guess who?


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