Even though Zootopia won’t be in theatres in the United States until later this week, you’ve undoubtedly already seen a good portion of its funniest scene. The moment received such positive feedback from viewers all over the world that Disney Animation decided to make it the centre of some of the teasers and TV ads. Naturally, I’m referring to the scenario known as the “sloth scene,” in which Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde must go to the DMV to run a plate. However, you might not be aware that Priscilla, one of the sloths, is voiced by FrozenstarKristen Bell. The trailer contains only two words, but they cover the entirety of her performance. Learn how Bell was cast in this modest yet noteworthy film. After the jump, Zootopiarole.
First off, here is the trailer with the sloth scene in case you haven’t seen it:
I had a roundtable discussion on the sloth scene with the movie’s writers, Jared Bush and Phil Johnston, as well as producer, Clark Spencer, during the Zootopia Festival. They described how they discovered the sloths’ voices:
The voice was very important. Raymond Persi, who is one of our story artists at Disney did the scratch voice of the Sloth and there was something about the tone of his voice that was hilarious. Not matter what we did, we said, maybe we should bring in another actor to play the role but he was so perfect it only worked with his delivery, that was it.
What about Kristen Bell’s performance as Priscilla? How did they manage to persuade TheFrozenstar to make a brief appearance in the film? The following is the background of how Kristen Bell was cast as the sloth in Zootopia:
We were sitting there thinking, we have two words. What are we going to do? We’re probably going to have someone internal do it and someone said “have you seen Kristen Bell on Ellen, because not all of us had seen that before. So we all watched it and said, ‘thats the funniest thing we’ve seen in our entire life.’
Okay, so you’ve undoubtedly seen Kristen Bell’s appearance on Ellen after the sloth video went viral and received about 23 million views as of this writing. But here it is in case you haven’t seen it:
After seeing the footage in the room with Jamie Sparer Roberts, the casting director for Zootopia, they pondered if Bell would be open to joining for such a little part in their movie:
And given she was in Frozen, we thought it’d be a really great idea. And our casting director literally sent a note, while we were in the room, and said would you consider doing two words if it was a sloth, and the answer came back within two to three minutes, yes. It was the quickest deal ever made in Hollywood. And it was great to have her do it. Also it’s one of those great inside things for people who know her love of sloths.
That is how Kristen Bell became a sloth in Zootopia, so there you have it.