An adaptation of the award-winning book about one very special gorilla, Disney’s THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN is hitting the digital platform, Disney+, today. The film is an unforgettable tale about the beauty of friendship, the power of visualization and the significance of the place one calls home.
The story follows Ivan, a 400-pound silverback gorilla who shares a communal habitat in a suburban shopping mall with Stella the elephant, Bob the dog, and various other animals. Ivan has few memories of the jungle where he was born, but when a baby elephant named Ruby arrives, it touches something deep within him. Ivan begins to question his life, where he comes from and where he ultimately wants to be. The heartwarming adventure, which comes to the screen in an impressive hybrid of live-action and CGI, is based on Katherine Applegate’s bestselling book, which won numerous awards upon its publication in 2013, including the Newbery Medal.
I had the opportunity to attend the virtual press conference for THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, which was joined by director Thea Sharrock, Sam Rockwell (voice of Ivan), Angelina Jolie (voice of Stella the elephant and also one of the film’s producers), Danny DeVito (voice of Bob the dog), Bryan Cranston (the mall’s circus attraction owner Mack), Ramon Rodriguez (trusty mall employee George), Ariana Greenblatt (George’s daughter Julia), Brooklynn Prince (voice of baby elephant Ruby) as well as costars Helen Mirren (voice of Snickers the poodle), Chaka Khan (voice of Henrietta the chicken), Mike White (voice of Frankie the seal and also the film’s screenwriter), Ron Funches (voice of Murphy the Rabbit), and Phillipa Soo (voice of Thelma the parrot).
Young actress Ariana Greenblatt revealed that she actually drew some of the pictures that her character gives to Ivan in the movie. “Yes, actually so, when I had breaks during school I actually drew some of the drawings. So, like the one of Bob, and a few that you’ll see. It’s a really cool . And its was such a cool opportunity for me to put my own art into the movie, and it is something I’ll always remember too. I love art and painting, so I got to combine my animal-loving side and the artistic side of me,” said Greenblatt.
On the other hand, Brooklyn Prince, who voices the baby elephant Ruby, talked about a special bonding experience she had while recording with Angelina Jolie. “I met Angie twice and the second time was at an award show,” explained Prince. “When I saw her there I said, hey, we should wear elephant onesies in the recording room. I asked my mom to buy me and Angie elephant onesies. When she came to the recording, I was there first, and it was hot, so I thought she might not want to wear it. Then she came in, saw it, and put it on. So, we got a selfie wearing our elephant onesies together. In the end, it did get hot, so we just wore them around our waists.”
Check it out the video of both talented young actresses talking about their experience on set: