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MIGHTY JOE YOUNG

About The Production
Walt Disney Pictures' ambitious update of the classic film "Mighty Joe Young" began with a meeting between The Walt Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth, and producer Ted Hartley, chairman of RKO Pictures, home of the original film

Walt Disney Pictures' ambitious update of the classic film "Mighty Joe Young" began with a meeting between The Walt Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth, and producer Ted Hartley, chairman of RKO Pictures, home of the original film. The two men discussed their mutual admiration for the RKO treasure and their enthusiastic desire to update the much-loved classic for a present-day audience.

"During our discussions, Joe Roth told me, 'We've got to make this movie.' I readily agreed, and when Roth became Chairman of Disney, we found a home for this film," says producer Ted Hartley. "I think we're reinventing the magic of the original-it's gigantic in scale, adventure and depth, while retaining the sensitivity and heart of the original film."

Director Ron Underwood, who readily agreed to helm the film, shared their enthusiasm for "Mighty Joe Young."

"I fondly remember the original film, and wanted to capture the same magic that I had felt watching it," notes Underwood. "I felt this movie uniquely fit my interest and my love for the big American movie. It possesses so much humanity and emotion, and I really connected with that."

Producer Tom Jacobson relished the chance to update the story of "Mighty Joe Young." "What a great opportunity! I loved the original movie, and when I read the script for this film, I thought it was a great love story, in and of itself," says Jacobson. "I knew that it would be challenging and exciting creatively to make, and would be a unique and special movie-going experience-the type of entertainment which transports you to another world. Mighty Joe is a fearsome creature, a wild animal, yet within him beats this incredible heart. The quality of being a misunderstood monster, if you will, I feel makes for a wonderful piece of storytelling."

Production began on the island of Oahu, a popular Hawaiian location for films and television, which was used extensively for such films as ''Jurassic Park" and the popular television series, "Magnum, P.I."

The jungles and mountains of Oahu's Kualoa Valley doubled for the Pangani Mountains in Tanzania, Africa where the early scenes of the film are set. Additional scenes were shot in a remote area of the island of Kauai. Initially, the filmmakers had discussed shooting in Africa, but Hawaii turned out to be a more fortuitous choice.

"From a logistics and mechanics standpoint, Hawaii made great sense," explains production designer Michael Corenblith. "During our research, we evaluated the terrain and landscape and found that the topography, colors, and the textures of Hawaii's foliage were very similar to that of Africa. I was able to start with a very clean canvas, the extraordinary Kualoa Valley, and make the architecture and texture absolutely right, but control it in a way that was reality-based, yet heightened and distilled."

Corenblith worked closely with director Ron Underwood to develop the visual style for the film. "We were trying to convey a loss of innocence in some ways, with everyone's good intentions ultimately not really working out, so there were basically three or four visual stages for the film," explains Corenblith. "We began with the pristine African jungle, with a limited color palette of natural colors like khaki, greens and browns. When Gregg O'Hara comes int

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