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,
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
"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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