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From motion capture to virtual production, Disney has been able to bring everything from the Pride Lands to Agrabah into the real world.
But trying to translate these classics from hand-drawn animation to live action while maintaining everything audiences loved about the originals is never easy.
Like, how do you make a photorealistic lion that can also belt out songs?
♪ It means no worries ♪
♪ For the rest of your days ♪
To see how they did it, take a peek at what eight Disney live-action remakes looked like behind the scenes.
[Mulan, 2020]
Actress Liu Yifei trained for three months, about six to seven hours per day, to portray Mulan.
Like here, where you can see her preparing for one of the movie's epic sword fights.
According to cinematographer Mandy Walker, the actress did about 90 percent of her own stunts.
The cast had to learn everything from martial arts to horseback riding for the action-packed film.
Meanwhile, many of the film's gravity-defying stunts were achieved with impressive wire work.
[The Jungle Book, 2016]
This film featured about 70 different animal species created using groundbreaking CGI.
There was a key step in the process to making sure all of the animals looked so realistic: facial rigging.
During this stage, animators explored what muscles animals have that humans do not.
By doing that, they could ensure the animals would do things like snarl the right way.
To make sure the animals looked convincing when they talked, animators used a combination of human and animal muscles for the characters' mouths.
Another crucial breakthrough had to do with putting hairs on the animals.
They had to figure out the direction an animal's hair would move, how it clumps, and how it interacts with the world around it.
Perhaps most impressive is that Neel Sethi, who played Mowgli, acted completely alone on set, as all the animals were created with CGI and the other stars recorded their voices.
But he did have a little company.
Actors in blue suits and crew members held up animal puppets and used googly eyes on their hands, like these pesky monkeys that steal food from Mowgli, which were later replaced with CGI versions of the animals.
[The Lion King, 2019]
The Jungle Book paved the way for 2019's The Lion King.
The film was shot using virtual production, which allowed director Jon Favreau and the crew to step into the world they were creating and shoot everything like it was really live action.
The biggest challenge for the film's visual effects team was creating a photorealistic version of the African savanna while also remaining faithful to the source material.
Take the part where Rafiki stands and lifts Simba.
In reality, mandrills can't stand up like that.
So in the new version, they animated the character sitting down while lifting Simba into the air.
And the animals still needed to be able to speak and also sing some of those iconic songs.
So the animators would try to reposition the animals' heads when they could so the audience wouldn't be staring directly into their mouths.
And they timed the characters' breathing to their dialogue and at the same time let the characters' belly muscles and diaphragm tighten so it would really like they were letting out air while talking.
[Lady and the Tramp, 2019]
Many CGI dogs were created for this live-action remake.
However, the two main stars were real.
A mutt named Monte played Tramp, while a cocker spaniel named Rose played Lady.
Perhaps nothing was more challenging than filming the most iconic scene from the 1955 original, when the two dogs share a plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
This scene took three days to film, and while shooting it, the noodles kept breaking.
So instead of using actual noodles, they used undyed licorice soaked in chicken broth.
This ensured that the noodle was strong enough for the take and also that the dogs had something quite tasty to eat.
The moment where the two dogs' snouts touch, though?
That was CGI.
[Dumbo, 2019]
The elephants were created with masterful visual effects work by MPC Film.
However, the actors still needed something on set to sell the scenes.
So an actor and a stunt double in green suits stood in for baby Dumbo.
But first, they had to learn to move like a baby elephant, which included walking around on all fours using these stilts, no easy feat on long shoot days.
[Aladdin, 2019]
Instead of making the Genie character an entirely CGI creation, Will Smith got to fully embody him and his dance moves, and it was all captured by a motion-capture suit.
While Aladdin initially received criticism for how the Genie looked in his blue form, the movie ended up having him in human form whenever it could.
And to get a sense of some of the film's impressive stunts, just look at the "One Jump Ahead" sequence.
While most movies are shot at 24 frames per second, some parts of this sequences were shot at a slow-motion 36 frames per second, while others were shot at an incredibly fast 18 frames per second.
According to director Guy Ritchie, actor Mena Massoud had to make sure he was singing completely in sync.
So at some parts he had to sing really fast and other parts really slow.
[Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, 2019]
Mistress of Evil is a sequel to the 2014 retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the villain's perspective.
This movie had to make its titular character, and many other characters, fly.
They pulled this off using two different methods.
The first was using wires, a more traditional practical method for lifting up characters in the air.
The second way was lifting actress Angelina Jolie and the other flying characters up with these two-pronged forks.
The forks are operated by these extras in blue suits that you see back here, who would later be turned into CGI backdrops.
The fork fits onto both sides of a person's body.
This device gives them mobility and allows them to twist a person around backwards, forwards, or side to side, a "360-degree movement" while the actor is safely clamped into place.
Meanwhile, Maleficent's wings were created with CGI.
While on set, Jolie wore these on her back, which would later be replaced with wings.
The visual effects team was tasked with making convincing wings and also making sure those wings moved in sync with the performer's body movements.
[Beauty and the Beast, 2017]
To fully embody the role of Beast, actor Dan Stevens wore a motion-capture suit on stilts.
The stilts ensured that the actor was the Beast's appropriate height on set so the actors would be looking at the right spot.
However, they didn't just have the characters standing in front of green screens; they actually built many of these sets in England, and they are impressive.
Take the ballroom, which was made with 12,000 square feet of faux marble.
And they payed special attention to the costumes.
Belle's dress was decorated with about 2,160 Swarovski crystals, and according to actress Emma Watson, the costume designers created it so it looked like it was floating as Belle and Beast danced.
What are some of your favorite Disney live-action remakes?
And which ones are you most looking forward to?
Let us know in the comments.
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What 8 Disney Live-Action Remakes Looked Like Behind The Scenes | Movies Insider

2191 Folder Collection
Mackenzie published on April 13, 2020    Mackenzie translated    adam reviewed
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