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Cast of ‘The One and Only Ivan’ Reunited for the Virtual Disney+ Press Conference

Typically, Disney holds in-person press conferences for their various film releases. The press conference usually has the cast and crew in attendance to talk about the process of making the movie and taking questions from press. However, since we are currently in the middle of a pandemic, everything is virtual!

We had the opportunity to attend the virtual press conference last week for the new Disney+ movie, The One and Only Ivan, which is now streaming on the service. 

Check out the trailer right here:

The One and Only Ivan official synopsis:

A gorilla named Ivan tries to piece together his past with the help of an elephant named Stella as they hatch a plan to escape from captivity.

During the virtual press conference, we had the chance to talk with the following cast members:

  • Bryan Cranston (“Mack”)
  • Angelina Jolie (“Stella”)
  • Sam Rockwell (“Ivan”)
  • Danny DeVito (“Bob the dog”)
  • Helen Mirren (“Snickers the poodle”)
  • Chaka Khan (“Henrietta the chicken”)
  • Phillipa Soo (“Thelma the parrot”)
  • Brooklynn Prince (“Ruby”)
  • Arianna Greenblatt (“Julia”)
  • Ramon Rodriguez (“George”)
  • Ron Funches (“Murphy the rabbit”)
  • Mike White (“Frankie the seal” / screenwriter)
  • Dir. Thea Sharrock

Check out the conference below:

After some of the cast members gave an update about how they’ve been doing during quarantine, moderator, Grae Drake, started the Q+A.

Grae asked director Thea Sharrock about how the movie could tell such a great story with big heart while being technically challenging.

“One is in terms of shooting this movie was very much like simultaneously working on two movies at the same time because of the technical aspect of it. So, on the one hand we started the whole process with the voice actor because the animators needed their voices to begin to be laid down for the animation journey to begin. So, we started with that. Then we shot all of our live-action stuff. And then we went back in and we shot the virtual aspects of the film, which was whenever we had just animals in a scene together. And those scenes we often revisited. So, we went back in and we did them several times just to get tiny, tiny nuances. Changes in the actor’s voices, changes in their performances made a huge change to the animators and what they were doing. So in that sense the technicality of it was certainly unlike anything I’ve ever done before.

There are also some very important, big issues captured within the book that Katherine Applegate, for me, just managed to catch a level that meant that when I first read the book with  my kids, who are were nine and 10 at the time, they just absolutely loved it. And they connected with it emotionally on a level that they really appreciated the journey that these characters go on. And I knew reading it as an adult and as a parent that I was appreciating something slightly different in certain aspects. And so, we wanted to monitor it throughout. We wanted to monitor the humor because we always wanted to balance it and keep that aspect going. Not to be afraid of connecting with the emotionality of what is a really very powerful story.”

The One and Only Ivan - Press Conference
(Courtesy of Disney+)

On top of starring in the movie as Stella, Angelina Jolie is also a producer on the film. She explained why she wanted to be apart of this movie: 

 “I know this young generation is really very aware of what is happening in the world to our natural habitats, to these animals, what’s happening in the Congo…with the gorillas, the elephants, and they’re angry. They can see their actions make change.”

Another question Grae asked is what can The One and Only Ivan teach us about getting through this predicament?

“I don’t really know the answer to that. But I think Ivan would definitely have something to teach us for sure about isolation. If you’ve seen the documentary, it’s really moving and a very  heartbreaking story, the real story. So, I’m sure that Ivan would have something to say about it.”- Sam Rockwell

“I  think it is about relying on your friends. That’s big. Being in that circle of the closest circle that you have, especially that we’re all in the pandemic together. You are always looking for your family or your friends that are the people that are your social distancing from but that are the safest.”- Danny DeVito

“And I love the message that you get to find yourself even later in life. You know we’re continually on this journey. And here we are in this very interesting time… And I think these moments actually allow us to hopefully come out of it maybe a bit more evolved.” – Ramon Rodriguez

The One and Only Ivan is now streaming on Disney Plus! 

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