Byron Howard and Rich Moore may not be instantly recognisable names as directors, but their work more than speaks for itself.

Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled, classic episodes of The Simpsons - the two men have worked on some of the finest animation of the past twenty years and, with the release of Zootropolis, could have made one of the best animated adventures of the next twenty.


Q: One of the big things about Zootropolis is the story and its message. Was that what made you sign on to direct this?

A: Yeah, very much so. It was such a rich and interesting story, with characters that were fully realised. Zootropolis has such a wide range of characters, places, themes and so on that you could take any story from the side characters and make it into something! (laughs)


Q: The cast, as well, was very well-selected.

A: Yeah, that was important for us, absolutely. Finding the voice that fits each character is always a challenge, but each character works with the voice so well. Idris Elba, who plays the Chief, you really couldn't see anybody else playing that.


Q: Were the characters designed to shape the voices or was it the other way around?

A: We had them pretty well mapped out before they signed on, but we made a couple of minor changes. We record the recording sessions so we can use it for later on as a guide.


Q: There's a lot of references in the film to other movies, like The Godfather and Chinatown. Did you watch any of these during pre-production to give you a sense of what the film was going to be like?

A: Yeah, we sure did. The thing about putting nods to classic films like that is that it can be for everyone. People are more smarter now and more aware than they've ever been, so even if they haven't seen The Godfather or any of those kinds of movies, they can still get the essence of what we're going for.


Q: Are there plans for a sequel to Zootropolis?

A: Not at the moment, no. There's definitely a chance to explore other aspects of the city, we designed a huge city with some parts that weren't seen in the film, so we've got a rich supply of things we could look at.